Gutting and Re-Wiring a Vintage ES-345 Doesn’t Phase Me!


None More Red!

None More Red!


Gotta Be Red!

Gotta Be Red!


G.A.S. got me again, and I drove to Sudbury (3 hours each way, give or take) for this 1962 Gibson ES-345… a nice outing for me and the wife (who co-incidentally had a piece of her Mum’s furniture to pick up there… so it was “all good”).

The skinny – there’s a Bigsby repair, and a re-fret, but not much else touched. Even the pickups are still sealed! I just can’t live with Stereo or Varitone, so the first thing I normally do with these is rip out the Varitone and harness and put in a premium mono harness with great caps and pots. Better tone – plus a savings on the weight – this guitar now Varitone-less, weighs in at 8lbs 5oz. I actually bought a teeny weeny little circular saw for my Dremel Tool – my best bet at opening one pickup to flip the magnet, before gently re-soldering the cover back on. You may not know this, but most ES-345s have the pickups out-of-phase. It doesn’t affect the middle position when you’re using 2 amps in stereo, but it sure does if you use one amp! When I say “most” ES-345s have out-of-phase pickups, according to my 300 series guy, Charlie Gelber at OK Guitars, this was a bit “random” at the Gibson plant, and some ES-345s actually have in-phase pickups…

Well, low and behold! It’s a miracle! This ’62 has in-phase pickups! And it’s double good fortune, because these are sealed PAFs, and although I was prepared to molest one (delicately) in the name of TONE, I actually don’t have to.

Let me add that this guitar is a monster! The tone is full yet articulate.

The Bigsby works great – SO GREAT, that I wasn’t prepared to pull off the “Custom Made” plaque and use the pre-drilled stop tail holes (often another “standard practice” for me) to ditch the Bigsby and save another 1/2 lb or so. The neck is wide and a medium depth front to back, yet it has “shoulders” – and is therefore very comfortable to play.

All-in-all, I’m smitten (again).

Never messed with...!

Never messed with…!


One thought on “Gutting and Re-Wiring a Vintage ES-345 Doesn’t Phase Me!

  1. Anything was possible at the Gibson plant in the 50’s and 60’s (and probably the 70’s and 80’s). While I’ve never come across an “in phase” 345, I have no doubt they exist. I have had a few out of phase 335’s, so the possibility certainly exists. I would look under that “Custom Made” plaque to make sure there are bushings. The brads are in the wrong place (right over where the bushings would be) and they shouldn’t have anything to attach to there unless there aren’t any bushings. People did add the plaques-I guess to look cool or something.

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