Tougher than I thought

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Rasher, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. Rasher

    Rasher New Member

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    My 1961 LP (SG) Custom was recently kicked off a sofa by my cat and landed face down on the floor. I feared the worst, naturally...that fragile neck joint...that long slim neck.

    Well, it was slightly out of tune, but I fixed that. Phew!

    I used to own a 60's re-issue Custom Shop SG Custom and that fell headstock-first onto a stone floor when the strap button screw popped clean out of the neck joint. The joint was OK, and the guitar survived with just a few dents.

    I feel I've been lucky, but maybe they aren't as fragile as they look. Any other unlikely survival stories?
     
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  2. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    You've been lucky... very lucky.

    I remember one time I was on the road in Northern Michigan in like April,
    and there were huge piles of snow everywhere. We stayed in some motel
    and got not enough sleep, and then rose up to get rolling as soon as we
    were ambulatory. I was trying to keep my partner from hauling too much
    gear, because his knee was hurting him and he was trying to pretend it
    wasn't.

    So I grabbed instruments and hauled them out to the van while he was
    sitting on the throne. We carried quite a few instruments on the road, and
    since it was MY minivan, I was the one who liked to pack everything.
    I actually enjoy this process, like a three dimensional puzzle.
    van packed 2018@100.jpg
    So I walked out of the motel with three instruments and my traveling bag
    and placed everything just so, and then I saw somebody pull out of a space
    nearer to the door. I thought, I'll get that space, and won't have to walk
    as far on this ice, carrying things. I jumped in the van and threw her into
    reverse, and backed up just far enough to hear a thump. WTF...

    I looked in the mirrors, I couldn't see anything I would hit. I got out
    and walked around the car. I didn't see anything. So I backed up another
    ten feet and saw that my '66 Fender Jazz Bass had been under the car.

    %^$#(*&(%@^&* as you can imagine. I got out again into the frosty
    dawn, and took a look at my bass in its case. I had NOT backed the wheels
    over it. I must have set it down and got distracted and then tipped it over
    and backed the car over it without crushing it.

    Very lucky... And that's when I decided to sell it. I had been in the
    "not till they pry my dead cold hands off it" camp, concerning that bass.
    But after I almost crushed it, I had to ask myself... what am I doing?

    I thought, I should turn this baby into money that I will likely need later.
    I'll buy a cheaper bass and see how that goes, and if I can play a
    working man's bass, I'll let go of the vintage one... and put that money
    to work. And that's what I did.

    So be grateful, be very grateful for your good fortune. Gibson guitars must
    never be allowed to fall like that. My favorite luthier says that repairing
    broken Gibson headstock joints is how he puts his kids through college.
    That sounds extreme, but he repairs a number of them every month.
    Repaired Gibsons play just fine, but they lose about half their value in
    monetary terms. For a vintage instrument, that's a big loss.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
    Didds likes this.
  3. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    Considering the hell I have put my gigging guitars through over the years I'd say they are a fair bit more durable than legend would have it. According to the internet you will break the headstock off a Gibson just by laying it in the case wrong. My own experience tells me they hold up just fine as long as you use common sense, and the occasional knock won't kill them. I ended up a with 12-pound LPC standing on it's headstock once during a gig (don't ask) and other than marring the finish it was just fine.
     
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  4. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I had a '61 or '62 SG Special that I picked up dirt cheap when I was in high school in the '80s. It was all I could afford. Anyway, you can imagine what a high school / college kid put his cheap guitar through. I didn't even own a stand, for crying out loud. It was leaned against walls, left on the floor, etc etc. That particular guitar got banged into walls and dropped a fair number of times and it was fine. Somehow it never had a problem. Obviously Gibson headstock breaks are legendary but maybe I had a particularly strong bit of quartersawn old-growth mahogany for a neck or something. Maybe you do too. But don't push it! :smile:
     
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  5. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    I had an SG get knocked over face down on carpet from a standing position, thankfully in its hard case. But I still feared the worst. I was sweating opening it up. I searched with a flashlight and couldn’t even find a stress in the finish. I think I still show stress cracks in my own finish from that incident.

    the case did its job. But I for sure thought I was going to be one of the players you got bit after thinking “it won’t happen to me” for decades.
     
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  6. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Member

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    Stratocasters are more well built compared to an SG with a short neck tenon. Strat necks don't break at all unless you throw them off the top of the Empire State building.:fingersx:
     
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  7. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    No, that's true. but they do tend to break at the neck joint.
     
  8. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Member

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    Are you talking Fender or Gibson?
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    didja hear the one about the woman who became
    fed up with her husband's guitar collecting...
    so she beat him to death with his own instruments.

    She got busted for this of course, and when she came before
    the Judge in her orange jump suit, the Judge asked her:

    "First offender?"

    She replied, "No Judge, first a Gibson, then a Fender..."
     
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Amen. My worn cherry 2003 SG Special has survived some big hits from a drunk bass player and it's brown cousin has survived a fire. My SGJ got slammed pretty good in our recent move when the case came open as my son removed it from the car and it went face down on the concrete. It was still more or less in tune with no noticeable damage. I'm told the 08 SG Classic I have was placed against a 2X12 Fender cabinet and decapitated when the previous owner's wife opened the practice room door. I am forever in her debt.
     
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  11. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Strats are tougher than SGs, not better built, though. The even tone for which Gibsons are famous is possible because of the thin neck joint and headstock angle. On the other hand if the tour bus breaks down and you need a lever to help raise it, the Strat's your Huckleberry. :naughty:
     
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  12. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    Tough crowd! How was the first to like this!?

     
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  13. Rasher

    Rasher New Member

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    Ugh. You reminded me of a Custom Shop signature LPC that was maimed by the couriers. It arrived in the Gibson packaging, in the Gibson case, with the headstock hanging off, and the selector switch smashed into the body. Impact marks in the case lining showed that at some point in its journey to me it must have been dropped face first and the shock produced that damage. So, even in its case, and even when the case is inside the factory shipping carton....

    I still have the guitar. I had it repaired by a guy who used to work for a big-name guitar smasher, so he knew how to patch it up. It's fine, but the repair cost me quite a lot, and the guitar's value is a fraction of what it should be.

    I didn't get a penny of compensation from the courier. No penetrations of the carton, they said. Needless to say, I am an ex-user of that service.
     
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  14. MikeT57

    MikeT57 Member

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    Check this out:

     
  15. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Saturday night, I missed a step and went flying onto the concrete sidewalk. My SG standard, in its stock hard case, hit the pavement hard and bounced twice. With the absolute knowledge that the guitar was broken, I slowly opened the case. Nope, nothing -- no breaks, no cracks. The case, on the other hand, is now loaded with "character".

    In my other hand was my home-build 5E3 amp. This also took a flyer and landed face-down. Hard. When I got home, I plugged it in, fingers crossed. Except for the loss of my home-made logo, the amp is perfect. I attribute that to my excellent soldering.

    Dodged a bullet -- well, my knee is screwed up and I lost some skin on my elbow, but I'll heal. I couldn't have taken it if my beloved SG was broken.
     
  16. spikypaddy

    spikypaddy New Member

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    Although they're still nothing compared to a Tele. After the nuclear holocaust, all that will survive are cockraoches, Teles and Keith Richards.

    I used to be in a band with a guy who had a stroppy teenage son. The son one evening "knocked over" my bandmate's Eric Johnson signature Strat - snapping the headstock off. I can only assume that "knocked over" meant "smashed the guitar against the stone floor like Jimi Hendrix in his prime."
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily. My old neighbor had a fancy sig Strat. He turned on stage one night and clipped the drummers boom mic stand and the headstock separated along the grain just behind the nut. Stuff happens to all kinds of guitars and repair shops are grateful.
     
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  18. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I've had two guitars come to me with broken headstocks. One was a limited edition SG-3 I bought from Guitar Center and they opened the box in front of me and the headstock was busted. Refund, please. The other was an online purchase of en ES-335, the figured maple model. When I opened it I was so stunned by the beauty of the body that I didn't even notice the fact that the headstock was folded like a lawn chair. But that one was poorly packed, truth be told, so it's not shocking.

    I've shipped a couple Gibsons and thankfully never had an issue but I overpacked them to be sure.
     
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  19. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I Picture him looking at his broken neck and hitting his forehead with the heel of his hand and saying "I coulda had a SG" (old V8 commercial reference to the whippersnappers in the crowd)
     
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  20. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    I think I remember you posting photos of the 335

     
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