Let's see your vintage SG!

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by Kevin James, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    499
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    My '63 Standard, it's the same as the day I bought it back in 1987. The pickup and vibrola covers have been removed by a previous owner, it's also had the black on the headstock removed and re-finished, best guitar I've ever played and still is, even if it is a little worn out now. I don't gig it anymore, just gets home use and some recording now and again now.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Hey Delboy, Nice 63! I kinda like that headstock like that. I'm sure you are use to her missing the Lyre & pickups chrome covers & looking that way for all these years but....yes the but...Wouldn't it be nice to put that chrome back on her? You know, dress her up, take her out & show her off man. I realize it looks tough and unique like this. I just think after all these years she deserves to at least change into her Sunday best & be taken to church looking all proper. Come on, she's worth that & wont dissapoint you when you stare.

    Is that other guitar an Epi Double neck?? What year is that rarity? Didnt know Epi made those. Has to be cheaper to buy than the Gibson model which is a price hard to justify (4 me at least).
     
  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    I am truly interested in accurate facts surrounding Gibson guitars & I've honestly have never heard of anything before 61 being called an SG. As in the actual abbreviated letters "SG". If that is true, I really would like to know about it from a point of me being able to be historically accurate.

    [​IMG]
    Below is 2 pics of a 60-61. Notice the headstock silkscreen no longer says anything but Gibson giving way for these years to be called SGs.



    The area that is open for clarity would be Gibsons marketing the guitar and using the 'SG' moniker before 61. That is harder to verify & is going to take finding some literature or what not. I know, I'm asking a lot. I personally will be doing some searches to satisfy my curiosity & will post what I find, or don't find. That 58 is still a nice solid-body guitar regardless.[/QUOTE]

    Well Javamagic it looks like you nailed it bro!

    I got out my " The Gibson Electric Guitar Book - 70 Years of Classic Guitars" And found on page 53 the mention that in mid 59 the 'Special' was in fact dropped from the headstock silkscreen of the newly renamed 59 Les Paul Special (in 58 the guitar was named the Les Paul Junior) and the guitar was now being referred to as the Les Paul SG for Solid Guitar.

    That is the most sensible explanation being guitars like these were termed 'Solid Guitars" or SGs but had actual names on there headstocks that identified them as a Les Paul Junior or a Les Paul Special. But after loosing that identifying silkscreen name of 'Special', it totally makes sense to now use the identifying term of SG separate a traditional Les Paul from the previously named & labeled double cutaway Les Paul Special.

    Below is 2 pics of a 60-61. Notice the headstock silkscreen no longer says anything but Gibson giving way for these years to be called SGs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's a genuine %100 original 1960 without the flower pot inlay in the headstock that sold for $10,500 in 2008 on ebay. WOWSERS!
    [​IMG]
    I appreciate everybody who shined some light on a time full of changes in Gibson history. Its always interesting stuff isn't it?

    Well, there is lots of other stuff written out there but being I wasn't around back then I have to go along with what I read that makes sense & can be backed up with pictures & corroborating information. Pics of this era are few & far between.

    As we know, come 61 the SG / Les Paul body changed & got thinner making the 59-60-early 61 model year Les Paul double cuts without anything besides Gibson on the headstock the rare years that can truly be said were referred to as SG's. How about dat?!? All this proves it is good to keep an open mind and not assume we know everything, least we be schooled! Even if its by ourselves. lol
     
  4. altoricky

    altoricky New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well said Relic61
     
  5. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    1,252
    Location:
    Ennis, Clare, Ireland
  6. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Boy there is nothing like spending time reading & researching, copying & pasting pics & verbiage to put together a well planned, accurate & thought out post to put on our forum only TO HAVE YOUR GODDAMN COMPUTER DO ITS MAGIC F-U ROUTINE & MAKE $#!t ALL DISAPPEAR. This Toshiba has been doing things on its own for a while now but a couple more moments like what just happened where I lost a good hours worth of time & effort is gonna get it hurt real bad. Me & Tobacco Worm will be having target practice with it.

    OK, so I'm not gonna go back to find all the nice stuff I copied for this post but instead surmise things using my limited reading comprehension skills and fuzzied recollection. lol. what was I sayin....

    Java I did get to look at those Gibson catalog from 1960 & 58. I even found a full length copy of a 59 which was still using the same names & terminology as 58 was. Like you mention the 'SG' termination is in fact used. It was used at the end of each guitars description for ordering purposes & differentiating one guitar from the other with the guitars larger bolder print category title of Special, Special 3/4 & TV being used as headers with each guitars description underneath that header an the SG found at the end of the write up & used as a model name witha corresponding price. In 1960, seen for the first time was the guitars referred to as the SG-R Special (cherry Red), the SG-C Special (Cream), the SG Special (3/4 sized) & the SG-TV (Limed Mahogany finish) to identify what previously was the Les Paul Special double cutaway 2 pickup models & the 2 pupped Les Paul TV double cutaway.

    So, technical speaking, we see SG being used & added to the publics lexicon in 1960 with it identifying certain guitars that were the year prior named something else. These guitars no longer had a name on the headstock in 1960 other than the Gibson logo. By 1960 Les Paul was gone from the headstock as well as Junior & Special. It is however interesting to note that SG did not appear on the headstock as a replacement for a silkscreen that was now missing a namer. Strange, interesting & insightful.

    Obviously the term SG was shop talk for 'solid-body guitar' for years prior to its use in 1960 and could be used to describe any guitar that wasn't a hollow-body at that time in history. Most importantly, the use of the SG name for a double cut away guitar in 1960 set the stage for its use in 1961 with the newly designed SG/Les Paul and again in 1963 when the name was changed to SG & Les Paul was completely dropped. It is easy to see the progression of use of the term 'SG' & how the guitar we all love & call the SG came to be named & the history behind its name.

    I truly enjoy finding things like this out about Gibson history & appreciate every body's help & enthusiasm putting all the pieces together. We really have a nice forum to enjoy here don't we.
     
  7. Susihukkanen

    Susihukkanen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Messages:
    939
    Likes Received:
    856
    Location:
    Finland
    Thank you for this very interesting info about the history of name SG!
     
  8. Mike Leaf

    Mike Leaf Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    57
    They were called SG's already late 59 (specials) however as it seems to always turn out with Gibson, there are known guitars that have a 62 serial number and the Les Paul Logo (specials) so there is your confusion.

    The Cherry Juniors lasted the longest period , to late 63 with the LP logo.
    TV SG´s appeared alredy in 1961

    Standards were named 'les Paul' in the 1962 catalogue but lost the LP logo in mid 63...

    Thats what I know from 30 years of looking into this (before Google) :)
     
  9. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    499
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    I see what you're saying. It has crossed my mind a few times to put her back to a more original state.
    The twin neck is 2002, I know what you mean about the price of the Gibson ones, that's the reason for owning the Epi version myself. I will get me a Gibson one eventually.
     
  10. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Well once again my laptop went ape$#!T & dumped a very thorough post I had put together. It just hit the back button all by itself causing me to loose everything. Very Disheartening after putting so much work into a reply.

    Well anyway. I my book 'the Gibson Electric Guitar Book'-'Seventy Years of Classic Guitars' it mentions, " The seed had been sown in 1958 by the Les Paul Special. Shortly afterward, the Special lost its silkscreen signature on the headstock & Gibson began referring to it as SG, for Solid Guitars.

    Here was some insightful info from 'Classic Guitars' that puts the Les Paul Specials change into SG into perspective,

    "Up to 1958 the single-cutaway Special was listed exclusively with a limed mahogany finish...In mid-1958 a restyled double cutaway Special was first shown but the new variant was not shipped in quantity until 1959...Simultaneously, the Special became available in cherry red in addition to the limed TV finish, whose shading was changed to a more opaque banana-yellow colour...The double cutaway Special was listed as a Les Paul for less than a year, and in the pricelist dated 1st November 1959 the model appeared as the SG Special. All the specifications remained the same save for the removal of Les Paul markings on the headstock and the installation of an enlarged one-piece guard covering the area between the front pickup and the fingerboard...In early 1961 the SG Special was revamped with the ultra thin body design pioneered on the Les Paul Standard, but most of the other specifications remained unchanged. The model was fitted with a restyled 5-ply black pickguard and by the end of the year a new bar bridge featuring pre-set compensating ridges for better intonation became a standard appointment..."

    The important November 1959 price list that mentions the SG for the first time puts a date on the change. I found this date mentioned repeated in several books & the Gibson web site mentions the following..

    "The first use of the name “SG” actually surfaced on a Gibson guitar in late 1959 with the introduction of the SG Special – a double cutaway model with rounded horns that had previously been listed as a Les Paul since 1955."

    Granted 'late' does not equate to 'November"' but 'November' is 'late' in the year. I could take issue with the clarity of their wording in that second half of that quote but it can read correct if you don't get technical about the fact the double cut away Les Paul Special was just that for less than 1 year until it was re-designated an SG in Nov 59.

    Calling that double cut away a Les Paul Special for 11 months then changing it's designation to SG Special does lead to confusion and had to be confusing enough even back then. Just a strange thing to do to a product that had experienced some success, especially in the Les Paul TV model.

    Other than me understanding the SG history & how the name was first used in '59 for the re-designated Les Paul Special double cutaway, I cant equate those 59-60 SG guitars with the 61 SG Les Paul due to the body of the guitar being so different & simply not as iconicly identify-able in style and appearance. The well known SG shape is iconic & it doesn't equate or translate over to the '59 double cutaway SG-Special with its fatter body, rounded horns & lack of bevels on the body contours. To me they are two different guitars. Similar but different.

    Granted the redesigned double cutaway Les Paul Special set the stage for the 61 styled SG to come to be with its configuration & fret access, but, the 61 SG/Les Paul established the style, shape, feel & iconic recognition of what an SG truly is in essence & truest form.
     
  11. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    1,252
    Location:
    Ennis, Clare, Ireland
    I believe the Epiphone Crestwood and Coronet are the progenitors of the SG family.

    Remember that CMI bought Epiphone in February 1957 and assigned various members of their staff and from Gibson's to oversee the development of a range of guitars that would, in Ted McCarty's words, offer Gibson quality instruments to a new lot of franchises. To separate the brands it would help to introduce very non-Gibson styled guitars and so Martin and Fender became obvious targets, even more so after the 1963 switch to the "batwing" style.

    The first (Feb 1958) proposed guitars included a Dreadnought sized acoustic (long before Gibson's own Hummingbird), a deluxe version of the new semi-solid Gibson 335 in the Sheraton, and a couple of solid body guitars, the Crestwood and Coronet, essentially using a double-cutaway Telecaster shape. In my opinion, it was with these that Gibson's engineers first came up with the 22nd fret neck joint and, finding it successful, transferred it to the redesigned Les Paul Special and Junior.

    Remember also that Gibson and CMI were keen to introduce new models at every NAMM show and the new neck joint gave them something to buck up the Les Paul range. The double-cut LPs and the Epiphones were all introduced to the public at the July 1958 Namm show. It is worth pointing out that the 1958 Gibsons and Epiphones all had the same thicker slab bodies and that in 1959 the Epi range was reputedly the first to receive the thinner bodies, a year before the sculpted SG shape appeared. That said, although I've seen SG/LP Standards with 1960 serial numbers (0 and four figures) I have never seen a thin Epiphone solid-body sporting a verified 1959 serial number! :)
     
  12. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Very interesting points for pondering Javaman. This time in Gibson history is truly exciting & I could read about it all day. Thanks for breaking down Epis important SG development role. And to think they sent 'em over seas. Arghh!.
     
  13. rjhalsey

    rjhalsey New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    72 SG Custom with the Factory Bigsby

    Here is mine.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    Don't mean to bust balls or be a know it all but I think you may be off by a year or two in dating the guitar. Just a couple of points to ponder in addition to the serial numbers being a real bitch for dating. The long travel Tune O Matic or 'Harmonica' bridge wasn't available in 72 yet and the 1972 year came with embossed Gibson pickups. I would lean towards a late 73 date at its earliest. If the back of the pups are the Bill Lawrence era 'Tar Backs', that would back up my estimated dating and some codes of of any original pots would only help nail a date down.

    It is my understanding from trying to date many of these Norlin era SG's that the Harmonica bridge & the Tar Back pups were seen first in mid to late 73 with the early 73 still having the narrower T.O.M bridge & the older pups (some may even have been Patent Sticker pups especially if they were gold plated because they didn't get used as fast).

    If you are as interested as I am, check out the back of a pup and try to get a date code off of a volume or tone pot. I love this era and always love to find out the facts. Gibson was unpredictable I here and often went backwards with parts if a bunch showed up & needed to get used. Let us know what you find brother, it will be much appreciated.
     
    Kris Ford likes this.
  15. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    1,137
    Location:
    UK
  16. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    You are right on Sarge finding those contradictory 72s. Who knows the exact date Gibson made its last half moon front mounted control panel SG Custom? Or used its last Embossed pickups?

    As a point of interest, I did find a tar back embossed pickup today doing searches on another thread concerning the tar back mini humbuckers. That would be a 1972 embossed pickup meeting the 1973 'tar back' or epoxy potting. Hmm. Now throw in the question, 'when was the last Nashville bridge put in and the first long travel Tune O Matic used? I want exact dates God Damn it all!!!.

    It is no wonder there is such confusion about this era. However, I believe if you are going to be dating by features & styles, a typical 72 should be considered the ones with the half-moon front control panel, Gibson embossed Patent Sticker Pickups & the the still slender Nashville Bridge while the 73 year beckons the changes of the Long Travel T.O.M., floating LP style pickguard & the eventual Tar Back Epoxy pickups. If some late year 72s had some 73 features and some 73s still came with 72 parts it would almost be expected as the normal pattern of evolution of the 72-73 SG and just makes this time that much more intriguing to us all.

    Date! I want Dates! ZE DATES HEIR DOKTER!
     
  17. Mike Leaf

    Mike Leaf Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    57
    They are in the 72 catalogue , that would indicate that the shift over would take place at its latest in the spring , possibly close to the NAMM show date that year. Probably earlier

    Then as we all know Gibson could still be producing or shipping old stock of the earlier design throughout the year. It can also differ from one model to the other the Deluxe being a first would probably get the new design before the Custom.

    I dont recall seing so many 72 standards with the old layout , my late 71 Standard has the earlier style (pots Oct 71)

    I dont think the half moon control layout did very well among dealers or the public , and Gibson probably saw the need to change style once again in late 72 , the shift would again be done over a period of time.

    1972 is really a transitional year with the SG covering three design styles.

    Thats my theory anyway....

    :dude:
     
  18. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    All that is so true Mike and it still leaves us all these years later with no definitive dates for any of the changes we are talking about. I dont believe they all happened at once either (frnt cntrl panel,epoxy pups, T.O.M.) as the factory is going to use up its stock of wood & parts so sometimes we get 'Mutts'. However, I find then the coolest.
     
  19. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    3,741
    Likes Received:
    2,768
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    One last point concerning the conflicting SG versions & their dates, I tend to believe a whole lot of the dates people put on this era SG is actually wrong, maybe even wrong more times than not from what I've come across. This is mostly due to unreliable & vague serial number dating information that reallt leaves people unsure & having to guess or go by what somebody 'in the know' told them the date of that Norlin early 70s guitar was. We've even seen a perfect example of this just a couple of posts earlier. It is very easy to mis-date Gibsons of this era. How many more are out there being represented by an inaccurate date?

    We simply can not go by what we see & read on the net or even by what we are told by people we think should be knowledgeable & correct with their dating of the Gibsons in this era. It takes a real effort at educating ourselves & that requires a real driving interest. Even when trying to use all we've learned to come with an informed conclusion when we date these guitars, it will always be an educated guess because of the damned messed up serial numbering used during this time period. But like a game of hand grenades, we can come close enough because we will understand the changes behind the SGs we all love here.
     
    Kris Ford and dbb like this.
  20. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    1,252
    Location:
    Ennis, Clare, Ireland
    It's not just on the net. Some of the stuff I've seen written about guitars in magazines is just laughable. The guys who write this crap set themselves up as self-appointed experts and are frequently just repeating rumour and speculation. The end result is that it ends up as "fact".

    My favourite is the often repeated one (in Guitar & Bass [UK] mag) about Epiphone semis, e.g. Casino, Riviera, etc. having 3-ply bodies whereas their Gibson equivalents, the 330, 335, etc. had 5-ply! When I wrote challenging the writer to provide verification my letter was ignored. You'd never get away with that when writing a university dissertation - and you'd never get your degree! :(
     

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