1972 SG Custom

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by HenryR, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. HenryR

    HenryR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Hi there!
    I own a worn 1972 SG Custom, which sports an after market cheap Bigsby copy. I am looking for an old, aged Bigsby B5 to replace the copy. Obviously a gold one.
    Then I have a question: I don´t like that big Nashville bridge, which is on the guitar. I would like to replace it with an ABR-1. Does this work without any modifications?
    Thanks for any reply!
    Henry
     

    Attached Files:

  2. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Cool guitar! One thing, though: that's not a Nashville bridge, that's what was known as the Harmonica bridge. No idea if it's a direct fit for the ABR1, but read up on it searching 'harmonica bridge' and you should find out.
     
  3. HenryR

    HenryR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Oh, of course - the Nashville bridge is a completely different animal. Thanks for reminding me.
     
    bwotw likes this.
  4. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    7,930
    Likes Received:
    3,939
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    Welcome Henry and cool guitar
     
  5. HenryR

    HenryR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Thanks! Yes, it´s a cool one. I play guitar for ages, and I had them all - from Tele to Les Paul, from Strat to ES. But I never had an SG, and I always wanted a cream SG Custom. Now I got it. A battered one, but with tons of vibe and sound.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    2,156
    That is cool, and interesting too. I thought the '72 custom came with the LP-style pick guard & controls mounted on a plastic panel. I'm wondering if this is slightly older? Also curious about the 3 switches, how are they wired? Sorry can't help about swapping out the Harmonica bridge, personally, I quite like the look of them. :)
     
  7. HenryR

    HenryR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Well, I think it´s one of these Customs, which came out in 1973. The serial # is 891889, and it says "Made in USA" on the back of the headstock. In 1973 they went back to the older style of the pickguard, which was a real good idea :-).
    Back then the Custom was available with and without Bigsby, mine originally did not have a Bigsby, but a stop tailpiece. It was modified quite heavily over the years. Instead of the toggle there´s now a master volume pot. Beside this is a master tone pot. The three toggles sit at the places of the other pots. One toggle is not connected right now, one switches like the one on a Les Paul (just bridge and neck pickup solo, and the combinationen of both) and the third toggle throws in the middle pickup. That´s it. I am thinking of recreating the old wiring system and to install a Bigsby B5 instead of this cheap thing, which I really don´t like.
     
  8. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    13,566
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Warsaw, In
    Welcome to ETSG! :smile:

    Love the Customs... old ones in particular... Here's my 73.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. HenryR

    HenryR New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Lower Saxony, Germany
    Very cool. This cherry ones I did not see that often...
     
  10. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    13,566
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Warsaw, In
    It's actually not a cherry but a natural. But I am more about how it plays... and that's very cool! :cool:
     
  11. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Messages:
    13,566
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    Warsaw, In
    ... not a great pic. Been threatening to upgrade my pix for years.......... Nother thing on the to do list. :facepalm:
     
  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    7,910
    Likes Received:
    7,939
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    Welcome to ETSG! Thanks for posting that excellent photo of your old SG.
    ...about the bridge installed on your vintage guitar... I'd leave it alone, as designed.

    remember that the ABR-1 bridge was designed way back in the '50s when the only strings
    available were heavy gauge. So if that's what you use on an electric guitar, then the ABR-1 is
    for you.

    By the 1970s, guitarists were using lighter gauges of strings, and the ABR-1 bridge did not have
    enough travel to intonate properly. The '70s harmonica bridge was designed to correct that.
    So if light gauge strings are what you use on an electric guitar, then the Harmonica bridge is for you.

    People talk about replacing bridges as if the look of the bridge was the only issue.
    But the look of the bridge is actually a non-issue. The only issue is the intonation of the guitar. If your
    guitar plays in tune with the strings you prefer, then a '70s looking bridge won't hurt you any.
    If your guitar will not play in tune with the strings you prefer, then an old fashioned ABR-1 bridge won't
    help you any.

    The Nashville bridge was designed to correct all of this, and to be adaptable to many gauges of strings
    ...especially tens, which are the factory issue strings. But modding a vintage guitar because you don't
    care for the vintage features seems like shooting yourself in the butt. It would be better to sell the old warhorse
    to someone who values it as is than to do what needs to be done to change the bridge on one of these.
    Then use the money to buy a '61 ReIssue, which is a much better guitar and has the bridge you prefer.

    If I am correct, you can't just slip the harmonica bridge off and install an ABR-1. You have to remove the inserts
    from the body, plug the holes with dowels, then re-drill new holes to be correct for the bridge you have in mind.
    And then weep salty tears over how you've destroyed the value of your vintage instrument. Don't do it.

    After ogling the great photo you posted, I'd say that the wear patterns on your SG are priceless, and the look of that trem and harmonica bridge are totally classic.
    If it plays in tune, it's a real keeper. If it doesn't, the attentions of a good luthier might do some judicious smoothing to the nut and the saddles, which might solve the problem. installing shiny new parts on something like that would look dreadful in my eye.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
  13. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Way cool guitar bro! Not only is she the beautifully bound 3 pickup Custom with a small pickguard, but she is in luxurious White with Gold trim! Just fvk'n beaitiful!

    Quick answer, the large harmonica bridge does not easily come of & get replaced are the holes in the body do not align with the typical ABR bridge & you will need to do what the Col suggested to pull off the swap. BUT>>>>>>>>> Music..... HERE HE COMES TO SAVE THE DAY!!!!<<<<<<<<<<<<

    There are companies out there like Callaham that make after market ABR styled bridges (of acclaimed improved tonality) that WILL fit onto the spacing of this era Nashville bridge by using conversion studs that align to a correspondingly spaced bridge! Here's the link.

    http://www.callahamguitars.com/abr1.htm

    I have always heard excellent things about Callaham products & you can read for yourself how they put lots of thought effort & design into making a quality bridge replacement product that is certain not diminish but stand to only improve upon the tone of your vintage instrument.

    By the way. I do have several embossed "Gibson" Bigsby's from this era that I'm pretty sure I'm not going to use at this point. They would be period correct for your guitar. I would consider passing one along to a good cause such as making this beauty the "Queen" she so deserves to be.
     
    PermissionToLand and Col Mustard like this.
  14. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    500
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Nice guitar, not really a fan of Bigsby's, Here's my '78
    [​IMG]
     
    alexander paul and Lhvr like this.
  15. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Ya know Del, lots of folks like to talk smack about the Norlin era but both you & Henry have two beautiful looking examples that I would love to own (& play) myself.

    I say, let the haters keep on hate'n & talkin their smack. It just serves to keep these great guitars in an affordable price range. Has anybody priced a 61-62 SG's lately? How about the 63-65's out there? Heck even the 66-68 Gibsons are just up there. And then when you get to 69 the bottom falls out.

    The funny thing I can't help but notice over the years is how much more that 1 extra humbucker & changing from a Standard to a Custom gets you in resale asking price! Yup, it's like magic. Throw in a 3rd pickup, some gold hardware & some 5 ply binding a wah lah! You've increased in value by at least $1000 or more, sometimes way more. And again, there is always the over priced seller who think their 70's something SG (non Custom) is worth 3-4 thousand for reasons only known to them, but mostly these years are real bargains waiting to be had if you're smart, informed, persistent & patient.

    I'm glad we got these Norlin deals out there. Beautiful guitars are beautiful prices.
     
    Delboy likes this.
  16. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    500
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    Right on Relic, I only paid £1,000.00 for this all original custom, At the time I was searching for a custom SG, I came across many newer guitars, a Captain Kirk for about £1,300 and also an Original II for about the same price.
    Definitely value for money, and you actually get quality Wood (real Ebony ETC). The Tar backs sound really great too!
     
  17. dub-setter

    dub-setter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    316
    Location:
    berlin
    noice one, HenryR

    i would also suggest to keep the harmonic bridge (as Col Mustard stated)
    if you haven t any big tuning issues ( btw.could also be the trem)
    as it looks awesome and classic on your 72 custom....

    the bigsby could complete
    this beauty in a good way..

    salute!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  18. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains

    Wow! Total steal bro! Those Tar Back pups were designed by Bill Lawrence & are just now coiming into getting the recognition & respect they deserve. While not a high output pup they are a full frequency one that makes any Gibson sound simply beautiful to my ears. Just alive & full of juicy tone. Or in your case Del, Tone Tone Tone!

    And the Ebony on those old boards was beautiful to play. Almost zero finger drag which assisted & aided in making finger vibrato effortless & playing even faster an obtainable possibility. (I have a couple 70's ebony fretboards & they feel smoother than glass & slicker than snot)

    Well, after reading this yesterday I immediately found myself perusing eBay & then onto the used gear section at GC. Today's analysis,... there are no affordable 3 pickup Customs out there ladies. Del, you must have gotten the last bargain to be found. And How long ago did you buy that?

    And while I was 'looking',.. the other pricey 'buy' (that I've been interested in finding) is any old Firebird. I think the new one is about the cheapest aside from the faded Tribute flat top models that may be around. Gibson in making these "T" brand guitars. I believe the T in this case is for Traditional neck & not the slim-tapered. In comparison to what used ones are going for this newer Firebird T seems like a real deal at just under $1100 US. I know its off subject but what do y'all think? Christmas present to 'self' ?

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gibson-2016-firebird-t#productDetail
     
    PermissionToLand likes this.
  19. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,904
    Likes Received:
    1,601
    Yeah even Norlins are through the roof now. So much for finding a '70-71 Standard for cheap...

    I agree with the other guys. Live with the Harmonica for a while and see if you can't get a feel for it. If not, get the conversion bridge and keep the original in a box. Just don't re-route it for a regular ABR. And be warned, Col is absolutely right about the ABR not having sufficient travel for light gauge strings. You'd think Gibson would have fixed that on the new Reissues by setting the bass side further back, but no. Not sure what I can do for mine because there's no way I'm routing for a Nashville on it...
     
  20. alexander paul

    alexander paul Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2014
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    618
    Location:
    elysburg, pa, usa
    beautiful guitar...the lp pick-guard, front control cavity plate etc... sg was made till the summer of 72... first time i saw a sg that looked like that was october/ish of 72 & mine:

    http://www.everythingsg.com/threads/heritage-cherry-sg.27967/

    was purchased in december of 72 with the same bridge (before mods)...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice