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What the…???

Well, I had to proclaim that there are no mono non Varitone 345s only to have one sent to me today.

Just when you think you know everything, something comes along to remind you that you don’t. I mentioned in a recent post about how if there was a mono, non Varitone 345, that it would be very popular but, alas, while there are some 335s with the 345 inlays, there are no non Varitone, mono 345s. What exactly would that be-if not a gold hardware 335 with parallelogram inlays? Don’t forget that the binding on a 345 is different as well-the 335 has single ply and the 345 has 3 ply white black white. Had the ES-345 been available as a mono, non Varitone model, it wouldn’t have been very different from a 335. Really, just the top binding, the gold hardware and the inlays. I have found that the quality of the wood seems a bit better in 345s than in 335s-more figuring, usually but most of us don’t like too much figuring in our ES models anyway. I’ve seen some stunning flame-usually on the backs of 335s and, more often, on the front of 345s but usually it is pretty subtle-maybe a little flame or some birdseye. Nice. Subtle.  So, in keeping with the idea of a line of guitars with three models, it just wouldn’t have made sense to offer a mono 345. Perhaps gold hardware as an option on the 335 would have been just as nonsensical. The 355 is perhaps a different story since it was so much fancier with it’s heavily inlaid headstock and 7 ply top binding. It was clear that these “tuxedo” elements were meant to appeal to the showman (or woman) and I’m not surprised that they only offered red as the standard color, although black would have been very classy. I guess they didn’t want to cut into the sales of the Les Paul Custom. I’m told that Gibson used to bend over backward for artists and would make just about anything a well known player would want. That brings me back to the guitar in the picture. Well, it’s got a 345 fingerboard and gold hardware but anybody could do that to a 335. But wait, look at the binding. that’s 3 plies, folks. Here I go, shooting my fool mouth off about there being no mono 345s and, bingo, somebody can’t wait to prove me wrong. Looks to me like a 61 or 62. Nice shape too. UPDATE: April 2, 2012. April Fool. It’s a Photoshopped ’61.

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