Very rare 1970's SG (prototype?)

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by luckystrike, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    Hi

    Much has been posted about this in an earlier thread, but I hope people don't mind me starting a new thread now that I have found out a LOT more accurate info. I have a very rare 70's SG which some members have identified as a heavily modified 73 special. I now have much more detailed pics, and have heard from other sources that it may be some kind of prototype due to the unusual pickguard and binding.
    Due to the guitar being refinished in white in the early 80’s, it is very hard to read the serial number due to the paint covering the digits. It was originally cherry red.
    The neck pickup is definitely non original and a recent replacement.
    I am hoping that someone can shed more light on this as I have never seen another like it.

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  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    That makes two of us.
    The pot code from your photo (1377437) indicates that the part was made in the 37th week (middle of September) of 1974. Your guitar has to have been made later than that. Here are a few issues in identifying the specifics:
    The unique bound headstock. Was a new overlay applied when the "refin" was done?
    The ABr-1 bridge. Norlin eras used "harmonica" bridges.
    I would suggest sending detailed photos to Gibson and asking their opinion.
     
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  3. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    Cool guitar, whatever it is!
     
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  4. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    It's exactly what we identified it as in the other thread; a heavily modified 1974 SG Special.

    90% of so-called "prototypes" are bogus, FYI. Anyone can cut a pickguard and binding is not easy, but perfectly doable by a good luthier.
     
    SG standard, Paul G. and luckystrike like this.
  5. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    But a 74 Special would have small block inlays.
     
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  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
    And a volute!. Maybe it's hidden under the paint. There is way too much wrong going on with this guitar. I hope it's a great player. No way to tell more until the paint comes off. Meanwhile maybe Gibson has some info. Norlin prototype? Maybe, but that headstock overlay makes it look fake.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  7. papagayo

    papagayo Active Member

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    The white finish don' t look stock.

    I don' t understand the black paint on the trussrod nut and there is a cropping around the Gibson logo...
     
  8. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    Jus sayin I noticed the volute- dead 70's giveaway. Specials in 74 had minis and small blocks.
     
  9. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    Oh... and a rosewood NOT ebony (Standard) finger board.
     
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  10. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    You can see here clearly that the logo was masked off when the headstock was redone:

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    True, we figured it was a late '72 or early '73. It's possible the pots were changed early in its life and that an ABR-1 was installed simply because they ran out of Harmonicas that day, but now I'm leaning toward it being a '74 and that part of the modification included a new fretboard entirely, which was taken from a '72/'73.

    There is a volute! You're goin' blind, old man!
     
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  11. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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  12. papagayo

    papagayo Active Member

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    Anyway that' s a cool refin guitar

    :thumb:
     
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  13. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    Has the pickup cavity been routed as suggested? Looks original to me
     
  14. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    The binding etc was there before the refinish. Here is a pic from the early 80’s when it was cherry red. Notice the full white neck binding, not the half black half white like normal 73 specials. The original owner painted a personal decal on the front of the headstock beneath the Gibson logo, this was afterwards painted over in black by the second owner. This may explain why some people think it’s a veneer. I am the third owner. Someone has told me it’s a Norlin prototype and that there is an identical one hanging on the wall at Nashville
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  15. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Yes. All of the work was well done, no doubt. Couldn't have been cheap. You can tell the two cavities are not identical; the neck is more of an oval while the bridge is more of a rounded rectangle.

    In transplanting a fretboard, the binding would need to come off anyway, so he most likely just re-bound it with new material.

    As for the prototype claim; a prototype for what? In 1974, they had just redesigned it and would keep that design in production for most of the decade. And why would a prototype even be needed for such a minor change as the binding? Also, back then, special editions were almost non-existent. Not to mention, most prototypes are kept or destroyed. Beyond that, the pickguard shape is not a proper Batwing shape, clearly an aftermarket job. I bet the guitar hanging on the wall at Nashville (if it even exists), is a white SG Classic or Standard.

    Sorry if I'm coming off abrasive, but I've seen SO MANY sellers claiming their totally stock or lightly modified guitar is a prototype, it drives me up a wall. And not just sellers either, random people winding up tall tales is disappointingly common. Prototypes are incredibly rare and not every model even has one. And even the small amount that do exist, most never see the light of day in public because manufacturers keep close tabs on them.

    It's a cool guitar with a unique history. Don't let the question of whether it is or is not a prototype affect your enjoyment of it.
     
  16. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    Thanks for all the info, I was simply responding to what I’d been told. It’s currently being refretted ( I’ve had to say goodbye to the nibs on the binding). The bridge pickup which looks like a non stock 70’s tar back is incredible. The guitar has much more clarity and responsiveness than my 2001 SG classic. The classic is still great though, a very different animal
     
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  17. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    I must add, this guitar is never for sale. It is my pride and joy and has an unbelievable history..
     
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  18. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised they even bothered putting nibs on it. Nice work indeed.

    I don't think the bridge pickup is a Tarback; they have the polepieces protruding through the tar and a braided lead wire:

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    And they also have adjustable polepieces on the top and from what I've heard, it's pretty much impossible to remove the cover without destroying the pickup.
     
  19. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    But the Tarbacks from the L6-S had no pole pieces and 4 thin wires. I know because I had one. I put the pickup in the bridge of my 74 Standard in the 90's. Looks like the one in the O.P.'s post.
     
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  20. luckystrike

    luckystrike Member

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    Yes after some research, it does look and sound similar to the l6 pickup. Also, the Gibson Tony Iommi pickup
     

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