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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

Wizard1183

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Jan 20, 2018
Messages
236
Hi Mat, how much of a change would you say has happened between 2015 TH models and now? Are pickups, pots, caps different? Besides Tom Murphy paint jobs, how much difference in tonality are newer model 58-60 to 2015s?
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Mat,

Can one get a M2M chambered Les Paul Custom ?
I’d love a two humbucker black beauty Custom that’s 8lbs or less, preferably mid 7lbs.
Thanks.
Yes -- but we cannot guarantee weight due to the nature of wood. Best way to get to 8 lbs on an LPC is to request an ultra light mahogany back (an uncharge) and fully chamber it as you said. Good luck and thanks for the question!

Mat
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Thanks so much for the reply. Custombuckers truly are a fantastic pickup and what strikes me the most about them is how versatile they are . The work well in every Gibson model whether it's a maple cap les paul , all Mahagony les paul custom, SG standard or custom, Explorer or any type of ES variant. Very few pickups can make that claim. Love the BB 2 and 3 set as well as 57classic/classic plus set but i find the 57 classic and Busrtbickers great as they are do not work in every model. When they do they are great and as good as anything else but they do not have the versatility across the various models like the custombuckers do . Could you shed any light on the 74 superhumbucker that was used in the Randy ROADS and 74 les paul custom reissues and I belive some custom shop SGs . Were they meant to be a take on the 70s superhumbucker which are often called tarback pups . The specs between the 2 are quite different but both are low output. So was it a similar thing as with custombuckers being created to capture a certain sound and not a spec accurate paf copy. Were they trying to capture the sound of the original Gibson super humbucker rather than a spec accurate recreation. Personally as long as the tone is their I do not get to bothered about vintage correct material although it's a nice bonus and I completely get why those things matter to people . Thanks again
I don't know much about the development of the "Super '74s" as we call them but this is what one website has to say: "Both pickups are wound with 42 AWG wire and measure approximately 7.4k to 7.6k ohms, and both are wax potted to prevent microphonic squeal at high volume levels.made with genuine Alnico 3 magnets, just like many Gibson humbuckers of the early to mid '70s." That would be pre-Tarback era. Personally I would have gone with Alnico V, but can't go wrong with III. Thanks for the questions.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Can I get replacement knobs for ones that crack?

I have quite a number of Historic and True historic that the knobs cracked on and most arrived that way.

Is that considered a quality issue?
I would definitely reach out to Gibson Customer Service with photos/serial number/proof of purchase. I am not completely sure if they are covered under warranty but they would be best suited to assist you. Separately, there is the issue of not having exact replacement parts available aftermarket. We are working on this but it is slow going as many of these True Historic parts, especially the knobs, are painstakingly created with the original butyrate formula and the historic gold paint applied to the back. That means supply chain is slow to progress to the point where we have enough aftermarket inventory. But we are working on it! Thanks for the excellent question.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Hi Matt,

first of all I want to congratulate the whole Gibson team for the current Korina run which reached a new level in terms of historical accuracy!
The day I picked up my white Guard Explorer I spontaneously picked up a V as well and I couldn't be happier with my purchase in every aspect.

View attachment 16261

My first question is regarding the heel joint of the V. I compared the one from the current run to my 2001 59 reissue and noticed that the 59 has a steeper and longer transition to the neck.
Is there any historical reason behind this difference? The earlier 90s 58 reissues also have a shorter joint.
Here's a photo to compare both (left the 59 from 2001 and right the 2021 model)

View attachment 16262

My second question is whether there's any possibility to purchase a trapezoid V-case for my older model. Unfortunately it came with a black art & historic case which isn't as great as the historical one.

Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas to you and your family :)
Beautiful instruments and congratulations! As I said before, I truly believe it does not get better than these in our current range. We are building them as long as we can continue to get good quality *sustainable* White Limba, but I'm not sure how far out that will take us. I am planning on buying a set myself but please don't tell my wife that. :)

The difference in the neck heel shape is simply because the previous reissue was an approximation based on the based information Gibson had at the time, whereas the new ones are based on hyper-accurate 3D scans of original instruments. Even so, the neck heel length can vary slightly due to the neck angle/neck set -- the excess material on the joint is shaved off and smoothed over.

Unfortunately we do not sell the Korina cases aftermarket until we can guarantee enough supply -- right now we are very hand-to-mouth because of supply chain issues securing the case hardware.

Thanks for the questions!
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Hey Mat,

Thought of a couple more questions. I have a Knopfler Les Paul VOS. It’s my favorite guitar. It seems to have a different neck shape than the typical R8, almost like the shoulders are a bit less. Kind of like an R8/R9 hybrid. Is that just luck of the draw or is that how the neck is actually spec’d? Also, are the pickups in the Knopfler regular Custombuckers or are they wound special for this model?

Thanks for doing this! And happy holidays to you!
Even better -- the neck was scanned from the original guitar. So what you're feeling is the same neck as on Knopfler's. Yes a bit thinner than the R8 spec of .9/1.0" and more like a current R9. The website didn't say that at the time for some reason, but that's what it is! Thanks for the question.
 

mdubya

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Messages
898
Regarding the recent Sparkling Burgundy offerings from Gibson (SG Special) and Epiphone (looking at the current Riviera): are they gold under the red? As they age and wear, will gold show through?

Personally, I would love that and would influence my decision to purchase either one.

TIA. (y)
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Thanks, scotch brite sounds like a good idea.

As a follow up to the neck joint, is there a difference in the way a standard neck is mounted into the body vs those with the access heel (any added support)? If i wanted to file down the heel of a LP, would that affect neck stability?
Yes and no -- it would still be long tenon but the heel itself is connected differently. I would not advise shaving down a standard heel joint to get the Axcess effect. Thanks, Mat
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Are there any plans to make updates to the 60's reissue ES guitars? I'm holding a '64 reissue ES345, a 1964 ES345 and a 1965 ES345 right now. Some noticeable differences with the reissue, such as the pickguard being the wrong size and shape, the screw hole being in the wrong spot, the bracket being in the wrong spot, etc. I wasn't expecting this, but the bout is actually smaller than the vintage guitars by about 3/8" as well. Under 16" at the widest point on the '64 reissue. My 59 reissue ES330 from around 2011 doesn't have this problem interestingly enough.
Are you looking at a Memphis Historic or a current Custom Shop Historic? Below is a vintage compared to a current CS...it looks pretty darn good to me other than the angle presented -- optical illusion but the pick guard of the reissue does indeed stretch to the edge of the binding.

Anyway the variation in bout and waist was seen within 1964 (and later years) as well, and we know this because we scanned five of them and no two were the same. The sharp horns themselves were a result of rim presses wearing down and being replaced, and the resulting rim shape was never completely static. While we have precedent and original blueprints to reference for the width at the lower bout and waist, I prefer a wider waist because it makes the horns point out a little bit more. But it's tough to standardize, although we are working on it. Not easy guitars to build by any means. Still, I'm very happy with what I'm seeing.

1964gibsones-335tdcohsc06.jpg

Gibson-Custom-1964-ES-335-Reissue-VOS-1088-SC_01.jpg
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Regarding the recent Sparkling Burgundy offerings from Gibson (SG Special) and Epiphone (looking at the current Riviera): are they gold under the red? As they age and wear, will gold show through?

Personally, I would love that and would influence my decision to purchase either one.

TIA. (y)
Man that color looks so good on those! I would assume it is an opaque metallic that was color-matched to SB. And because the Epi lacquer is polyurethane instead of Gibson's nitrocellulose, chances are even if it was gold underneath a transparent cherry, no amount of playing or aging will reveal it.
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Hi Mat, how much of a change would you say has happened between 2015 TH models and now? Are pickups, pots, caps different? Besides Tom Murphy paint jobs, how much difference in tonality are newer model 58-60 to 2015s?
This is a tough one to answer. What we're doing now is essentially a continuation of the True Historic models from 2015. Upgrading the wiring harness to what they are now was definitely an improvement in versatility and accuracy to originals. Outside of that, a new top carve reference and new neck profiles, not a lot has changed other than available colors and a few aesthetic things like the vintage-style Gibson logo, LP silkscreen and placement, etc. Hope that answers your question! I definitely believe the Murphy Lab lacquer was a big step forward as well, obviously.
 

TM1

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Joined
Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,178
Are you looking at a Memphis Historic or a current Custom Shop Historic? Below is a vintage compared to a current CS...it looks pretty darn good to me other than the angle presented -- optical illusion but the pick guard of the reissue does indeed stretch to the edge of the binding.

Anyway the variation in bout and waist was seen within 1964 (and later years) as well, and we know this because we scanned five of them and no two were the same. The sharp horns themselves were a result of rim presses wearing down and being replaced, and the resulting rim shape was never completely static. While we have precedent and original blueprints to reference for the width at the lower bout and waist, I prefer a wider waist because it makes the horns point out a little bit more. But it's tough to standardize, although we are working on it. Not easy guitars to build by any means. Still, I'm very happy with what I'm seeing.

View attachment 16391

View attachment 16392
Hi Matt; I bought a`63 ES-335TDC from Music Zoo and it arrived right after the Custom Shop reopened in May of 2020. I think it had been built before March 2020 and just set aside with the Covid delay. I had one of the 2014 Memphis made `63 ES-335's and sold it pretty soon after receiving the `64. The `64 is just amazing!! I've been around long enough to remember my friends' 335's in the Sixties and a number of them loaned me theirs back then. Anyway, the new ones are damn near perfect and I love it! I did replace the nylon(?) saddles with brass. Not sure where you all got that Nylon, but it's pretty crappy and no way close to the old saddle material. and I replaced the Custombuckers with a set of Gibson Pat.#'s from 1965! I will put this guitar up next to any old one! It's that good it is & I've owned a few 335's over the last 50+ years! I'm so glad you all finally got the colour right! And I put a set of Vintage black reflector knobs on it as the new Reflectors just don't look right. But, all in all the new 335's are a joy to play and to look at! The neck shape is right there!! Thanks Matt!! Regards; Don Butler/Toneman, Inc.
 

yeatzee

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
49
Are you looking at a Memphis Historic or a current Custom Shop Historic? Below is a vintage compared to a current CS...it looks pretty darn good to me other than the angle presented -- optical illusion but the pick guard of the reissue does indeed stretch to the edge of the binding.

Anyway the variation in bout and waist was seen within 1964 (and later years) as well, and we know this because we scanned five of them and no two were the same. The sharp horns themselves were a result of rim presses wearing down and being replaced, and the resulting rim shape was never completely static. While we have precedent and original blueprints to reference for the width at the lower bout and waist, I prefer a wider waist because it makes the horns point out a little bit more. But it's tough to standardize, although we are working on it. Not easy guitars to build by any means. Still, I'm very happy with what I'm seeing.
Appreciate the response! In my possession is a memphis reissue from 2016/17. Are you saying the pickguards and/or body size are different on current Nashville reissues?

So far I've only been able to get 2 reissue owners to send me bout sizes, a 2016 63ri, and a 2020 61ri es335 to compare to my 2016 64ri. All measured exactly 15.875". The 1964 in my hands measures 16.25" wide, and the 65 about 1/8th inch less. The reason I even tried measuring is because the reissue looked noticeably smaller to the eye than the 64 and I thought it might be an optical illusion. I'm sure I'll get some more measurements soon to further confirm, but at least with this small sample it seems like they're noticeably smaller. I'm not even sure the vintage 64 would fit in the 64 reissues case! Maybe I'll give it a shot for fun lol.

For the pickguard, my 2016's looks exactly like this brand new one on Wildwood right now. Biggest spot to look is the area after the neck pickup / mounting screw and then after the bridge pickup, the differences should be discernible vs the vintage examples I pulled from es335.org.

New Wildwood reissue:
wildwood 335.png

Vintage:
MS2.jpg

msflash.jpg

ms631.jpg

61-345.jpg


It's worth noting none are totally identical, but you can still see how they're pretty different. Spitballing here but did Gibson make a conscious effort to reshape / size them so that there wouldn't be any gap by the bridge pickup as that might make uninformed new buyers think there's a defect? That makes sense on a production model one I guess, though with a reissue ehhh. But even if that's the case I would think the gap could be removed and the neck pickup side could be made accurate to get best of both worlds in a future iteration. Actually holding the reissue pickguard vs vintage vs a mojoaxe replica in my hand, the differences are a bit more noticeable. I thought I'd be able to just throw on the vintage / mojoaxe replica onto the 64 reissue but it's no where near fitting. One thing you can't really tell from the photo's is the actual bracket position is pretty far off as well which further exacerbates the issue. That's at least solvable because you can just mount the little threaded square under the pickguard wherever it's needed if you have a fresh one made but the screw hole is obviously a point that can't be adjusted. If Gibson made a revised more accurate pickguard that still fixed the bridge gap but at least got the neck pickup side correct I'd buy one in a heart beat! Since no other vintage replica's will fit as-is :)

To be honest the pickguard thing isn't that big of a deal imo, that should be pretty easy for Gibson to fix if you wanted to, but the actual body size discrepancy was pretty surprising to me. Certainly not what I was expecting when I checked! Even weirder that my 2012 ES330 59ri is closer to accurate at about 16" exactly.

Anyways, appreciate the transparency and replies here!
 

Ryan Mac

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Dec 23, 2021
Messages
3
I don't know much about the development of the "Super '74s" as we call them but this is what one website has to say: "Both pickups are wound with 42 AWG wire and measure approximately 7.4k to 7.6k ohms, and both are wax potted to prevent microphonic squeal at high volume levels.made with genuine Alnico 3 magnets, just like many Gibson humbuckers of the early to mid '70s." That would be pre-Tarback era. Personally I would have gone with Alnico V, but can't go wrong with III. Thanks for the questions.
Thanks for the reply. Tarback/superhumbuckers were first introduced in 1973. They were used in 73 sg standards and Sg customs and I believe 1973 es 335s but sgs for sure. They came in 2 versions a high output version and a low output version. It was the high output version that came after 1974. The high output version was first used in the L6. The low output versions were the first and introduced in 1973 they were designed by Bill Lawrence in 1972 . If you look at the Gibson catalog for 1973 and you look at the listed specs for Sg standard and custom it says brand new superhumbucking pickups and I have seen many 73 and 74 sg standards and customs for sale with factory tarbacks . The low output veriosn had a short Ceramic magnet and cane as a calibrated set . The neck had an output between 5k and 5 2k and the bridge was between 7.3k and 7.6k. The higher output version that came later were 16k in both positions. The low output veriosm were also used in the the 74 L5s. Interestingly the 1974 les paul custom did not have superhumbuckers it had T tops . So it seems strange that the 74 custom reissues had a pickup called superhumbuckers its also my understanding that the 68 custom humbucker used in the 68 LPC reissues are based on a set of T tops owned by Edwin Wilson. Although the 68 custombuckers have A2 mags and not A5 but many late 60s and very early 70s t tops have been found with A2 Mags and not the standard A5 although most were probably A5. Throbak cloned a set of T tops from 1970 that had A2 Mags so perhaps the set Edwim had were A2 as well . Thanks again and happy new year.
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Hi Matt; I bought a`63 ES-335TDC from Music Zoo and it arrived right after the Custom Shop reopened in May of 2020. I think it had been built before March 2020 and just set aside with the Covid delay. I had one of the 2014 Memphis made `63 ES-335's and sold it pretty soon after receiving the `64. The `64 is just amazing!! I've been around long enough to remember my friends' 335's in the Sixties and a number of them loaned me theirs back then. Anyway, the new ones are damn near perfect and I love it! I did replace the nylon(?) saddles with brass. Not sure where you all got that Nylon, but it's pretty crappy and no way close to the old saddle material. and I replaced the Custombuckers with a set of Gibson Pat.#'s from 1965! I will put this guitar up next to any old one! It's that good it is & I've owned a few 335's over the last 50+ years! I'm so glad you all finally got the colour right! And I put a set of Vintage black reflector knobs on it as the new Reflectors just don't look right. But, all in all the new 335's are a joy to play and to look at! The neck shape is right there!! Thanks Matt!! Regards; Don Butler/Toneman, Inc.
Awesome! Thanks Don!
 
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matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Appreciate the response! In my possession is a memphis reissue from 2016/17. Are you saying the pickguards and/or body size are different on current Nashville reissues?

So far I've only been able to get 2 reissue owners to send me bout sizes, a 2016 63ri, and a 2020 61ri es335 to compare to my 2016 64ri. All measured exactly 15.875". The 1964 in my hands measures 16.25" wide, and the 65 about 1/8th inch less. The reason I even tried measuring is because the reissue looked noticeably smaller to the eye than the 64 and I thought it might be an optical illusion. I'm sure I'll get some more measurements soon to further confirm, but at least with this small sample it seems like they're noticeably smaller. I'm not even sure the vintage 64 would fit in the 64 reissues case! Maybe I'll give it a shot for fun lol.

For the pickguard, my 2016's looks exactly like this brand new one on Wildwood right now. Biggest spot to look is the area after the neck pickup / mounting screw and then after the bridge pickup, the differences should be discernible vs the vintage examples I pulled from es335.org.

New Wildwood reissue:

It's worth noting none are totally identical, but you can still see how they're pretty different. Spitballing here but did Gibson make a conscious effort to reshape / size them so that there wouldn't be any gap by the bridge pickup as that might make uninformed new buyers think there's a defect? That makes sense on a production model one I guess, though with a reissue ehhh. But even if that's the case I would think the gap could be removed and the neck pickup side could be made accurate to get best of both worlds in a future iteration. Actually holding the reissue pickguard vs vintage vs a mojoaxe replica in my hand, the differences are a bit more noticeable. I thought I'd be able to just throw on the vintage / mojoaxe replica onto the 64 reissue but it's no where near fitting. One thing you can't really tell from the photo's is the actual bracket position is pretty far off as well which further exacerbates the issue. That's at least solvable because you can just mount the little threaded square under the pickguard wherever it's needed if you have a fresh one made but the screw hole is obviously a point that can't be adjusted. If Gibson made a revised more accurate pickguard that still fixed the bridge gap but at least got the neck pickup side correct I'd buy one in a heart beat! Since no other vintage replica's will fit as-is :)

To be honest the pickguard thing isn't that big of a deal imo, that should be pretty easy for Gibson to fix if you wanted to, but the actual body size discrepancy was pretty surprising to me. Certainly not what I was expecting when I checked! Even weirder that my 2012 ES330 59ri is closer to accurate at about 16" exactly.

Anyways, appreciate the transparency and replies here!
Yes we did a ground-up overhaul on the Historic ES models when we moved them back to Nashville. The rim shape, top and back profile (original press plates were recut), neck profiles, heel, the headstock crown was corrected, True Historic parts, and yes pickguard shape. The reason you are seeing variation in screw placement on the pickguards and distance to the cutaway is the neck set/angle. Its placement varies on all ES and archtop models. It is possible that the pickguards in '64 were a small fraction wider than what we're using now. And yes we took away that bridge pickup gap because of quality concerns. But I will compare the print to the scans and see if any tweaks are necessary.

Anyway comparing pictures is not the best way to evaluate accuracy...what's the quote? Talking about music is like dancing about architecture? That's kind of how I feel here. As you said...NONE are identical. And what is accurate really? Accurate to one guitar? Or an average of many? Previously we would ask ourselves *which* vintage example we would reference for prints...but I've learned the best way is to reference the average of many examples.

Regarding the body widths, our spec is 16". That is the nearest large fraction of all that we scanned. But none we scanned were anywhere close to 16.25" -- that is extremely wide. 2020-on Historic ES-3X5 models should have a width that is 16" give or take .1" (the variation in rim bending). It could just be that our ways of measuring differ. Regardless, thanks for inspiring me to take a second look and see if there is room for improvement! Appreciate it and thanks for the questions.
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
307
Thanks for the reply. Tarback/superhumbuckers were first introduced in 1973. They were used in 73 sg standards and Sg customs and I believe 1973 es 335s but sgs for sure. They came in 2 versions a high output version and a low output version. It was the high output version that came after 1974. The high output version was first used in the L6. The low output versions were the first and introduced in 1973 they were designed by Bill Lawrence in 1972 . If you look at the Gibson catalog for 1973 and you look at the listed specs for Sg standard and custom it says brand new superhumbucking pickups and I have seen many 73 and 74 sg standards and customs for sale with factory tarbacks . The low output veriosn had a short Ceramic magnet and cane as a calibrated set . The neck had an output between 5k and 5 2k and the bridge was between 7.3k and 7.6k. The higher output version that came later were 16k in both positions. The low output veriosm were also used in the the 74 L5s. Interestingly the 1974 les paul custom did not have superhumbuckers it had T tops . So it seems strange that the 74 custom reissues had a pickup called superhumbuckers its also my understanding that the 68 custom humbucker used in the 68 LPC reissues are based on a set of T tops owned by Edwin Wilson. Although the 68 custombuckers have A2 mags and not A5 but many late 60s and very early 70s t tops have been found with A2 Mags and not the standard A5 although most were probably A5. Throbak cloned a set of T tops from 1970 that had A2 Mags so perhaps the set Edwim had were A2 as well . Thanks again and happy new year.
Ah! I've owned a few "20th Anniversary" 1974 LPCs over the years but I've never seen a tarback in one...only Patent Number decals...that's why I was confused. Thank you for the explanation. It's kind of like the post above -- "which example are you referencing"? So many variations and anomalies that it's dizzying. Next time I see Edwin I'll ask him for the details!
 
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