- Dec 3, 2006
Alas.Magnet was flipped during conversion
Regardless, your ES345 is certain to be a stellar instrument. I discussed these early ES345s with Michael Minnis once in Austin. They are very special guitars. I look forward to your review of the instrument after you've spent some time with it!
Allow me to pontificate upon the virtues of the unmodified ES345 which include the following features: Stereo, Out Of Phase, and Varitone notch filter. (Please forgive me in advance, I know I've done this before! I am a super fan of the early ES345s and ES355s! ) Perhaps I can persuade you to consider flipping the magnet back for the OOP sound!
The OOP feature is one part of what makes the ES345/355 stand apart from other Gibsons. Embrace the funkiness of the OOP sound! A small twist of a volume knob (either knob) dials in your desired level of OOP. With the neck volume at 10 and the bridge volume at 5, the OOP sound is basically gone.
I'm also a fan of the stereo feature. I can run two wah pedals, one for each pickup. A deeply interesting and useful 'exaggerated woman tone' is possible by rolling the tone knob to zero on the neck, cocking the neck pickup wah all the way back, and rolling the neck pickup volume to ~7 or 8, while leaving the bridge controls wide open. The tonal possibilities are innumerable. A stereo/mono buffer stomp box is available, but a stereo-to-two-monos Y cable does the trick. Without the stero/mono box, I simply plug into both inputs of the reverb channel on my old Super Reverb to retain the OOP sound. Plugging one lead into one channel and the second lead into the other channel reverses the OOP sound.
I also find the Varitone useful, especially position #3, but this is a matter of opinion. I find no signal loss whatsoever with my intact Varitone. The early Varitone circuit was made differently than those that began to appear by +/-1961 and these later versions *might* have an influence on the tone when in position #1-bypass. (I invite Charlie Gelber to correct me if this (or any of my ES345) information isn't accurate.)
Just for fun, here's a bad cell-phone picture of my '59. The cell phone doesn't capture the full range of subtle colors and ombré from the glowing amber at the center through orange, purple, brown, and near black at the outside edge of the face of the guitar. It has minimal (basically zero) checking though it has faded slightly; the finish under the pick guard is slightly darker. It's all original save for Schallers from the '70s. While not a first-rack, it is an extraordinary guitar! The neck is full but fast. It has two long magnet double black PAFs, I do no know their resistance readings. Best guess: high 7s, maybe 8 tops.