Can a single pickup ES-330 be converted to a double pickup?

Discussion in 'ES-sential Hollowbodies' started by sim84, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. sim84

    sim84 New Member

    I’m pretty keen on getting an ES-330, but I prefer a bigger neck profile, which from what I can tell, limits me to a 1959 or early 1960 model, or the 1959 VOS reissue. I tried the reissue a while back and loved it, but it doesn’t appear that it’s being made any longer, and I’m struggling to find that model on the used market. Most of the vintage examples I can find from 1959 are single pickup models, so I’m wondering how feasible it is to have a luthier convert one of these to have two pickups. I’m guessing it would be easier to leave the original pickup where it is than fill the hole, so having three pickups would maybe be easier? Anyone hear of such a thing being done? I don’t normally like to modify vintage guitars, but the single pickup ES-330 seems to have far less utility as a player’s instrument. What do you guys think?


  2. Can you? Yes, anything's do-able.
    Should you? I wouldn't hack up a 60 year old guitar - especially a hollowbody. Besides the de-valuing aspect, there's the structural integrity of the instrument to consider.
    "If I were you" - seems money isn't a consideration - I'd find a reissue 330 with 2 pups, a reissue 335 with the neck I like ('59?) and have the neck from the 335 transferred over.
    It's not a five minute job, but it is 'do-able'.
    It makes more sense to hack up reissues than vintage guitars, in my book.

    I'd also look at Epiphone Casinos from the '60a, since they're the same guitar. Epiphones today are relatively cheap copies, but back in the '60s and earlier they were a top quality US instrument manufacturer.

    EDIT: Forget all the above, just get Gibson Memphis to make you one.
  3. SAguitar

    SAguitar Active Member

    Don't do it! You would be destroying a vintage instrument's value, just to make it more of a utility player? I'm sorry, that's crazy talk. That's the kind of stuff guys did in my youth when old Gibsons were "just" used guitars. We routed those things out and slapped in dive bomb tremelos, and they aren't worth much in today's market.

    Like Somebody Else said, just keep shopping and find a guitar that suits your needs.


    I have to agree with SAguitar, plus there would be the problem of where to place the second pickup. On the single pickup model, Gibson has placed the pup right in the most usable position, so a second unit would have to be pretty close to the original. You most likely would not get the variation of tones that you expect.
    Personally I would continue the hunt for a two pickup version.
  5. Like I said yesterday, the obvioud answer is, if you can afford to buy and hack up a 60 yo guitar, just het Gibson's Custom Shop to make you exactly what you want.
  6. sim84

    sim84 New Member

    Fair enough. I thought it might be more like converting an Esquire into a Tele with the addition of a neck pickup. Might make a few collectors wince, but from a player’s perspective, a useful and tasteful mod. I stand corrected.
  7. kaicho8888

    kaicho8888 Member

    Yeah... leave the oldie alone!

    Probably cheaper to get ES-330 with two dogged eared pickups.

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