1979 Gibson “The SG” Walnut

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Flotrain, Jun 17, 2019.

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  1. Flotrain

    Flotrain New Member

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    upload_2019-6-17_19-41-3.jpeg Hello, just joined the forum. I’ve had classic SGs, love em! ... but never was drawn to “The SG” model until I played one. I was prepared to be unimpressed... what an eye opener: gorgeous tones from both pickups, tons of harmonics, comfortable neck, ebony fingerboard, solid feel overall. Non traditional minimalist build... “The SG” is awesome! Any fans here?
    upload_2019-6-17_19-41-3.jpeg
     
  2. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful SG!

    Nah.... no fans here ;). Welcome aboard! :smile:
     
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I've been drooling on my keyboard...
    I don't have one of those, but would love to. Thanks for posting your beautiful photos.
    And Welcome to ETSG.

    Just the idea of a walnut SG with an Ebony fretboard is very appealing to me.
    I think Gibson should re-issue this model. And re-issue the great pickups the originals
    had. (have) ...unless their owner incontinently ripped out the "norlin" p'ups so as
    to install the flavor of the week. Many '70s guitars were ruthlessly butchered because
    mod fever was sweeping the country then... just like now.

    Anyway, yours looks quite un-modified. One of the things the Norlin Corporation got
    right. It's interesting to me that you'd top-wrap the bass strings and not the treble.
    And the position of the bridge saddles is different from where I place mine.
    But... whatever makes it play right.
     
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  4. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    Beautiful walnut guitar! Welcome to the SG Forum, my SG is also from 1979 (I am the original owner!) So it was definitely a good year for SGS! You will enjoy this forum, lots of good tips and insights from SG fanatics! IMG_20190502_205021_hdr.jpg IMG_20190530_235751.jpg
     
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  5. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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  6. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    I love the "THE's", especially the Firebrand version.
     
  7. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Yours is really clean. Looks amazing! I love mine. Agree on the sound. Something awesome about the T-tops.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  8. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    These actually come with a Velvet Brick in the bridge and a Shaw designed humbucker in the neck.
     
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  9. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    I'm familiar with the velvet brick. I've always seen these referred to as T tops. Seeing as they have T's on the top of the bobbins. Is there another pickup that's actually a T top? Or is that a generic descriptor for any pickup with a T stamped bobbin?
     
  10. flognoth

    flognoth Active Member

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    Velvet Bricks and T-Tops are two different pickups. The Firebrand SG and The SG had a Velvet Brick in the bridge and the Sonex had Velvet Bricks too.

    T-Tops were more prevalent. They were on more standard guitars in the 70's and mid 80's as well as the and Firebrand Les Paul and The Paul. Firebrand 335-s came with Dirty Fingers.
     
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  11. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    They used the same bobbins for every pickup until new ones were designed for Shaw's PAF replica in mid-1980.

    T-Tops are a specific pickup; the continuation of the original PAF design. They have a short bar A5, Maple spacers and are pretty consistent around 7.5k.

    Official literature says the Firebrand/ The "SG" used a Velvet Brick in the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    The neck pickup is described much more vaguely, but you can see here that the neck pickup had a unique part number, different from that of the T-Top and Velvet Brick:

    http://www.vintageguitarandbass.com/gibson/catalogues/1980_56.php

    From what I have gathered, it's basically a lower output Velvet Brick, which was designed by Bill Lawrence.

    You can see from this picture of a Firebrand's bridge pickup that it has white plastic spacers and a ceramic magnet (rules out T-Top conclusively).

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Let me add; Velvet bricks are often said to be designed by Bill Lawrence, but from what I can gather, Lawrence stopped working with Gibson around 1977 and Shaw says he started in 1978. The Velvet Brick first showed up as the "TGA Super Humbucker" in 1979, and the features are more similar to a Shaw PAF than a Lawrence Super Humbucker, so I suspect it was designed by Shaw but I'm by no means certain of that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  12. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking guitar, I love the look of the walnut. One thing that always bothered me about those era SGs was the placement of the toggle, it just looks out of place.

    They all look to be top wrapped, it's just harder to notice the treble strings due to their size.
     
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  13. Kraftybob

    Kraftybob Member

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    Beautiful guitar!
     
  14. Kraftybob

    Kraftybob Member

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    You're knobs, pick guard and toggle are on the wrong side :D 1979 - 40 years old - very cool!
     
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  15. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    It's a left handed model, that's why
     
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  16. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Flognoth and PermissionToLand.... Thank you both for the info. I love figuring this stuff out. I just always assumed they were T tops with the brick being a modified version. Also that '80 Gibson catalog is priceless. Such awesome info. I never would have guessed the velvet brick had a ceramic magnet. It's definitely a hot pickup but it sounds so much better than other ceramics I've had, like the 496r 500t combo in the classics. Anyhow, enough ramble. Thanks for dropping some knowledge my way. I do appreciate it.
     
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  17. Westernrider

    Westernrider Active Member

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    Another Firebrand SG owner checking in.

    Bought mine used in the late 80's outside Seattle for $450.00 from a music store.

    As already stated, the creature is Walnut and it feels heavier and more massive than by other SG's. Never weighed it so this is the impression that I've carried all these years with this guitar. The neck is a thin taper style, and I sure wouldn't expect an ebony finger board on a guitar in this price range.

    Another impression. As compared to all of my other guitars [ and this includes my other SG's - two 2013's and a 1993 ], and notes and chords sound quicker and snappier compliments of the walnut and Ebony.

    This stately guitar is strung with strings thorough the tail stop. [ its about half and half with strings thorough or over, depends on how the strings cross the rear of the bridge. And the over the top method gives a softer feel .... ]

    Lastly, had some kind of Dimarzio's when I bought it. It has had numerous different pairs of SD's and Dimarzio's over the years. I've seem to settled on the DMZ 36 / Air Norton set on this guitar. And if this set starts to annoy me, I'd probably switch to the SD WLH set or the Sentient/ Pegasus pair.

    Lastly, we can forgive the weird toggle switch placement because the designer decided to put the guitar jack on the side - not the top!!!!


    This line of guitars had several models, and mind you they are all bare bone minimum cosmetics, - and I'm going on memory - * a sold body 335 shaped guitar - * LP shape guitar, the Firebrand SG - and a two pickup Melody Maker [ and this is why I remember this guitar ] it had two melody maker single coils and a slider switch for each pickup.

    Now, would somebody please explain to me how I remember a guitar I was once, in the mid 80's, on a rack in a music store in Evanston Il.

    Yes, I know, without pictures it don't exist. Promise, some day I will post some.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  18. Flotrain

    Flotrain New Member

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    Actually all the strings are top wrapped... I guess it’s not obvious in the photo. The strings were hitting the back of the bridge unless the tailpiece was raised pretty high. Top wrapping allows the tailpiece to be all the way down and a good break angle over the bridge. The saddles are intonated for a standard “10” gauge set.
     
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  19. Flotrain

    Flotrain New Member

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    Beauty!
     
  20. Flotrain

    Flotrain New Member

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    Yes agree the toggle placement is funky, but the side jack is an improvement
     

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