The Gibson MIII Limited Edition HSH 24-Fret Magnificent Monster Electric Guitar Review

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The Gibson MIII Radical Reissue Reinvented Electric Guitar Review
One of the staples of recording electric guitar is to have an array of guitars that can make many different sounds without having to unplug and get a different instrument to do it. The MIII is just such a guitar – a tone machine. I like being able to sit down with it and a set of ideas, crank up the tubes and the recording world, and get down to business while the mood and inspiration are hot.

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My MIII fits the bill nicely. I recommend one if you’d like a great neck and versatile sound coupled with the rock-solid tuning stability of a double-locking Floyd Rose-equipped guitar.

Quick Opinion:
I have been looking forward to writing this review. There’s a lot to say! One of the first things that struck me when I unboxed my MIII for the first time was the cool finish. It is very much like the old-car-metallic-poly (yes, it’s lacquer, I’m speaking of ‘look’) appearance of my Gibson Elliot Easton Tiki Bird Firebird… Mine is a RADIANT orange color with the look of the grain under a clear coat. It looks deep, it’s much cooler than other metallic finishes I’ve seen.

My Orange Glow Gibson MIII plays easily, sounds fantastic, and is a pleasure to hold whether sitting or standing. It sounds great, it feels good (like an Explorer’s neck on a double-cutaway body) with stay-in-tune-the-whole-day kind of playability. Nice!
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I think if you’re looking for a shreddy guitar, a quick-playing in-tuning whammying guitar, and want a set neck with a maple fretboard, this is THE choice! More details? Read on for more…
There are customer reviews and more specs for the MIII available here at zZounds.

Features:
The Gibson MIII is very feature-rich with a ton of great specs.
* Nice double-cutaway mahogany body
* Excellent maple neck with maple fretboard, with a profile something like an Explorer with a reversed “Explorer banana” headstock
* 21 degree radius on the fretboard – very comfortable and natural in the hands for bends
* 24 fret heaven – hit that ultra-high E with ease!
* A Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut combination – if only most static bridges had the fine tuners! (Gibson, what about making the TP6 available on production guitars?)
* Tone and Volume knob simplicity: I can reach the volume with my pinky and do volume swells with ease
* The master tone pops up to split the humbuckers into singles
* HSH pickups with a 5-way selector
* A wonderful high-gloss, smooth finish that colors the body and the back of the neck and headstock
* Gold-silkscreened Gibson logo on the headstock
* Those awesome old-school upside-down black fret marker inlays, yeah!
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The pickup selector is a traditional blade-type switch with the following configuration (from neck-side to bridge-side):
** Neck only
** Neck and middle
** Middle only
** Middle and Bridge
** Bridge only

Overall, this guitar is loaded with lots of stuff, buttons, switches, and downright coolness built-in. I think its gutsy of Gibson to have some fun with a maple-fretboarded tone-ripper!

When you combine the popped-up splitting knob with the blade selector, you can get loads of different sounds and strengths from these very versatile electronics.
I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”

Playability
My MIII is a dream to play. I already love Firebirds and Explorers – and the neck is pretty similar in most ways to both… It was like a fun FireExplorerSG with Maple and a Floyd… Nice! I am agnostic as to necks when it comes to the “perfect” neck for me. I love flat necks, fat, necks, medium necks, even the flat/wide neck of a classical – so I’m almost always comfortable when I pick up a quality-made Gibson of any kind. Given that I love my Z-shapes and my banana headstocks, I must say that the MIII felt right at home, despite its funky thumb-bassy-body look.

The fretboard has an interesting feel to it. It’s not glossy like some of the Fender maple necks – rather it is almost “flat” or satin. You can get your pure nickel Ernie Ball “ROCK AND ROLL” strings out and get everything nice and gray from the nickel on your fingers. The neck does have some kind of finish on it (much like the Raw Power SG and Les Pauls a few years back), so the black stuff doesn’t become permanent – but it looks cool when it’s been played quite a bit.
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I have found that using the Floyd with the last two fingers of my picking hand and then sliding down to pinky the volume is actually fairly easy for those who do this type of thing. Even though I’ve gone to using a Morley Steve Vai Alligator volume pedal, I do still love the fineness of a slick volume control knob’s sweep. These are quick and easy because of the metal black knurled knobs. Generally, I carefully swap out my Gibson witch-hat knobs for this very reason (to either knurled or speed knobs) – but the MIII already has it covered!

It’s not too heavy on the shoulder or the leg, and it has a nice general balance to it – the neck sits out a good ways, but the body is bigger and thicker than something like the SG, so it’s not too much of a diver at all.
I am not only an affiliate of zZounds, I’m a major fan and customer. I really like their zZounds Guarantee “30 days to try out your dream guitar.”

Sound
Here is one of the Gibson Limited Edition MIII’s strong points: sound: Gibson has brought back the very cool Dirty Fingers humbucker with a vengeance! It’s as crunchy and broad as the original, with that nice ability to clean up pretty well when you pick softly and dig in a little less. Very nice…

The Humbucker Single Humbucker configuration, combined with the 5-Way blade pickup selector and the coil-splitting tone knob, you get lots of different sounds out of this beast. I have found that the nicely-sized body gives excellent sustain, while not being too heavy. Although you don’t get solid-body Les Paul sustain-for-weeks sound, you do get much better long-lasting sustain than with the traditional bolt-on-neck-Floyd guitars.

I think the locking Floyd system is a great strong suit to this guitar’s arsenal: It stays in tune day-to-day for me, and I like that. I’ve had GREAT guitars with whammys with which I loved recording – but had to stop and tune them over and over again between takes because of their trem systems. This MIII has that beat and then some!
If you purchase a new Gibson at zZounds, qualified buyers can even play as they play with the 12 month select brands (new guitars only) payment plan.

Fit and Finish
My MIII is extremely well made. The finish is bright, smooth, and doesn’t have lots of flaws around the neck pocket and the electronics. I like the way the craftspeople at Gibson did this one. It was well-done out of the box.

I only had to adjust two saddles for intonation on the bridge – otherwise, it was ready to go right out of the box. The fretboard is perfect, the fret ends were clean (not rounded and invisible, but clean, just the same). I think my most recent Les Paul (a limited semi-hollowbody) has the sweetest factory fret ends of any non-bound Gibson I’ve handled. This MIII isn’t on par with that one – it has more edge and end to the feel than the LP.

The case is nicely manufactured, the finish was completely cured and the bridge was nicely adjusted. Opening the control cavity reveals a simply done set of electronics that are neatly soldered and well-grounded.
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Overall, it’s really quite nice from stem to stern.
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Wishes and Wants
I really love my MIII. I think the only thing that would have sent me over the top to buy a second one (for more tuning options, like keeping one in DADGAD and one in CGCGCC with thicker strings) would have been if Gibson had taken the time to put the fret-end neck binding on this guitar – black or body color or white… Gibson’s fret-end neck binding is, in my opinion, one of the sweetest features Gibson offers. I love the feel of it when I’m playing – or rather, the lack of feeling the frets when I’m playing.

Maybe, just maybe, a pickguard model with all the electronics behind the pickguard would be cool, particularly if the guitar was wired with the Gibson Quick Connect electronics wiring and changing system. I would love to have a box of Quick Connect pickups that I could use to change things out on the fly…

Otherwise, I love the MIII – they did a great job with it.
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