* Produced between 1991 - 1996
* Double-cut solidbody with long horns
* 25.5" scale neck (I think Bolt-on) w/24 frets
* Various PU configurations
The M Series Collection (incomplete):
1) M-III Standard: H/S/H PU configuration, maple fretboard w/black triangle inlays, reverse Explorer headstock w/reversed Gibson Logo (must my inlayed pearl), 1 Tone, 1 Volume, 5-way (or 3-way) blade switch, 1 mini-switch, side jack, Gibson stamped locking vibrato bridge, w/pickguard, various finishes including Metallic Candy Red (don't know the actual finish name) and Ebony.
2) M-III Standard - No Pickguard: The same as (1) but without pickguard, ad shows the guitar in Translucent Amber finish.
3) M-IV S Deluxe: The same model as (1) & (2), but the body wood is different, the finish in Translucent, the vibrato bridge is seems like an alternated/wider Vintage Synchronized Vibrato Bridge, Rosewood (could be Ebony) fingerboard w/triangle pearl inlays.
4) M-IV S Standard: Same as the above, solid Ebony finish, the same weird bridge, Ebony (seems a bit too dark to be Rosewood) fretboard w/pearl dot inlays.
A very nice detail imho is that the tremolo was custom-made for Gibson, and where you normally had "Schaller" stamped into the baseplate, on an M3 it reads "Gibson".
*** HERE'S THE ONE I JUST BOUGHT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO...
GUITAR WORLD / FEBRUARY 1992
GIBSON M-III STANDARD ELECTRIC GUITAR
Despite its rich history of quality and innovation, Gibson has been a little frustrated in getting a "modern" line of electric guitars to "stick" in the marketplace. Their bread-and-butter Les Pauls, ES-335s, and SGs have been hard acts to follow, hut with the M-III, the company has definitely come up with a winner.
This is a totally new Gibson guitar, save two classic features: the reverse Explorer-style headstock, and the gold Les Paul control knobs that compliment the tiger-shell pick guard (and truss rod cover and mini-toggle switch-plate--nice follow-through!).
The M-III has a racy shark fin and a deep-cutaway look that's "California custom car" sharp, balanced with enough natural wood to avoid vulgarity. The flat, ultrathin, 1-14/32-inch wide maple neck with arrowhead inlays is built for speed, and the jumbo frets and set-in construction deliver sustain that hangs into next week.
Thc M-III is also a very comfortable guitar to play: there's front and rear beveling, that's forearm-friendly, plus the 22nd fret neck-join means easy access to the 24th fret for players with even the biggest paws. In general, the workmanship is excellent, although I thought the edges of the frets could've used a tad more polishing.
A PEEK UNDER THE HOOD
Gibson's designers have put as much thought into the electronics as they have into the cosmetics. For starters, there's no need to run this guitar flat out in order to get a full sound.
The M-III's nine tone settings stay the same at any volume level. And they're musically useful tones, too, with plenty of high-end snap on the treble settings and rich, mud-free lows for rhythm work.
The pickups are recent Gibson models--a bright 496R ceramic magnet humbucker in the rhythm position that's mated with a high-output Model 500T humbucker at the bridge. Also, there's an extra NSX single-coil in the middle position, giving the player a wide range of humbucking and single-coil options.
Of special note is the efficient switching system: flipping a mini-toggle into Position One cuts in the single-coil sounds, while Position Two is for the double-coils. There's also a standard five-position switch for selecting the normal combinations, plus a few extras like an enhanced neck pickup tone that adds a hollow-body character to the sound and a stand-by mode for manual special effects, between song muting, etc...
There are no single-coil-plus-humbucking combinations in the stock factory wiring scheme. But there's nothing stopping the intrepid, soldering iron-wielding wirehead from making a few mods, is there?
Rounding out the M-III's features is a flush-mounted, Schaller-made Floyd Rose tremolo system, but what's there to say about a Floyd Rose that you don't already know If you've ever owned a guitar equipped with one? I've never understood why most guitar manufacturers don't include a booklet explaining the care and feeding of these systems, which are fairly sophisticated. What kind of strings are required? Does it need lubrication'? How do I adjust it? We're not born with this knowledge, folks, and the first time a first-time buyer busts a string they're gonna suffer some serious angst.
I worked the M-III out on a publishing demo for one of my new tunes, which called for two completely different rhythm guitar tracks. Normally, that would mean lugging all my guitars up to the studio, but thanks to its switching capabilities and dual pickup systems, the M-III was all I needed.
The first track needed a funky, single-coil, "boink-boink" tone--and the middle/bridge single coil setting was ideal. But I also wanted the amp (a '62 Vox AC30/6 "Treble") to clip a little, and was wondering if the single-coils would pump out enough power to overdrive the pre-amp section. No problem--I was even able to turn the amp's volume down, thus saving wear and tear on this antique amp's output stage.
Track Two needed a mega-crunch, fat humbucker tone for rhythm/power chord accents, so we fired up an ancient Marshall 2 X 12-inch, 50-watt combo and set the guitar to the neck humbucker position. The initial sound was dynamite, but when auditioned against the backing track, it was obvious, that a rounder sound was called for. The engineer started to reach for the EQ knobs, but all I had to do was switch to the enhanced tone setting. Actually, the "front-end" sounds on both tracks were so good that it was possible to record them with no EQ, thus reducing extraneous electronic noise. There was only one "problem" with the M-III: it's such a fun guitar to play and has such a pleasant "finger feel" that instead of concentrating on the task at hand, I noodled around too much! -CHRIS BUTLER
MODEL: M-111 STANDARD
LIST PRICE: $899.
NECK: 24-fret set-in maple neck with arrowhead inlays.
PICKUPS: One 496R ceramic magnet humbucker in the neck position, one NSX single-coil in the middle position and one 500T humbucker
in the bridge position.
TREMOLO: Double-locking Floyd Rose and black chrome hardware.
COLORS: Available in ebony, white and candy apple red.