The new Gibson Marcus King 1962 ES-345 was first spotted back in October 2020 when Marcus revealed he was working with Gibson on a new signature model. The new Custom Shop model – which retails for $6999 – even recreates the idiosyncrasies of a tailpiece designed for different guitar type.
Gibson Marcus King 1962 ES-345
The new Marcus King 1962 ES-345 is based on an instrument belonging to Marcus King’s grandfather, a much-loved family heirloom gifted to Marcus King when he was 18 by his father. It has been in the family for three generations, so it’s fair to say that this has a long family history.
Gibson has used the Sixties Cherry VOS finish on this model and it comes with a pair of their Custombucker humbuckers and a six-position mono Varitone switch. The wiring includes CTS audio taper potentiometers and Black Cat capacitors.
On the hardware side, the guitar has an ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge, with that Sideways Vibrola along with the Stop Bar bushings with a “custom made” cover plate and gold Grover “milk bottle” Rotomatic tuners and finally an engraved “Stereo” truss rod cover. Those Sideways Vibrolas are odd beasts, but I can only imagine that Marcus is used to all their idiosyncrasies. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of their tuning stability and avoid them wherever possible. The tailpiece used here was designed for the flat-topped SG, rather than archtops, and the Gibson website notes that using the sideways vibrola can scratch the finish – just like on the original instrument.
Value for money?
Now for the case candy: the Custom Shop ES case contains a Certificate of Authenticity and Marcus King belt buckle, along with all the usual paperwork and Custom Shop tags. When you add it all up, it is still a very expensive guitar. With those specifications, it is going to appeal to a limited audience of vintage reissue fans or Marcus King fans.
Sure, it is a lovely looking instrument, but perhaps not very practical, at least on paper. It’s a very beautiful but niche instrument. The video below explains the story of the original and it sounds great, so I’m sure the fans will love it.
RRP – USD 6999