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Discussion Starter #1
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!



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. A refret is on the books after the wiring is done, 52 years of play have made the original frets quite tired.





Here it is next to my basket case 55-77, and I need to get that one sorted out in the future as well



Upon receiving it, it was pretty clear that the mono conversion was not great, and while the neck sounded amazing, the bridge....well not so much. Thankfully my buddy Juan from tone hungry effects is not only great at attention to detail, but also had enough bravery to figure out what they did wrong while poking around a mid 60’s Gibson (including some open heart surgery on a pat no pickup).

He is going to reuse the stock pots, switch, etc. to build a new harness, and should be able to save the pickup from the news I have so far. Clearly there are advantages to being friends with someone who is used to working in tight pedal cases all day! I have reached out to the previous owner about the pickup, I’m holding out hope he will do the right thing and I can get a partial refund to cover the pickup repair.

I will post more as progress rolls along, Charlie Gelber from Es-335.com has been a wealth of information but I am still learning all the nuances of this guitar as I move forward. Though I am sure this won’t be a collector, it is still easily the most I have spent on a single guitar, and it feels like an absolutely cracking instrument. I hope everyone enjoys the thread as it goes on!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Correct, 355 that has had the headstock replaced and the original veneer added back onto it
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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…



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…





Seriously???




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

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Discussion Starter #7
Neck pickup – healthy and sounds great…


Bridge pickup – anyone else think this could be seen as anything but a dead pickup?...Bueller…Bueller…


Just to be sure, Juan tested both coils…

Slug looks fine…


Screw side…welll I think we found the problem…


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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Discussion Starter #8
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…



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…



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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You guys deserve a medal!

Thanks for all of the pics and information. Very interesting and enjoyable to read/look at. However, understandably, not fun for either of you at all.
 

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I'm 99.9% positive that is the same guitar I played a couple times (unplugged) at Wentworth Music in Kelowna. I was very tempted to get it myself. Wentworth is a very good shop and the guy I was talking to was very clear about the problems with the wiring and pickup. I decided to pass and avoid the hassle and cost you are going through now.

I can only assume it then went to Jesse Mast. Who I've never heard of BTW. It was on consignment at Wentworth so I suppose it could have been J Mast that had it there.

Lots of cool in that guitar. Hope it all turns out well in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It’s turning around the bend now, juan has the electronics sorted out. Refret is likely going to be in March, but we will make sure to get video clips before then.
 

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good save on the pickup. If you still have problems with it, I'd say sending it to Jon at Throback is the right choice. My Goldtop had a bad P90, that's what I did.

I wouldn't worry about a value loss because of the rewind, the value took the big hit on the headstock anyway.

Great score, beautiful guitar. I just looked at L&M's site, about $5800 for a new one, and in my opinion a '66 is a far better guitar.
 

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good save on the pickup. If you still have problems with it, I'd say sending it to Jon at Throback is the right choice. My Goldtop had a bad P90, that's what I did.

I wouldn't worry about a value loss because of the rewind, the value took the big hit on the headstock anyway.

Great score, beautiful guitar. I just looked at L&M's site, about $5800 for a new one, and in my opinion a '66 is a far better guitar.
Nathan at Sanford Magnetics is also a wizard at rewinding pickups. And Canadian to boot.
 

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Seems like, to some extent, you knowingly "gambled" and lost. First, you did purchase the guitar online, rather than in-person, where you might have determined one of the pickups didn't sound "right". That would have at least allowed you to negotiate a lower price based on devaluation due to a potentially non-functional bridge p/u. Since half the value of that guitar rested on fully functioning pickups, with only 1/2 of them working, the devaluation could be as high as 25%. I get your point though, knowing ahead of time would have allowed you to walk away.

Second, it seems there were some earlier indications that the seller was not entirely (or perhaps even minimally) knowledgeable about the instrument. That's another opportunity for negotiation based on the limited info provided (i.e. for you assuming the risk).

Finally, you didn't mention opening a paypal dispute so I'm going to assume you went with a less expensive method (EMT?)...and got all the buyer protection you paid for.

I'm not saying all of this to be a dick but you did take a number of calculated risks so I'm not sure it's fair to pin everything on the seller to "do the right thing" in this case.

Regardless, it looks like a VERY cool semi and I'm sure you'll wind up being quite satisfied with it in the end. I say turn that frown upside down....and enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry for the lack of updates all, 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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