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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

mattlaurence

New member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
2
@matkoehler
Hey Mat! I have a 1970-1971 LP Deluxe Goldtop with the mini-humbuckers. It sat for a long time, but it's all original (except for the tuneomatic and the frets/nut). I'm a Nashville guy, been playing it religiously for a past few years - no issues at all. Lately, the bridge pickup seems to be losing volume and I have to bring the volume of the neck pickup down to match it otherwise the neck pickup will blow you away at with both of the volumes at 10. I have to set the neck at 9 and the bridge at 10 for it to be in the same ball park. In the past, I always had the pickup height to be balanced. No new changes on my amp or on my pedalboard either.


I've never had this issue before, tried messing with the pickup heights - the neck pup is as low as it will go and bridge is pretty much as high as it wants to go. Either way, I'm sure I would've noticed if something was wrong. In a band setting, when i go for a solo and switch to the bridge pickup, it feels like my sound just disappears. Again, never had this issue before...usually switching to the bridge for a solo makes me cut through everybody.

It's been mentioned to me that over time, old pickups will eventually lose their magnetism/strength - should i look at maybe getting someone to remagnetize them? At this point, they're over 50 years old (probably older since the wiring harness says '68). I measured the resistance (by using an instrument cable, which i know isn't 100% accurate) and the neck was 6.9k and the bridge was 6.85k, which would seems pretty close to me. I play this thing at least about 12-16 hours a week with lots of volume and lots of solos, so if this was something was off - I would think that I would have noticed by now 😅 So hopefully this is something that's fixable!
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,575
Hi Mat, I don't want to keep banging on about this but I'd like to see a return of the ES 330..........we need that hollowbody P90 goodness. Just do two, a dot neck and a block neck in tobacco sunburst and cherry.
Anyway, I'm hunting around for one with a big fat neck which is nonexistant as I've found, however I've come across a plethora of the Memphis reissues with bigsbys, and to me it's like someone at the old Memphis facility said 'hey we've got a load of bigsbys about the place, I know, we'll stick 'em on these 330s we're doing to use 'em up'.
I've never seen so many bigsbys on any one line of Gibson guitars :LOL:
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,027
I've come across a plethora of the Memphis reissues with bigsbys, and to me it's like someone at the old Memphis facility said 'hey we've got a load of bigsbys about the place, I know, we'll stick 'em on these 330s we're doing to use 'em up'.
I've never seen so many bigsbys on any one line of Gibson guitars :LOL:

Ye gods!

Those must be righty ones they needed to push during the frenetic end of the HJ-era, trying to avoid bankruptcy; or new ownership's bid to reduce shipping costs from Memphis to Nashville. Maybe with supply chain in hindsight, it was better to keep a cache of Bigsbys...?

Fully agree, my best hopes to all in Nashville resurrecting the full ES product lines, as well as deeper Archtops. I think Mat mentioned 'all in due time' they've just got too much backlog in the other product areas.

Nothing wrong with a trapeze... this is one of the BEST guitars I've had the fortune to buy new.
God bless Mike Voltz and the folks at Memphis!


1664659699273.png
🍑
 

mdubya

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
920
Hi Mat.

Here is a can of worms:

Gibson Memphis.

How should we treat or consider Memphis ES guitars over the years that shop was active?

Should Reissue guitars out of Memphis be considered the equivalent of ES guitars out of the Nashville custom shop during the same period?

What about standard models like the Dot Reissue ES 335s? Would they be considered Custom Shop level, but not reissue spec? Or Nashville USA line equivalent? Or something else altogether?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. :)
 

pqs

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
97
Hi Mat.

Here is a can of worms:

Gibson Memphis.

How should we treat or consider Memphis ES guitars over the years that shop was active?

Should Reissue guitars out of Memphis be considered the equivalent of ES guitars out of the Nashville custom shop during the same period?

What about standard models like the Dot Reissue ES 335s? Would they be considered Custom Shop level, but not reissue spec? Or Nashville USA line equivalent? Or something else altogether?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. :)

I’m not Matt, but I think this is a great question. I recently got a USA 335 and it’s amazing. I think there is just something extra compared to a USA Les Paul. However, I might be biased, but I think Memphis was a step up. From what I remember, Memphis reissue were on par, or at least very close, to Gibson Custom. I love the new T-type inspired pickups, but those MHS pickups were amazing.

I’m super curious to see what Matt has to say about it. Maybe demystify some of my preconceptions?
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
396
Hi Mat, I don't want to keep banging on about this but I'd like to see a return of the ES 330..........we need that hollowbody P90 goodness. Just do two, a dot neck and a block neck in tobacco sunburst and cherry.
Anyway, I'm hunting around for one with a big fat neck which is nonexistant as I've found, however I've come across a plethora of the Memphis reissues with bigsbys, and to me it's like someone at the old Memphis facility said 'hey we've got a load of bigsbys about the place, I know, we'll stick 'em on these 330s we're doing to use 'em up'.
I've never seen so many bigsbys on any one line of Gibson guitars :LOL:
We had actually redeveloped this model to launch alongside the current ES-335 and 355 models, but the staggering amount of 335 orders we received pushed out the priority of the 330. Still very much an intention to bring it to market, but can't really say when until we cut down the order book more. Re: Bigsbys, it wasn't to use up inventory or anything -- I believe the intention at the time was to compete directly with a certain other hollowbody brand. Plus there was a strict "planagram" of select SKUs that a dealer reordered to for a period of time, which accounts for where they were so prevalent.
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
396
@matkoehler
Hey Mat! I have a 1970-1971 LP Deluxe Goldtop with the mini-humbuckers. It sat for a long time, but it's all original (except for the tuneomatic and the frets/nut). I'm a Nashville guy, been playing it religiously for a past few years - no issues at all. Lately, the bridge pickup seems to be losing volume and I have to bring the volume of the neck pickup down to match it otherwise the neck pickup will blow you away at with both of the volumes at 10. I have to set the neck at 9 and the bridge at 10 for it to be in the same ball park. In the past, I always had the pickup height to be balanced. No new changes on my amp or on my pedalboard either.


I've never had this issue before, tried messing with the pickup heights - the neck pup is as low as it will go and bridge is pretty much as high as it wants to go. Either way, I'm sure I would've noticed if something was wrong. In a band setting, when i go for a solo and switch to the bridge pickup, it feels like my sound just disappears. Again, never had this issue before...usually switching to the bridge for a solo makes me cut through everybody.

It's been mentioned to me that over time, old pickups will eventually lose their magnetism/strength - should i look at maybe getting someone to remagnetize them? At this point, they're over 50 years old (probably older since the wiring harness says '68). I measured the resistance (by using an instrument cable, which i know isn't 100% accurate) and the neck was 6.9k and the bridge was 6.85k, which would seems pretty close to me. I play this thing at least about 12-16 hours a week with lots of volume and lots of solos, so if this was something was off - I would think that I would have noticed by now 😅 So hopefully this is something that's fixable!
From Jared: "This is one of those situations that include several possible things that cannot be determined without a physical inspection with the process of elimination. It is most likely not the magnet losing magnetism unless you had a very powerful magnetic force such as a neodymium magnet stuck unto the pickup itself. It could be as simple as a coil lead going bad or even the pickup selector switch. But tough to tell."

He adds: "I own a 70-72 gold top DeLuxe as well. The mini bridge pickup to me has always been less than desirable as I find it never cut through or was ever louder than the neck pickup. To solve that issue, I wound myself a 9K mini and it is now a nice loud full sounding pickup."
 

mattlaurence

New member
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
2
From Jared: "This is one of those situations that include several possible things that cannot be determined without a physical inspection with the process of elimination. It is most likely not the magnet losing magnetism unless you had a very powerful magnetic force such as a neodymium magnet stuck unto the pickup itself. It could be as simple as a coil lead going bad or even the pickup selector switch. But tough to tell."

He adds: "I own a 70-72 gold top DeLuxe as well. The mini bridge pickup to me has always been less than desirable as I find it never cut through or was ever louder than the neck pickup. To solve that issue, I wound myself a 9K mini and it is now a nice loud full sounding pickup."
Thanks for the great info Mat! I've never put in contact with a neodymium magnet since I've had it, but it was my first LP, it's possible that I just never noticed the volume difference between the 2 pickups. I'll check the switches and the pots, maybe I'll try to clean them a little bit but that's always been a good solution for when something was intermittent so idk if it would do anything in this case.

Jared's comment definitely makes sense though, they're about the same output (it's actually slightly less in this case) maybe theres something I can do about it, maybe stick a baseplate on there or something 🤷‍♂️ Glad to hear from someone else who has the same one though!! I barely ever see anyone with them
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,575
We had actually redeveloped this model to launch alongside the current ES-335 and 355 models, but the staggering amount of 335 orders we received pushed out the priority of the 330. Still very much an intention to bring it to market, but can't really say when until we cut down the order book more. Re: Bigsbys, it wasn't to use up inventory or anything -- I believe the intention at the time was to compete directly with a certain other hollowbody brand. Plus there was a strict "planagram" of select SKUs that a dealer reordered to for a period of time, which accounts for where they were so prevalent.

I was one of the many 335 orders that came to you in mid 2020.
It's good to know that the 330 is on the cards.............I'll patiently wait for the resurrection, cheers (y)
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,577
Love mine.

And I generally don't go for Bigsbys...

39166493484_69a2273a6b_4k.jpg

39166518284_c587aa1b84_4k.jpg

28096991559_6e12c05904_4k.jpg

39877781431_74075e33e5_4k.jpg
 
Last edited:

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
396
Hi Mat.

Here is a can of worms:

Gibson Memphis.

How should we treat or consider Memphis ES guitars over the years that shop was active?

Should Reissue guitars out of Memphis be considered the equivalent of ES guitars out of the Nashville custom shop during the same period?

What about standard models like the Dot Reissue ES 335s? Would they be considered Custom Shop level, but not reissue spec? Or Nashville USA line equivalent? Or something else altogether?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. :)
Not a can of worms at all IMO and I think I have a good perspective on this having worked at both Custom Shop Nashville and Gibson Memphis -- for over two years 2016-2018 I was splitting up my weeks at each facility. And more recently I oversaw the redevelopment of Memphis ES models and production transition plan to Gibson USA and Custom Shop Nashville.

Lots of dynamics at play here and sweeping changes year to year at Memphis. The Custom Shop Nashville team designed and opened the Memphis facility over two decades ago. It took a several years for the quality to be on par with Gibson USA, in my opinion, but I believe the 'Golden Era' of Memphis was really when Mike Voltz took over the R&D and production training...I believe this was in 2012-2013. He saw an opportunity to improve the Nashville Custom Shop ES Reissues just as the Nashville team improved the LP Reissues. I seem to remember this rubbed Custom's GM a bit -- the fact that they were suddenly competing with Memphis CS offerings -- but I can completely understand the rationale for Memphis to proceed due to all of the business units being silo'd and basically in competition with each other...crazy times. Probably also a demand in there to premium-ize the lineup to CS levels.

So I can say that during this period, Memphis's Reissue ES models began getting more historically accurate aesthetics than Custom Shop Nashville, on the whole. Eventually the Memphis Reissue models gained proprietary pickups (the primary difference to others at the time was that they were unpotted) and matched potentiometers (an idea that I don't fully understand but at least they were being tested). In terms of instruments, both CS Memphis and CS Nashville are great and both have their benefits. I feel like the average Nashville CS Reissue ES model during that time felt very solid, very stable and performed great. And the average Memphis CS Reissue models just feel a bit more loose and dynamic and 'soulful.' Neither really nailed the year-specific neck profiles the way we are able to these days, and the top and back carves began to wear down -- which is one of the reasons we re-did everything for the current range of Reissues that debuted formally in 2020.

Now, all that is in regards to Reissue production but it's important to remember that non-Reissue, non-Custom Shop ES models are a different animal...both the ones made in Memphis and the ones made in Nashville today. The DNA for those comes directly from 1990s Gibson USA ES production. The "Dot" was not a Reissue model and falls into this category. Whether Nashville or Memphis, these models are consistently great but don't carry all the aesthetic and under-the-hood specs of Reissues (obviously). Still...hard to get a bad sound out of them. I don't see a lot of difference between the non-Reissue "core" models made in the 2010s in Memphis and the ones being made now in the 2020s in Nashville. The big changes came from bringing the Memphis Custom Shop ES Reissues back to the Nashville Custom Shop -- since we had the opportunity to approach it ground-up, we leveraged the new 3D scanning technology, dozens of vintage examples, and archive blueprints that were not previously available to our teams (in the old regime). So physically and aesthetically, we got the new CS Nashville ES Reissues to a new level of accuracy and combined with True Historic hardware and new (as of 2019) vintage tone circuit, they are truly unbelievable instruments.

I'm not sure how well that clarifies everything but as I said, a lot to unpack. Let me know if you have any questions I missed! Best, Mat
 

matkoehler

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
396
I’m not Matt, but I think this is a great question. I recently got a USA 335 and it’s amazing. I think there is just something extra compared to a USA Les Paul. However, I might be biased, but I think Memphis was a step up. From what I remember, Memphis reissue were on par, or at least very close, to Gibson Custom. I love the new T-type inspired pickups, but those MHS pickups were amazing.

I’m super curious to see what Matt has to say about it. Maybe demystify some of my preconceptions?
Yes the Reissues were on par, but you forget that there was a core non-reissue range as well which should be virtually indistinguishable from those being made today at Gibson USA (on the same machines and by many of the same people).
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,027
we leveraged the new 3D scanning technology, dozens of vintage examples, and archive blueprints that were not previously available to our teams (in the old regime).

Ugh. Well, that's 'sad to hear' but 'glad to know' the full information is now available.

Thanks for all the above background. With all the people, machines, and molds moving around and being re-worked, the heritage of the ES line deserves a lineage diagram! Need a brand historian to produce such a thing...

I could be mistaken yet seem to recall: during one era, weren't all bodies being formed in one place (Memphis?) and shipped to another for necks, finishing, part assembly (Nashville Custom)?

Also, what is the factory timeline for producing USA 59 Dot Reissues?
 
Last edited:

pqs

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
97
Yes the Reissues were on par, but you forget that there was a core non-reissue range as well which should be virtually indistinguishable from those being made today at Gibson USA (on the same machines and by many of the same people).

Thank you for the clarification and the demystification.

The more I play my 2022 USA ES-335 the more I’m amazed at how phenomenal this guitar is. The color of the finishes also feel like a step up from other USA models. The difference in the colors between the current Original Collection 335 vintage burst and the 1959 reissue is much more subtle than say a USA Les Paul bourbon burst versus my 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue 60th Anniversary in Southern Fade, which is my impression is a bourbon burst with a slight fade of the lower bout opposite side from control knobs. The biggest difference of the finish for the 335 USA versus CS reissue is the shape of the burst itself, with the USA having the drop shape for the burst while the reissue follows the contour of the body. However, the colors are very similar to my eyes.

As for playability, I get completely lost in this guitar. Apart from my R9, I also have a 2020 1961 Les Paul SG reissue and until recently a 2016 R0 (G0) and a 2017 LP Special with maple top. I got to say, I feel like I’m not giving up much as playability goes for having gone with a USA model instead of a CS. That’s not to say the CS isn’t going to have a meaningful difference, it’s just that the USA counterpart is just that good.

I also want to add that many of us notice the little changes and improvements Gibson is making. Just to give you a simple example, the addition to the felt under the pickguard of USA Les Pauls in 2019. Recently I notice that the felt to protect the top has slimmed down and completely cleared the top not creating any matte spots on the finish. These little details signals to me that Gibson is listening and continue improving.
 

mdubya

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
920
Not a can of worms at all IMO and I think I have a good perspective on this having worked at both Custom Shop Nashville and Gibson Memphis -- for over two years 2016-2018 I was splitting up my weeks at each facility. And more recently I oversaw the redevelopment of Memphis ES models and production transition plan to Gibson USA and Custom Shop Nashville.

Lots of dynamics at play here and sweeping changes year to year at Memphis. The Custom Shop Nashville team designed and opened the Memphis facility over two decades ago. It took a several years for the quality to be on par with Gibson USA, in my opinion, but I believe the 'Golden Era' of Memphis was really when Mike Voltz took over the R&D and production training...I believe this was in 2012-2013. He saw an opportunity to improve the Nashville Custom Shop ES Reissues just as the Nashville team improved the LP Reissues. I seem to remember this rubbed Custom's GM a bit -- the fact that they were suddenly competing with Memphis CS offerings -- but I can completely understand the rationale for Memphis to proceed due to all of the business units being silo'd and basically in competition with each other...crazy times. Probably also a demand in there to premium-ize the lineup to CS levels.

So I can say that during this period, Memphis's Reissue ES models began getting more historically accurate aesthetics than Custom Shop Nashville, on the whole. Eventually the Memphis Reissue models gained proprietary pickups (the primary difference to others at the time was that they were unpotted) and matched potentiometers (an idea that I don't fully understand but at least they were being tested). In terms of instruments, both CS Memphis and CS Nashville are great and both have their benefits. I feel like the average Nashville CS Reissue ES model during that time felt very solid, very stable and performed great. And the average Memphis CS Reissue models just feel a bit more loose and dynamic and 'soulful.' Neither really nailed the year-specific neck profiles the way we are able to these days, and the top and back carves began to wear down -- which is one of the reasons we re-did everything for the current range of Reissues that debuted formally in 2020.

Now, all that is in regards to Reissue production but it's important to remember that non-Reissue, non-Custom Shop ES models are a different animal...both the ones made in Memphis and the ones made in Nashville today. The DNA for those comes directly from 1990s Gibson USA ES production. The "Dot" was not a Reissue model and falls into this category. Whether Nashville or Memphis, these models are consistently great but don't carry all the aesthetic and under-the-hood specs of Reissues (obviously). Still...hard to get a bad sound out of them. I don't see a lot of difference between the non-Reissue "core" models made in the 2010s in Memphis and the ones being made now in the 2020s in Nashville. The big changes came from bringing the Memphis Custom Shop ES Reissues back to the Nashville Custom Shop -- since we had the opportunity to approach it ground-up, we leveraged the new 3D scanning technology, dozens of vintage examples, and archive blueprints that were not previously available to our teams (in the old regime). So physically and aesthetically, we got the new CS Nashville ES Reissues to a new level of accuracy and combined with True Historic hardware and new (as of 2019) vintage tone circuit, they are truly unbelievable instruments.

I'm not sure how well that clarifies everything but as I said, a lot to unpack. Let me know if you have any questions I missed! Best, Mat

That is a huge help in clarifying and demystifying Gibson Memphis. (y)

We had nothing but internet myths and speculations previously.

I love my Made in Memphis ES guitars:

2012/2013 ES 330 VOS
2014 ES 335 Dot Reissue <-- I am sure that is what they called that model
2015 ES Les Paul Goldtop - a stunning guitar with some QC flaws that would drive some crazy
2018 ES 335 1959 Reissue

You would be hard pressed to pick the 59 RI out next to a real vintage example in a photo.

The ES 330 makes everyone that plays it question over and over if it is a real vintage guitar or a reissue (it is 2012 1959 RI spec with a 2013 model name). Side by side, there would be no doubt, but on its own, it clouds perceptions.

The 2014 ES 335 Dot definitely holds its own, reissue appointments or not.

Thank you for your answer!

All praises to Mike Voltz!
 

akstrat61

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2004
Messages
1,831
I own a Memphis 2016 58 RI EES335 Blonde with a bit of flame going on. It was bought when CME was blowing these out at crazy prices. That guitar is crazy nice! Both in build quality and tone. Whatever was done at that time in Memphis, they had some mojo going on! MHO

1665053525435.jpeg
 
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