Just bought a used Vintage VS6

Discussion in 'SG Copies' started by jml77, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. jml77

    jml77 New Member

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    I've always had an itch to get an SG, and this is the closest I can get,.

    If has a few flaws, needs some fret work. And one of the tuners is no longer sealed, but it keeps in tune well. It sounds good, I like the pickups. It needed a setup, it had so much relief the action was set very low, but fretting out. Once I got the relief to 10 thou, and adjusted the action to 4/64 at the 12th, it was pretty good to go.

    It is a pre-Wilkinson, or at least I think it is. No Wilkinson branded hardware. I would be curious to know it's exact age, but finding info on ... ahem... vintage Vintage VS6s is not easy. Pickups appear to be typical PAF style, approx 7.5K and 8.4K loaded measurements, and very well wax potted.

    One oddity I have noted, and I've not seen many other pics of VS6s like it, is the Vintage logo on the headstock (in some pearloid type material) has 'A John Hornby Skewes Product' written underneath. That might be a clue to it's age, but not one I can work on. It's just visible in this picture ...

    vs6_re128.jpg
     
  2. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Welcome and nice looking SG
     
  3. jml77

    jml77 New Member

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    Thanks Johnny. I'm having a blast with this guitar. I had to raise the action to something over the 4/64ths due to a few fretting outs. It's obviously haad a fair bit of use, with several 'dints' in the frets typically on the e,b, and g strings 2nd and 3rd frets. It seems the previous owner liked to play songs with a lot of open D and G chords. There were also a few nasty sharp dints on b and e strings up at the 18th and 19th frets, looks like it had been knocked at some point. Anyway, it's all gone now, an afternoon of fret levelling, crowning and polishing, and the neck now plays like butter, smooth and silky. Action down to 3/64ths at the 12th, with 10thou relief. I think it could go lower if I wanted it to.
    I always had my eye on SGs with worn cherry finish, a rather brown colour. But i really like this dark cherry finish, (Black Cherry perhaps) it's a deep colour, kind of warm and reassuring.
    I wonder what make the pickups are. Being pre-wilkinson they're not marked, I have a feeling they are the same as the wilky pickups. And I have a hunch they may be G&B pickups. does anyone know for sure, other than the folks at JHS, and they're not letting on.
     
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  4. ScottMarlowe

    ScottMarlowe Well-Known Member

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    That's the beauty of a well done fret job, you set the action as low as you want really, not have to raise it higher than you want just to get it to play.

    Nice axe!
     
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  5. jml77

    jml77 New Member

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    I'm really lovin' this guitar now, and realise what I've been missing all these years, ie unparalleled upper fret access, absolutely nothing gets in the way at all. Took a little while to adjust to the length of accessible neck, kept finding myself higher up the fretboard than usual. Weight is good too, 7.5 lbs, much better than my squier tele which comes in at 9.25 lbs, fender strat classic 50 at 8.5 lbs, and no idea what the Washburn hawk is now, it was 8.5lb but has 1 or more lbs of lead weight added to the control cavity to try and cure the neck dive. I don't find the Vintage VS6 as bad as the washburn for neck dive, and the reduction in weight might help that somewhat. And I find sitting to play the VS6 is much easier and comfortable than the Hawk.

    It might be time to cash in on the Hawk, it hardly ever sees the light of day, although I don't find it easy parting with guitars.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  6. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Nice! The body shape and finish remind me of the old SG-62 models:

    [​IMG]

    Once it became the '61 Reissue, they lightened up the Cherry (and reshaped the horns).

    I always say; there's a great satisfaction to make a cheap guitar most people wouldn't think twice about play as well as possible. It actually makes me feel more bonded with some of my cheap guitars than my Gibson.:wow:
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    THAT'S IT ! It's always hard to try to explain to cork sniffers, why we would buy POS guitars in the first place. You nailed it.
     
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  8. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    Nice and welcome!
    Glad to hear you were able to tame and tune that fretboard.

    Congrats and enjoy!!
     
  9. Andrei L

    Andrei L New Member

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    Hi,

    Not to open another topic, I've also happened upon a (lightly) used VS6, pre-wilkinson, gold logo with 'A John Hornby Skewes Product' written below it. Should be the same stuff, except it's the black version. Very minor dents, nothing really to complain about thus far.
    Serial is '011xxxx' so I'm guessing it's rather one of the earlier ones, though I have no clue how far they went with those. Anyway, got it for ~150 with hard case, strap, cable and a Line6 Pod - which might prove useful for headphone usage.

    The only issues I've found so far are that one of the volume knobs sticks to the body before I'm able to screw it in all the way to the '0' position and some minor polish required on a couple of frets (high E side, 14-16 area). And the ornament for the switch came off as soon as I moved it, but that's an easy fix.

    I'm already liking it, neck included ofc and it sounds pretty good when played 'cold' / unplugged. It does have a nice warmth and sustain. I'll see how it fares when plugged. Initially, I was thinking to grab a LP, but after some thinking I thought an SG would definitely be more fun to kick some jams.

    Will get back with some decent pics.
     
  10. jml77

    jml77 New Member

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    I hope you enjoy it as much as I have mine. I hardly ever play my other guitars at the moment. I'll be interested to hear what you make of the pickups.

    I can't find a serial number on mine, is your serial printed or stamped into the wood.
     
  11. Andrei L

    Andrei L New Member

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    Sorry for the very late answer. The serial is printed on a sticker, so it's very likely to peel off or wear until you peel it off yourself.
     
  12. Andrei L

    Andrei L New Member

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    Back with an update, maybe someone finds this useful:
    1. It had to undergo a nut change (bone) and some fret leveling/polish, as well as sone bridge tweaking - the luthier had some springs installed to get rid of that Gibson tune-o-matic wire rattle. It now handles superbly with super tiny action, perfect intonation and only mildly raised bridge/tailpiece.
    2. For some weird reason, it came with 47 microfarad capacitors installed and it did sound quite dark. This is because mahogany + rosewood tend to have that sound anyway and those capacitors made it so that slightly lowering tone would result in the upper mids getting cut. Replaced with more appropriate humbucking 22 πF capacitors and it has brightened some way.
    3. While I fancy the overall sound, I do plan to change at least the neck pup. It has too much bottom end and lacks clarity for my taste, maybe also because of the soldered caps. Probably SD Hot rodded set (SH-2 for neck and SH-4 for bridge) with 4 conductors along with push-pull knobs for coil splitting.
    Overall, I love the guitar and think its pros far outweigh the small annoyances. It has a beautiful natural sustain and resonance, I often play it unplugged.
    After the pup upgrade, I do think it will play as well and sound better than entry level to mid tier Gibson SGs and light years better than the best of Epiphone SG models. All that for 350 EUR, luthier fee included, while Gibson starts at 7-800 EUR. It felt much better than the G400 Pro even before the adjustments.
    Sure, on the visual side the pearloid inserts could be better and I would have loved a brown color, natural wood with texture, but that's really just nitpicking and irrelevant for actually playing it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  13. Razor

    Razor New Member

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    Nice looking SG jm
     
  14. Andrei L

    Andrei L New Member

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    I've been thinking about this upgrade for the pups on my blackie, thinking to give IronGear a go. Not trying to be cheap about it, but those Hot Slags, Rolling Mills and Steamhammers do look rather interesting as an SG upgrade from the 199x Korean PAFs.
     
  15. jml77

    jml77 New Member

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    I will be interested to see how you get on and how you rate the irongears if you go down that route.
    I like the old humbuckers in the VS6, and I had thought that alnico paf style humbuckers were the only ones for me, but I've just put back a set of washburn power sustain humbuckers back into their original guitar, they are ceramic 11.5k open coil hex slugs all round, and they absolutely rock, with a good punch in split mode too. I think they might be MMK45s in a different guise, similar anyway. They look a lot like those those irongear double cream steamhammers. I think they would be good in a VS6 but I don't think I'll be swapping them around again.

    I've not played the VS6 much lately, not since buying a cheap second hand SE squier strat, which needed a lot of work and a pickup change. But did give the VS6 a blast the other day, and it amazes me just how good those Vintage (JHS) guitars are. Light weight too (just over 7lb) compared to the squier SE which is a nine and a half pounder.
     
  16. rareconcerts

    rareconcerts Member

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    They are good indeed. Love my VS6 Mick Abrahams.

    DSC_0029.JPG
     
  17. Lynurd Fireburd

    Lynurd Fireburd Active Member

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  18. cman

    cman New Member

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    I picked up one of the Guitarfetish white ones before they ran out. A really impressive git for $109. I built it up with mostly parts I had lying around. Have less than $200 invested all in. Used a Wilkinson aluminum wraptail bridge. It turned out great. Nice relief, action and intonation. The finish appears to have been interrupted midway. A coat of white that has been sanded probably as a grain filler.

    Will post a picture later today.

    Steve
     
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  19. cman

    cman New Member

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  20. Lynurd Fireburd

    Lynurd Fireburd Active Member

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    I got mine today. It's pretty rough, but It'll do.

    I like the wraptail idea. If the Vibrola doesn't work on mine I'll do the same.

    Had my eye on one of those Mick Abrahams Special models at GC used but someone snagged it it seems.
     

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