NOS ES345 64ri - Is this normal?

Discussion in 'Other Gibsons' started by yeatzee, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Hey guys I picked up a NOS 2016 frost blue 345 that showed up today and I've got some concerns about it. First it is a beautiful guitar, I'll take some pictures tomorrow to post but I plugged it in and a couple things jumped out to me that I thought I needed to double check with you guys on.

    First, before I get to the sound the case it came in has zero Gibson branding on it. This is the 5th Gibson I've owned and everyone one has had a case that says Gibson on the outside except this one. It is completely blank. The interior is bright yellow, and the compartment isn't big enough to fit the COA properly.

    [​IMG]

    Now for the sound...

    First and foremost, the guitar is super low output but VERY dark and muffled sounding. It sounds like the tone is on 7 for all 3 positions when it is on 10. Even my darkest guitar, a guitar with 490r and 498t pickups is brighter. The pickup heights and pole piece heights all look normal to me. My es330 also has a nylon saddled bridge and to get it to be as dark as this guitar I've got to drop the tone to around 6, that's how dark this guitar is. Is this normal for MHS pickups?

    Second, the middle position does NOT behave like any other Gibson I've ever owned or played. If I turn the volume off on one pickup the middle position still makes noise. For example if I turn the neck pickup volume to 0 and go to the middle position it sounds like the bridge pickup only. If I switch between bridge and middle positions the sound is identical. Every Gibson I've ever played or owned had no sound in the middle position with one pickup volume turned off.

    I'm wondering if the guitar has a varitone/wiring issue going on, but I need other varitone users to chime in if their's does the same.

    Any help/insight appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    The MHS pups in my 63 RI 335 are pretty bright and chimey and my case looks a lot like yours; bright yellow, no Gibson brand anywhere and the COA doesn't fit either. They must be early 60's replicas or something. As to your dark tone, maybe the varitone is messed up.
     
  3. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Yeah mine are nowhere near chimey or bright. I'll have to play it through my Helix tomorrow to confirm what I'm hearing, but I played it loud through my AC10 side by side with my ES137 with 490r / 498t pickups which are quite dark and my ES330 and both the other guitars were brighter, with the ES330 being significantly so. I'm thinking the varitone might be messed up as well. Can you confirm in the middle position with one volume knob at 0 the guitar makes no sound?
     
  4. SingeMonkey

    SingeMonkey Senior Member

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    It sounds like it has vintage wiring with the sound not dying all the way. But it definitely should not sound that dark. I think you need to get the wiring sorted. Vintage wiring is great, but you need the right pots and capacitors to get the big advantages (staying *bright* when you roll off the volumes).

    If it's a '60s reissue case (which it *sorta* looks like) then it shouldn't have branding.
     
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  5. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    I run my semis in the Helix on Pull Me Clean preset w/ Jazz Rivet 120. Bass on 3, mids on 5, treble on 6. Guitar tone between 7-9. I run my pups a little low. All four of my semis sound really nice to me there. I'd be interested in hearing what kind of tone you get trying that.

    .....I don't know how it sounds, but it sure is purdy!!!!
     
  6. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    The thing is that it doesn't die or lose volume at all, middle position neck pickup volume on zero the guitar is the exact same volume and tone as the bridge pickup position. Could very well be normal but I need someone with a varitone guitar to chime in and confirm it for me. The guitar is brand new, just a NOS from CME.

    I can certainly do that and record something. Like I said I need to play it through some of my go to patches to see really where it stands tonally but my initial impressions are not what I was expecting.
     
  7. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    Just thought it might be a nice test for you to compare to.
     
  8. bwillard

    bwillard Senior Member

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    My first thought is that if it was NOS they may have switched the case at some point. After further review you have the original case. I've never seen Gibson do that before. Here is a picture of the case from Gibson's website:

    [​IMG]

    They are calling it a "period correct" case. I wonder who makes this one? It has different latches and appointments than the ones make by TKL.

    p.s. BEAUTIFUL guitar!
     
  9. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    So I called CME and according to Joel these are wired in stereo. I've searched and I cant find any product info that can confirm this. I called Wildwood and they think those are all mono. Called Gibson and they say it should be mono as well. I asked him about the weird behavior in the middle position and he's confused as well so I'm on hold while he looks into it.

    Anyone with a es-345 reissue can you please confirm in the middle position whether turning off one pickup still lets 100% of the other pickup come through.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  10. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Yep thats the one, good to know thanks! Thanks it is stunning, but just not sounding right. I'm fairly convinced its got something wrong with the pickups or wiring.
     
  11. afjungemann

    afjungemann Senior Member

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    I can't say much about the tone but the vintage wiring sounds correct. It should behave like you are describing it where the neck volume all the way down doesn't kill the sound when in the middle position. This way you can infinitely blend your pickups, I have been tempted to go this route but haven't committed.

    The muddy tone is odd... I have done pickup swaps on semi hollows and it is a tough process, I wonder if maybe something could have gotten bumped or messed up when trying to wiggle the pots back into the F hole.
     
  12. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    Hi!
    Firstly - what a great looking guitar!
    I had something similar going on with my Explorer, and it turned out the switch wasn't opening properly! Bending the "blades" ever so slightly solved the issue. Does the middle position sound different to neck and bridge? Try gently tapping the polepieces with a screwdriver in all positions to find out what's going on!
     
  13. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    With all my regular Gibsons turning one volume to zero in middle position kills all sound. Not sure about your 345 though.
     
  14. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Yeah CME ended up changing their mind, this guitar is mono and the wiring behavior is correct EXCEPT I can't blend the pickups properly. If I turn the neck pickup to 8 in the middle position and switch between the bridge and middle position the sound is identical. Its not blending the neck pickup in correctly (i believe), so I'm sending samples for them to listen to and judge what to do with the guitar. I'm also sending sound samples back and forth with my 330 which on 6 is about the same level of tone between the two (i.e. very dark).

    I tried that just now, all pickups are live but if I turn the volume of one pickup down in the middle position to about 8 its only makes the absolute faintest noise which tells me its basically off at 8 which shouldn't be right.
     
  15. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Need some input. Sent this clip to CME of a comparison between my 330 and the 345. I used the Helix, regular clean tone with the fender deluxe model and the amp is set quite bright to illustrate how dark this guitar is. My 330 is not a bright guitar at all, it is probably one of my darkest but it sounds bright in the clip because the amp is set very bright. Any other guitar would be way beyond piercing bright with these settings so keep that in mind its comparing a relatively dark guitar with bright amp settings to the 345.


    https://soundcloud.com/user-501816189/345-sound-test-1

    It goes:
    neck - 330, 345
    Middle - 330, 345
    Bridge - (picking as hard as I ever would) 330, 345, 330 WITH tone rolled back to 6.5 (still brighter).

    Does the 345 not sound like its muffled, like the tone is rolled back a bit even though its on 10? Again the tone in a vacuum may be "ok", but thats because the amp is set pretty extreme if either guitars were plugged into an amp on traditional settings they'd be dark, with the 345 being basically all low end. Are the MHS humbuckers really this dark/whooly?
     
  16. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    Send it back, it doesn't sound right to you. It sounds to me like it's defective
     
  17. afjungemann

    afjungemann Senior Member

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    Wild, I just listened to it and yeah I hear what you are saying. Does your 330 have p90's?
     
  18. afjungemann

    afjungemann Senior Member

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    I would do that or I would talk to them about getting money back and then taking it somewhere to get the wiring replaced. Unless you could get a replacement guitar from CME.
     
  19. yeatzee

    yeatzee Senior Member

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    Just sounds muffled. I'm wondering if its just the nylon saddles on this particular one or if its more..

    Yep

    I've been in talks with them, there's no way I'd get money back on it and they don't think it sounds wrong. I sent them another clip comparing every guitar in my house right now to show how dark and muffled they are in comparison to everything else we'll see what they say. In the meantime I really don't want to give up the guitar unless I can get another frost blue replacement so I'm wondering do brass saddles really make a big difference?
     
  20. The_Nuge

    The_Nuge Senior Member

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    That really sucks...
    Have you got another guitar with a metal-saddle ABR-1? I'd swap them just to eliminate the saddles being an issue!
    As for the wiring, there must be something wrong there. Try using a dentists' mirror (or endoscope if you can borrow one) to see what the wiring looks like and draw a diagram of what goes where - in detail.
    I wouldn't give up on the guitar just because of a wiring issue, even if these guitars are a major hassle to work on!
     
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