So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)



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So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby finboy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:01 pm

In advance, I’m crossposting, sorry for the wall of text for the next few posts:

I targeted only buying one guitar this year....and managed to buy it les than a week into January, it’s going to be a long year.

I found a basket case 1966 355, between cites and the weakening Canadian dollar, finding affordable instruments I can get to Canada is a bitch (missed out on the same 67 jag twice). This popped up one province over, and with the extra parts and free shipping was a decent deal. The headstock is a pretty savage repair, it is new wood from the first fret to the tip, but the veneer and fretboard are original. Also included was a reissue gold Bigsby, a new bridge, second set of tuners, pickguard (minor warp), etc. It also has the tail end of the pat no. pickups, though the wiring is rough (having a friend look at it).

Anyways, I finally have a vintage 3x5!

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Re: So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby finboy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:01 pm

Here is a close up of the body, and the reason for the steep discount, the fix is solid but I would definitely count this as a partial reneck. More pics to come as tone hungry effects dig into the circuit, dude knows his way around all things electronic so I have faith in his ability to sort out 50 years of wiring “modifications”

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Re: So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby finboy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:03 pm

Update:

TL/DR: Jesse Mast sold me a guitar with a broken Patent Number pickup, and refused to cover any expenses to fix it, instead offering me $200 less than I paid for the guitar to return it.

I am not a fan of having to write this post, but unfortunately I reached out to the seller and their response was less than helpful.

I bought this guitar for about $3300 USD from Jesse Mast (a country singer from interior British Columbia apparently), this is a bit above what Charlie from es-335.com highlighted as an ideal price for a neck repair 355, but I saved on shipping cost and sales tax. A screaming deal this guitar was not, but the price was fair for market value considering it was a working guitar. I had a chance to reach out to Jesse’s luthier who had previously given it a once over (I am not name dropping the business, the luthier was forthcoming with some of the issues but it seemed he didn’t do a lot of work on it. I’m not dragging the reputation of a small business through the mud just because their name was brought up to sell a product), and by all indications the guitar was functioning as it should be.

I am going to be pragmatic here, and assume Jesse does not know much about vintage instruments, as he could not answer some relatively basic answers (how the guitar was converted to mono, how the headstock was repaired, the value of patent number pickups, etc.) and this only got more concerning when the package arrived…

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You are seeing that right, that is a bill of lading taped to the top of the case, the ONLY other protection was a kitchen towel loosely wrapped around the headstock. Needless to say my heart dropped when this came to my door, but miraculously the guitar was still in tact.

Sadly, this was not the end of problems for the fair-market 355, upon plugging it in the neck sounded great, the middle position sounded like the neck pickup, and the bridge sounded like…a broken pickup. Taking a look inside the f-hole, the wiring was unoriginal (as expected from my conversations with Jesse) but was clearly done by an amateur, and not the luthier who I spoke with. This left me hopeful that it might just be a loose connection, or bad connection. Out of curiosity I emailed Throbak to see how much a re-wind would cost, about $200 canadian plus $50 or so in return shipping, so much for that market value guitar.

This is where Juan from Tone Hungry effects comes in, Juan is a good friend but is also a great pedal designer, and an electrician when he isn’t designing pedals. I can’t speak highly enough about his work, the past couple days he has put in a herculean effort to keep the cost of this project from skyrocketing (hello $800 pickup if we can’t fix this)

Prepare for some fun wiring…

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Seriously???
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Even through that rat’s nest, the issue still wasn’t found for the bridge pickup, so then reality started to sink in…

Neck pickup – healthy and sounds great…
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Bridge pickup – anyone else think this could be seen as anything but a dead pickup?...Bueller…Bueller…
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Just to be sure, Juan tested both coils…

Slug looks fine…
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Screw side…welll I think we found the problem…
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So there we have it, I paid market value for a guitar that is 50% functional. A fix isn’t too expensive, but a repaired or rewound patent number pickup is NOT going to hold the same value as a functioning unit. It was at this point where I had to make a decision, full rewrap, or ask Juan to take another risk and see if he could salvage the dead coil. Thankfully Juan has balls of steel…

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I have a lot of faith in Juan’s abilities, and thankfully his eyes are better than mine, because with a minor bit of wire lost, he managed to get the pickup from a dud to this…

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Now we get to the discussion around the coils not being symmetrical, both Juan and I dove into the google machine, and while there is a .7 ohm difference between the two coils, that doesn’t strike me as unusable. We are going to try this pickup in the neck (slightly more open, less hum cancelling but more overtones from what I could find) and run the existing neck pickup in the bridge. Making the best of the situation, I am looking forward to how this sounds, and will post up some videos when Juan is done.

So what is next? Restoring those factory pots and caps to usable form…

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That is the update for today folks, glad Juan could help provide some positivity to a day that did not exactly go as I had planned.

I don’t want to harp on it too much, but in reaching out to Jesse I understood that he might not know about guitars, but hoped he would at least stand behind selling a product. If I were to download his album from itunes and only half the tracks played, I wouldn’t expect the reaction of “at least you still got a good deal on the rest of them.”

If anything, I hope everyone can see the value in buying from reputable shops (which are sorely lacking in Alberta), but even more understand how important it is to build relationships in your community. I met Juan when I sold him a guitar, and while he isn’t doing this work for free, he made it a priority because he understands the emotional ride this purchase has been for me. The couple hundred that I have to spend on this guitar stings, but at the end of the day I still have a great guitar, and it is clear someone needed that $200 more than me. On the other hand, one of my friends stepped up when I needed help, and has been absolutely pivotal in bringing this guitar back to life, and it is hard to put any price on that.
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Re: So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby finboy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:05 pm

Last post, we are all caught up, it is -25 in calgary, my furnace crapped out and I caught the mother of all colds that is going around. Before we shut the water off and escaped to my parents house until the furnace is repaired, I grabbed this guitar and my j100 so they wouldn’t freeze in the house.

Final note on the ordeal of the pickup, I understand used guitars come with issues, and his is a gamble that didn’t play out in my favour. Reflecting on it, I still have a great guitar, and even though it annoys me that some clearly present issues weren’t disclosed, I am enjoying the process of bringing this guitar back to what it should be.

Back to some notes, juan did the best he could with the pickup, but isn’t 100% satisfied with the pickup, even with some 500k pots to help mellow it out. I brought the guitar home, hoping to try it out, then the furnace broke. I am thinking this weekend I willl get a chance to try it out and see if I like the sound, or if I need to send it to throbak for a rewind.

In better news, the pickguard is straight! Unfortunately I don’t have the bracket for it, the allparts one I found at l&m was not a match so I will be tracking a vintage one down online.

Realistically, the refret will be a March update, along with a new nut. From that point I need to decide what to do with the varitone, as I have all the parts but one of the large caps is cracked in half and can’t be salvaged.

Finally, I’m looking to sell the vintage waffle back tuners, they are missing one bushing and the screws. Prices are all over the place for these, anyone know fair market value to ask for them?
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Re: So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby repoman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:42 am

Very awesome looking guitar, sucks the seller was such a fuckhead. Hope it works out 355s are my favorite Gibsons.
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Re: So I bought a 1966 es 355 (cross post, wall of text)

Postby rustywire » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:10 pm

Great story arc & redemption. Frankenstein's monster once again....it's alive!

That said, without hesitation I would send the itemized bill to Jesse along with all of these photos. An issue like the pickup should have been disclosed, that doesn't happen en route due to mishandling. Speaking of mishandling...how the guitar was *packed* and shipped, it doesn't matter if dude knows about vintage instruments or not, he's on the hook for unconscionable incompetence and/or negligence. WTF WTAF :wha?:

Edit: pls post backside-grain pic!
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