Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: East Coast Music Cocoa Beach
Sound — 8
The pickup switching capabilities of this guitar make good for a real wide set of sounds. I use it through a Peavey JSX and a Rivera TBR1 on a Marshall 1960A Cabinet. The maple neck really adds shimmer to the clean tones but the guitar begs to scream. One flaw if there is one is that it is a bit weak in the sustain department. Maybe because of the wood selections poplar/maple. And you certainly tell your not playing a Paul on tunes with nice fat dark tones. Just a bit thin in that department as well.
Overall Impression — 8
Currently while this guitar is very versitile, I only use it as my drop tuned guitar when gigging out. For what is has in flaws I would still cry like a baby if I lost it and would replace it for sure. Very few people have heard of them and I get many comments when taking it out of the case that alone make it worth owning. Once all is locked down you can't knock it out of tune and I am heavy on the bar plunging it all the way into the body which shows the wear for it. Another great thing is that it is so light weight you can wear all night.
Reliability & Durability — 6
This is probably where this instrument does have a few flaws. It is my first double locking system so this may be true off all of them but replacing the strings are a b--ch! The only way I have been able to pull it off without wanting to throw this guitar out the window has been one at a time. If you get one do not take all the strings off at once unless you are a glutton for misery in your life. I now pay ($35.00) to have a local guitar guru to do the strings. Worth every penny. Another item of dissapointment is that the whammy bar is not a standard fit for about anything. When I rencently lost one it was like finding a needle in a haystack to replace and Gibson was little help.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action on this thing is great, but the store that sold it to me had a great tech that went through it before I got it. As to finish flaws I would say the only item would be that all of the inlays were not quite equal in the depth they were set in the wood. I do like the look of the abalone though, nice dark contrast in color to the maple neck.
Features — 10
Bought in 95 the Gibson MIII is a very unique guitar for Gibson as it has a Strat style body, a H-S-H pickup configuration, 24 fret maple neck with sharkfin inlays on a reversed Explorer headstock, double locking Floyd licensed system, poplar body, with a 5-way selector Switch and a toggle Switch that will convert the humbuckers to single coil. Mine is a transparent red finish an amber was also available at the time I think.