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  1. #1

    Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    OK, so I put on a YouTube mix of Bill Haley and out of the corner of my eye (and deep inside my ear) I catch Franny Beecher on his 1959 Gibson ES-345 w/stoptail. So at about 45 seconds in there's the guitar solo AND wait a minute, what is that neck pickup? Is it a trick of the light and '50s TV technology or is it something else? What am I seeing?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zju6K...=RDoOP_1aOiZzA

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member mbowen's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    It is one of 2 known 1959-Black Es-345.Gil had one of them.Here are some shots it is in the I Love ES's Thread.Bottom -Trixon Bass Drum Mike B.








  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member mbowen's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    The one Gil had years ago.Mike B.


  4. #4

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by mbowen View Post
    It is one of 2 known 1959-Black Es-345.
    Uh... I think you misunderstood the question.

    If you pause the video at around 57 or 58 seconds elapsed, I think that it looks almost normal (standard neck paf), but I'm not sure. It almost looks wider (neck to bridge direction) than normal...

  5. #5

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by JimR56 View Post
    If you pause the video at around 57 or 58 seconds elapsed, I think that it looks almost normal (standard neck paf), but I'm not sure. It almost looks wider (neck to bridge direction) than normal...
    Yup, that's the idea. It looks like a huge pickup of some kind.

  6. #6
    Banker
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    It does look curious......good spot.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Elliot Easton's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    The band must've owned the guitar. Some of those photos are Fran Beecher, some don't look like him. The second pic down is Fran. Also, when the other guy plays it it seems to have gained a white truss rod cover. Also the jackets and ties look more like they are from the sixties, except for the picture with Fran.
    Last edited by Elliot Easton; 07-15-14 at 04:25 PM. Reason: blow me.
    "A little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing."

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member Guitar Whiskey's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Looks odd to me too at 59 seconds; like an oversized pickup with the pole pieces on center like a P90 would be. Verrrry interesting!

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    This may be the Franny Beecher 345. It was owned since 1972 by a gentleman who bought it from a music store in Philly. Beecher lived very near Philadelphia much of his life and was born near there. Because there are so few of these (5 known now), I think this may be the one. The only distinct features I see are a somewhat light fingerboard and the three way is very close to the guard (this varies). The other thing is that I've owned four of the five known black 59 345s and three are Bigsby's and only two are stops. With so few, the odds are pretty good that this could be the one. The other stop, which I sold around 2 years ago has a lot more space between the three way and the guard. I would compare inlays but I still haven't found a good enough photo to see any clear detail. The other oddity is that the bridge pickup is mounted a few degrees out of square with the neck pickup. Feel free to put on your deerstalker cap and sleuth this one out. There could certainly be another out there.

    One more thing, the discussion of the "unusual" bridge pickup is a pretty simple explanation. I spent 45 years in the TV production business and, in the early days, even the slightest glare would completely freak out the old image orthicon black and white cameras. I worked, in the early 70's in a very small Public TV station that still used these IO cameras in the "B" Studio. So, I'm sure they rehearsed and the neck pickup was glaring all over the place. What you're seeing is the usual solution for glare--gaffers tape.



  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Dang Charlie! You've been pulling in some killer guitars lately
    GuitarMikey

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member GastonG's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Easton View Post
    The band must've owned the guitar. Some of those photos are Fran Beecher, some don't look like him. The second pic down is Fran. Also, when the other guy plays it it seems to have gained a white truss rod cover. Also the jackets and ties look more like they are from the sixties, except for the picture with Fran.
    Elliot,
    I remember that some Gibson players in the 50's (and later on with their 50's Gibson) would just flip the truss rod cover ! (for the look or to "personalize" their guit).
    In fact, it's the same truss rod cover

    Gaston
    Marshall & Les Paul or Bluesbreaker & Beano
    "sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
    tres bien ensemble" (as in "Michelle" by The Beatles)

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    I thought the same thing about the truss rod cover-in fact, when I checked out the guitar prior to purchase, I flipped it over to see if there were any marks from the screws on the white side. There were not...which proves nothing, of course. A better photo with detailed inlays would help to identify it as the Beecher 345. I look at it this way--there are perhaps 5 black long guard 345's. I've had four of them in my possession and this is the most likely candidate based on pickguard position, three way location and geography (found in Pennsylvania-bought in 72 by previous owner in Philly-Beecher lived near there most of his life). I can't prove anything, however. It's all speculation at this point.

  13. #13

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    I was aware that Franny Beecher lived in the Philadelphia/Baltimore area - and that this lovely black '59 345 comes from there is very intriguing and cool.

    Five black '59 345s? Really? Just how many more undiscovered classic-era Gibsons await us in the years to come?

    I love it.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member OKGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    It's interesting that when this thread was started, there were only two known (according to the OP). I found two in 2016 and a third in 2017 and now the fourth this month. The owners of three of the four I bought had owned them for decades. I think we may see more older players deciding to finally cash out of their beloved classics. A player who bought a new 59 at the age of 20 is now pushing 80. I hope I'm still playing at 80 but if I'm not my old blondie 59 345 will hit the market (in 2032-don't hold your breath).

  15. #15

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    This may be the Franny Beecher 345. ... The only distinct features I see are a somewhat light fingerboard and the three way is very close to the guard (this varies). ... The other oddity is that the bridge pickup is mounted a few degrees out of square with the neck pickup. Feel free to put on your deerstalker cap and sleuth this one out.
    After reviewing the video - I just can't tell. There's a nice tight shot of the guitar for the solo and indeed, the three-way looks awfully close to the guard, but I just can't tell. It's also impossible to see the way the bridge pickup is mounted since it is obscured by Franny's right hand and possibly more gaffer tape.


    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    There could certainly be another out there.
    I can only pause and wonder. Joe B's blonde ES1235, Carter's "first 'Burst" (The 'Furst?), two, three, no, wait - five black '59 ES-345s?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    One more thing, the discussion of the "unusual" bridge pickup is a pretty simple explanation. ... What you're seeing is the usual solution for glare--gaffers tape.
    This explanation makes sense. It almost looks like the bridge pickup may have tape on it too, but it's hard to tell. Charlie, are you able to post a photograph of a mock-up of a guitar with some gaffer tape so we can see precisely what you're describing? It would be enlightening.

  16. #16

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    This may be the Franny Beecher 345. ... The only distinct features I see are a somewhat light fingerboard and the three way is very close to the guard (this varies). ...a lot more space between the three way and the guard. ... The other oddity is that the bridge pickup is mounted a few degrees out of square with the neck pickup.
    After reviewing the video, I just can't tell. The three-way looks close, but then, with a long-guard, they all look close.

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Feel free to put on your deerstalker cap and sleuth this one out. There could certainly be another out there.
    The mind boggles at the possibilities. Joe B's blonde ES-1235, Carter's "first 'Burst" (The 'Furst?), two, three, no, wait - five black '59 ES-345s?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    One more thing, the discussion of the "unusual" bridge pickup is a pretty simple explanation. ... What you're seeing is the usual solution for glare--gaffers tape.
    This makes sense. It almost looks like the bridge pickup may have tape on it too.

    Charlie, is there the possibility that you could post a picture of a mock-up of a guitar with the gaffer tape as you see in the video? This might be very enlightening.

  17. #17

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    It's interesting that when this thread was started, there were only two known (according to the OP). I found two in 2016 and a third in 2017 and now the fourth this month. The owners of three of the four I bought had owned them for decades. I think we may see more older players deciding to finally cash out of their beloved classics. A player who bought a new 59 at the age of 20 is now pushing 80. I hope I'm still playing at 80 but if I'm not my old blondie 59 345 will hit the market (in 2032-don't hold your breath).
    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    This may be the Franny Beecher 345. ... The only distinct features I see are a somewhat light fingerboard and the three way is very close to the guard (this varies). ...a lot more space between the three way and the guard. ... The other oddity is that the bridge pickup is mounted a few degrees out of square with the neck pickup.
    After reviewing the video, I just can't tell. The three-way looks close, but then, with a long-guard, they all look close.

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    Feel free to put on your deerstalker cap and sleuth this one out. There could certainly be another out there.
    The mind boggles at the possibilities. Joe B's blonde ES-1235, Carter's "first 'Burst" (The 'Furst?), two, three, no, wait - five black '59 ES-345s?

    Quote Originally Posted by OKGuitar View Post
    One more thing, the discussion of the "unusual" bridge pickup is a pretty simple explanation. ... What you're seeing is the usual solution for glare--gaffers tape.
    This makes sense. It almost looks like the bridge pickup may have tape on it too.

    Charlie, is there the possibility that you could post a picture of a mock-up of a guitar with the gaffer tape as you see in the video? This might be very enlightening.

  18. #18

    Re: Black 1959 345 Franny Beecher with the Comets

    ...whoops...
    ...the reposts were due to um...I dunno...something happened and the internet didn't immediately post my posts so I re-wrote them...and now they've been posted...several days later...
    ...whoops...

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