1959 ES-335TD proto build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by preeb, May 3, 2011.

  1. telemcCaster

    telemcCaster Tele-Holic

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    637
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    Yes it effects the sustain and also the timbre of the guitar acoustically. The sustain is something that is interesting and a bit paradoxical though because a strong body resonance can actually hault the strings vibration. This seems to be a characteristic of the good old ones.

    Maybe CW will chime in here because he has a fleet of different years with cutouts and non-cutout block guitars. But what I hear from the 59,s I have played, both 335 and 345, is characterized by a strong attack of the note, followed by relatively rapid decay.
     
  2. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    I got one! but I forget to bring it to the shop.
    I can take additional photos of certain areas. Any particular shots?
     
  3. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,552
    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    Awesome! :D No particular photo - but this one below is an example of what I know is perfect work, but I can't appreciate it :(.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. BlackdogCG

    BlackdogCG TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Leiderdorp, NL
    Thanks for the reply, neighbour
    That I knew too. And they are also the wrong metal. I believe that Pigtail is now making the longer studs made of steel to go with their aluminum tailpieces. I might get a set of those.

    Sorry to insist on this, but I am still curious about the bridge posts. Here is a shot of three different posts/thumbwheels I have.
    [​IMG]

    The rightmost is a recent Gibson part. It came with a wire-less ABR-1 in the guitar I'm rebuilding (2010 Memphis made 335). You can see it's clearly the shortest, barely 27mm long.

    The center one is a german Faber set. The thread is metric 4mm. Still fit well the Gibson ABR-1 holes, with less free play than the original 6-32. These are slightly longer at 30mm, with a tapered end. Also note the thinner thumbwheels.

    Leftmost are a set from StewMac. Again metric 4mm thread, and again 30mm long, but without the tapered end. The thumbwheels are also the thinner type.

    Now if I measure the top sandwich from the pickup cavity, at the bridge area I have the full spruce bracing thickness (13mm), plus the thickness of the top plate (5mm). If I install the posts so that about 12mm remains exposed that means that the Gibson posts will end up 3mm short of reaching the maple block. The others will barely make it by a couple of mm.

    I was always of the impression that the "trick" of the 335 design was that the tailpiece and bridge were firmly anchored in the center maple block. Essentially a solidbody core with hollow wings. Did I get that wrong all this time ??
     
  5. BlackdogCG

    BlackdogCG TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Leiderdorp, NL
    Preeb, amazing thread as usual !!

    I'm learning tons about Gibson ways of making guitars. And you do incredible work.

    I was going to ask the question about the straight (angled) TR channel, great info !! I have always been intimidated by the curved channel myself.

    I see that you plane the neck perfectly flat with no TR tension, which makes perfect sense. But I have seen that Gibson planes the neck flat with a tightened TR. I presume they do this to get a bit of "dual action" effect out of a simple compression rod design...

    Keep the posts and pics coming, you have an avid student here !!
     
  6. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Worldwide
    Is there a video for that, Blackdog? :)
     
  7. heinzlorenzo

    heinzlorenzo Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    207
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    england uk
    Just to clarify, if you plane the neck flat with some tension in the rod, you need to loosen it before glueing on the fretboard, otherwise you just end up having less adjustment in the neck. I believe the main reason is to always have the rod under tension even with the lightest strings so there are no possible rattles.
     
  8. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    Yeah... I know.

    Here's a few shots of the dots taken with a less POS camera:

    Pearloid nitrate front dots

    [​IMG]

    in focus macro close up (-;
    Note the grayish hue of that material.

    [​IMG]

    and the white celluloid side dots

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BlackdogCG

    BlackdogCG TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Leiderdorp, NL
    Not that I know of. But with the neck I'm working on, if you completely loosen the TR with no strings the upbow is very significant. It would be scary to think it is accidental.
    It requires a fair bit of TR tightening to straighten it without strings. Even more when the strings are tuned to pitch.
     
  10. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    Double post...
     
  11. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    Thank you (-;
    I like my necks stiff and straight without the help of too much rod pressure.
    All healthy vintage necks I inspected were dead straight without string and rod tension so I follow that guideline. Also, I assume that a perfectly straight neck will get a slight relief under normal string pressure (takes about 30-60 days on a fresh new neck) so the rod will need to be tightened a little to even things up. Now... if the rod is already tightened when the neck is straight two "bad" things happen:
    1) the rod needs to be tightened more than needed because it "fights" both string tension and the neck's natural initial bow
    2) There's more tension on the neck wood fiber than needed in two dimensions: (a) length - the rod is compressing the wood on both ends,
    (b) flex - the wood is bent too much since its relaxed point is already with relief.
    I know some companies build a bow into their new necks, but if the properly dried and seasoned wood is used there's no need for that at all.
    Standard "off the shelf" Kiln dried wood will keep moving quite a bit for at least a year with temperature and humidity changes so I can understand that point of view of course... while well seasoned wood moves very little.

    In regards to this build, the historically accurate way is straight, However,
    I do make necks with a slight bow occasionally (1/4 turn of the rod) when I know the player uses 0.09 or 0.08 string set.
     
  12. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    One more little inconsistency with the 58 335's is the fingerboard length.
    The specs are all over the place and the differences are big enough to cause me a headache (-;

    Here's two examples, the first is the average length

    [​IMG]

    and this one is off the scale...

    [​IMG]

    I don't know what could have caused this in the factory but the margin is a full 1/8" which impacts the PU location, tone and harmonics.

    I initially made the board to a standard 59 length and added the 1mm to compensate for the missing binding (hey... better longer than shorter, right?)

    [​IMG]

    but had second thoughts...
    Eventually I decided to remove the extra 1mm and have an average 58 length instead.
    After all, the 58 is unique and whatever happens to the tone (if at all)... it's going to be the correct average for that year of production.

    To cut a thin slice off of the end grain of a board it's best to use a fence and a very sharp thin saw. Here's the square fence double taped to the bottom of the board

    [​IMG]

    and a very sharp Japanese saw (-;

    [​IMG]

    I flip it after the cut and sand it a little with 320 paper to remove the sawing marks

    [​IMG]

    Like that

    [​IMG]

    Now that's better (-;

    [​IMG]
     
  13. BlackdogCG

    BlackdogCG TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Location:
    Leiderdorp, NL
    All perfectly valid points but what can I say, it's the nature of the neck I'm working with...
    On my previous builds I have always made the neck straight without any TR help, and have never had to tighten the TR much either under string tension.
    But this one was made by Henry's Gibson Company....:cry:
     
  14. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    I was responding to this part of your post:
    "...But I have seen that Gibson planes the neck flat with a tightened TR. I presume they do this to get a bit of "dual action" effect out of a simple compression rod design..."
     
  15. Emperor-TK

    Emperor-TK TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    13
    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Hi All,

    First time poster here, so let me make a quick introduction. My name is Chris and I'm a Gibson ES nut and an amateur luthier. I also have a dog named "Telecaster" if that helps my status here any ;-) Ken is currently building me a body, and he referred me to this thread. I wanted to share a couple observations that I made in a discussion with Ken. Hopefully this is of interest to everyone. In addition to the guitars mentioned below, I also own a '59 EB-2 and a '61 EB-6. If anyone needs any detailed measurements or pictures from my collection, please fell free to give me a shout.

    For my build, I will try to match my '61 345 as close as possible. I love the thin neck and the tight, focused, yet still unmistakeably semi-hollow sound. I've played a lot of '59s and thin neck '60-62s and have always preferred the sound and feel of the latter guitars. I might stray a bit and do a 27.5" baritone though. Depends on how creative I'm feeling when I get started.

    From my email to Ken:


    I have the following 335'esq guitars hanging in my studio, all next to each other:

    '59 345
    '61 345
    '64 EA7P Epiphone (with swimming pool routs)
    '66 335
    '67 335-12
    '69 340
    '72 335
    '79 347

    If I walk down the aisle strumming the open strings on them and listening to the acoustic properties of each, this is what I hear. Not surprisingly, they all have their own signature. I even once did a blind listening test with a buddy. He played them unplugged, I listened. I was able to pick out the guitar about 80% of the time. However, two stand out as significantly different from the rest, and it's not what you might expect. They are the '59 and the '72. Both of these have a much more resonant quality than the others, but to my ears, the resonance isn't necessarily a good quality resonance. The majority of the pack has a similar tight focused sound, while still being distinctly a semi-hollow. The '59 however, has a sloppy resonance, with less sustain than the others. It almost sound like the overtones are crashing into each other, if that makes any sense. There is some inherent dissonance and woofiness in the acoustic sound. The '72 is very similar, but even more intense. It almost has a banjo-like quality to it. It's super resonant, with the shortest sustain of the lot. When plugged in, other factors begin to dominate, such as the pickups. Despite the bit of sloppiness, I still really like the '59 and '72 plugged in, but the '61 is by far my favorite. The '72 is my buddies favorite, believe it or not, and he's a by-the-book vintage kind of guy. If I didn't have the '59, I would understand why the '70s 335s get singled out a less desirable, but it's most similar acoustically to the one that is "the year" as they say in the vintage circles. This also isn't the only '59 I've played like this.

    Back to the acoustic properties, I'm shocked that some of the drastic differences don't come into play as much. I'm comparing stop tails vs trapeze vs Bigsby, fat necks vs thin necks, the EA7P with massive routing, and a 347 with two pounds of brass for hardware (sustain sisters, brass nut, TP6). So why do the '59 and '72 stand out so much? I know the '72 has some big routs in the center block, but not like EA7P. Other than the neck, the '59 is probably very similar to the '61. They both have kerfed spruce for the plate shims. This is still a mystery to me. I've been meaning to do some tap impulse measurements, but I haven't got around to it yet. And finally, all of these sound completely different from any modern 335 I've played (which admittedly aren't that many, I just don't like them). The modern ones sound dead and damped to me, the worst combination of the the two modes I observe in my collection.

    Of course, all that said, my collection is a small sampling of the entire production. To quote Charlie, "The only thing consistent about Gibson was inconsistency".

    Check out the rout on my '64 EA7P. The center block is completely cut in half.

    http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2010/Dec/GALLERY_Show_Us_Your_Gear_Vintage_Gear.aspx?Page=15&#gallery

    My '59 still sounds great plugged in:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvuwQmKSQwE

    -Chris
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  16. missinglinkwray

    missinglinkwray Tele-Meister

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    283
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Baja Arizona
    Preeb- What is the ideal ratio of of fret tang to saw kerf that allows the fretted board to stay so perfectly straight? I believe I've been using a saw that is too narrow as my boards always bend back a little. Or a lot.
    I appreciate all the work you put into these threads. It's really a great gift you're giving us.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  17. Maricopa

    Maricopa Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    3,560
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Phx, AZ
  18. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    The slot needs to be a hair wider than the tang. It's only good in theory because the tangs are never 100% consistent since they are not machined to thickness.
    My method is to measure the wire in a few places and use the thickest point as reference and add about 0.001". Once you find a good combination of fret/blade you'd better stick to it and not change fret wires too often.
     
  19. tangelolemon

    tangelolemon Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    164
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    So you're going for near-zero fret compression in the slot? Do you do find this provides the best tone, in your opinion, for these types of guitars? I know there are lots of people with opinions about this.
     
  20. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    6,640
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Sonoran Desert
    No compression. I like the wood parts to be relaxed and vibrate freely (-;
    I don't know about "best" tone, it's too subjective and I never tried any other method so I have no way to compare.
    50's Gibsons were made this way. The added fish glue locks the frets nicely but is not a must.
    The most important thing is to cut the slot as close as possible to the fret tang size (especially depth) without creating any compression.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.