Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 68

COLUMN Q&A With George Gruhn

WEIRD DETAILS
ON A '60S 330

And a Strat Pickguard Raises Questions

I

have a '67 Gibson ES-330 in Ebony finish. One might assume it's a refin, but
I got it from a reputable dealer who
assured me it's original. It's stamped "2"
on the back of the headstock and has
the orange label that lists serial number
870340, model designation, and "0058"
written in pen. I've never seen an orange
label on a 330. What can you tell me about
this guitar? - Jeff Smith

the pots are dated 1965. Does that
sound correct? - Michael Price

The serial number could indicate manufacture date of '67 or '69, but is inconclusive
because Gibson re-used serial numbers in
that period. The orange-oval "Union Made"
label is correct for Gibsons made from '64
through '69, and were used indiscriminately.
Better indicators of its build date include the
neck/body joint; if it's at the 17th fret, that
would indicate '67 because Gibson modified
the 330 the next year, moving the joint to
the 19th fret. Also, if the potentiometers
are original, their codes could help confirm
a date.
The die-stamped "2" on the peghead indicates a factory second, which could explain
the black finish. Traditionally, a solid color
was an easy way to cover defects in the wood or
workmanship. To the best of our knowledge,
Gibson did not offer a black as a standard
color in the catalog on the ES-330TD during
its original production run (1959-'72).

I have a '49 Gibson ES-175 on which
a previous owner mounted a hanger to
the neck, leaving two screw holes near the
heel. I'd like to have the holes professionally repaired and am considering having
the neck re-sprayed at the same time.
Considering the damage, will the neck
re-fin affect the value? - David Cimaglia

I recently began building lap-steel guitars and am curious about string gauges
and pickups. Can you share some advice?
- Jasbir Singh

Generally speaking, lap-steel guitars use
the same composition of strings as regular
electric guitars. However, because they are
used in a variety of tunings and scale lengths,
gauges used can vary considerably. Another
consideration is the number of strings. A
good resource is juststrings.com. Seymour
Duncan and Jason Lollar offer a variety of
lap-steel pickups.
I recently bought a '72 Telecaster from
my uncle, who bought it new. I noticed a
space on the treble side of the neck pocket,
and am curious whether it's normal. Also,

It's not unusual for Fender guitars
made in the early '70s to have an illfitting neck and potentiometers from
earlier than the production date of
the guitar. Fender purchased a large
quantity of potentiometers in '66 and
used them through the early '70s.

Repairs/changes to the original finish on
mid-level/player-grade instruments typically
devalue them by at least 50 percent compared
to one in excellent condition. Even partial
replacement/touch-ups can negatively impact
value, but to a lesser degree. Repairs like
yours that are cosmetic in nature (not related
to playability) do not add value unless the
instrument was severely damaged and the
work is done to exceptionally high standards.
The decision to initiate the repair you
reference is also dependent on the value of
the instrument; for instruments of lower
value, it may not be cost-effective because
quality repair work is expensive.
I have a Strat '62 reissue made in 1984
- final year of the Fullerton factory. It's
finished in Vintage White and has a tortoiseshell pickguard. I purchased the guitar
with all the paperwork, and the previous
owner swears he bought it new. Could
the pickguard truly be stock? - Steve Hosa

A tortoiseshell-grain pickguard was not
standard for that model, but it was possible
to order one from Fender at that time. So,
someone could have ordered one and put it
on themselves or a dealer could have ordered
it that way from the factory. We've never seen
an early reissue Strat with a tortoiseshell
guard that could positively be identified as
factory-issue.

VINTAGE GUITAR

68

January 2018

The pickguard on Steve Hosa's reissue Strat.
I recently bought a Paramount guitar
and can't find information about it. Can
you help? - John David

Paramount guitars were student flat-tops,
likely made in Japan in the '60s and distributed by B&J Wholesalers of New York City.
The brand originated in 1921 as a trademark
for William L. Lange, New York City, which
made banjos from 1921 through the mid
'30s. There were also Paramount guitars
made circa 1930 under license by Martin
that are essentially a size 2 body mounted
to a larger rim and back with a "lip" that
contains small round soundholes and acts as
a resonator. The company failed circa 1942,
and in the late '40s Gretsch began using the
name on a line of guitars. Other Paramounts
were made by Harmony or Kay, in Chicago.
This column addresses questions about features
and model changes on stringed instruments,
information on manufacturers, driving forces in the
marketplace, the effects of technology on music,
and any other related subject. Questions can be sent
to vguitar@vintageguitar.com with "Gruhn Q&A" in
the subject line.
George Gruhn has been part of the Nashville music
scene for more than 30 years. He moved to Nashville
in 1969 after getting his Bachelor's Degree from the
University of Chicago and doing graduate work at
Duke University and the University of Tennessee
in Knoxville. In 1970, he established Gruhn Guitars,
Inc., one of the largest dealers of vintage and used
instruments in the world.


http://www.juststrings.com http://www.vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 5
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 6
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 7
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 8
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Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Contents
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Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IBC
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - BC
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201607_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/vintageguitar/201606_v2
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