Help identifying this Japan SG Copy

Discussion in 'SG Copies' started by Wemperchow, May 31, 2017.

  1. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Hi kiko. Thank you very much for your input. Your information is very intriguing. Did you notice that the Bigsby vibrato on the guitar has the Gibson logo on it? It is very faint and looks like it could have been sand casted from an original Gibson Vibrato but I am not sure of its origin. I took it off to see if there were any other mounting holes on this guitar and there were not. All holes appear to be original except for a couple of very small holes that are just a bit higher from the actual holes on the vibrato. Looks like they moved it back just a tad for mounting.

    Another strange this I find on this guitar (yes they keep coming) is the neck pocket. It looks like there was some work done there that was not original. Maybe it is a repair. I don't know but I can definitely tell that the paint and finish are different but like the guitar is very old.

    Also, I am willing to state that this guitar could very well be from the 1960's instead of the 70's. I am familiar with other guitars of that age and the condition of the pots, solders and interior cavity of the wiring appear to be quite old. Also the three way switch on this guitar is very different than any I have ever seen. You can see it in the pics above.

    Last, no one has commented on the belly kerf on the back of the guitar. The only manufacturer I can find that used a belly kerf on a SG style guitar was Gibson Kallamazoo on the Model KG-2. Now I know that these guitars were press molded bodies of MDF so I recognize that my guitar is not one of those. But why the belly kerf and why on this guitar at this age? Slab bodies on SG's are the norm. Someone offer a suggestion please. I am open.
     
  2. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Another thought. Notice in the pics above that the Pickups have English writings on them "T-18, C-19 and L-14". The body route has I-4 written on it.

    Is this normal for an Asian copy? Why use English at an Asian manufacturing plant?

    Also, the belly kerf. I can't find any SG style guitars with a belly kerf except for a Gibson Kalamazoon KG-2 and their guitars were made of pressboard MDG.

    I really would like to hear from anyone who knows of an Asian SG Copy with a belly kerf.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  3. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Rox. Yes the neck is pretty wide. Has a very nice shape. Easy to play. Definitely the thin style neck, not thick like some SG's.
     
  4. kiko

    kiko Active Member

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    The rough routing is typical of the old sg/lp copies I've seen here, it's due to hand chiseling the pickup area. The bigsby copy with the gibson logo is also common.

    Why I can't exactly tell that its a PH made is that the wiring and overall look of the guitar is better. The belly cut is also a mystery. But the headstock markings, pickups, pickup routing, thr bridge, and bigsby copy would indicate it is.

    As to the truss rod, i think they have steel rods in the neck but they are not adjustable, but I've only seen this in a thin neck guitar with a broken neck.

    Try making the guitar playable, just as long as the action is not so high you're good. You can also play with string gauge to compensate the action. That what we used to do with a nonadjustable neck :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
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  5. kiko

    kiko Active Member

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    I forgot, the use of wood screws instead of metal screws in the pickups is common in our copies. And the marking would also be in english.
     
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  6. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Thank you kiko.

    Do you know where those older Philippine sg and les paul copies were made?
    I found a photo when looking for Philippine SG Custom Copy and came up with a small pic that was listed on a site called OLX tilted 1970 gibson sg custom vintage. This guitar matches mine except for color. I am unable to find an early Philippine manufacturer of Gibson knock offs in the 70's, etc.
    . OLX.jpg
    When I tried to look it up, it was not there (on the OLX site). Can you see if you can find it.
    I need to know the country of origin. Since the pots seem to be of Korean origin, could this be a very early Korean copy?
     
  7. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    That is significant as I have never seen wood type screws used for pole pieces. Lets keep communicating as I believe we are getting close to a break through on who made this and where it comes from.
     
  8. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    OK. I've done more research and it appears this guitar is a "Serviceman" guitar. In the 60's guitars were made in small shops in the Philippines for sale to US soldiers during the Vietnam war. Some of these copies made it home. This guitar fits all of the hallmarks of a Serviceman copy of a Gibson. They even made logo copies of the Bigsby Vibrato. Look up the term Serviceman guitars. You will be surprised at what you find. A big thank you to kiko for putting me on the right path.
     
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  9. kiko

    kiko Active Member

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    The is no specific manufacturer of these PH copies that I know of, only that most of them came from a place in the north called Pampanga. It is renowned for its wood work and guitars. I think Baccus guitars of Japan currently subcontracts it entry level guitars somewhere in the area.

    These copies were sold in small numbers and in small retails guitar shops and the influx of the cheap korean/chinese guitars with better quality naturally killed the local electric guitar industry (acoustic guitars are still being produced). I have not seen one in years except yours, which was quite surprising.

    As for being a serviceman guitar, that would seem logical and would date the guitar probably 60's or 70's. Your guitar as I have said before is the better or the best looking one I've seen. The 80's versions are no where near as good as yours.
     
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  10. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Yes kiko. I agree with your assessment. This Serviceman Gibson Copy is actually quite well made. The quality of wood, electronics, wiring and design are very close to an authentic Gibson SG Custom. I have found very few examples of this guitar on the net with lesser quality. The only cheap parts on this guitar are the Japanese tuners usually found on Matsumoku and other Japan makers of the day.

    Now that I know where this guitar comes from I am more pleased that I purchased it. I will keep it and treasure it as it as a momento of the service of our soldiers during the Vietnam War. I hope to have it up and playing shortly.

    Thank you kiko for your valuable input. I could not have completed my quest without you. Many thanks indeed from Texas!
     
  11. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    OK. For anyone still keeping an eye on this post I have found one more bit of interesting information on this Serviceman SG.

    The body shape (rear body contour), pickguard and placement of the Volume and Tone knobs have always been an issue on this guitar. There were no other SG guitars that had these strange anomalies.

    After much searching I have found what I believe explains all three of these issues.

    There are two images attached of a 1972 Gibson EB 3 Bass guitar. Notice on the front photo that the pickguard shape and the arrangement of the Volume and Tone controls match up to the pictures I posted earlier on page one of this post of my guitar.

    The next image is the back of the bass. Notice the contoured body cut out. You won't find this on any SG Electric Guitars but you do find it on this EB 3 Bass. This too matches the earlier photos I posted on page one of my guitar.

    So it seems the person who made this "Serviceman SG" guitar used the image or drawings of a 1972 Gibson EB 3 Bass guitar as the example to build it by. Very, very cool indeed.

    So what I have is a Serviceman 1972 EB 3 "Guitar" not Bass.

    One of a kind I suppose. I definitely plan on keeping it.
    Thank you all for your interest. 1972-EB3-2.jpg 1972-EBO-walnut-8.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
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  12. wmachine

    wmachine New Member

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    Very cool guitar and great story behind it. I have an Aria SG that is extremely worn and I'm impressed (and fascinated) with it. The humbucker covers hide single coil pups as some have mentioned were often done.
    Still plays and sounds great.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JazzyJeff

    JazzyJeff Member

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    I was out looking for info on the JP pots (someone said dp in the thread) and came onto this. I think you have a nice one there. From the photos it looks like the headstock was reshaped, slightly off. But that could be angle. I wouldn't give any merit to the switch washer. If someone took the time to replace the face of the headstock, a plastic ring would be nothing. Order up some cts A500k pots, some G.M. classic humbuckers and enjoy. Looks like a solid wood body, not plywood. I would just play the **** out of it.

    Some nice details. the control cavity looks post 67, the volute was started in very late 69, but is credited to the 70 model. Usually would be accompanied by the 3 piece neck (not counting the headstock wings). They also set the neck in deeper to the body. No space for the little plastic trim piece there. Probably why your pickguard is somewhat different. I would lean towards a 70's Japanese make. Most of those came out of the Matsumoto Guitar factory.

    Hope you are still with it and enjoying it. Give us an update on what you have found.
     
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  14. Wemperchow

    Wemperchow New Member

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    Thank you so much for your input.
    Very insightful.

    I still find it to be a solid well made copy with a character all its own.

    If anyone else has one of these please post.

    Many thanks.
     
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  15. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it’s just the camera angle, but the control knobs look off to me...?
     
  16. Matt T

    Matt T New Member

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    Hey there, I have similar looking SG, and am trying to figure out a bit more of its history. I've just posted a new thread on this site, so it would be great if you could check it out and perhaps shed some light on it? Cheers!
     

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