SG Standards: Iterations and timescales

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Corporal Scratchy, May 25, 2018.

  1. Corporal Scratchy

    Corporal Scratchy Member

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    Whilst checking information for another post, I cross referred to Tony Bacon “The SG Guitar Book” regarding the date for the introduction of the SG Standard model which was available throughout the 1990’s up to 2012 (batwing pickguard). I bought mine in 1991 from my local Gibson Dealer. It was the first one I’d ever seen. The Dealer told me that this was a completely new version of the SG Standard and this particular guitar was from the first batch to arrive in the UK.

    However, the SG Guitar Book refers to this iteration of the SG Standard as the “fourth version 1988-current (although mention is made of small pickguards from 2013).

    I think the author has completely missed out a version. I recall seeing an SG Standard c.1988 featuring a Norlin style body/neck similar to the 1972 style, but with a lower edge/side-mounted jack socket and a repositioned pickup selector switch. I’m sure I’ve seen them mentioned/pictured here on ETSG.

    Looking at “Guitar History Volume 2 – Gibson SG” by John Bulli, the author describes a similar guitar as the fourth major revision of the SG Standard, with a widened fingerboard featuring block fret marker inlays, this version of the Standard coming out in July 1980. He then goes on to state that towards the end of 1995 or early ’96 the Standard was revised again:

    “Kluson tuners with large chrome-plated keys were used, the truss rod cover was marked ”SG” in white and the old style pearl trapezoids……… were inlaid from the third fret………… Patent Applied For Humbuckings (sic) and a Tune-O-Matic/stop tailpiece combination were installed……. Bulli concludes that everything else remained as per the July 1980 version.

    Actual PAF Humbuckers???

    I think that actually Tony Bacon has missed 2 versions. I would suggest that the latter of these two revisions was available for the period covering the Henry J. takeover and up to the appearance of the batwinged Standard I bought in ’91, which might of course have appeared a little earlier.

    Anyone got any views on this? What versions followed the 2013 and where are we at now?
     
  2. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure Bacon has missed versions, I think he's just taken a pragmatic approach to identifying versions, where major changes are noted when they're first introduced, but not creating new 'versions' every time Gibson makes a revision to the model (most of which are simply a return to a previous design/feature). Certainly in recent years the SG Standard has been revised to some degree (sometimes extensively) in each year, God knows what version we'd be on by know if they were all considered to be new versions.

    Most likely the dealer was right, yours was a new model for 1991, but any changes were not any more significant than they are in most years, so 'completely new' was just sales talk. Have you identified major changes from the v4 description Bacon gives?

    The SG you saw c.1988 sounds like the v3 Bacon describes; jack on side '80-'86.

    To answer your final question, and going from memory (so probably missing some things), year-on-year changes from 2013:
    2014 - coil splitters, Min-Etune no longer optional, 120th anniversary inlay at the 12th fret
    2015 - G-Force replaces Min-Etune, Les Paul 100 & hologram on the headstock, brass nut, wider neck, fewer colour options, gold case.
    2016 - Two models (T & HP), both have rounded profile necks, batwing pickguards, 490/8 pickups, no coil splitters (HP has other changes including slightly wider neck - but less than 2015, titanium nut & saddles, MoP inlays instead of acrylic, and aluminium case, T has regular tuners and a gigbag)
    2017 - Small pickguard, slim taper neck, no poker chip, '57 pups return, (T has hardcase again, HP has features from '16 and 57/57+ pups)
    2018 - T has '61 pups. HP gets a major revision, including flame maple top, '57/super '57 pups, DIP switch + push pulls, and also available in a version without G-Force and with a Richlite fretboard.

    There are probably significant colour option changes in each year.... Now, see what I mean about having a new 'version' every year? :)
     
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  3. Gibbo SG

    Gibbo SG Active Member

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    Robert Hing was sued for securities fraud in an Arizona court in 2004.
     
  4. Gibbo SG

    Gibbo SG Active Member

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    Oops, wrong recipient. Nice SGs by the way! That message about the lawsuit, that was supposed to go to somebody else.
     
  5. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    No, 1991 was the switchover year from the old Norlin style body (with the weird switch and jack placement) to the batwing Standard they sold for the next decade plus. So he probably got one of the first Batwing Standards shipped to the UK.
     
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  6. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Odd, I just looked at the text in Bacon's book, and he repeats it there (p91): "And a large pickguard Standard, launched in 1988, ran alongside the small-pickguard Standard reissue, which around 1993 subtly shifted names from the '62 to the '61 resissue."

    I guess, if he made a mistake in his notes it got repeated in the reference section. I also just looked at the reference, and I find it odd he's listing the v3 as ending in '86, and the v4 as starting in '88. What was available in '87?
     
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  7. Corporal Scratchy

    Corporal Scratchy Member

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    What was available in ’87?

    Looking again at Guitar History Volume 2 – Gibson SG, by John Bulli, it appears that in 1986 there was the revised SG Standard (Norlin body as described above by Permission to Land) which was joined by the SG-62, followed later in the year by the SG “LP” Custom and the SG Special 400.

    These were added to in 1987 by the SG Elite. He then states the SG Special 400 and SG Standard were discontinued in January 1988. So the SGs available in 1987 were:

    SG-62

    SG “LP” Custom

    SG Standard

    SG Special 400

    SG Elite

    John Bullis book was, I think, the first SG-specific reference guide and was published in 1989.

    Bulli Gtr Hist.jpg

    In it, he credits the co-operation of Ted McCarty and Les Paul, plus “other present and former staff at Gibson”. The text was edited by Tim Shaw. In no more than 39 pages, (as opposed to Bacon at 136 pages) Bulli gives little background information about Gibson, nothing whatsoever about the players or the prevailing musical landscapes, but he gives a lot of detail about every SG from 1960 to 1988. It is sometimes a bit fiddly to follow, but the info is all there. The photos are mostly dreadful! Maybe his information benefits from his more contemporaneous sources, as opposed to Tony Bacon, writing nearly 30 years later? Bulli is long out of print, but I looked on Amazon this morning and a “new” copy is available for £625.62 (USD 832). Bargain!

    I don’t wish to disparage Tony Bacon and the SG Guitar Book in any way; like all his stuff, it is detailed, highly informative, well put together with superb photographs. I enjoyed it hugely and recommend it to any and all SG lovers.

    Thank you for your update listing changes to SG Standards from 2013. Your listing confirms there seems to be no holding back on model variations these days; should Tony B. decide to update his book, he’s going to be very busy!
     
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  8. Corporal Scratchy

    Corporal Scratchy Member

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    Thanks for that, it bears out what my dealer buddy told me when I bought it and ties in with some contemporary (although sometimes inaccurate) catalogues I have from the era.

    It would appear that the batwing version of the SG Standard then had a 21 year run up to 2012. Add to this the original guitars from 1966 to 1971, the 120th anniversary editions, the 2016s, plus all the corresponding Specials, you have a huge number of produced units, testament to a thoroughly sound design (except maybe for p/up mounting) from both manufacturing and player perspectives. I wouldn't mind betting they will be back at some stage.
     
  9. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Interesting! So it sounds as though this suggests the Norlin-era Standard came to an end in '88, rather than '86 (though perhaps there was a revision to the side mounted jack, which would explain Bacon's reference to that as being '80-'86). If Bulli's book was published in '89, perhaps it had already gone to print when the next SG Standard was announced in '88? (Just a theory). Or perhaps Gibson were only making the SG-62 for a few years, and reintroduced the Standard in the 90s?

    Incidentally, this reminds me, I used to have a Gibson electrics book from the late 70s, can't remember the author, but it had a custom headstock on the cover. I've search high & low for it but can't find it. These old books are a great reference for information from the time they were published, though can be unreliable for older info. I'd love to see the Bulli book, but for £600 I'd rather buy a guitar. :)

    Don't forget the batwing is still with us on the Faded, it's just not around on a Standard. Personally, as I've said on here before, I think Gibson could do well by offering more varieties of SG - as they do with the LP. An early '60 angel wing + maestro, a late '60s batwing, a '70s Norlin with a deep set neck, I'd even like to see an 80s 'super strat SG' (though I'll admit that might not be commercially viable!).
     
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  10. flognoth

    flognoth Active Member

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  11. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Not going to buy the Bulli book ... don't need it ... I only have new SGs ... yikes there is a used copy on amazon for "not that much" ... ca ching ...
     
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  12. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, definitely a mistake, the Batwing did not reappear until 1992. See below:

    That's a '91 with all of the Norlin features; neck PUP against the FB, small PG, shallow bevels, switch and jack placement and large headstock.
     
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  13. Corporal Scratchy

    Corporal Scratchy Member

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    Incidentally, this reminds me, I used to have a Gibson electrics book from the late 70s, can't remember the author, but it had a custom headstock on the cover. I've search high & low for it but can't find it. These old books are a great reference for information from the time they were published, though can be unreliable for older info. I'd love to see the Bulli book, but for £600 I'd rather buy a guitar. :)

    That would be "The Gibson Guitar Book from 1950" by Ian C. Bishop:

    Gibson Gtr - Bishop.jpg

    There was a sister volume "The Fender Guitar" by Ken Achard. Both were published in the UK in 1977 and are believed to be the first reference books written regarding vintage guitars.

    By todays standards, they are a bit crude (like the Bulli SG book, many of the pictures leave much to be desired). Nevertheless, when I bought them as a guitar day-dreamer schoolboy, they were hugely enlightening and cleared up a sea of confusion.

    Both books were rprinted and publishe in the USA in 1990 and are available in Amazon at NOT silly prices; happy hunting!
     

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