Upgraded 2018 SG Standard.

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by KelvinS1965, Dec 1, 2019 at 4:16 PM.

  1. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    I bought this SG last month as an ex-dispay guitar. Got it for a decent price, with a trade in Telecaster that wasn't different enough from my other Telecaster to justify keeping it.

    I changed a few cosmetics first; decided I liked the look of the '61 Standard bits and pieces, so I got some replacement parts from eBay. Not genuine Gibson I'm sure, but for pieces of plastic, so long as they fit and look how I want, not a problem. They all came to about £11 including delivery, so wasn't a costly upgrade and it gave it the look I wanted.

    As it was when I bought it (I added the poker chip after I found it in the case):
    SG & Chase.jpg

    Post '61 style cosmetics (plain TRC, reflector knobs and white switch tip):
    SG on chase 61 mode.jpg

    Next I'll move on to the wiring upgrades. :smile:
     
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  2. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    Next I planned some wiring changes, so I ordered a set of Gibson 500K audio taper pots, switchcraft selector and a high quality jack socket:

    Electrics upgrade kit.jpg

    Today I took out the PCB and re-wired it with metal braided wire and swapped the 61T/R pickups for some DiMarzio 36th Anniversary pickups. I already had the neck pick up, which I removed from the Tele I traded in (I put that back to standard single coil), so I just had to buy the bridge pickup version.

    Striped down.jpg

    I made a little jig from cardboard, so I could wire as much as possible away from the guitar, to minimise risk of damage to the guitar:

    Wiring loom.jpg

    Then transferred the new loom to the body and did the final connections to the pick ups. I've gone for 50s wiring and used a 0.015uF capacitor on the neck pickup to give a softer roll off of the treble, with a standard 0.022uF on the bridge tone control:

    Rewired.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 4:25 PM
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  3. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    I'm pleased with the results of the work now. It has a more open sound than the original pickups and the controls work in a much smoother/gradual manner (especially the tone controls). I can put it all back to standard as no wires were cut from the original PCB parts as they all just plug in.

    Next job is to replace the nut as the B slot is a little too deep: I tried the bicarb and crazy glue fix, but it is only a temporary repair. I've got a Tusq nut to fit, but might wait until after a small gig next weekend so I don't feel under pressure to rush the job.

    My favourite photo of my SG so far (please don't worry about the headstock sitting on the shelf; it is resting on the neck as it is the angle of the photo and I was very careful putting in place for the picture ;)). I got a hand made strap from a UK company; makes a change from my standard black strap choice I think:

    SG New Strap 1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 4:50 PM
  4. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    A few more photos:
    DiMarzios.jpg

    With a 'new' guitar I assembled last weekend: A '54 Esquire look alike:
    Nice pair.jpg
    Nice pair 2.jpg
     
  5. Derald

    Derald Member

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    Looks great nice job. That’s pretty much what I do to a new SG - new knobs and usually new wiring.
     
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  6. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Great workmanship, you're ready to rock !
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 3:53 AM
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  7. mutron

    mutron New Member

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    Nice! I also have a 2018 Standard cherry and did the exact same cosmetic changes but left pickups and wiring as is becasuse they sound fine to me!
     
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  8. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    Yes, mine sounded fine too, but I found the controls (especially tone) were very abrupt, almost on/off and also felt almost like they weren't attached to anything. I'd previously done a similar upgrade to my Epiphone Les Paul, so had most of the parts/wire handy too.

    I've been playing my SG and LP back to back this evening, with my amp set clean. Just fine tuning the pickup height on the SG. The SG sounds a bit brighter/more cutting than the LP, especially on the neck (Bareknuckle Mules in the LP, verses DiMarzio 36th Anniversary in the SG), with the LP sounding richer. It's good that they are different though otherwise hard to justify having them both if they were too similar.

    I'll be playing the SG at a small gig this weekend, so I'm glad it's all sorted and fine tuned ready to play. I might re-string it and give the frets a polish, as it's so easy with the locking tuners (and I bought a few packs of Gibson Brite wires to try).
     
  9. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Always try to keep solder/flux from soaking in around the pot tab where it clamps around the resistive part.
    I've found that when its heated up, flux can soak in that area and cause the pot to be intermittently open down the road - not good !
    It looks like that might be happening on the low side connections of your volume pots.
    If you stay aware that can happen and pre-tin the tabs, you can minimize it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:10 PM
  10. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG, if I haven't said it before.
    If I did, I'm saying it again.

    It sounds like you know exactly what you want and how to get it.
    I can't imagine why you'd prefer Dimarzio p'ups to the Gibson '61s
    but so what, it's your guitar, and it's your tone. *grins ...ROCK ON!

    One of the cool things you mention is that you could remove the Gibson
    equipment so easily, and include it if you ever sold the guitar.

    I have never had a guitar with the PCB, and traditional wiring works
    fine for me, so I'm with you there. Especially if the controls work better.

    The guitar is visually stunning, as we'd expect it to be. Combined with your
    Esquire, you've got a lot of tonal ground covered with just those two.
    There sure is something about a blonde Tele with a black p/g IMHO...

    I believe that one of the key differences in the tone of the SG and the Les Paul
    has to do with the placement of the neck pickup. On a Les Paul, the neck p'up
    is a little farther forward. The price we pay for this is a heavier instrument with
    more wood there. And IMHO the perceived difference easily altered either way
    by EQ. So either instrument can sound the way you want.

    That's why we love our Gibsons IMHO. They are versatile. SGs are never
    Les Pauls, no matter what anyone says. Les Paul said so.
    May the twain never meet, except onstage, in a duet.
     
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  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Brother Roll. I learn something every day. Keeps this in mind for future jobs and or if issues arise on current guitars.
     
  12. 58pit

    58pit Well-Known Member

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    BRAVO!!!!! Well done, how bout a set of Gibson pointers?
     
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  13. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    I think apart from fitting the Tusq nut I've got, that it's all done for now. I did think about the pointers as I put them on both my LPs, but I wasn't sure if SGs typically had them, so have left them for now.
     
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  15. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Tusq nut is made for my SG Standard, stock nut is titanium.
     
  16. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the stock nut on your 2015 SG Standard was brass. It may have been upgraded to titanium by yourself or previous owner. ;)

    Gibson sent me free titanium replacements for all four of mine. :D
     
  17. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    Gorgeous work. Well done!

    And I, for one, see no problem with DiMarzio pups. They look great! I hear they make some really great firebird style pups, I'm still tossing around the idea of throwing a set in my SG Special T.
     
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  18. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Member

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    I guess it's because they aren't 'boutique' maybe they get looked down on a bit, but honestly I don't think my Bareknuckles are any better, despite the 50% price hike.

    I'm playing a little gig this weekend, so looking forward to it as my buddy is also playing his black 2019 SG Standard with me. :cool::smile:
     

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