N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

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Despot
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N(Final)GD - 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC w/bigsby

Post by Despot » Thu May 30, 2019 11:54 pm

Hello there OSG.

It's been a while since I first came on here - I think it's been about seven years or so. Not so long in terms of all you who've been around since day one ... but a while.

I'd never had a vintage guitar before OSG. I had very little interest in owning an old guitar and considered proper vintage stuff to be totally beyond the realm of what's affordable for me. And you know what? You lot are all enablers...

The last year has seen the biggest changes so far in terms of myself and Lady Despot - those final steps to owning our own place. It's also seen me realise that having a room full of guitars and amps wasn't really the most sensible thing after all. So everything had to go ... except those things I would keep forever.

I've always been an ES guitar player. From my earliest days I remember two guitars really catching my eye - Jazzmasters and ES guitars. I've always lusted after an old ES355 ... or even just an old ES. I've had some good ones, and some truly spectacular ones (my old worn '62 ES345). I'll never sell my Jazzmaster. But I wanted an old ES that would finally lead to me stopping this endless guitar trading bonanza.

Good folk of OSG ... I present to you the final guitar purchase I'm planning to make for a very long time. A 1963/4 ES335 with a custom made plate and Bigsby....

Image
Last edited by Despot on Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Despot » Fri May 31, 2019 12:11 am

I've had this guitar for less than 24 hours - I picked it up yesterday afternoon. In the meantime I've been off trying to sort out stuff related to our house purchase, and attending a four day training session - it's been a long week!

But some initial thoughts...

Pickups
These sound just as nice as the PAFs in my old '62. One of them has been rewound. I didn't ask which one until I played it as I wanted to try to figure it out myself. I couldn't. I'll stick up a bit more on this when I have more time to play it - right now it's had about twenty minutes through an amp, through which I smiled like a loon. Good enough for me.

Neck shape
This is an interesting one. There were a few '64 options where I bought this - and this one was flagged as having a slightly slimmer/flat profile. I asked for measurements and those suggested that it was actually thicker than I would have thought from the description, so I took a chance on it...

It has a neck that is only marginally thicker than the '64 ES345 reissue... and remarkably similar feeling. '64s have a reputation for having bigger/thicker neck profiles - and I've played SGs with that profile that feel like older '50s necks. This isn't one of those ... this feels a lot more like a '59 reissue neck on a Les Paul ... or like some SGs I've played. It's not a huge neck, but it's certainly not slender. It feels an awful lot like a Fender neck in terms of the carve of the C and ...yet again ... not AT ALL like the carve that Gibson has used for it's '60s necks in the last 20 years (which is a slender D with pronounced shoulders). This is as Fender feeling a neck as I've ever found on a Gibson - a nice C shape that's neither skinny nor chunky. It is completely worn down to the wood on the back ... just how I like it.

But I'm really surprised by how much this is like the reissue. Honestly ... there's less variation in the same guy making the same profile neck over and over - it's just marginally slimmer (the reissuse) but the carve is very close. I'd say the difference is in the binding wearing down from use/play making it feel more worn in.

Bigbsy.
Okay ... this is interesting.
This guitar has stop tail studs under the custom made plate ... so it was either a stop tail that had a bigbsy added, or a factory bigbsy. It's grounded to the bigsby (just as you'd expect from a factory job) and the wiring looks original from what I can see (I can see the ground wire going into the block). But the Bigsby isn't like those I've encountered and if it is original I suspect that it's been modded.

The arm has the usual spring underneath - but it has been replaced by a VERY heavy spring (there's a lot of tension in it). But at the same time the arm itself has play in it - deliberately - with another spring returning it to position. So ... to try to explain it - the actually main spring has been replaced with something that gives more tension, while the arm has more play (but resets itself due to the spring that's in there that pushes it back to position). Is this normal? I've had bigsby units on old guitars before (Guild Starfire from the '60s) and usually the arm has no travel. This appears to be by design on the part of the last owner ... and if it was then it was a good idea. It makes the bigbsy much more subtle ... you can get a little bit of wobble through a lot of use of the arm without moving the main drum of the bigsby all that much. Tuning is rock solid as a result.

This guitar was set up with .9s when I got it (it now has .10s ... it was strung with .9s for 30+ years ... so I'm working my way up to 10.5s or .11s slowly) so perhaps this was to counteract tuning issues with lighter strings.

Anyway ... more later when I get a chance to play it for a little longer.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by shadowplay » Fri May 31, 2019 12:53 am

Absolute beauty! I'm not a jealous man but...slight tingles...

D
I like that old time rock 'n' roll, don't try to take me to a disco.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by nanamour » Fri May 31, 2019 3:32 am

Otherworldly. Congrats landing a beautiful old guitar, and on (hopefully) having found a beautiful old house; hope you find many years of enjoyment in both!

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by sookwinder » Fri May 31, 2019 5:51 am

Kevin .. as usual .... well played mate.
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by andy » Fri May 31, 2019 7:09 am

Yes!!! We had the same idea. I got mine the other day. Enjoy it!
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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Despot » Fri May 31, 2019 9:09 am

andy wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 7:09 am
Yes!!! We had the same idea. I got mine the other day. Enjoy it!
Well done!! Feel free to throw up some photos if you have any ... I’m always curious to see the differences.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Despot » Fri May 31, 2019 9:10 am

sookwinder wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:51 am
Kevin .. as usual .... well played mate.
Thanks David. :)

By the way ... PM’d you back last week but it’s still in my outbox - is your inbox full fella?

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Maggieo » Fri May 31, 2019 9:43 am

Kevin, that is absolutely lovely and I feel a twinge of covetousness, as that guitar is a birth year guitar for me. :-* :-*

You now need to go and play "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," because Johnny Mar wrote that song on a guitar exactly like yours!
“Now I am quietly waiting for/ the catastrophe of my personality/ to seem beautiful again.”- Frank O'Hara
I am not an attorney and this post is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state for legal advice.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Despot » Fri May 31, 2019 10:04 am

Thanks Maggie :)

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by andy » Fri May 31, 2019 1:50 pm

Despot wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:09 am
andy wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 7:09 am
Yes!!! We had the same idea. I got mine the other day. Enjoy it!
Well done!! Feel free to throw up some photos if you have any ... I’m always curious to see the differences.
Here’s an indoor picture.
Image
I posted a NGD thread the other day with more pics!
Send me western swing vids

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by antisymmetric » Fri May 31, 2019 3:13 pm

Despot wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:11 am

But the Bigsby isn't like those I've encountered and if it is original I suspect that it's been modded.

The arm has the usual spring underneath - but it has been replaced by a VERY heavy spring (there's a lot of tension in it). But at the same time the arm itself has play in it - deliberately - with another spring returning it to position. So ... to try to explain it - the actually main spring has been replaced with something that gives more tension, while the arm has more play (but resets itself due to the spring that's in there that pushes it back to position). Is this normal? I've had bigsby units on old guitars before (Guild Starfire from the '60s) and usually the arm has no travel. This appears to be by design on the part of the last owner ... and if it was then it was a good idea. It makes the bigbsy much more subtle ... you can get a little bit of wobble through a lot of use of the arm without moving the main drum of the bigsby all that much. Tuning is rock solid as a result.
Unusual, but it may just be original- I've purchased 2 brand new B5s (maybe 15 or so years ago) that both came with that secondary spring. I have several other Bigsbys that don't have them, so it was a bit of a surprise.

Btw, lovely guitar (as usual)
Watching the corners turn corners

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri May 31, 2019 3:48 pm

Congrats on all the new stuff. Very well done!!!

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by NickD » Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm

It looks lovely, well played.

Trimming the collection down to a few really nice guitars is a good feeling. I get the feeling I’d like to build a guitar once in a while, but my GAS has been done for years with the R9, 64 JM and Martin.

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Re: The Final Guitar...

Post by Dave » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:37 am

Congrats Kevin.

I lay in bed at night as I drift off to sleep, and think of the exact same “final guitar”

I’m just short about 10,000 of something I can’t quite put my finger on. :D

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