Improving a 2018 Gibson ES 335 Traditional

Netwarrior

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There are several methods to age hardware. It all gets down to the amount of aging you want to achieve. I also suggest to try on scrap parts before, because it takes some trial and error before you get it right.

First of all you must start with Nickel parts. Chrome parts are really difficult to age correctly. My preferred method is using ferric chloride diluted in water (really diluted). I then quickly dip the part in, and immediately rinse it with ton of water afterwards. It's better to do really quick dips (literally few seconds), and then repeat in case you want to achieve more oxidation. Then I remove the excess patina by polishing the part with a really fine scotchbrite pad.
Lately I've also been trying micromesh + polishing compound instead of the scotchbrite pad and I've to admit it gives better results.

This is a close up shot of the covers I aged with my method. I recently compared them with a set of cover preaged by Throbak, and I was pleased to observe that mine look extremely close.

 
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yeatzee

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This thread is awesome! Such a great looking guitar, really tasteful mods! Was the reason that a black historic isn't common why you started with a trad?


Did the 2018's have the custom buckers like the 2019's? What was the improvement from the new harness / pickups?
 

Netwarrior

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This thread is awesome! Such a great looking guitar, really tasteful mods! Was the reason that a black historic isn't common why you started with a trad?
Did the 2018's have the custom buckers like the 2019's? What was the improvement from the new harness / pickups?
Thanks for the comment and the appreciation! I started from a traditional because I was able to score it at a really good price, and any other historic es 335 here in Europe was going for outrageous prices. Moreover in terms of construction the traditional is any piece as good as an historic (quarter sawn neck, rolled binding, long tenon, thermally threated center block, thermally threated quarter sawn Adirondack spruce bracing).

Finally, the biggest cost in the upgrade has been electronics, and that is something I would have upgraded anyway even on a historic.

The guitar came stock with Gibson MHS I (unpotted) humbuckers. 2019 guitars as far as I know come with MHS II pickups, not custombuckers. To me the guitar sounded really good when stock, but still with the new wiring and the throbak pickups the improvement has been unbelievable (really). In fact I'm In the process of doing a similar electronic swap on the R8 I've purchased last month.
 
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MSN001

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Excellent post Netwarrior, I’ve enjoyed following your updates.

I have a 2016 ES-335 in Satin Faded Cherry Red which I have been upgrading and was wondering if you could tell me more about your experience wet sanding the headstock and what I should use exactly and the method. I’d really like to learn more about this process. I swapped out my grovers and like yourself found some impressions that I’d like to try to remove. I put some single line double ring Klusons in and had real trouble finding conversion bushings that were big enough, they really bored out those 10mm when they fit the grovers in Memphis.

My second mod was swapping in a light weight aluminium tail piece that I purchased from Kluson and it has made a great impact on the tone, very pleased with the results. I am set on a B6 with towner bar in future though. I’ve recently changed over to flatwounds and nylon saddles as an experiment and found the 1st and2nd have mellowed nicely, they were a bit shrill with the titanium saddles on my ABR. I have decided to change the 3rd 4th 5th and 6th back to titanium as I found them just a bit too flat sounding on nylon, maybe I will swap the 3rd out for an unwound.

My 3rd mod recently was a swap out of the electronics, I purchased a complete harness like yourself and decided to try Jupiter caps and the tonal difference with new RS superpots is immense. I’m really pleased it was definitely worth the many hours fiddling through that bridge route!

My latest mod was Virtuoso polish. This has made the biggest difference visually, taking my satin finish to a mid sheen finish now that looks vintage.
I just changed out the knobs for amber, find I swap them out for different ones every few months I more or less have all the complete sets available in my box of mods now.

Next on the cards is the pickups, I’ve decidedI’m going to swap out the burstbuckers, I’m tempted to go for underwound PAFs, currently looking at Sunbear 57 PAFs.
 

integra evan

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@Netwarrior that guitar looks great. I plan on upgrading the electronics and installing a Bigsby on my 335, so this was neat to read through.
 


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