Want to buy an SG again...but 61 old or new, vs Std

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by rivercider, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    Hi, I'm missing having an SG and want one badly BUT I have some questions about the 2 or 3 I'm looking at.
    I'm trying to decide between the new 61 and the new Standard, but have also seen an old 2008 year 61 that may be a contender.
    My biggest issue with any SG is the balance - I've posted here before about a 2017 standard I bought but eventually returned (weighed under 6lbs) because it was so neck heavy. I even took the tuning pegs of that one altogether to check the weight saving and it still had bad neck dive.
    So, I'm thinking it may be better to opt for a heavier SG? The places I have seen these ones now have advertised weights - the 2008 61 is 7lbs 9, but the new 2019 61 is 6lbs 15.
    The other one I'm looking at is a new Standard at 7lbs 2.
    I play sitting down, without a strap, so all my concerns about balance are in that context.
    Without driving for about ten hours to the two different places that have the SGs, it's it more likely that the heavier the SG,the less prone to neck dive?

    Sorry this has been covered so many times here before, but I've got to have an SG again and any advice is welcome. I prefer the look of the small guard but would consider a batwing Standard too, but I'm guessing the grovers and rounded neck profile will maybe mean it's less balanced than a slim taper 61 with Klusons.

    Anyone know if 2008 would have been a decent year for 61 model Standards? Must admit I don't know when they starting making these 'reissues '. It has the 57 pickups, which I like, but not sure how they compare to the 61 pickups in the latest models.

    Thanks and sorry for the wall of text!
     
  2. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    All things being equal, I would take the 2008 SG ‘61 Reissue.

    It comes with the 57 Classics (my favs for the most part), it will have a 1 piece body (were the other 2 you mention may or may not), and it has the large head with the crown inlay in the correct position (compared to 2019 Standard ‘61).

    Plus I think the old ‘61 Reissues just look better, of course that’s only an opinion :D
     
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  3. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    100% agree. Big decision for you, but for me it’s a no brainer. The 61 RI is a top shelf guitar. For me, the equate to custom shop levels, and I mean that. I have and do own custom shop models and my 61 plays better than almost all of them. To be completely honest, my 61 plays and feels better than all of custom ships but one. And with that one, they are equal.

    Maybe I got lucky, but likely not. The 61 RI is a top tier guitar.

    keep us posted


     
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  4. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    Thanks for the opinions. Looking at the photos, the 2008 61 is a definite two piece body.....also has a Nashville bridge rather than the new model ABR....beyond that I'm not seeing much difference. Yes, the crown inlay has moved and I love 57 Classics (have some in a 335 Studio) but I'm not sure about the pricing.
    The 2008 model is only £200 less than a brand new 61 (that's about 260 dollars)....but you guys are making me think it still may be worth it, even if that sounds a bit overpriced for a used one....
     
  5. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    How the neck feels and plays is the deciding factor when I choose a guitar. Never had an issue with balance on an SG because I keep both hands on the guitar when playing whether sitting or standing.
     
  6. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    I hear you on the balance issue /non -issue. I'm going to try to make my peace with that and focus on other factors.
    Like the neck, as you say : I generally prefer a thicker neck so maybe the Standard is a better fit. I can buy the brand new Standard here for £200 ($260) less than the 2008 61 reissue so that is something to consider.
    And it's £400 ($520) less than a new 61. Seems insane price difference.

    I sold my slim taper Les Pauls eventually as I prefer rounded necks BUT not to the point where I'd walk away from the right guitar. So I guess playing the individual examples is really the only way to know, ultimately.

    Based on the cost alone though, the Standard is way less money than even the used 61, so it would seem to represent the best bang for buck (softshell case is a cheapskate move from Gibson but doesn't really affect me as it'll stay at home).
     
  7. 58pit

    58pit Well-Known Member

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    One of each is the correct answer.
     
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  8. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    Ok, let's ignore the batwing Standard for now and ask the question this way -

    Would you buy a brand new 61 Standard (2019) or go for the 2008 model of the same 61 Standard?

    Cost difference is £200 ($260).

    main spec difference seems to be 57 vs 61 pickups, Nashville vs ABR.

    Thanks!
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    The first answer to your question, and the answer to many questions
    about prospective new guitars is this:

    Play it before you buy it. That's how you know. And that's the best
    way to find your new guitar. If it's a long trip, make a quest of it.
    Take a lady with you, spend some money, and go try them all.
    Buy her a new dress too...

    Neck shape is so subjective, most of what gets said about this issue
    is nonsense. But if you play it, you figure out in a hurry whether you
    keep it or not.
    None of us can tell you which guitar to buy because they are ALL desirable.
    And we know nothing about your music.
    Only you can decide if it balances the way you need it to.
    I own two SGs, and both of them balance perfectly. I would NOT buy one
    that was head heavy, because that feature irritates me.

    How do I know? I have incontinently installed heavy Grover tuners on two
    different guitars in the past, and had this upset the balance of each one,
    to the point where I made myself reverse my mod, remove the heavy Grover
    tuners and install something the guitar was designed to support.
    Installing lighter tuners solved the problem, and I used the Grovers on
    other guitars that weren't so sensitive.

    That's called learning the hard way. *shrugs

    Anyway, apparently some SGs neck dive more than others. I don't think there
    is any way for you to know until you put YOUR strap on it, shoulder it and
    plug it in. Mine give no trouble in this respect, lucky me.

    Having said that, I'll answer another of your questions and say that if you
    had to choose blindly, I'd get the '08... but since the price seems so good
    on the new Standard, I can't see how you can resist that. It comes down to
    whether it plays well, in your style.

    Oh and one more thing about playing your SG... Stand up! Stand up straight,
    and keep your thumb behind the neck. Play with a light touch and a relaxed hand.
    This makes neck shape irrelevant, and your hand can adapt to any neck.
    Boots on the front monitor optional...
    But the SG was designed as a rocker, and you should plan to stand up playing it,
    and use a wide strap. That will help too.
     
  10. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    Thanks for the sage advice, plenty to consider there.
     
  11. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    Update - No purchase yet.
    Found a 2010 61 reissue locally which I played - neck dive was there but I'm accepting that it'll always be there if I allow myself to notice it, especially as I play seated. I've decided is an inherent feature of the SG and that I can look for one with less noticeable balance issues, but not expect to find one that's free of it.
    Anyway, the one I tried was well played and the top E was getting caught in the gap between the fret and the binding up and down the length of the board under heavy vibrato. Another Gibson thing, but all in all it wasn't nearly as impressive to play as some more recent Standards I've tried. The neck, if it truly was a slim taper, was surprisingly full to me. Other than the above thing with the nibs, it played really well, but the guitar didn't speak to me so I left it in the shop.
    I shall continue the search.

    Thanks for all who have taken the time to comment or offer advice.
     
  12. rivercider

    rivercider Member

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    I meant to say that the 2010 61 was indeed a one piece body, but the 2008 wasn't. Thanks for the background info on this model though, gave me some idea of what I was /should be looking for.
     

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