M3 review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (45 votes)
Gibson: M3

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.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    UNIQUE Gibson as it has a Strat style body;H-S-H pickup layout;24 fret maple neck with arrowhead inlays on a reversed Explorer headstock;double locking Floyd;poplar body;5-way selector;toggle switch that converts the humbuckers to single coil. The pickup switching capabilities of this guitar make good for a real wide set of sounds.The maple neck really adds shimmer to the clean tones. The action on this thing is great.Low.Smooth.Bends nicely.Stays in tune, and if i were you i would try this monster!!!
    You pay someone to change your strings???? Jeez! You're either rich or .....!!! About the only time I take all the strings off my guitar are if I'm changing pickups or spending more time polishing than playing it! Change them one at a time and put them in tune as you go. Then fine tune and lock down. I've used a Floyd for years and find they work like a dream. Until you break a string on stage, but that's what you need a spare guitar for! Another tip, if you totally abuse your Floyd, like I do, and have difficulty making strings survive more than one gig. To save the expense of a new set every gig, if you leave enough winding on the machine head, unclamp the string at the bridge end. Snip off the bent part, let some slack off the machine head, relock the new bit of string in the bridge, and away you go. Since usually they only break at the bridge end it's like a whole new set of strings. I usually get about 10 gigs out of one set of strings before they start breaking that way! Mind you, it's still gonna cost a lot it you're payin some sucka $35 a string change though ;
    saucy jack
    I have played three of these MIII jobs in live gigs. Ihave only the deluxe 'see through woodgrain' one these days and the black and red ones re-sold well. I can't see any string problems, stick something under the floating bridge to help the pivot on changing seems to work and the fine tuning for the bridge needs to be done with a slight tightening or loosening of the spring retaining screws in the Floyd cavity on the back. Apart from your string 'expenditure' I agree wholeheartdly with your comments, in terms of playing and sound. Oh one other point, don't over-guage the strings, I find anything more than 9's is a bit too heavy for the MIII. Personally I use 10(s on all my PRS gear and 11's on the SG's, all are fixed bridge. For years MIII's were my main guitar but with lots of tuning changes I eventually succumbed to de-tuning live as I went rather than reaching for another MIII, plus I got a bit tired of the whammy bar type thing and concentrated on true bends. As for finding any more in Europe they are as rare as hen's teeth!!
    I think it is a very unique guitar and in fact i just purchased an epiphone EM-2 which is very similar to it.
    An impressing guitar with really nice features, like the overall rating says. Needs a better mugshot...