Agent 99: The 1999 Custom Shop '61 Les Paul Reissue.

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by SG Champagne, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    IMHO Gibson has always used good quality tuning keys... they have done so for all of their
    history, going back to before guitars were cool. Kluson was a U.S. company, and they made
    a decent product, and sold tuners to both Gibson and Fender.

    Lots of players have old guitars with stock tuners on them, which work fine. I would say MOST
    guitar players use their stock tuners, and have no problems.

    In the '70s mod fever seemed to sweep the country. It's like, guys heard that Eric Clapton had
    removed the covers from his pickups, and they were all like: "What? ...really? Izzat how he gets
    that woman tone?" And they all wanted to do it too. People heard rumors about how Jimmy Page
    had modded his guitar, and talked about this like it was some kind of voodoo. Boutique suppliers
    began to pop up, and the "mod yer guitar for better tone and more sustain" craze was off and running.
    Before the '70s, most players didn't use pedals either. Just plug straight in to yer tube amp, and
    rock. We all talked about how the big stars got their tone, and we knew there was rack mounted
    witchcraft going on inside the mixing board. We all watched that Pink Floyd movie...

    Also, both Gibson and Fender had been taken over by the boogeyman: Soul-less Corporations.
    So we all knew that music took a back seat to the profit margin. *shrugs So they would cut corners
    on the parts, of course they would. DiMarzio pickups became the next big thing.

    I think most guys who replace their tuners do it because they CAN do it. All you need's a screw driver.
    So you buy a new set for fifty bucks and screw 'em on and tell yourself that your guitar works better.
    I've done it too. Actually, I look at it as a dependability thing. I don't actually believe that the new
    tuners will improve tone, but if they give me the least little edge of dependability onstage, they are
    worth it. The music business is fiercely competitive, and many of us are looking for that 'racer's edge'
    however slight. When all the competitors are excellent, the race is won by a very small margin.
    If your guitar goes out of tune during a showcase, you don't get invited back.

    But most tuning issues are solved by using new strings, lubing the nut slots and installing strings
    with the 'self-locking' method. "That's the truth... pppbbbbthththth..." --Edith Ann
     
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  2. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    And about the "harmonica" bridge from the '70s... This was in response to changes in
    guitar string usage by players.

    When the Les Paul guitar was invented in the fifties, there was only one guitar string gauge: Heavy.
    Like 13s... You went down to the music store and bought 'a set of strings." They were made by
    Black Diamond, and that was what was in the store. Some of the pros would put banjo strings on
    for the high E and B, and then move each string over one, and throw away the big fat low E.
    But the rest of us bought Black Diamond strings and struggled along. Gibson guitars were designed
    for these strings.

    By the middle sixties, a guy named Ernie Ball was getting his string making business going,
    and we heard rumors that big stars were playing "light gauge' strings. More 'voodoo..."
    Some players were heard to growl that light gauge strings sounded 'tinny...' *laughs
    But the Gibson bridge was designed for those heavy cables. And the new light gauge strings
    needed more 'travel" in the saddle screws to be intonated correctly.

    So the "harmonica bridge' was designed to give us just that. And it works. Players complained about
    it, because players complain about everything. *grins... Players panned the guitars of the '70s because
    what they really wanted was guitars of the '60s, and Gibson wasn't making those. Never mind the FACT
    that the harmonica bridge actually worked better than '60s bridges if you like light strings. Oh no, it's
    to big and obtrusive, and on and on.

    By the time Gibson took itself back from the corporate stooges in the '80s, the designers had figured out
    how to put a regular tuna matic bridge back on a Gibson guitar and get proper intonation with all the
    different gauges. And that's what we have now. It's called the Nashville Bridge, and is designed for modern players benefit. Use it in good health... lube your nut slots and bridge saddles,
    and install new strings with the self locking method and you should be fine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  3. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    That was funny.

    Ain't it the truth!
     
  4. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    Yes, that's brilliant, Colonel Mustard. Please and by all means tell us more whenever the mood strikes you. We are enthusiasts for this kind of information, and, I suppose that makes us unusual.

    More pics of Agent 99.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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  6. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    Here is proof right from the Gibson Corporation that, back in 1961, this guitar was offered in two colors: white and cherry.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    When finished in Cherry Red, the lacquer is transparent and you can see the grain of the mahogany just as you can on your garden-variety red SG. My 1979 Norlin SG Standard's cherry red lacquer finish has aged into a darker red shade.

    When finished in White, as we know, the finish is very thick white, completely opaque, and ages into a light yellow shade. Because the white finish is completely opaque, there is no way to see the grain and tell how many pieces of mahogany they glued together to make the guitar body.
     
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  8. Gibsg

    Gibsg Well-Known Member

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    Agent 99 , the bridge is in the wrong position , look a the notches .


    ABR 1.jpg
     
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  9. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    These photos are taken BEFORE the Gibson repair shop installed a new ABR-1 bridge. The new bridge is identical in appearance but installed correctly. Gibson said that the bridge needed replacing. You can see that nothing on this guitar was ever abused but the ABR-1 bridge wore out from normal use.

    My 1979 Schaller SG bridge is still going strong.
     
  10. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

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  11. Gibsg

    Gibsg Well-Known Member

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    OK ,

    With 3 humbucker covers and 2 stopbar studs your SG Custom is like new .
     
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  12. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    no message

    I need to figure out how to reply to a post without re-posting a photo.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  13. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    Delboy, I was spoiled by the "iron clad" tuning stability of my first electric guitar, a 1979 SG Standard, which I bought used in 1980. It would stay in tune for a month. In 1998, I bought my second electric, a Fender 1952 Re-issue. THAT guitar also stays in tune forever.

    I now know that this is above average tuning stability.

    Getting back Agent 99. No more tuning stability issues. Gibson said that the machine heads and the bridge needed replacement, and they were both replaced with identical parts.

    The old Kluson machine heads turned too easily. They were very loose in that regard. The new Klusons turn quite easily and seem somewhat loose, but certainly less so than the 17 year old machine heads.

    Grover machine heads are superior to Klusons.

    The Schaller "harmonica bridge" is functionally superior to the ABR-1 bridge.

    I recommend that Gibson Repair and Restoration shop. FedEx two day air shipping is reliable and as safe as can be. That's what the shop uses.
     
  14. Gibsg

    Gibsg Well-Known Member

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    @SGChampagne

    Can you have original Gibson part ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  15. Delboy

    Delboy Well-Known Member

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    It's not got superior tuning stability but is simply easier to tune, all my other guitar stay in tune just as well.
    For instance tune your guitar (especially with an electronic tuner) and then strum a D chord. A lot of the time I find I have to tweak the D or G string. But not on this guitar, it tunes perfectly every time.
     
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  16. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    Gibson replaced the Gibson parts with more Gibson parts.
     
  17. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    very cool... lovely pictures and a happy ending. I'm glad the guys at the custom shop did right
    by you. I have read Dan Earlewine's book: "How to make your Electric Guitar Play Great"
    (which I highly recommend) and he discusses how the Gibson bridge can sometimes collapse.
    Usually he sees this in older guitars than yours, but you don't know how it was stored, and you
    don't know what gauge of strings were on it for a long time. Anyway, it's one of those things
    that happen sometimes.

    I sure do love my SG...
    Luna 3@100.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
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  18. SG Champagne

    SG Champagne Active Member

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    Is that a Nashville bridge on your SG?
     
  19. Gibsg

    Gibsg Well-Known Member

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    I ask you because I need Gibson gold pickguard screws .
     
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  20. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Yes it is. I have two SGs, both SG specials. One's got the stock Nashville bridge, and one's
    got a TonePros Nashville bridge. The TonePros bridge is an aftermarket one which clamps onto
    the posts with little set screws. I bought that after reading about it, because the SG in the picture
    is my darling, my dove, my Luna. I fell hard for that instrument in a store in 2008, played it for almost an hour and became unwilling to let go of her... for fear some other gorilla would get his sweaty paws on her.
    I drew my master card and took the lady home. ...and she's still
    the Queen of my music room eight years later. *grins

    So like a man with a maid, I kept buying (or making) her cool stuff to wear. Nothin' but the best
    for my baby. I actually enjoy hearing other players work out on her now, (if they aren't drunk) because of her awesome tone. She's just a humble SG faded special, but she called me over from ten meters away and
    I picked her out of a fine lineup of other SGs, the tone unamplified and the feel of the neck were clearly the
    best for some reason. Luna's the best guitar of any kind that I've ever played.
    "She's my sweet little baby... I'm her little lover boy..."

    This is how bad I've got it for this instrument. Nobody but me and my luthier would ever
    see or appreciate this little detail.
    control cover@100.jpg
     
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