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  1. #1

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    It is what it is. It ain't what it ain't. But oh, what it is!

    And at the bottom, I need your input please.






    You would never embuckify a 1967 Gibson Johnny Smith. I would never buck up a 1967 Johnny Smith.

    But as you see somebody played this guitar a ton, which is always a positive value when I'm scouting an instrument. Then at some point they decided that they wanted a 3" x-braced L5-CES with a 25" scale. That recipe fits me very nicely. (I'm apparently not alone -- that spec also describes a bunch of instruments built on the Benedetto model.) And because they very neatly routed through all the collector-value of this instrument, after decades of guitar-spinning I finally get to bring home a top-of-the-line Gibson archtop. And it sure does have a lot to teach, and it sure is flat-out fun!

    I'm planning to move things around so HERE'S MY QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU LIKE?

    A) Drill no more: Volume Volume Tone in a line. Move the pickup selector to the standard location on the trouble horn.

    B) Go traditional: VVTT in the standard Gibson diamond pattern with the selector on the horn. Fill the fifth hole with wood (which will show, but if it's awful I just drill it out and start again) or a switch (because there's already a hole).
    I'm leaning this way because it will look the most intentional.

    C) A minimalist approach:
    C1) Go modern with V-switch-T, fill the horn-hole
    C2) Go bold with V-T, switch on the horn, fill the center hole

    JG.be gearheads, I'm open to your thoughts. Thank you, and happy hunting to each of you.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    On my two-pickup guitars I prefer one pickup switch, one vol, one tone. When I am performing live I don't have the time to futz with balances between the two pickups. I prefer to have the three basic sounds, and use the tone control to quickly adjust them. JMP.

    You might have trouble moving the switch to the cutaway area, the hole for that pot might be too large. But I'm not a tech so I don't know for sure.

  4. #3

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    I would start with moving the switch to the hole in the horn and arranging pots in a row, no new drilling. Then play it like that for a couple months.

    If it turns out to be unbearable, decide something then. Then again it may turn out that it works fine, especially if you mostly play with neck pickup anyway.

  5. #4

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    A for sure

  6. #5

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    Don't take this wrong I am sure it actually is a great playing and sounding guitar. However to me at this point it is ruined so I cannot help other than switch in the cutaway.

  7. #6

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    I would go with option A of your choices. I like having 2 volumes on a 2 pickup guitar because I usually don't use the bridge pickup, so setting that pickup's volume to 0 I can use the 3 way as an on/off switch.

    I'd also say get a bridge pickup mounting ring for that bridge pickup, that neck pickup ring looks awful there.

  8. #7

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    If you can move the switch to the horn, how about vol-tone-tone, or even vol-tone-dummy pot.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    It is what it is. It ain't what it ain't. But oh, what it is!

    And at the bottom, I need your input please.






    You would never embuckify a 1967 Gibson Johnny Smith. I would never buck up a 1967 Johnny Smith.

    But as you see somebody played this guitar a ton, which is always a positive value when I'm scouting an instrument. Then at some point they decided that they wanted a 3" x-braced L5-CES with a 25" scale. That recipe fits me very nicely. (I'm apparently not alone -- that spec also describes a bunch of instruments built on the Benedetto model.) And because they very neatly routed through all the collector-value of this instrument, after decades of guitar-spinning I finally get to bring home a top-of-the-line Gibson archtop. And it sure does have a lot to teach, and it sure is flat-out fun!

    I'm planning to move things around so HERE'S MY QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU LIKE?

    A) Drill no more: Volume Volume Tone in a line. Move the pickup selector to the standard location on the trouble horn.

    B) Go traditional: VVTT in the standard Gibson diamond pattern with the selector on the horn. Fill the fifth hole with wood (which will show, but if it's awful I just drill it out and start again) or a switch (because there's already a hole).
    I'm leaning this way because it will look the most intentional.

    C) A minimalist approach:
    C1) Go modern with V-switch-T, fill the horn-hole
    C2) Go bold with V-T, switch on the horn, fill the center hole

    JG.be gearheads, I'm open to your thoughts. Thank you, and happy hunting to each of you.
    What a great find! For a player, this is a great thing. You do indeed have a top-of-the-line Gibson archtop, it's specs fit you nicely, and if routed in HB's were a crime there'd be no L5ces out there. You didn't do it, so it's not your "fault" but you can now enjoy playing it.

    I would try to use all the existing holes without patching one. Just my view, and it's oriented to appearances. I'd limit my mods to what I can do with the holes that are there.

  10. #9

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    I would put the switch in the cutaway and have the three pots in a row. If you play the bridge position more than the middle position, then I'd have volume/tone/tone. If you use the middle position more, then I'd have volume/volume/tone.

    As for it's value as an instrument, I don't consider it ruined at all. I actually think it's very cool and useful. It's only ruined as an artifact and I don't have much use for artifacts.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    As for it's value as an instrument, I don't consider it ruined at all. I actually think it's very cool and useful. It's only ruined as an artifact and I don't have much use for artifacts.
    Agree 100%, it's like a custom Gibson. I like the 25" scale. Almost like a Super V with a slightly smaller build.

    One thing about moving the switch to the horn: I have once in a while hit it down by accident in performances while strumming. Not a fun thing to happen on stage. I sorta like it below where it is.

    Gibson Johnny Smith "CES" -- Your Thoughts Please-gibson-superv-jpg

  12. #11

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    I'd leave it alone. Sometimes I think people are hobby guitar techs and not hobby musicians.

  13. #12

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    If it were me, I would play it as it is for awhile, and try to get used to it. Only if I couldn't live with it after a few months would I start changing things, and then probably start with A. But it's not me, so have fun with trying out all the possibilities, since that seems to be what you really want.

  14. #13

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    I think it's a fine, if unusual, instrument. Were it mine, I would go for option "B." As a longtime Gibson player, I like having the V/T knobs in the accustomed places. As for the selector switch, the horn is as good a place as any, and the now-redundant hole would be a nice spot for a switch or rotary selector that would choose amongst various treble roll-off capacitors - sort of a Varitone/Sweet Switch amalgam.

    But then, as they say, I ain't quite right.

  15. #14

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    Option A for sure. Have you checked the pickups? If this mod was done long ago, the pickups may have substantial value on their own. It may be worth putting in a pair of 57 classics and selling the vintage PUPs and pocketing the difference. The altered JS will still be worth the same.

  16. #15

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    That was at Lark Street, right?

  17. #16

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    Thank you all a lot. I'm glad I asked.
    @FrankHond and @Jim777, @Lawson, @Jim Soloway, @SGosnell, @StringSwinger, you've persuaded me to run with option "A" -- V V T, switch on the horn -- for a while and change to V V T T later if it begs for that.
    The switch will move to the horn. My taste, I guess.


    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    You might have trouble moving the switch to the cutaway area, the hole for that pot might be too large. But I'm not a tech so I don't know for sure.
    The opposite -- IME Gibson / Switchcraft style switches have a bigger diameter than most pots.

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Don't take this wrong I am sure it actually is a great playing and sounding guitar. However to me at this point it is ruined
    Thank you, sincerely, for your contribution. I want to take exactly three sentences to respond.
    Case-queen guitars are useless to me because I get too concerned about bumping them.
    Over the past few years I have found myself appreciating each guitar I try for what it actually has. This guitar, as it is, has tons and tons to appreciate.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim777
    I'd also say get a bridge pickup mounting ring for that bridge pickup, that neck pickup ring looks awful there.
    Trick of eye -- it's really a full-tall bridge ring.

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    What a great find! For a player, this is a great thing. You do indeed have a top-of-the-line Gibson archtop, it's specs fit you nicely, and if routed in HB's were a crime there'd be no L5ces out there. You didn't do it, so it's not your "fault" but you can now enjoy playing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    As for it's value as an instrument, I don't consider it ruined at all. I actually think it's very cool and useful. It's only ruined as an artifact and I don't have much use for artifacts.
    Yes. Precisely. Exactly that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Agree 100%, it's like a custom Gibson. I like the 25" scale. Almost like a Super V with a slightly smaller build.
    I heard a bit on the radio about how during the pandemic people have been busy buying things they dug as a kid.
    In my young 20s I played a bunch of gigs (on DB) with Bob Kobus. Kober had a beautiful, unforgettable Super V and he sure made it his own.
    I was hearing some of that sound last night -- although Bob packed a 100W Fender VibroSonic with an organ trio, and I am not!

    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    I'd leave it alone. Sometimes I think people are hobby guitar techs and not hobby musicians.
    Sincere thanks.
    You're lots of correct in my case. I worked as a store bench-hack and play home-built amps. Wiring up an archtop is easy fun for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I think it's a fine, if unusual, instrument. . . . As for the selector switch, the horn is as good a place as any, and the now-redundant hole would be a nice spot for a switch or rotary selector that would choose amongst various treble roll-off capacitors - sort of a Varitone/Sweet Switch amalgam.
    I like how you're thinking, per usual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Have you checked the pickups? . . . It may be worth putting in a pair of 57 classics and selling the vintage PUPs and pocketing the difference.
    It's got a 57 Classic on the neck and a generic SuperD on the bridge.
    When I saw the partial " D FOR " sticker on the Classic I got pretty excited as you would expect . . . but no.

    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66
    That was at Lark Street, right?
    Yep.
    This is my second purchase from Lark Street and I would be happy to do another sometime.
    Buzz is knowledgeable, experienced and patient with fools.
    Last edited by Sam Sherry; 10-05-2021 at 03:12 PM.

  18. #17

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    I'd leave it as is, but lose that garish pick!

  19. #18

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    One of the best guitars I had was an X-500 I bought on this forum for about £200. It had been bashed, chopped and drilled to bits.
    I sold it on to a dear friend for about £400 some time afterwards on the promise he woudl sell it back to me for £400 when the time came.

    He wont sell it back to me. Over his 50+ years of collecting guitars, it's his absolute favourite and I don't blame him.

    Sometimes the best ones are the ones that others run a mile from.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 10-05-2021 at 07:39 PM.

  20. #19

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    I'd leave it as is.

  21. #20

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    Did the braces get cut for the neck pickup?

  22. #21

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    Nice find! I’d suggest playing it awhile before you decide. My first choice would be to leave it alone. My second would be A.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Did the braces get cut for the neck pickup?
    At the very tip

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    At the very tip
    Good, that shouldn't make any structural difference

  25. #24

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    I think I would go with option B, the traditional Gibson layout. I never like the look of guitars that are obviously customized in a non-traditional manner. From the pictures, it looks like all the controls could be placed in their normal positions, making the guitar look much like a Super V CES (with the comfortable dimensions of a JS). The only issue to resolve would be the extra hole, which is currently in the middle of that row. That could probably be filled and not be too noticeable, or a mini coil tap switch or something could be dropped in there which wouldn’t look too crazy. I feel bad when people chop up their guitars, but this one could be put into a state where it would be very functional and look ok.
    Keith

  26. #25

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    I had an even better idea, drop a middle pickup in there and make it a 25" ES-5!!