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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Been waiting a while for this to arrive. Basically been interested in a '54 style paul with or without humbuckers for a while, but the Gibson custom shop prices are high and these are quite hard to find.
So I did some research on the Greko's and went fishing. Found one in Germany on fleabay.
I had a look around the web and to my surprise found the same guitar in a forum which had a question from a guy in sweden asking if people felt it was priced right. The serial matched as did the general condition.
I asked the fella in Germany if he could wait a few weeks for the money and when he agreed, I offered a price and the rest is history.
Whilst waiting for the guitar I had a look around the www to see if I could find more pics and reviews etc...there wasn't much out there that I could find..probably more a case that I wasn't looking in the correct forums!
I did read that some were hollow back then...for some reason that bothered me...I didn't want a balsam wood Greko that was hollow...
I'd asked the seller on the weight..which sounded very light to me...more worry...
Once it arrived and I picked it up, all the worried disappeared..great weight and more than I had been informed. Not too heavy, but heavy enough to punch a sustain!
I'd already decided that the Burstbucker #3 and #2 that I had removed from 2002 r9 would be the pickups of choice which, ironically, was also the Gibson Custom shops choice for their jeff beck signature. I gave the guitar a dry run with the pickups that came with her and was impressed by the neck pickup.The Dimarzio SD didn't impress which actually surprises me. I've never owned one but my expectations were higher. That will end up in another project..so time will tell...
Out came the soldering iron and out came one set of buckers and in with another. Obviously nothing is ever that simple...I needed to source a set of height screws that would match the non metric burstbuckers...the heritage EMG's are now requiring a set which are on order...whilst the G&L F100 is also without the Burstbucker #3 which I had in it's tail...I'd also removed the Historic lightweight wraparound tail from the '61 Melody Maker to see if it would fit...but it wouldn't.I had already sourced a MIJ 70's item from Texas that had arrived yesterday at the same time as the guitar.So basically, 3 guitars lay around the workshop (see kitchen) whilst I got on with switching the 3-way switch tip. There are a few things that need sorted if one joins the "anal" gang of correctness..the rear bucker ring is a different shade of cream from the neck, probably original Dimarzio.All part of the character and charm!
The burstbuckers are aged..not sure how or when that happened as as far as I know the Historic series didn't have that as an option..they fit right in though with the appearence of this '78 model.
Once everything was soldered and tested , a new set of strings was fitted and off I went to do some testing.
Road tests is where it's at with guitars imo.. you can fit all the best/ worst parts, but if you don't like the tone its not happy clappy! With the Greco I had read something about the fact that the neck was different . I have to say, it's not the same at all to what I'm used to. It's like a very wide, shallow 12 radius set-up. I can imagine that many a person could easily dislike this neck shape. I like all neck shapes so it's just a case of turn key!
Due to the operation going into the late hours, the first time I could really get a listen was on my vintage Roland cube (beige). Sound was really clear, which , considering the height between strings and pickups, surprised me a tad. An awesome bass tone from the neck and the old school sound from the treble(bridge) pickup...the whole package gives a great tone...think its the mix of the pickups to wraparound (steel alloy).. it's almost "hollowish"..ghostly...clear..
This morning I plugged it into the Marshall and suddenly that Burstbucker #3 showed once again why it's used in the custom shop guitars! sounds awesome and the guitar took on a new life! can't wait to play it more!
So, first japanese guitar in the collection and I feel happy that it's a full bodied 78 with the bits, so to speak. Even vintage cloth wire. I was considering changing the pots and caps, but for now they are doing the job well enough, so that can wait..this guitar wants to be played!