The long-mooted Gibson ES-345 signature model for Marcus King has been revealed; a Custom Shop model based on the electric guitar that was handed down to King from his grandfather and became his key instrument.
"The ES-345 is a very special one to me," the guitarist told us earlier this year. "That is what my grandfather played and when he passed – unfortunately when I was 14 – he left it to my father, and when I was 18 years old my father give it to me as a symbol of support, a symbol of being able to take a little bit of my grandfather’s energy with me as I was embarking on what seemed to be a never-ending tour."
The original guitar became a talisman as King blazed a trail as on of the most exciting young blues and soul players to emerge in the last decade.
"We went out and we didn’t turn back for I don’t know how long, six years," King added. "That guitar was sort of my guiding light. It was my torch. It was my everything, so I am working with Gibson now on replicating it and hopefully being able to give it as a guiding light to other players embarking on their own journey.”
And it looks like it could certainly do that, if you have the $6,999 required to purchase one of these Custom Shop models.
The Sideways Vibrola tailpiece that also features on King's original makes it an unusual proposition – and one that carries a warning. Designed for SG models and not for archtops, Gibson points out that it does have the potential to graze the finish if used.
Finished in Sixties Cherry VOS, this new 345 features a pair of Custombucker humbuckers, a six-position mono Varitone switch, ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge, Sideways Vibrola, audio taper CTS® potentiometers and Black Cat capacitors, Stop Bar bushings with a "custom made" cover plate, gold Grover "milk bottle" Rotomatic tuners and an engraved "Stereo" truss rod cover.
Also included is a Custom Shop ES case, Certificate of Authenticity and Marcus King belt buckle. That buckle was "hand-carved, hand-cast, and hand-finished" in the USA by Maker and Smith and the design inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains in Marcus King’s native state of South Carolina.
More info at Gibson.