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Collectable Guitars pt 20 – The Gibson MIII


icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Gibson M-III was one of the company’s rare attempts to muscle in on the popular Superstrat movement of the late 1980s, led by Jackson and Ibanez. It was not as successful as other Gibsons and was withdrawn after only a few years in production.

Gibson MIII GuitarThe guitar featured an updated Stratocaster shape with a reverse headstock, and had a set-neck when the trend in Superstrat design was to have a thru-neck, or a bolt-on for the cheaper models.

All guitars had Floyd Rose style tremolos and two humbuckers plus a central single-coil pickup. Also, where most superstrats had rosewood or ebony fingerboards, the M-III’s frets were set into a slab of maple.

The guitars looked and felt too different from Gibson’s classic models, and are no longer made, although there is an M-III shaped model called the EM-2 in Epiphone’s metal-oriented Prophecy range.

The Gibsons are rare and collectable, but are another example of a 10-20 year-old guitar which offers a lot for not very much money used.

They are worth between £500-800.

12 Comments

  1. BlackCatTheory says:

    The dark red coloured MIII, as pictured, was my first ever ‘decent’ guitar. It was bought with a combination of money earned labouring on a farm and with a little extra help from my parents in 1990.
    Although, I gigged the guitar for almost a decade, I never saw another one in the flesh and, until now, haven’t seen anything written about them.
    It’s a shame as it is an amazingly flexible and well put together guitar with a huge array of sounds on offer. It’s wide, thin neck make and ample access to the higher frets make it excellent for lead stuff and it sounds great for everything from blues to metal. The pickups sound a little tame compared to the modern pair of Ibanez that I use for rhythm playing, but they have bags of character, particularly as the neck or bridge humbucker can be paired with the single coil in the middle.
    On the downside, the Floyd can be a bit of a pain to change strings and it requires the truss rod to be adjusted and the action re-set (by my Dad) every year or two to avoid the action raising and the intonation creeping off on the A string.
    Mine has been confined to studio only use since around 2000 but it is the oldest guitar in my collection and one that has many memories infused into the woodwork. I have no doubt that it’ll be with me until the day I die.

  2. derek says:

    i have one and this guitar is out of this world. I have strats les pauls and parker and this m3 beats them all. and should be a worth a lot more. Gibson should be making more or stand behind the ones they made they are being then half of the junk thats out here now .

  3. stone says:

    I own a Gibson M3,I bought it new in the store for about 18 years ago,and I think it’s the best guitar ever !!!
    It’s A guitar you don’t see often and it plays fantastic and sounds great !!
    In my whole life I see just one time another one playing it !!!
    So everyone who owns one….BE PROUD !!!!!!

  4. dany says:

    Hello from France !!

    I bought an m3 in 1996……still got it , amazing instrument !!

    incredible easy to play , fantastic neck , very powerfull sound .

    Que du bonheur ( in french in the text )

    the only problem is that i can’t find parts , i’d like to change the (used)
    pick-guard.

    Does someone can give me informations on this point ??

  5. Alex P. says:

    Hi all,

    I own a ’91 MIII Deluxe, and I gotta agree with everyone so far, it is a fantastic guitar.

    The humbucker-singlecoil-humbucker pickups with the mini-toggle switch is a genius combination. Plus it has one the best cutaways I’ve seen, with amazing access to the upper frets.

    The thing about it is that it has all these amazing features crammed into one guitar. In all these years, I’ve yet to come across a single guitar that has all these features, AND can play anything from jazz to death metal. Simply amazing…

    I wouldn’t even dream of selling it, it is my pride and joy, and to be brutally honest, I’m glad Gibson didn’t continue this model. I like to be one of the blessed few that owns one. Everyone has a les paul or a 335, but how many have an MIII?

  6. jake says:

    I’ve owned my m3 for about 12 years, I bought it immediately after some druggy pawned it. for $600 with case. this i the most amazng guitar ever, nothing else will eve compare in my mind. I just recently took the plung and decided to refinish it. its been throught hundreds of gigs and practices and took ahell of a beating. but shes gorgeous now and with a nice set of emg’s, 85x and 81x. this thing breathes fire now. I’m lucy to own it and it will be with me till the day I die. thanks gibson!

  7. brian says:

    I have a ’91 MIII black that survived a ton of punk rock/metal years of heavy gigging in the early ’90’s only to somehow have it dropped off the rack in the last few years. The neck cracked halfway through the tuning pegs, and I’m not sure if it’s even repairable. I will say I pulled this sucker out of the case, high E string broken off the tuning peg but still locked under the locknut, cracked head, and the sucker is still 98% in tune after almost 8 years of residing in its case. These things are indestructible and for the $400 it took to steal it from a small shop in St. Paul, MN in ’93 I’ve never heard anything so hammer heavy yet crazy bright on leads for the money. I pushed this through a Rivera M100 head and Mesa Boogie 4×12 and loved life. I’d buy another if I ran across one just for the sentiment.

  8. ojmetal says:

    my m3 is a custom shop edition and does not have the single coil but instead a coil tapping switch, and no pick guard and in all pics i’ve seen of m3’s i’ve not seen another one like it ,i had a guy at a guitar store look it up a few years ago and he told me it was worth about $675!before that i had no clue what the guitar was called.

  9. Toon says:

    Hello there!
    I have a Gibson M-III standard 1993 for sale.
    Black, in very good condition with original case.
    Pics are available.

  10. Scott Shrimpton says:

    Got me one of these fantastic time machines. Wouldn’t give it up for the world. It’s certainly one of a kind. If you’re lucky enough to own one, or have had the pleasure of playing one, you know the language I’m talking. Glad they’re rare, just adds to the mistique. Never fails to attract a comment from anyone, anywhere, anytime. All hail the MIII!!

  11. Oknarb180 says:

    Hi there,

    Greatings from the Netherlands!!!
    I ‘m glad I own 2 models, a Deluxe (like the upper picture) and a candy apple red from the same line (with the pickguard etc.).
    For me it’s the most fantastic guitar, playabillity, very diverse sounds etc.
    Awesome guitar! In my opinion, only the frets should be bigger.
    But hey, when mine needs a refret, I’ll definitely put Dunlop Jumbo 6000’s on both the guitars.

  12. Rusty says:

    I agree with all the comments here, The M-III is a work of art, unique and built like a custom shop Gibson. The first time i saw a M-III I fell in love with the asymmetrical body the C-shape cut away with a really long top horn and the cool scratch plate also the reverse headstock and spearhead fretboard inlays really blew my mind. Then I picked it up for the first time and was shocked at how finger friendly the neck felt just wonderful and silky with the lowest action I had ever played on. If someone stole my M-III I would hunt them down, torture them and dig them up to kill them AGAIN!!

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