Help me decide my next guitar

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Budius, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. Budius

    Budius New Member

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    Hi all,

    I need some help on my next guitar, I hope you fine folk can give your input.

    As you might have guessed I'm considering a Gibson SG. The exact model is a brand new "Gibson SG Standard '61, Vintage Cherry" from the 2020 line. It goes for about 1500 euros (I believe it is the same amount in USD).

    I'm not new go guitars, I've been playing for 20+ years and I got home with me a Gibson Les Paul Custom Zack Wylde, a Gibson Explorer and Dean Custom Shop Dimebag ML War Camo. So even thou I'm absolutely not professional, it's just a very expensive hobby, I've been around.

    So there's this big shop in town that I've been checking their stocks on Gibson SG for a while (while saving some money) and yesterday I took the trip there to check them out in person. Picked up the guitar, connect to a sweet Orange terror they got available and played a bit.

    So my current thoughts:

    The good:
    - the body is amazing light, my old tired shoulders will thank for that
    - this slim taper neck is a pleasure to play
    - the easy access to the upper scales is very nice
    - the pickups sounds is great
    - the sustain just goes on forever

    The bad:
    I had this impression that the angle that the strings/bridge/body/neck are will make it that the strings will always be a bit too high. I checked the bridge-screw and seems that even if adjusted all the way down, the strings wouldn't get near end the neck, like there would always be this funny angle between the strings and the neck. I also checked the neck and it seemed to be perfectly fine in a straight line (no truss rod issues). I asked the luthier from the store and he said that it is adjusted medium and can be moved down, but I'm not convinced because, of course, he works for the store.

    Needless to say, I left the store empty handed, and came home to double check on my guitars. And yeah, I'm not crazy, all my other guitars are much more perpendicular the strings and the neck.

    I made a drawing explaining what I mean, check it out:

    sg-vs-others.png

    So now I have some questions:

    - Is that a normal characteristic of the SG?
    - Is that specific one simply not adjusted to my taste or it shouldn't have passed the quality control?
    - Unfortunately that is the only store in the city (that I know of) that have nice selection of fancy guitars, and I'm sure that is the only one they have in stock.
    - I know at least 2 or 3 suppliers that I can order online. Maybe I should just order online and hopefully those other are better adjusted (else I return)?

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    Most here will probably agree that it's preferable to "try before you buy". If not, you're "rolling the dice". With regard to the picture, my SG is definitely be constructed like the "Others", where the neck is set at a slight angle to the body. If not, the strings will be high at the end of the fret board as you stated. It might be possible to (somewhat) compensate by installing a taller nut and "decking" the bridge, but won't play as well as an instrument that was constructed correctly in the first place. Good move by passing on this particular SG. If you order from an online retailer, it would be a gamble. But, sometimes those gambles pay off! Good luck!
     
  3. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    Because there's some hand-fitting, Gibson neck angles vary, even on same-model guitars.

    Since you like everything else about the one you tried, go back to the store and tell them you're very close to buying it but you need to see how much lower the strings can go. It's really just a 30 second task -- loosen the strings a little, turn the bridge thumbwheels to lower the bridge, retune. And 30 seconds to put it back the way it is now.

    Keep in mind that a quick, rough height adjustment like that may create a little buzzing and the truss rod may need a little adjustment if you want to leave the strings very low. But it should settle your mind about whether there's enough adjustment range.
     
  4. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    A lot of people struggled with geometry in school.

    If the bridge doesn't bottom out against the body (or need to be raised higher than it can go), you can get the same string to neck relationship regardless of neck angle. Having the strings closer to parallel to the fretboard is a result of nut height and truss rod adjustment, not bridge height or neck angle.

    On a very straight neck with low cut nut slots, the strings will always be higher above the frets at the high frets, and closer to the low frets.

    To get the strings closer to the same height at all frets, you need taller nut slots and a bit more neck relief.
     
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    1smsdl.jpg 1smsd.jpg 1smsda.jpg
    Here's a real SG, I'm no good at line drawing. Hope these help.
     
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  6. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    Who was this directed at? It doesn't strike me as a very helpful statement...
     
  7. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing no one in particular. Why personalize it? I certainly wasn't first in my geometry class. Context is important.
     
  8. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    If like RW59 suggest the tech adjusts the action down, make sure there is still some play left. With truss rod adjustments, you might need to go a little lower eventually.

    If not, I'd leave it at the store for someone else.
     
  9. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Strings close to parallel to neck.
    Not perpendicular.
     
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  10. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    Sorry, my comment about geometry in school wasn't directed at anyone in particular, and it was meant to be an observation, not judgmental.

    Particularly in the Fender world where neck angle is user adjustable, there's a persistent misunderstanding that neck angle affects the string-to-neck relationship in a way that's different than simply raising/lowering the bridge.

    Neck angle affects how high the strings are above the body, so for some players it can make it more/less comfortable for the picking hand.
    ------------------------
    The line drawing in the first post kind of proves what I'm saying. Look at the nut/headstock on the two samples. On the no-angle neck, if the nut was raised to be the same as on the angled neck, the strings would be closer to parallel to the neck.
     
  11. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome to direct it to me... I did pick up on it later in life though. As for the original questions; fagedabadit, an SG is just like any other guitar and neck angles may vary but if you find more than one that's like the top one in your pic I'll fry mine and have them for dinner. That must just be an extremely unfortunate example of an SG. I wouldn't recommend anyone to order a brand new guitar online if my life depended on it, second hand, sure, because then you're talking about that specific one and not just a model you like. If they can't fix that issue in the store, keep looking, you're on the right track.
     
  12. cheshiergrin

    cheshiergrin Well-Known Member

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    If it were me I would just lower it myself and see if they would not let me do it then I would put it back and say good day.
     
  13. Budius

    Budius New Member

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    Oh man, I did that drawing in a hurry. But yeah.. totally right, my bad!
     
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  14. Budius

    Budius New Member

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    Hey, thanks all for the feedback. It is taking me a bit to reply, but I read everything.

    I'm writing here to give the conclusion of the story.

    To the ones suggesting to do the changes on the guitar, I understand your point, but I really don't see myself spending that amount on money on a guitar just to immediately need maintenance. And I guess if the guys back in Gibson didn't setup it up right, not sure how reliable is the guy from the store.

    But, with a bit of luck, I found on the local classified (ebay-kleinanzeigen in Germany) a guy selling a pristine 2009 SG 61' reissue, exactly the way I wanted. I went there, played a bit, it was perfect, just very light markings of usage and now I'm really happy to be on the SG club. I guess my others will get a bit jealous and feeling unappreciated for a while.

    Anyway, here she is....

    IMG_20200713_164808.jpg
     
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  15. SGBreadfan

    SGBreadfan Member

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    Sweet grain on that one, congrats!
     
  16. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG. Your new guitar looks like a beauty.
    I think you did the right thing... play it before you buy it.
    If it doesn't ring bells for you, don't pay high Gibson prices for it.

    But IMHO every guitar needs immediate maintenance... there's no such thing as a
    guitar that's perfect for each possible player. Every single guitar I've bought
    needed to be set up properly for my playing style. That's just part of the
    process, and no reflection on the maker.

    They surely set them up at the factory, according to their own idea of
    what a generic guitar might be. But by the time it gets overseas, and maybe
    sits in a warehouse or a container for a while, the settings can change.

    That's what we expect. Having said this, I would not buy a guitar that felt
    strange to me when I played it. I have bought a few guitars online, unseen.
    But I did not expect them to be perfect. I expected to immediately take them
    to my favorite luthier and have them completely checked over and set up.

    I bought each of those because I wanted what each of them could do. So it
    was up to me to bring them to perfection, not someone else. I would not
    buy a guitar unless I first decided that I needed what that one had to offer.
    Once I decide that, then I make it my business to correct any flaws I find.
    Because I want what it can do. It's simple for me that way.
     

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