Confused about Gibson Midtowns

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Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
I'm interested in smaller bodied Semi Hollow electrics and the usual 339s and Casino Coupes have popped up on my radar but then the Midtown came to mind.

I've had a quick look and there seems a fair few variations for over the years; Standards, Customs, 2 knob versions, 4 knob version, Bigsby versions, Richlite fingerboards, Rosewood fingerboards, odd shaped head stocks, P90 versions, '57 Classic versions, Burtsbucker versions, G-Force tuners etc....

Can anyone enlighten me or point me in the right direction of the variants and how they differed over the years of their release?
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  • paganskinspaganskins Frets: 92
    I've a 2015 standard, a later one once they'd ditched the robot tuners. I'm really pleased with it, sounds good (burst buckers), really resonant acoustically, plays well – slim taper 60's neck which some don't like.

    This type, rosewood fingerboard, chrome hardware



    And for about £550 second hand they've got to be one of the best value Gibson purchases out there.
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 428
    edited July 11
    I had a good look at midtowns for a while. They just seemed like terrific value for money and definitely one of the cheapest ways into Gibson 'semi' territory.

    The construction isn't a true semi though. As I understand it, a midtown is chambered solid wood. An ES330/casino is fully hollow, an ES335/9 has a centre block. I see some upsides to this - a midtown should be less prone to feedback. Main downside is that the top is completely flat, rather than arched which looks a little unconventional. but that is more of a personal taste thing.

    When I tried one I noticed that the neck joint seemed pretty ' flexible'. Didn't appear to be an issue, but it was pretty easy to bend the strings out of tune by applying some pressure on the neck and that made me worry about how strong the neck joint was. 

    If I was buying I would avoid robotuners like the plague, would prefer :
    4 knobs vs 2 (the right number for a gibson)
    Humbuckers vs P90s (get a casino if you want P90s)
    Fixed tailpiece vs bigsby (less hassle)
    rosewood vs richlite (although not a deal breaker)

    I would be indifferent over std vs custom and 57s vs burstbuckers
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 428
    edited July 11
    On aesthetics - arch vs flat top

    ES335

    Midtown

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  • ewalewal Frets: 663
    I've a semi hollow which I think has a similar routed body construction (Reverend Manta Ray). For me, it feels and plays a lot like a solid body especially in terms of sustain and feedback threshold. Not sure if the Midtown might be similar. My Guild Starfire has much more of a semi hollow vibe to it.
    The Scrambler-EE Walk soundcloud experience
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  • westwest Frets: 246
    Deader than a dead thing thats dead .... unlike a 339 or a 335 which is spingier than spring .....
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  • rossirossi Frets: 413
    edited July 11
    I have a 2015 pelham blue Midtown standard and it even has robot tuners .I love it but what do i know ? I actually  just play  it rather than pontificate  about stuff. I have never played a Les Paul in anger but I had a 335 and didnt really notice a huge difference but then I wasnt looking for one .  I play blues ,jazz all finger style .
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  • sw67sw67 Frets: 49
    I have one of the last midtowns made in Pelham blue. Its my go too guitar for everything. no feedback issues and sounds just like my les paul. 

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  • Really good guitars especially for the money. I had a 2015 sunburst with the richlite fingerboard or whatever it was called. Would highly recommend. 
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    So it would seem that:

    2009 Standards - '57 Classics, Richlite Fingerboard, Funny Shaped Headstock, 2 knobs (plus a version with Bigsby)

    2009 Customs - Burst Buckers, Richlite Fingerboard, 4 knobs, Normal Custom Headstock

    2012 Standard P90 - P90's, Rosewood Fingerboard, 2 knobs, Funny Shaped Headstock

    2015 Standard - Burst Buckers, Rosewood Fingerboard, 4 knobs, G-Force Tuners, Normal Shaped Headstock

    2016 Custom Deluxe - Burst Buckers, Bakelite Fingerboard, 4 knobs, Grover Tuners, Normal Shaped Headstock
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  • NelsonPNelsonP Frets: 428
    edited July 11
    So I'd go for a 2015 in that case. Probably the best bang for your buck and you can always swap out the robotuners if you don't get on with them.

    rossi said:
    I have a 2015 pelham blue Midtown standard and it even has robot tuners .I love it but what do i know ? I actually  just play  it rather than pontificate  about stuff. 
    Ha ha, fair point. But pontificating is what forums are all about aren't they ;-)
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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 2184

    I like mine, I prefer it to 335 style guitars.  If I want something with more acoustic properties thinline hollow would be my choice (I love 330’s).   The Midtown is like a slightly lighter sounding Les Paul, still has a little more air in the sound but great sustain.   Mine is a 2015 Standard.
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  • paganskinspaganskins Frets: 92
    Duppy03 said:
    So it would seem that:

    2015 Standard - Burst Buckers, Rosewood Fingerboard, 4 knobs, G-Force Tuners, Normal Shaped Headstock

    Mine's a 2015 standard and had grovers from the factory.

    You see midtowns referred to as somewhere between a LP and 335, but being so slab like I find mine more like an oversized DC junior or an SG.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8592

    The Midtown is like a slightly lighter sounding Les Paul, still has a little more air in the sound but great sustain.
    You'll be telling me next that I neeed one
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • I have the 2015 pelham standard.
    The only time i’ve had issues with the robots is when the battery needed charging other than that theyre fine, although i had it restung and setup properly by salop music centre not long after i got it.
    It does feel slightly different to play due to the slim taper neck but nice though.
    The rosewood fretboard is “medium” but would look much better if it was a darker rosewood.
    The burstbuckers really sound great especially with fuzz/distortion, sustains great.
    Quality wise, mine has two small hairline cracks in the paint where the neck joins the body and now and again the pots work a tad loose but you can access the electrics from the back so thats no real biggie.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    Sounds like the 2015 standard is the one to get. Did the Custom versions get Rosewood boards in 2015 too?
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  • rossirossi Frets: 413
    edited July 11
    I have  just  hand tuned after the battery went as I am pretty lazy about charging it .Its no biggie really .You just have to learn how to restring and how to use them .My only tip is if you keep your finger on the button it starts scrolling so just press all buttons quickly and precisely .My only real beef isn't one really i find its heavy in its case to lug around to the gigs  I sometimes inflict on people.i am very old and decrepit and  I don't want to stick it in a gig bag  with the dreaded Gibson neck woes and often there isnt a car park next to city bars so I tend to take my Tele in a gig bag or even my cheapie Keiper 109  hollowbody  jazzer  in foam case and my DV little jazz.also The case has Gibson USA ,an invitation to inner city muggings .Its a fine guitar though I wish it was 339 size.mine was 599 from dV247 in 2015 .A bargain .Its head a shoulders above its wanky rivals.I couldnt find anything wrong with mine after looking very closely .
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  • Tat2dsteshTat2dstesh Frets: 33
    Got a 2015 standard which I fitted a pickguard too. also have a LP studio plus 2012, Gibson sg special and Gibson flying V, all 60s slim neck and will say this out of all of them my midtown is my favourite, it plays great but has this massive sound. I swapped out the burst buckers for a Gibson 498t and p90 in neck and it sounds mean and massive. 
    Don't gete wrong I love the other guitars but there is something about the midtown which just looks and feels great to play to me. 
    I had a Hagstrom Viking which I found too big to play live. 
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  • BigsbyBigsby Frets: 162

    I had a Hagstrom Viking which I found too big to play live. 
    Funnily enough I had a Viking, which I'd picked up at a bargain price, but was quite underwhelmed by it. Rather than mess around swapping pickups, I sold it after buying a 2015 Midtown Standard when DV247 had them on sale. In fact, I went there to check out an SG  (it was dreadful), and spotted the Midtowns. The Pelham on display was dreadfully set up, but the black one played much better. They fetched another Pelham out of the store and it was the best of the bunch. These are really lovely guitars, as long as you like the slim taper necks, and the burstbuckers really suit them - they're very versatile, but more solidbody-ish than a semi.



    I did end up selling mine once I got into Reverends, but only because something had to go due to limited space in my flat! It's place has been taken by a Spacehawk, which fills that 'not quite a solid body' slot. :) Midtowns are a massively under-rated Gibson model, and thus can be quite a bargain. Although it's hard to beat the crazy price DV247 were selling them at - I did actually sell both the Viking and Midtown for a profit, about £100 each IIRC.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    Right, that's it then. I'm on the hunt for Midtown :)
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    I'd gladly take a 2015 Sunburst version, but the Custom with Antique Natural finish is pretty irresistible....

    I'd find the Standard with Bigsby in red hard to turn down too.
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  • stuagustuagu Frets: 301
    edited July 12
    I had one of these for a while, nice guitar, definately more les paul, than 335 . I got rid of it as it was neck heavy and i couldnt get used to it. If i took my hand off the guitar the neck would slowy go down towards the floor. May have just been mine or that maybe a trait, i wouldnt know as iv only ever played that one. A bigsby on it would help it be more balanced id imagine.  
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1537
    Was there not a gold top too?
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    stuagu said:
    A bigsby on it would help it be more balanced id imagine.  
    If it doesn't come with a Bigsby already on, it'll be getting one :)
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73

    rlw said:
    Was there not a gold top too?
    I haven't come across a Goldtop version... yet. They did a limited release of Pelham Blue ones though
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  • HenrytwangHenrytwang Frets: 6
    I’ve got a 2015 Midtown Standard used for £500 including the case. It’s a nice guitar, not quite a solid and not quite a semi. I took an instant dislike to the robot tuners and replaced them with a set of Grovers. They’re probably the best cheap Gibson around if you shop around, the build quality is excellent as are the pickups.
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 73
    edited July 13
    I’ve got a 2015 Midtown Standard used for £500 including the case. It’s a nice guitar, not quite a solid and not quite a semi. I took an instant dislike to the robot tuners and replaced them with a set of Grovers. They’re probably the best cheap Gibson around if you shop around, the build quality is excellent as are the pickups.
    £500 is a bargain! I'm on the hunt
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1537

    Duppy03 said:

    rlw said:
    Was there not a gold top too?
    I haven't come across a Goldtop version... yet. They did a limited release of Pelham Blue ones though
    No, you're right - there wasn't one.  Wishful thinking on my part
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • Creed_ClicksCreed_Clicks Frets: 32
    edited July 13
    I had the black midtown standard, 2015, I think. Solid as f**k. Barely ever had to tune it. I sold it, as I want to get a more regular size 335 with a more "hollow" feel.
    Midtown felt more like a solid body I suppose, and played very well.
    Also played the midtown with the Bigsby and that too was a very solid guitar.
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