NGD: 1974 SG Standard

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Steve D, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I got a 1974 SG Standard delivered today. For those not familiar, the 1974 SG Standard has tarback "super humucker" pickups, a harmonica bridge, and either a bound rosewood fretboard or an unbound ebony fretboard. This one has the ebony.

    It's all original except for the tremolo (more on that in a moment). Actually, the pots are so oxidized that I cannot read them but the solder joints look clean and original and the pickups are original tarbacks so I'm assuming the ancient oxidized pots are in fact correct. The one thing that's not is somebody removed the original stop tailpiece and added a "bigsby".

    The good: It's in great shape. Some dings (most notably a decent sized one on the edge near the control cavity where it looks like maybe it fell off a stand, and some dings in the neck). No breaks, no repairs. And it sounds fantastic, I really like the sound out of these tarbacks! The ebony board is awesome, never had one before. It looks like one solid piece, not three of four or five like you might find on a Norlin era guitar. Great looking grain too. The finish looks like it has no fading at all, it's that dark heritage cherry.

    The bad: the tuners are not the best but that's vintage originals for you. The Bigsby is almost certainly a copy. I asked the seller if it was a real Bigsby and I was assured it was but I don't think it is. It has a different mounting screw config from a normal horseshoe B5 Bigsby (I happen to have one laying around so I'm positive of that) and it has no embossed logo in the casting. It is old though so let's assume it's a period correct Bigsby copy. It looks like some you see on some old Japanese Kay guitars of the late 60s so it might be one of those.

    The worst: It smells of cigarette smoke. The seller did not disclose cigarette stink and I didn't ask (stupid me). It was really bad out of the case, it aired out a bit and isn't as bad but it's still there. The case reeks of it. If anyone knows a way to cut that stink I'd appreciate your ideas.

    It has an odd case, by the way. It's old, maybe a bit older than the guitar. It's black with a kinda magenta lining. The original of that period would have had red lining. It has 5 latches but no Gibson logos anywhere. It's beat up and has some old stickers on it and stinks of smoke so I'm assuming it's not worth a plug nickel but I wonder what it really is?

    Like I said, it plays and sounds awesome. I'm stoked about that but that fake Bigsby and the cigarette smoke bug me a lot.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Nice!

    Maybe try the Virtuoso Cleaner and Polish on the guitar to eliminate any nicotine residual. The Virtuoso smells like automotive wax.

    For the case maybe sprinkle baking soda inside and let sit open in some fresh air, especially out in the sun for few days and vacuum really well before putting guitar back in case so there’s no baking soda or powder left behind to scratch the finish of the guitar.

    The other thing I like about these 70’s Gibsons that many folks loathe is the volute. I realize it may not prevent a headstock from breaking but I like volutes and harmonica bridges for some unexplainable reason.
     
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  3. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I never played a 70s SG before so never experienced the volute or the neck in general, which some say is off putting (too narrow at the nut or too fat front to back or both I guess) . To me it feels a lot like my SG '61 VOS from 2006. I don't even notice the volute, not sure why it bugs people other than it wasn't on them in the '60s but on the other hand maybe mine just has a small one. It plays great, it sounds great. Heard lots of hate on the tarbacks but they sound damned good to me.

    Regarding the case, some people say to put in a dryer sheet, others say to sprinkle in baking soda, I did both. I'm hoping a couple of days out of the case will air out the guitar enough that its much less noticeable and detoxing the case will prevent it from picking up the stank again. The case may have to go though. Not much loss, it's not a beauty or anything, beat up with '80s stickers on it. It doesn't have a Gibson logo but it appears likely to be a Gibson case based on some other examples I've seen from the period (black with purple lining were given for a short time in the late '60s early '70s, maybe just a few though). Based on impressions inside the case this guitar was in it for a long time anyway.

    The neck is three piece, I still think the body is single piece.
     
  4. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    By the way here's what it looks like indoors. You can see inside that the cherry has a more dark look.
     

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  5. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    One last thing, and this is a big one: it's 8.4 pounds. I play SGs primarily becase (1) I love them (2) they look and sound so cool and (3) they weigh so little that they don't make my bad left shoulder cry. This one might break #3, my old strat was on the order of this and I could only play it standing up for a short while, 20 mins or so, before I couldn't take it anymore. :(
     
  6. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    Congrats! Looks awesome. From the description I think my '74 has the exact same case that yours came in. I'll get a pic if you want to compare. Also my pots have that same coating of funk and they're definitely original so I'd bet yours are as well. Ditto on the tarbacks and volute. I dig them both. Overall that's a sweet guitar. Here's a shameless pic share of mine.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    A couple of interesting differences between yours and mine that are curious. First, they are both cherry red but yours seems a brighter shade. That could just be a factor of different levels of fading or something. But the headstock is throwing me. Yours has what looks like white mother of pearl inlays, mine are golden colored. I wonder what that's all about?

    Also you swapped out your harmomica for an ABR1, going for that classic '60s look, nice touch. I don't mind the harmonica but I know for some they look like a big toaster or something.

    That chainsaw case always makes me chuckle. They look like they were designed to let you carry your guitar safely as you parachute into France on D-Day. They take guitar protection to the ultimate level!
     
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  8. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    By the way, I wouldn't mind seeing a pic of your '74 case for comparison. Mine are attached. Note that in my effort to get rid of the smoke stank I have sprinkled a small amount of baking soda temporarily, that's that white powder is not the result in a leak in my coke stash.
     

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  9. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    It's one of very few I've seen without a yellowed headstock logo. It saw very little sunlight I'm guessing. The body is a bit darker when not under that fluro energy saver bulb that makes everything look weird but overall it's almost identical to my 2014 Standard and it's still pretty bright cherry. At some point the harmonica got swapped for an ABR-1. Happened before I owned it. If I had an era correct harmonica bridge I'd probably put it on but I haven't come across one yet. Agree on the chainsaw case. Odd design choice but goddamn that is a sturdy case. Might be the most protective hardcase I've seen. I love it.
     
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  10. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    Just saw the pic of your case. Mine is a little different. Rectangular. Gibson logo on the lower front but hard too see. Don't have a full size pic but this will give you an idea of what's going on there. [​IMG]
     
  11. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    That's a MUCH nicer case. I've seen I think two other people online with a similar case to mine. It seems that maybe they got them in from someone other than the usual suppliers just for a small run or something because they seem to be made to Gibson specs but hardly any seem to exist.

    This is what it's supposed to look like:
    https://reverb.com/item/25707128-19...riginal-hardshell-guitar-case-purple-interior
     
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  12. HackeIommi

    HackeIommi Active Member

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    Great deal Steve! Congrats!

    As far as I can see, the volute is good but the placement has to be right. I saw just one broken volute neck which volute placement was different. It was closer to headstock than usual volutes.
     
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  13. Semla

    Semla Member

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    Your vibrato seem to have the same mounting pattern as the original bigsby-like vibrato that is gibson-branded and mounted to the early 70s SG's. It is not actually a bigsby B5, that has a different asymmetric mounting pattern (look at the top right screw). Bigsby-like tremolos that have the gibson-pattern are actually very hard to come by these days. It does however not look really original since it has the label on the bottom part.
     
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  14. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I agree it's not a Gibson original, they have Gibson inscribed on them and a less rounded profile on that bottom part. I suspect it comes from a Japanese guitar of the era and if so, the holes are probably metric and wouldn't fit ones made for a Gibson (and vice versa) but I have no way to be sure.

    Why Japanese? becaus if you look at Kay guitars, made in Japan in the late 60s / early 70s from what I understand, many had real bigsbys but at some point they started introducing really close clone designs. Look at this:

    https://reverb.com/item/21325028-1970-s-kay-k-22t-natural-w-ohsc

    Now the tremolo here probably gets around the Bigsby patents by splitting a B5 into two seperate pieces but look at that thing, if it were one piece I'd declare "I found it!" I'm guessing that they made some that weren't as careful about not recreating a bigsby exactly, and I have one. But it's just a guess.
     
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  15. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    It's very rare to see a Cherry finished Norlin SG that hasn't faded, Chuteboxhero's SG must have spent it's life in a case. Whatever dyes they used in the '70s were not very colorfast. I've even seen pictures from the 1970s where you can see Cherry SGs already fading to brown.

    The yellowed inlays on yours is surely a result of the smoker owner, as well as sunlight over the years.

    To your comments on Tarbacks, IDK who is trashing them but Bill Lawrence is a well respected pickup builder and he designed them.

    You can hear Tarbacks on AC/DC's Flick of the Switch album and I think they sound fantastic!

     
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  16. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore New Member

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    Here's my '75-numbered/'76-pots SG Standard which I've had since new, along with its Mark 1 Chainsaw two-latch case. Being nearly always kept in its case, it has retained its full cherry red blossom.

    Brian Moore
    Plymouth UK
    1 DSC_0045 Fl compressed.jpg 1 DSC_0192 compressed.jpg
    1 DSC_0188 compressed.jpg
     
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  17. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    i once too bought a guitar that smelt of alcohol and ciggie smoke...so too the case.
    well, the guitar i had to get it refinished...
    the case meanwhile, took quite a few weeks of repeated febreeze and sun...

    anyway, this is my '75 standard...walnut...with afaik its original case.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    The comment on fading made me wonder because to me it's a rich dark red that doesn't look like that brown faded thing but was it originally a lighter shade? I took a pic without the pickguard to see what it looked like where the sun never shines.
    No Pickguard 74.jpg

    It looks to me like the shade is the same, a darker cherry red. The grain though is more defined under the pickguard, looks like the nitro that was exposed yellowed and maybe got a bit of haze to it. I still feel that any fading is minimal but there is more aging to the areas not under the pickguard, if that makes sense. That is, it's not faded but it doesn't look new either.
     
  19. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Maybe lighting is the reason it looks so different from Chuteboxhero's SG. Or maybe his was just refinished. I don't think I've ever seen a Norlin with such a bright Cherry as his.
     
  20. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Active Member

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    It's the lighting on my end. My '74 wasn't refinished. Here's the same guitar. Different cases. 2 different light sources.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The top pic is in my room with an energy saver LED. Not the best for accurate color. Bottom pic is much closer to the actual color.
     

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