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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

deytookerjaabs

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Hey Matt,

Do you know if records exist for repairs done by Gibson? I am the third owner of a 1960 Black Beauty that was renecked by Gibson in 1972. The replacement neck has a long tenon, so it was custom-made for the guitar,not pulled off of the production line, however it is stamped with 1972 serial number so I assume that the original serial number was lost. The person who I bought the guitar from was a friend of the original owner, who he said was a friend of Les Paul himself. He said that Les put him in contact with Gibson to arrange for the repair. I’m just curious if any record or documentation might exist regarding the work.

Thanks,

Dan


On a side note:

I had a '62 ES-355 that re-necked around 1980. The neck itself had all the features of a 1980 ES-355 only it was 1 piece and long tenon w/no volute while the head veneer was identical to '80. I'm not sure if it was a warranty repair but it was a Gibson neck no doubt. However, inside the guitar was a label from the luthier who did the work (Kovach?) and he was based out of Hermitage (right outside Nashville) Tennessee. IIRC he signed for the neck replacement and refinish, the finish was also identical to factory wine red you'd expect from Gibson in 1980.

So, I'm not sure if they farmed some of the work out or the guy just had access to Gibson stuff or what, head scratcher.


edit: also curious about the bronze/goldtop finish thing.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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160
Hi Mat, I ordered an Olive drab LP Special from the USA Exclusives line over the weekend (beyond excited to get it!). Any idea how many they produce and how long production runs for on the exclusive models?
View attachment 15392
Nice choice! Love the look of Olive Drab on this model. Consider the Gibson exclusives normal long life-cycle instruments, but these are categorized as "flex" builds so they are limited to production only when there is available capacity. The present order book means there is not a lot of capacity in general to take from...but they get scheduled as soon as there is an opportunity. Thanks for the message!
 
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Awall

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edited

Nice choice! Love the look of Olive Drab on this model. Consider the Gibson exclusives normal long life-cycle instruments, but these are categorized as "flex" builds so they are limited to production only when there is available capacity. The present order book means there is not a lot of capacity in general to take from...but they get scheduled as soon as there is an opportunity. Thanks for the message!
makes sense, every time I've gone to order it has been out of stock. I was surprised Saturday when I saw them available so I plugged in my CC number as fast as I could type! Checked back 5 minutes later and was out of stock again. I got lucky and got my shipping confirmation today. Can't wait to see it!
 

stumphead

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Mat -

You had indicated the challenges Gibson faces sourcing old growth lumber for a company as large as they are . I was wondering if I sourced a small quality of it myself in the proper sizes and with proper documentation , would Gibson be open to producing a R8 for me with my supplied wood ?

( I understand that I would still need to pay full price for the guitar . )
 

matkoehler

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If you haven't done so already, I'd like to see Gibson Custom return to finishing the Historic Les Paul Goldtop models with the "historically correct" lacquer formulation.... which utilized BRONZE powder. Thanks.
We've used bronze powder at Gibson Custom Shop for decades. We did tweak the gold formula starting with the run of 60th Anniversary Brazilian Rosewood Goldtops we did in 2017, based on the exact original formula, and the name I chose was "Double Gold" as a testament to the richness of the finish. The reason for the small variation in gold hues, then and now, is because the bronze powder is prone to oxidizing and it's exposed to air every time it's used. Thanks for the question!
 

matkoehler

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Is this basically the same as the Wildwood spec under wound Custombucker?

Are the ohm readings in the mid 7’s with these underwound custombuckers ?

And these were wax potted correct? Did they have a light wax potting or a more extensive waxing?

I have a 2014 Wildwood featherweight spec LP and I’ve always wondered what the spec’s of the pickups are. The guitar sounds fantastic.

Thank you!
Yes essentially the same idea but separate part numbers. Your 2014 would have been wax potted, correct! Thanks for the message.
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
160
Hey Matt,

Do you know if records exist for repairs done by Gibson? I am the third owner of a 1960 Black Beauty that was renecked by Gibson in 1972. The replacement neck has a long tenon, so it was custom-made for the guitar,not pulled off of the production line, however it is stamped with 1972 serial number so I assume that the original serial number was lost. The person who I bought the guitar from was a friend of the original owner, who he said was a friend of Les Paul himself. He said that Les put him in contact with Gibson to arrange for the repair. I’m just curious if any record or documentation might exist regarding the work.

Thanks,

Dan
Hey Dan! It would be normal, even today, for Gibson to replace a neck using the same geometry of how it started. It's really just a matter of shaping the end to fit. However what's unusual is the use of a 1972 serial number instead of the original, which Gibson typically used (pressed-in with a different font) even if it was replaced with a later neck. Heck, sometimes an entire guitar was replaced with a new husk, preserving as many of the original parts as possible...but it would get the original serial number.

Unfortunately I have not recovered any historic repair records in the archives other than a few filed in the wrong place. I wish we did have them but it does not look like they made it from Kalamazoo. I can tell you that a detailed repair work ticket was *always* supplied from Gibson with the returned guitar, so you may check with the original owner to see if something is filed. Thanks for the message!
 

matkoehler

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Hi matt, I have a small collection of 50’s gibson amps. There was a story going around regarding the redwood that was used in early Gibson amps. It was said Gibson may have bought a redwood bridge which had collapsed during a storm…. is the story true? Plus when did they start using it? Thanks!
Very cool! You have many of my favorites...but you need a tweed Falcon too! Circa 61. Those are my all-time favorite.

I would love to know where this redwood story originated...could be true but I had not heard of it. I would imagine pine, which was widely used, might look quite similar to redwood with age. But I can't imagine Rollo Werner, Gibson's wood purchasing agent, intentionally sourcing redwood for the amps because of tone reasons...it would have been a supply and cost-related decision.

Made me think of an interesting bit of trivia. Wanna know why they had tree bark on the covers of Gibson's 1930s catalogs? It's because they looked for a specific pattern in the tree bark to find the curliest maple. Ted McCarty repeated this in an interview late in his life.
 

matkoehler

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Messages
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On a side note:

I had a '62 ES-355 that re-necked around 1980. The neck itself had all the features of a 1980 ES-355 only it was 1 piece and long tenon w/no volute while the head veneer was identical to '80. I'm not sure if it was a warranty repair but it was a Gibson neck no doubt. However, inside the guitar was a label from the luthier who did the work (Kovach?) and he was based out of Hermitage (right outside Nashville) Tennessee. IIRC he signed for the neck replacement and refinish, the finish was also identical to factory wine red you'd expect from Gibson in 1980.

So, I'm not sure if they farmed some of the work out or the guy just had access to Gibson stuff or what, head scratcher.
Gibson had authorized repair shops all around the globe so not all warranty repair was conducted *at* Gibson as you alluded. But most needed parts for repair could be ordered from the factories (like head veneers). I have no idea if Kovach was an authorized repair center but he probably had convenient access to Gibson either way. Thanks for the question!
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
160
Mat -

You had indicated the challenges Gibson faces sourcing old growth lumber for a company as large as they are . I was wondering if I sourced a small quality of it myself in the proper sizes and with proper documentation , would Gibson be open to producing a R8 for me with my supplied wood ?

( I understand that I would still need to pay full price for the guitar . )
I do not blame you at all for asking, but no, we are not able to accommodate such a request, nor have we ever done something like this to the best of my knowledge. The amount of paperwork, special planning and handling by the procurement and factory teams would have them calling for my head anyway...
 

stumphead

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Mat -

oh well ... I understand
( I had hoped to own the only certified old growth new historic in the world ... would have made a nice keepsake )
 

marshall1987

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We've used bronze powder at Gibson Custom Shop for decades. We did tweak the gold formula starting with the run of 60th Anniversary Brazilian Rosewood Goldtops we did in 2017, based on the exact original formula, and the name I chose was "Double Gold" as a testament to the richness of the finish. The reason for the small variation in gold hues, then and now, is because the bronze powder is prone to oxidizing and it's exposed to air every time it's used. Thanks for the question!
Well now I'm a little puzzled, because I had heard that during the previous decade (around 2014) Gibson Custom switched from using bronze powder in the lacquer to gold Mica powder....which isn't at all like the bronze powder, as there is no copper in the Mica ( a mineral) which may oxidize and turn green. Thanks.
 

matkoehler

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Well now I'm a little puzzled, because I had heard that during the previous decade (around 2014) Gibson Custom switched from using bronze powder in the lacquer to gold Mica powder....which isn't at all like the bronze powder, as there is no copper in the Mica ( a mineral) which may oxidize and turn green. Thanks.
Don't believe everything you hear! :) I can confirm...pulling our recipe straight from the process sheets. Thanks for the message.
 

RocknRollShakeUp

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Yes essentially the same idea but separate part numbers. Your 2014 would have been wax potted, correct! Thanks for the message.
Thank you for the response.

Since I like my 2014 Wildwood CustomBuckers so much, and they are potted, I want to know if I'm hearing a light or heavy, or I suppose moderate, potting. Can you shed any light on this per chance?

Also do you have any knowledge regarding the resistance of the Wildwood Underwound Custombuckers? I take it they are in the 7 ohm range?

Thanks!
 

Olivil

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Sep 22, 2021
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Hello Mat! I have in my possession an early 2020 59 ES-335 made in Nashville following the demise of Gibson Memphis. This guitar is, from what I can tell, completely made to Memphis specification and predates the refresh of the ES-335 reissues in 2020. Even has the MHS pickups, but with a Nashville Custom Shop COA and sticker. It seems to me like those guitars were made from Memphis leftovers. Do you have more details concerning that transition period? E.g. was it simply the hardware and electronics that were transfered over, or did they move complete guitars to Nashville? Were those guitars used as tests to train the Nashville CS on the ES-335? It is a wonderful guitar.

Another quick one: Do you, by chance, know how limited the Sixties Cherry 2015 ES-295 run was? Long & McQuade in Canada stated a limited run of 50 (Still online) but I've never been able to confirm that anywhere else. Customer support doesn't seem to know either.
 
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matkoehler

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Thank you for the response.

Since I like my 2014 Wildwood CustomBuckers so much, and they are potted, I want to know if I'm hearing a light or heavy, or I suppose moderate, potting. Can you shed any light on this per chance?

Also do you have any knowledge regarding the resistance of the Wildwood Underwound Custombuckers? I take it they are in the 7 ohm range?

Thanks!
I would doubt that you are "hearing" the wax at all, but that's just my opinion. Where it really becomes noticeable is in the propensity to feedback with gain. Also: I've become skeptical recently about the idea of "light" potting in general...potting is potting, no?

The WW Custombuckers are around 7.5K! Thanks for the questions.
 

matkoehler

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Hello Mat! I have in my possession an early 2020 59 ES-335 made in Nashville following the demise of Gibson Memphis. This guitar is, from what I can tell, completely made to Memphis specification and predates the refresh of the ES-335 reissues in 2020. Even has the MHS pickups, but with a Nashville Custom Shop COA and sticker. It seems to me like those guitars were made from Memphis leftovers. Do you have more details concerning that transition period? E.g. was it simply the hardware and electronics that were transfered over, or did they move complete guitars to Nashville? Were those guitars used as tests to train the Nashville CS on the ES-335? It is a wonderful guitar.

Another quick one: Do you, by chance, know how limited the Sixties Cherry 2015 ES-295 run was? Long & McQuade in Canada stated a limited run of 50 (Still online) but I've never been able to confirm that anywhere else. Customer support doesn't seem to know either.
Two tough questions! You are correct that your ES-335 was made at Custom Shop in Nashville, but the specs are more of a blend of Memphis and Custom Shop parts. As true to the Memphis specs (including the pickups) as we could. The body construction and contours are Nashville Custom Shop, but that would be very difficult to pick out anyway. Custom Shop was making ES-335 guitars all the while Memphis was active, albeit in much smaller numbers, so these were not training units so much as they were fulfilling backorders after the move from Memphis. Basically a run-out of the Memphis parts leading up to the relaunched Historic Reissue ES-335s at Custom Shop.

I loved that Sixties Cherry ES-295 run in 2015! One of my faves. Shooting from the hip, I'd put the number at 300 units total. That was about the average run size for limited colorways like that at Memphis. Thanks for the q's!
 

Olivil

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Thank you Mat! A last one: is it true that the same P-90 is used on all Gibson USA and Custom Shop guitars? This seems to be something taken for granted from anecdotal reports of people being told so by customer support. What about the MHS P-90s? I find it surprising that Memphis would spin their own historic P-90 while the CS would use the "generic" P-90 you'd find on the normal USA model.
 

wmachine

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.....................Another quick one: Do you, by chance, know how limited the Sixties Cherry 2015 ES-295 run was? Long & McQuade in Canada stated a limited run of 50 (Still online) but I've never been able to confirm that anywhere else. Customer support doesn't seem to know either.
......................................I loved that Sixties Cherry ES-295 run in 2015! One of my faves. Shooting from the hip, I'd put the number at 300 units total. That was about the average run size for limited colorways like that at Memphis.
This is not an unusual situation. Dealers have claimed production numbers on numerous occasions. They say the numbers come right from Gibson (as does all of their descriptions and specs). I believe the dealers because on many occasions I see the same number for the same model from different dealers. And even the same phrase "for world wide distribution". I have 2 such examples myself, both Memphis reissues: a 2015 '54 ES-175D VOS (1 of 50?) and a 2016 '64 ES-345 Maestro VOS (1 of 60?). Yet when contacting Gibson about them, they won't confirm the numbers, more or less claiming they don't know. I know Gibson is tight lipped about production numbers, but why would they promote them new with production numbers, then go silent about them? Makes the dealers look bad when you can't verify what they are telling you. (FWIW, those are absolutely fabulous guitars)
 
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