Standard, Special or Vintage?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by SweetJohnnyD, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Fellow SGsr, I posted asking for suggestions but I'm thinking it contained too much info. I'm thinking about adding another to the collection. I kinda see this like buying new car tires...do enough research to be overwhelmed and then just pick one :) Some ideas are "slim" neck, 2 PU and not too "Vintage" to be fragile or really expensive. Any suggestioins?
     
  2. Hola Vibrola

    Hola Vibrola Member

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    Well the good thing is that there's so many options to pick from ... ultimately the best course is to visit as many dealers and sellers as possible, play as many new and used guitars as possible, and pick the one that most floats your boat that is within your price range. Sounds like you've narrowed things down a bit already, the slim taper neck narrows down the models considerably. Good luck!
     
  3. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Señor Vibrola , so the slim necks are only on the '61 or vintage of that era? I bought #2, a 2014 STD reissue in Champagne that felt like a 2x4 at first. I'm kind of used to it now and will keep it since #1 is REALLY beat up (1999 Std)
     
  4. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Señor Vibrola , so the slim necks are only on the '61 or vintage of that era? I bought #2, a 2014 STD reissue in Champagne that felt like a 2x4 at first. I'm kind of used to it now and will keep it since #1 is REALLY beat up (1999 Std)
     
  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG!

    You really do have to play it before you buy it
    especially if you want to be picky about neck shapes.

    Gibson necks involve hand work even in this modernistic age,
    so that general statements about neck shapes are mostly inaccurate.
    Here's a diagram anyway:
    50_60_gibson_neck_profile.jpg
    Guitarists seem to love to make such statements,
    and seem to love to hear them. Wouldn't you love to go
    online to a guitar forum and ask,
    "Which guitar should I buy"
    and have everyone know exactly what you need
    and all recommend the perfect instrument for your style
    and preferences... AND then give you a link to the best
    price on the net. *grins

    Naw, you have to go where they sell them, and
    play as many as they'll let you. Buy the one that comes alive in
    your hands, no matter what color it is, or what model it
    is, or even how much it costs. If it feels great when you
    play it, that's your guitar... buy it, pay for it, never ever
    sell it. SGs can have this effect on a guy.

    If nothing gives you that feeling, keep looking.

    If you can't do what I suggest, just buy a '61 RI.
    That's one of the best guitars Gibson makes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
    OBX351 likes this.
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    The current (2020) lists a rounded profile, the one I played before the plague was not as thick as my 08 Classic but not a slim 60s. Like the Col. says, try 'em out if you can, but I would add that I have many different neck profiles and scale lengths and they all work great for me. You and your hands are remarkably adaptable. now please go wash them for twenty seconds and moisturize after.:smile:
     
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  7. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Thanks Col, there are a bunch of them in Austin so I'll do that after all the shops open up again. That Special you have all done in natural wood is sweet! I'm definitely going to try that model.
     
  8. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Hey Biddlin, before I "bonded" with my #2 I would have argued otherwise but you're absolutely right. I thought I was a "stuck with being able to play one guitar guy" until recently but found out that with a little fret work I can indeed play different guitars. Ummm.... different SG guitars ;)
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I have been known to remark that
    the human hand is perfectly capable of playing
    any instrument from a Mandolin to a Double Bass
    with no problems.

    It's mostly from guitarists that I hear so much about neck shapes.
    Many of my musician friends play guitar,
    ukulele, banjo, mandolin, keys, violin, bass...
    sometimes several of those in one show.

    Me, I play guitar, djembe and bass. I play acoustic and
    electric, and have never thought much about neck shapes
    until I started hanging out on guitar fora.

    But since I've been on this forum for more than a decade,
    I understand that there are lots and lots of guitarists who
    would actually reject a guitar because of the neck shape.
    I don't get that at all, but I have seen enough conversations
    about it that I know it's true.

    And since I'm a guitar slut, I tend to regard my instruments
    with sincere affection. *smiles.... So it would break my heart
    to order one, and then send it back because it had a flaw
    or because the neck was too thin, or because the neck was
    too chunky. I wouldn't do it. I couldn't do it unless the flaw
    was impossible to put right, or obvious fraud.

    And I seem to be able to play any neck... except one of those
    original Rickenbackers like John Lennon had. That was an
    unplayable neck. *grins
    Of course, I'm not John Lennon.
     
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  10. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    It's actually a combination things. The neck and (insert the huh?) frets. I had a hard time staying in tune from gripping aggressively and took it to a guy in Florida about 25 years ago who's dead now. He filed down the frets on #1 and it worked right away. When I got #2 I took it to a guy in Austin and did the same. I realize most guys want to make the frets last as long as possible and would never consider doing this but I was out of options. The good news is that with a little bit of the same work I can adjust any other SG and try a new guitar! Up until last year I thought I was stuck playing #1 from here on out. #2 oroduced WAY better sounds on the last recording

    www.eltuleband.com

    PS I'm sure you guys have heard of stranger guitar stuff
     
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    My SG faded special was the first electric guitar that I owned
    since I was twenty something. I played most of my career
    with acoustic guitars and electric bass. I'm sure I made
    hundreds of dollars over all that time. But I had to watch
    what I spent, so I skimped on setup... not knowing any better.

    So when I finally fell for the SG bug, I played it intensely and
    was frustrated because I was always out of tune. I didn't
    know why. I replaced the tuners, because I read on this forum
    that Gibson tuners were crap. (It wasn't true, but lots of guys
    say that, and say it still). I got a fret job done. And a new
    nut... I bought a fancy electronic tuner.
    And I still was playing out of tune.

    In desperation, I saw a couple friends of mine playing outside
    at a cafe, and stopped to listen to them. When they were done,
    I asked one of them, (who is an excellent guitarist and who
    plays electric and acoustic guitars, fretless bass and viola)
    I asked him if he wanted to check out my new Gibson.

    Of course he did. I went and got it, and put it in his hands,
    and listened as he ran it through its paces plugged into a
    Fender Pro Junior. It sounded great. And it was perfectly
    in tune, all the way up and down. He praised its action and
    frets, and asked me who had set it up for me. I was
    kind of in shock.

    At that point, I realized that there was nothing wrong with my
    guitar. It was me. I realized that my acoustic player's grip of
    death was squeezing the neck too hard, and throwing the notes
    sharp. Since I loved that guitar and the tones of it, I also realized
    that I had to teach myself to play all over again. I began practicing
    playing songs I knew well, but concentrating on keeping my
    thumb behind the neck.

    I practiced playing with a much lighter touch. I noticed the difference
    immediately. It was hard to change my bad habits, but I really wanted
    to play my SG. So I kept working on it, and that has made all the
    difference in the world. When you keep your thumb behind the neck,
    and play with a relaxed hand, the shape of the neck becomes
    unimportant. So does the height of the frets and the size of your hand.

    Lots of guys say, "I have small hands and so I need to play __________
    kind of guitar..." This is just bull taco. To anyone who thinks this, I
    recommend watching videos of Tal Wilkenfeld... a very small woman
    who plays a really mean bass, with no problems and tremendous
    artistic flair.
     
  12. SweetJohnnyD

    SweetJohnnyD New Member

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    Yikes. Dang, thanks for taking the time to write that. I guess I've always known it's ME but kind of thought it was mostly that the guy filed down the frets on my first "real guitar" #1 STD in '98. I played it all the time until buying #2 recently and thought I was just "really used to the frets being low" I vividly remember being shocked at how many shavings were flying off the neck. I'm going to try the thumb behind the neck technique and see what happens!
     
  13. Greg Connor

    Greg Connor Well-Known Member

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    I had a Rickenbacker 360 12 string that I had a love hate relationship with. The love side of it was the sound and the pencil neck was the other side.

    We finally parted when I fell in love with a Martin D28 with shaded top. The Martin and I are still living happily ever after.
     
  14. 65vibrola

    65vibrola New Member

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    IMG_7275e.JPG IMG_1840e.JPG Like so many here, I like both and it depends on the type of SG
     
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  15. Eisel-Elder

    Eisel-Elder New Member

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    I’ve got a 1998 SG Special, a 2017 SG Standard, and a 1972 SG Jr.

    My Special is my go to for gigs. I’ve had it the longest (bought it new in 1998...the cut lawns all summer in high school one year for it Guitar). The Standard is great and is probably the best feeling of the bunch. But the Jr is my beast. It is responsible for nearly every guitar solo I’ve recorded since I got it. It has the mojo. But I’m not sure it’s the overall best. The law of diminishing returns sort of takes over on this one. An early 70s Jr is like 4 or 5 times the price as a brand new Standard. But it’s not 4 or 5 times better. I say get a Standard and a Special and still come out under a vintage. And if you’re talking about 80s or 90s as vintage I say go with 90s specials all day. I love them. 1997 was a good year as well as 1998 for them.
     
  16. Buffalo SG Dude

    Buffalo SG Dude New Member

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    I never realized neck shape mattered much until I got a bit older. The past several years I've struggled with hand pain. I realized it would get better if I'd go a short while without playing but would return within 10 minutes of playing. Very frustrating for a number of years. I then picked up an SG with the 60's slim profile neck. Pain went away with in a few days of playing it. At first I figured something is again changing in my hand for whatever reason. I then picked up my #1 and pain came back within 10 minutes or so. I was shocked. Play my slim profile and the pain goes away. If I play that for a few months the pain is gone the whole time. Pick up my old #1 again and pain is back within 10-20 minutes of playing. Again, shocked. ...and saddened. But I can now say that this slim profile sg is now my #1. So imho, and personal experience, neck profile can matter a LOT for some players.
     
  17. Les537

    Les537 New Member

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    The answer is always a special loaded with p90s. The 2019 specials are absolutely gorgeous in the 60s style with rolled binding, big dots and one piece bridge. The 2018 specials came with 24 frets, one piece bodies and minibuckers to keep the seat warm for a p90 swap (did that myself).

    I love my '97 LP special more than any of the other 50 or 60 guitars I've murdered, though it also had to have a p90 swap (from p100s).

    The digression with neck size/shape is interesting. My SG has a butter knife neck with satin finish that feels really great. The frets were dressed by robots and they did a perfect job. It's a really fast neck, but it requires a VERY light touch or you get snap snap sounds like an annoying 80s bass player. It's tricky to play after beating a the strat.

    My les paul has a perfect D '90s neck with the finish buffed from 23 years of loving touch. I love rolled binding. This neck is home base. This guitar came with huge frets, very wide and flat like rail road tracks. The guitar improved greatly after I levelled the frets and filed a crown on them.

    I wanted to try something completely different so I bought a new mex player strat about 6 months ago with 9.5 radius, gloss maple fret board and long strat scale. The neck is thick on this thing and it weights a good 9lbs. It does hurt my hand after some playing due to shape. It weighs more than my old LP. The first 3 frets were lower than the rest causing annoying buzz right in the cowboy chords. I gave this new guitar a fret job and it improved 100%. Its like they put the frets in and then called it job done without level or dressing at the mex plant. I couldn't deal with the gloss on the fretboard. I sanded it off to show it who's boss. Now I play this guitar all the time because it's like having a mistress after 30 years of marriage and I'm used to it now and really enjoy it, but when I pick up my SG my hands are dumb and hit it too hard.

    Anyway, I do like an excuse to talk about guitars.
     
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  18. jk67SG

    jk67SG New Member

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    I bought my '67 in 1968, slim neck (0.84" at 1st fret, 0.95" at 12th fret), 'normal' size hands & fingers(hands not big, not small, fingers not fat, not skinny). I've always played with thumb mostly behind neck as it felt the most natural to me, never thought of playing any other way (although now, I'm going to start looking more closely at this aspect of how other people play). There are some points where my thumb does wrap around the neck for certain things, but mostly it's on the back of the neck.

    I also have a '60' True Historic 2016 Les Paul (0.819" at 1st fret, 0.947" at 12th fret)... the neck thickness is nearly identical on both (can anyone really 'feel' 2 hundreths of an inch?), but the necks feel very different. The SG has very low, wide, flat frets (very close to the frets on 'fretless wonders') and the LP has medium jumbo frets- I don't feel much difference between the two, other than it feels slightly easier to bend notes on the medium jumbos). The biggest measurable difference between the two is that the fingerboard width at the nut on the SG is 0.1" narrower that the LP (1.593" vs 1.690"). After playing the SG for 52 years (and loving it) I realize that playing at the nut-end of the neck feels somewhat cramped compared to the LP. It's seems a little hard to believe at first that 0.1" makes such a noticeable difference, but it really does; YMMV.

    I love both of them and will never sell either, neither is 'better' than the other, just different. And 'old' wood does seem to matter... the SG is accoustically much louder that the LP, although some or all of this might be due to other factors- the SG has the 'lyre' tremolo which provides more contact area between the strings, bridge and trem to the body than the LP bridge and string stop; and the SG has either a bone nut or a very ancient hard plastic nut vs the LP which has a nylon nut (seriously considering replacing the nylon with bone and doing the 'Mapleflame replace bridge stud mod' for LPs to get better accoustic coupling - this mod or a variation of it probably not applicable to SGs due to the thinner body).
     
  19. volktar

    volktar Member

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    I've never felt that I CANT play a particular neck, but over the years I did notice that all of the guitars that just felt "great" to play had rounder necks, and usually narrow nut width (1.65). That's my sweet spot. Now, my Special has a slim taper and 1.695 nut width. It's not ideal, but I still love the damn thing. Still tempted to do that P90 swap like Les537
     
  20. OBX351

    OBX351 New Member

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    62 sg reissue small.jpg I am with Les547, get a Special RI from the early mid '00s, if you can find one, if not just go with whatever's available. Upgrade the pickups with Lollars and put a vintage style harness with PiO caps and 10% 500k or 550k pots. It'll be a screamer. I did that with this one, and I've A/B'ed it against my '63 Special, '63 SG LP Jr as well as a few others and it's very close.

    After I bought this guitar I called and spoke with Jason Lollar and described the guitar. He said he had the right pickups for it and said if I didn't like them to send them back and he'd either give me my money back or send me another pair. Needless to say he was right and just for the record he's 4 for 4 on P90 recommendations with me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020

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