Fretboard finishes on SG Original standard '61

LambdaLambdaLambda

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Hello everyone I am an SG fan I always dreamt about having one. I just got my first SG and it is a quite costly SG Original standard '61. It is absolutely brand new right from the shop and produced in 2021.
Down below I posted some pictures of the fretboard finishes. There are indeed some imperfections, and sign of manual carving are clearly visible.
I haven't seen similar finishes on, say, Fender high-end guitars.
Is it normal for a guitar like the SG Original standard '61?
photo_2022-01-17 15.18.24.jpeg photo_2022-01-17 15.18.22.jpeg photo_2022-01-17 15.18.12.jpeg
 

Col Mustard

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Welcome to ETSG!

To answer your question:
I don't think it's normal for a brand new Gibson to show signs of sloppy work.
Hand work is something that Gibson has always included in their guitars
but if it looks too sloppy for your standards, something must be done.

Keep it and fix it, or send it back.... your call.

If it were my guitar, I would take a piece of sandpaper and carefully smooth off any
rough edges, and then I would play music on it. I wouldn't want to catch my fingers
on the binding.

You as the owner have choices to make, which will be entirely personal
and will reflect your own desires and beliefs. We have seen so many posts on this
forum, where someone buys a guitar without seeing it or playing it, and then
finds fault with it. For some, a few tiny flaws would be enough to repackage the
guitar and ship it back where it came from. And scold Gibson furiously for allowing
such work to be shipped to you. I could almost never do that... The flaws would have to be outrageous.
three Gibsons@100.JPG
Me, I have bought three new Gibsons in this way. Lucky me, mine are all fine and I
love them dearly and enjoy the music that I can make with them. My normal procedure
is to take any new instrument to my favorite luthier to be checked over by a pro,
and to have any flaws corrected and the instrument set up well for my style.

I don't believe in the concept of perfection. I have NO FAITH in any such thing,
so I don't expect it. I regard a new guitar as potential. If I buy it, it's because I
want what that guitar can do. So I take responsibility for making it my own.

That's just me. Not every Gibson buyer can live this philosophy. So we see similar
posts over and over, where people expect perfection from Gibson and are miffed
when they don't get it. I sympathize with your question, but I'm such a guitar slut
that once I get one, it's mine and I'll do anything to keep it and play it. *shrugs

In the case of your guitar, Gibson Quality Control should have sent that one back
down the line a few stations and ordered a better finishing job. It's an easy fix IMHO.
 
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An Abiding Dude

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Gotta agree with the Col. here. I have one of the $2,400 Iommi models and there are some tooling marks on the edge of the neck binding too, but its a monster and love playing the hell out of it. If you've ever seen a video on Gibson's manufacturing process then you know most of their guitars are built on an assembly line and there are bound to be some oversights when you're trying to manufacture so many products. Ultimately, it should come down to what your purpose for the guitar is. Is it an art piece that you are going to obsess over or is it a tool to make music? If the latter, do these flaws affect its playing ability? If it's a good player, gently sand those marks down (or if you doubt your own abilities, take 'er to a luthier) and problem solved!
 
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send it back and get another 61, for being brand new guitar it looks crappy ,
 
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Von Trapp

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Looks like very easy fixes, but yeah, if it's brand new it's not really good enough. I'd send them the pics and ask for some cash back. But if you have to take it to the store you might as well ask for a new one.
 

PermissionToLand

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All 100% typical of a new Gibson. People need to understand that if you want something built with more hand work, you also have to accept more imperfection than an automated machine would have.
 

papagayo

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The neck binding is not perfect, your guitar was made a friday afternoon...

Seriously, my 2000 SG Standard :

SG Standard 132.jpg
 
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Von Trapp

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All 100% typical of a new Gibson. People need to understand that if you want something built with more hand work, you also have to accept more imperfection than an automated machine would have.

One would think that it was the other way around, I mean a machine perhaps wouldn't notice these details whereas a human would. Ok, I can get slight variations but in this case it looks more like sloppy work. Personally I would A) Notice B) realize it's not good enough C) conclude that this is not how I want to leave it D) Notice how easy it is to rectify and E) Just fckn do it. And as opposed to Mr "Yeah, fck it, that's good enough" I'm just a mere hobbyist, at best. Yet, I put it to you that these are not variations but mistakes.
 

PermissionToLand

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SG Standard '61
SG Original
Two different models.

There's also a lot of variation in color. Standards were a much darker red in the 1990s but it was still called Heritage Cherry.

One would think that it was the other way around, I mean a machine perhaps wouldn't notice these details whereas a human would. Ok, I can get slight variations but in this case it looks more like sloppy work. Personally I would A) Notice B) realize it's not good enough C) conclude that this is not how I want to leave it D) Notice how easy it is to rectify and E) Just fckn do it. And as opposed to Mr "Yeah, fck it, that's good enough" I'm just a mere hobbyist, at best. Yet, I put it to you that these are not variations but mistakes.

Well, the machines are supervised by humans who can easily program them to never make the same mistake again, once it's identified. With a human, you just can't be as reliably identical with every stroke of a chisel. Humans will notice the mistakes, sure, but the problem of human error can't simply be eliminated like it can with a machine. You have to allow a certain tolerance or leeway for human error or else you'll be throwing lots of money in the trash with all the "ruined" guitars.

You also have to consider that humans really aren't built for working on a production line. The line keeps moving at the same pace regardless of whether you'd like to spend extra time on a guitar. You kind of get the problems that come with hand-work added onto the problems that come with mass manufacturing. If it were a Custom Shop build, they could presumably take whatever time they need to get it right because there is no conveyor belt to keep up with. In this way, mass manufacturing is not very compatible with hand-work.

It's easy to say "just f*ckin do it", if you don't know the stats on what their current rejection rate is, or how much it would cost to stop the line for every mildly sloppy binding.

It's also easy to say if you haven't made a guitar yourself, working fret to fret, doing the same thing 44 times with your hands getting tired. And then moving on to the NEXT one! Yeah, I hate doing fret work.

Not to mention, these pics are taken at magnifying glass levels of zoom and show nothing remarkable at all IMO.

And ultimately, I look at it like this; the "human touch" ultimately boils down to imperfection. Think of how many legendary albums have mistakes left in them, which end up giving them character. Do you prefer modern music set to click tracks where the time is rigid, or free-flowing recordings where the drummer follows the energy of the band? Here's an interesting video about how Jimi Hendrix's timing was technically "imperfect" but it was part of what made him unique:



There's also a reference to Phil Rudd rushing the chorus in Highway To Hell, and he's my favorite drummer so he can't be wrong!
 
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Col Mustard

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just as an addition, for the OP as well as the rest of us...

Here's a link to an hour long tour of the Gibson Factory.
I don't know if this may help anyone understand how an instrument could
get shipped with rough file marks on it, but it's a very fun video
for any Gibson fan.



Gibson bashers may be bored in this video, because everything looks so
great. *grins
But of course it looks great. It's show business.
There's a lot of great SG content in this vid. including neck carves,
and neck dive, and headstock wings... enjoy
 

SGBreadfan

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Sloppy binding work, I’ve seen that consistently on the majority of newer Gibsons I’ve owned and played. I’ve also kept a couple with the sloppy work because they’re great playing and sounding guitars. But it’s still frustrating, Gibson likes to talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk…no real improvements like they’ve claimed the past few years and with the new CEO. Same old song and dance, Gibson’s QC is as consistently inconsistent as it’s ever been.
 

cerebral gasket

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Send it back.
Process errors happen during mass-production.
 
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cerebral gasket

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just as an addition, for the OP as well as the rest of us...

Here's a link to an hour long tour of the Gibson Factory.
I don't know if this may help anyone understand how an instrument could
get shipped with rough file marks on it, but it's a very fun video
for any Gibson fan.



But of course it looks great. It's show business.
There's a lot of great SG content in this vid. including neck carves,
and neck dive, and headstock wings... enjoy


I've seen other video tours years ago where they show the necks being rolled on the belt sander which explains why no two neck carves are identical and they vary so much between each guitar. I've tried to become less OCD about it lately, but I still prefer a fat rounded baseball bat for playing chords at the 1st fret area.
 

papagayo

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If you bought this guitar send it back ASAP.
 

Von Trapp

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There's also a lot of variation in color. Standards were a much darker red in the 1990s but it was still called Heritage Cherry.



Well, the machines are supervised by humans who can easily program them to never make the same mistake again, once it's identified. With a human, you just can't be as reliably identical with every stroke of a chisel. Humans will notice the mistakes, sure, but the problem of human error can't simply be eliminated like it can with a machine. You have to allow a certain tolerance or leeway for human error or else you'll be throwing lots of money in the trash with all the "ruined" guitars.

You also have to consider that humans really aren't built for working on a production line. The line keeps moving at the same pace regardless of whether you'd like to spend extra time on a guitar. You kind of get the problems that come with hand-work added onto the problems that come with mass manufacturing. If it were a Custom Shop build, they could presumably take whatever time they need to get it right because there is no conveyor belt to keep up with. In this way, mass manufacturing is not very compatible with hand-work.

It's easy to say "just f*ckin do it", if you don't know the stats on what their current rejection rate is, or how much it would cost to stop the line for every mildly sloppy binding.

It's also easy to say if you haven't made a guitar yourself, working fret to fret, doing the same thing 44 times with your hands getting tired. And then moving on to the NEXT one! Yeah, I hate doing fret work.

Not to mention, these pics are taken at magnifying glass levels of zoom and show nothing remarkable at all IMO.

And ultimately, I look at it like this; the "human touch" ultimately boils down to imperfection. Think of how many legendary albums have mistakes left in them, which end up giving them character. Do you prefer modern music set to click tracks where the time is rigid, or free-flowing recordings where the drummer follows the energy of the band? Here's an interesting video about how Jimi Hendrix's timing was technically "imperfect" but it was part of what made him unique:


There's also a reference to Phil Rudd rushing the chorus in Highway To Hell, and he's my favorite drummer so he can't be wrong!

Yes, you make some good points and on many of them I absolutely agree. I have no problem with variations in handmade products but with variations I mean a slightly lager this or a slightly shorter that, I think of the many first rate, hand made smoking pipes of a highly reputable brand that I have where the difference between two of the same model can vary in said ways. That's fine with me and just adds to the charm of "hand made". One would however be hard pressed to find any of them that can be filed under "sloppy work", like this guitar can.

As it happens, I've made several guitars with bindings just like that so I know exactly not only how they're done, what causes the damage in question and how easily one detects it but also how to fix it. Variations, in my humble opinion, would thus be stuff like the width, depth and rounding of the binding, the size of the nibs etc and all that is inconsequential and fine with me. These are variations because the thing is hand made. But again, this is sloppy and not good enough. There are also the cracks in the fretboard to be considered.

Now, are we to blame the individual worker in the production line? Perhaps not then, if he's under instructions to let stuff like that pass. But in that case we have to blame the company and then we're back to the old "Gibson QC is sh!t" debate of which I'm fairly sure you are as tired as I am. But since we're there now, again, I'd say that the least a company that feels it's ok to charge the insane amounts of cash they do for stuff that's really not that hard to make should have a guy at the end of that production line that checks things and throws stuff like that in a pile that goes to some other guy that fixes it.

But yeah, imperfections make life interesting, exciting and fun. I totally agree. Would I much rather a own, see or hear, an imperfect object knowing that a man made that himself, by hand, than a perfect one made by a robot? Any day! Signs of a human touch on items is a positive and joyful experience that I myself much appreciate. Signs of man made damage though, is not.

(I too hate doing fret work)
 
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PermissionToLand

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I think of the many first rate, hand made smoking pipes of a highly reputable brand that I have where the difference between two of the same model can vary in said ways. That's fine with me and just adds to the charm of "hand made". One would however be hard pressed to find any of them that can be filed under "sloppy work", like this guitar can.

I'm assuming those pipes would be more comparable to a custom shop model though? The Gibson USA process is pretty unusual in the sense that it's trying to apply hand work to a regimented manufacturing process. I can't think of many other goods built in a similar fashion. It's usually either highly automated or a-la-carte hand work.

Variations, in my humble opinion, would thus be stuff like the width, depth and rounding of the binding, the size of the nibs etc and all that is inconsequential and fine with me. These are variations because the thing is hand made. But again, this is sloppy and not good enough. There are also the cracks in the fretboard to be considered.

Isn't that what we're seeing here? The nibs are the most finicky and labor intensive hand-shaped part, I'd wager. That's where I'd expect to see the most variance. I don't think those are cracks in the fretboard, it all looks like grain pores to me.

But since we're there now, again, I'd say that the least a company that feels it's ok to charge the insane amounts of cash they do for stuff that's really not that hard to make should have a guy at the end of that production line that checks things and throws stuff like that in a pile that goes to some other guy that fixes it.

Kind of a side note, but USA models have generally just kept pace with inflation over the years. It's the Custom Shop that's actually increased their prices, when adjusted for inflation (I presume in response to the vintage bubble).

In the video posted above, they do have a process like that for fixing issues. I think it's safe to assume most of those guitars have bigger issues, which makes sense because the factory workers at Gibson are not craftsmen or expert luthiers. I think it's kind of a misconception that anything with a level of hand work to it must be crafted by experienced hands in a caring manner. So the level of predictable human error goes beyond what you'd expect if you were building a guitar yourself. Again, it's hard to really say where the line should be drawn without knowing how bad the typical issues are and how much they spend on fixing those already.

This is where we may just disagree but ultimately, I agree with Gibson's QC guys that any roughness seen here just isn't significant.

Digressing a little but I think it's interesting how extra scrutiny has become so common with the internet. This kind of microscopic attention to detail didn't exist back in the "golden era". I've seen 1950s Gibsons with the bridge placed so far off that it couldn't possibly intonate correctly. Instruments were tools/toys back then. Only recently have they become seen as investment vehicles or wall art.

My SG still has buffing compound on the binding where it meets the tenon cover. I've never even cleaned it off because I couldn't care less. It also has finish imperfections at the neck joint that make the guitar in this thread look like a masterpiece. It also happens to be the best guitar I've ever played, so the idea of sending it back over minor aesthetics is just beyond comprehension to me. It honestly makes me sad how often I see people sending back perfectly good guitars over the most minor things. Not to get too broad in this discussion but in general, I think people need to learn to accept things as they are more often. If my son turns out to be a ballet dancer, well it's not what I expected but the twists are what makes life interesting. Anyway, I'm just ranting at this point.
 
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MR D

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Hello everyone I am an SG fan I always dreamt about having one. I just got my first SG and it is a quite costly SG Original standard '61. It is absolutely brand new right from the shop and produced in 2021.
Down below I posted some pictures of the fretboard finishes. There are indeed some imperfections, and sign of manual carving are clearly visible.
I haven't seen similar finishes on, say, Fender high-end guitars.
Is it normal for a guitar like the SG Original standard '61?
View attachment 47054 View attachment 47055 View attachment 47056

WOW, looks like the person who scrapped the binding was DRUNK ! IDK, if I'd send it back or not ? IDK if I've seen a worse scrapped binding? Bindings are one of the things you pay dearly for on a GIBSON, u kno?.......HHHMMMM, depends on how it plays, yes? Maybe get some ca$h back as suggested above ?
 

Von Trapp

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I'm assuming those pipes would be more comparable to a custom shop model though? The Gibson USA process is pretty unusual in the sense that it's trying to apply hand work to a regimented manufacturing process. I can't think of many other goods built in a similar fashion. It's usually either highly automated or a-la-carte hand work.



Isn't that what we're seeing here? The nibs are the most finicky and labor intensive hand-shaped part, I'd wager. That's where I'd expect to see the most variance. I don't think those are cracks in the fretboard, it all looks like grain pores to me.



Kind of a side note, but USA models have generally just kept pace with inflation over the years. It's the Custom Shop that's actually increased their prices, when adjusted for inflation (I presume in response to the vintage bubble).

In the video posted above, they do have a process like that for fixing issues. I think it's safe to assume most of those guitars have bigger issues, which makes sense because the factory workers at Gibson are not craftsmen or expert luthiers. I think it's kind of a misconception that anything with a level of hand work to it must be crafted by experienced hands in a caring manner. So the level of predictable human error goes beyond what you'd expect if you were building a guitar yourself. Again, it's hard to really say where the line should be drawn without knowing how bad the typical issues are and how much they spend on fixing those already.

This is where we may just disagree but ultimately, I agree with Gibson's QC guys that any roughness seen here just isn't significant.

Digressing a little but I think it's interesting how extra scrutiny has become so common with the internet. This kind of microscopic attention to detail didn't exist back in the "golden era". I've seen 1950s Gibsons with the bridge placed so far off that it couldn't possibly intonate correctly. Instruments were tools/toys back then. Only recently have they become seen as investment vehicles or wall art.

My SG still has buffing compound on the binding where it meets the tenon cover. I've never even cleaned it off because I couldn't care less. It also has finish imperfections at the neck joint that make the guitar in this thread look like a masterpiece. It also happens to be the best guitar I've ever played, so the idea of sending it back over minor aesthetics is just beyond comprehension to me. It honestly makes me sad how often I see people sending back perfectly good guitars over the most minor things. Not to get too broad in this discussion but in general, I think people need to learn to accept things as they are more often. If my son turns out to be a ballet dancer, well it's not what I expected but the twists are what makes life interesting. Anyway, I'm just ranting at this point. :rofl:

I think we just have different takes on what constitutes a variation and what is acceptable. I tend to feel that if I can do it, any fool can, so a lesser result than that is at least not accepted by me. It looks to me like cracks in the grain that, in my opinion, should have been filled. If they're not than I have no problem with it aesthetically and indeed the binding issue is quite minor. The nibs are actually not that big of a deal to get right. You cut the bindings down to fretboard height with a drill (hence the marks in this case) scrape them and then file and crown the frets as usual. I totally agree when it comes to sending back for minor issues and accepting things as they are. The problem is that instead of going into a store and see these variations/flaws before they buy the item and thus being in a position to reject or accept there and then, some folks, indeed many it seems, feel it's a good idea to order stuff for a couple of thousand online and hope for the best. It's just not, it's a sh!t idea.
 


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