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Neither new nor old ES-345

Varitone

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Sep 16, 2022
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17
Hey folks... This 2011 Memphis ES-345 is my favorite of the 15-20 electric guitars that I have owned. I saw it advertised on Sweetwater as a "demo" model, IIRC. It wasn't exactly new, but it was basically unplayed and was about a thousand bucks off the going rate for new ES-345s at the time. I pulled the trigger, with the 30-day return option, and I have never looked back. This one has always felt like it was made for me.

My thoughts on it are that it demonstrates to me that Gibson makes really fine guitars in recent years - I mean, they are at least on some kind of par with the old ones. This particular variation of the ES-345 I like because of the dual output jacks, the Varitone, which functions (including bypass) exactly as desired, and the pickups, which I really enjoy (I know there are always mixed opinions on modern pickups). I also really like the neck, which is on the slim side, but not a stick of gum slim, with nice comfy rounding.,

The rosewood fingerboard on my guitar is not dark, and I wonder if the factory raid a couple months prior was a factor. Also, I've noticed that Gibson split-parallelogram inlays are different on newer guitars; they are wider, with less wood space between them, and they have sharper corners, and maybe a bit whiter than the old ones..(?)

I believe the weight is between 8 1/2 and 9 pounds.

Original ad photos (plug in one mono chord for mono, or two mono chords for stereo):
es345_ad1.jpg es345_ad3.jpg

New baby comes home in early 2013:
es345_chair.jpg es345_sofa.JPG es345_sunroom.PNG

Pickups dated 2011 and neck route/tenon:
es345_pickup1.jpg es345_pickup2.jpg es345_tenon.jpg

At home recently...could use a cleaning/polishing...
es345_case1.jpg
 
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jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
Messages
3,746
Awesome, and the gold gives it a nice vibe!

I've seen other 'light cocoa' boards from that 2011 era, not sure if the raid is causal, perhaps yes. Interesting observation on the inlays. Perhaps you can track down Mike Voltz the Memphis Poobah who has since retired; he'd have recollection on the specs.

BTW nice settings for posing that 345 too!
 

Varitone

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Sep 16, 2022
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Thank you both for your replies. JB, I'm not sure what I would ask about the inlays. It's obvious they are a little different, but I wouldn't really want to focus on what might be perceived as an inaccuracy or defect in a guitar I'm so pleased with. They're different, so be it. If it was billed as a specific year (59, 64, etc) reissue, then it might bug me a bit more, but even then, not enough to prevent my buying it.
 

wmachine

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Mar 17, 2016
Messages
270
Thank you both for your replies. JB, I'm not sure what I would ask about the inlays. It's obvious they are a little different, but I wouldn't really want to focus on what might be perceived as an inaccuracy or defect in a guitar I'm so pleased with. They're different, so be it. If it was billed as a specific year (59, 64, etc) reissue, then it might bug me a bit more, but even then, not enough to prevent my buying it.
Totally agree. I have a 2015 '64 ES-345 Reissue. To me, it is all about being as good (or better) than an original. And from all I can determine, it certainly is. Yes it should "look like" an original, but but all the visual details being dead on is of no importance to me. When a musician picked up a new one back in the '60s, he didn't say "Yeah, but how does it look? Are the horns the right shape?" And he certainly didn't say "Let's see, doe it look worn out and used?"
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
Messages
396
I love the ES-345 and 355 models. Your photos look really beautiful. I don't like the white pickguard in the SW photos but I'm thinking that was just some protective coating.
Does this one work as mono in the middle or is it out of phase?
 

Varitone

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Sep 16, 2022
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17
I love the ES-345 and 355 models. Your photos look really beautiful. I don't like the white pickguard in the SW photos but I'm thinking that was just some protective coating.
Does this one work as mono in the middle or is it out of phase?
Yes, that was the protective covering on the pickguard...

The guitar is not wired out of phase*...you get the normal mix of both pickups in the middle position. If you plug a mono cable into the jack closer to the pin, then you get full mono output. For stereo, just plug in two mono cables.

* EDIT - See the first comment by Wally below, and my response to that. Maybe the pickups are out of phase; I'm not sure.
 
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latestarter

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Nov 9, 2009
Messages
4,088
My original 1956 LP Special had a cocoa coloured board. Not all Rosewood is dark.

Lovely guitar btw. Stop tail ftw.
 

Wally

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Feb 27, 2003
Messages
3,483
Yes, that was the protective covering on the pickguard...

The guitar is not wired out of phase...you get the normal mix of both pickups in the middle position. If you plug a mono cable into the jack closer to the pin, then you get full mono output. For stereo, just plug in two mono cables.

Have you measured the resistance of the three toggle switch positions? My ‘66 has OOP pickups whether I use a mono cord or a stereo cable. The other 345’s and 355 types I checked out during set-ups were also OOP in the middle position. In fact, the majority of later regular production L.P.s and ES-335s run OOP pickups.
 

Varitone

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Sep 16, 2022
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Have you measured the resistance of the three toggle switch positions? My ‘66 has OOP pickups whether I use a mono cord or a stereo cable. The other 345’s and 355 types I checked out during set-ups were also OOP in the middle position. In fact, the majority of later regular production L.P.s and ES-335s run OOP pickups.
No, I haven't measured resistance. Perhaps they are out of phase then... I assumed "out of phase" would have a thinner sound, something like (if not as iconic as) the Peter Green burst's tone in the middle position. I could be completely wrong. I'm going to update what I said...thanks.
 

Wally

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Feb 27, 2003
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The output of the middle position is weaker than either pickup alone when pickups are OOP.
 

Midnight Blues

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Feb 20, 2011
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Love it! The black PG makes all the difference. Congrats, HNGD
jam.gif
and play her in good health!
 
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