'61 Reissue (USA) vs. '61 VOS (Custom Shop)

If you could get a gently used Gibson Custom Shop VOS '61 reissue for ~$1,000 more than a brand new

  • YES - Go Custom Shop if you can afford it

  • NO - Save your money, the differences are minor


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papagayo

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Curious what the fine folks think: If you could get a gently used Gibson Custom Shop VOS '61 reissue for ~$1,000 more than a brand new 2020 Gibson USA '61 Reissue, is it worth the extra $1,000?

As far as I can gather, the key differences would be:
  • NUT: Nylon/Bone (CS) vs. Graph Tech (USA)
  • BODY: One-piece Mahogany (CS) vs. Two-piece Mahogany (USA)
  • PICKUPS: Custombucker Alnico-III non-potted (CS) vs. 61R/61T Alnico-V potted (USA)
  • CAPS: Paper in oil Bumblebee (CS) vs. Orange drop (USA)
  • TUNING MACHINES: Vintage push-in bushings (CS) vs. Modern screw bushings (USA)
  • JOINT: Long neck tenon and heel (CS) vs. Short neck tenon (USA)
  • COSMETICS: VOS aging, historic spec pickguard and truss rod cover (CS) vs. No aging, plain truss rod cover (USA)
  • CASE: Custom Shop case (CS) vs. Gibson USA case (USA)
Anything I'm missing that's key?

With regards to the pickups, I think that could come down to personal preference for the most part. The caps seem to actually favor USA models, as Orange drops are maintenance-free and more reliable in the long run.

So unless I'm missing something (which I could be), the main difference is in the body construction and neck joint design.

What do you think? Obviously, "worth" can be subjective, too. But are there clear, objective advantages that justify the expense? (I'm not trying to knock the CS models, by the way. I'm honestly deliberating internally between these options.)

Gibson ABR-1 bridge, M-69 vintage pickup rings, reflector knobs with smooth top and knob pointers for the Custom Shop SG.
 

BenTobith

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Gibson ABR-1 bridge, M-69 vintage pickup rings, reflector knobs with smooth top and knob pointers for the Custom Shop SG.

‘61 RIs have ABR-1 and knob pointers. I can’t fathom what the difference between pickup rings might be (lol), but you’re right on the reflector knobs.

But again, we’re not really identifying much that affects “tOaN” here.
 

cerebral gasket

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I had a 2009 SG '61 Reissue in the past.
Nashville bridge WITHOUT knob pointers.

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BenTobith

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I had a 2009 SG '61 Reissue in the past.
Nashville bridge WITHOUT knob pointers.

Right, but I’m comparing 2020 ‘61 USA RIs to Custom Shop variants. There’s also other anomalies, like my 2013 Standard, which has pointers (was done in ‘61 RI style as a Standard that year).
 

Dale

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I have found that Gibson is not always perfect with the details per model. It goes to the "subject to change" clause. Most of my experiencs have been spot on they are correct as advertised, but a few have anomolies. Pointers on or not, cases, knobs, etc.
 

cerebral gasket

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SG '61 Reissues were not produced in 2020.
They are now marketed as SG Standard '61.
 
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Mondoslug

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I’m talking about specifically 2020 USA RIs, which have ABR-1, etc.
True, but the 2020 posts don't go straight into the wood like CS ABR-1s, they screw into the little metal thingies. I'm not claiming that makes a difference, just saying. I had a 2020 '61, nice guitar, should have kept it, might get another.
 

sentari

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I was looking for a double-cut and never in my life thought id get an SG. Any I ever tried in the store felt awkward (usually a combination of neck dive, neck profile and light body). In a total leap of faith I purchased a like new 2001 custom shop... for me, it fit.. it just fit. An extraordinary build. I think I paid 2200 our the door on Reverb. Note that the 2001 is not a VOS... Personally I just don't like all that non-sense.. Especially on fenders... 1/2 the cost of those is in the relic treatment. So I ended up doing the same thing on a double-cut special TV yellow (for about the same price)... I don't really care about which pickups are in them if the 'fit' is right.. fit and feel are harder to come by. Also, people tend to put the same pickups in everything (because that's what they know).. so for me, so far I've left pickups alone... This gives a wider array of possible tone.
 

SatansGwitar

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Curious what the fine folks think: If you could get a gently used Gibson Custom Shop VOS '61 reissue for ~$1,000 more than a brand new 2020 Gibson USA '61 Reissue, is it worth the extra $1,000?


What do you think? Obviously, "worth" can be subjective, too. But are there clear, objective advantages that justify the expense? (I'm not trying to knock the CS models, by the way. I'm honestly deliberating internally between these options.)

Honestly considering I own a few guitar books specifically SG/Gibson related, with a few folders on my computers with obsessive pics of the SG variants, catalogues and its players.... I'd say no. I own a 2019 SG Standard '61, absolutely love it to tears, it sounds nothing like my other two SG's and beside the pickguard I replaced with Creamtones version and the pointer knobs i installed, its everything I could want, even more so it sounds and feels amazing! The VOS CS equivalent is nice no doubt, but I dont care about what its supposed to replicate, not to mention I personally don't like someones name on my truss rod cover either, i love it being blank. Thats just me tho, my opinion means nothing really. Love hearing everyone's take on this post
 

papagayo

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2019 and 2020 SG Standard '61 are really fine, I don' t like so much the red/orange finish, an ebony finish should be killer.
 

SG standard

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Note that the 2001 is not a VOS... Personally I just don't like all that non-sense.. Especially on fenders... 1/2 the cost of those is in the relic treatment. So I ended up doing the same thing on a double-cut special TV yellow (for about the same price)... I don't really care about which pickups are in them if the 'fit' is right.. fit and feel are harder to come by. Also, people tend to put the same pickups in everything (because that's what they know).. so for me, so far I've left pickups alone... This gives a wider array of possible tone.

Just to be clear, it's the other way around with Gibson VOS - having a high gloss finish on a custom shop actually costs about $300 more than VOS! I've heard the main reason for this is the labour intensive buffing of the high gloss finish. VOS doesn't involve time consuming relic-ing of the finish either, unlike the Fender custom shop high $$$$ finishes, it's just a less glossy finish and tarnished metal parts. I think Gibson CS call relic-ing 'aged' or 'heavy aged', and that includes scratches, checking, etc. No idea what that costs, and not really interested in it myself.

As for pickups, I'm the same, I love having a range of different pickups and rarely change them. I get why other people like to do it, but I've tended to get to know & like a pickup for what it offers, rather than rush to change it.
 

PermissionToLand

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I had a 2009 SG '61 Reissue in the past.
Nashville bridge WITHOUT knob pointers.

Must have been a factory oversight. All '61 RIs from 1991-2012 should have pointers, to my knowledge.

I have found that Gibson is not always perfect with the details per model. It goes to the "subject to change" clause. Most of my experiencs have been spot on they are correct as advertised, but a few have anomolies. Pointers on or not, cases, knobs, etc.

Every Gibson catalog since as far back as I can remember has had the disclaimer "We reserve the right to change materials and specifications without notice". Sometimes along with "in order to constantly improve our products".
 

Gibbo SG

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Try the Gibson SG 61 Standard, several of them before ruling out that model. They have a solid reputation as great instruments here and on other forums as well.
 

Gibbo SG

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No I've never owned one. Like them a lot, have never seen one locally in store.
 

papagayo

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Sorry this is not a '61 Ri and not a Custom shop...


SG Standard TBK 234.jpg
 


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