How delicate is the neck joint?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Rusty Chops, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Rusty Chops

    Rusty Chops Well-Known Member

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    I’ve had several SG’s and never worried about the neck joint. Breaking the head off has always been more concerning to me (on mahogany-necked Gibsons).

    Now that I’m loving my ‘64 RI to death I wonder how true-to-vintage-warts-and-all it is?

    I’ve never seen a failed neck joint, but there’s a lot of references.
    Not that I’m worried, I treat my stuff with every precaution.
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the guitar. A junior is pretty much bullet proof. Any model routed for a neck pickup is considerably compromised in comparison. Neck joints do break, but not at anything like the rate that headstocks go.
     
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  3. cheshiergrin

    cheshiergrin Well-Known Member

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    Never seen one break unless it was the goal.
     
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  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    We've seen a few on here. Not completely snapped off, but with stress fractures that would leave them weak and unable to hold tune properly.
     
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  5. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    I have been playing a SG pretty consistently for 5-6 years so I a kid here. I have never been concerned unless one were doing vibrato with the neck.
     
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  6. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Someone posted a video of a guitar shop owner doing exactly that. A bunch of us agreed that we would never buy a guitar from him.
     
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  7. chris z

    chris z New Member

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    with a neck joining at fret 22 my 61 can flex some, but these days i would'nt do it on purpose, back in the 70's i would carefully hold the neck straight to keep in tune,
     
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  8. Rusty Chops

    Rusty Chops Well-Known Member

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    Mine has a vibrato handle, which I only wiggle a little sometimes.
    Neck wiggling? No. That’s a bad idea, like flipping your revolver closed!
     
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  9. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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  10. Rusty Chops

    Rusty Chops Well-Known Member

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    OUCH!
    I hate when gigs cost more than than the pay!
     
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  11. cheshiergrin

    cheshiergrin Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, wierd **** can happen.
    But out of curiosity were those from a drop or fall or just tension and regular use?
     
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  12. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    A broken headstock can be fixed. It's said after fixing, it's stronger than it was originally.
     
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  13. Rusty Chops

    Rusty Chops Well-Known Member

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    My wife always said my skull was harder than ever after fracturing it.
     
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  14. cheshiergrin

    cheshiergrin Well-Known Member

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    double damn :facepalm:
     
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  15. ezypikins

    ezypikins Member

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    Used to do that little tremolo bend at the beginning of Sweet Home Alabama, by holding the upper bout tight to my body and pushing forward on the headstock. Don't play Sweet Home anymore. Wish I had a nickel for every time I did. I'd have allot of nickels.
     
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  16. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    There are lots and lots of '60s SG's with perfectly healthy neck joints. No, not just tension and regular use. They don't just suddenly and randomly explode or fall apart.

    Some cases don't support the neck joint well, and some cases actually put stress on the headstock. Impacts to those cases can break the guitar inside. So sometimes a person doesn't notice banging the case on something, gets home, opens the case and thinks the guitar self-destructed. But that falls under "weird stuff happens".

    Drops, falls, turning around and smacking the neck against something. It takes an impact.

    How much of an impact? Again, "stuff happens". Angle of impact, sharpness of impact. A big "bang" that makes your heart stop because you're sure it couldn't have survived that -- the guitar might be fine. But a tiny tap at just the wrong angle might crack it.

    Neck tremolo doesn't hurt anything unless you go too far. A million little quivers don't do little bits of damage that add up, they aren't gradually weakening the joint. But you don't know what "too far" is until you suddenly hear that sickening "crack" sound. And "ok" on one SG may be "too far" on another seemingly identical SG.

    LP Special Double Cuts have weaker neck joints than vintage-style SG's. But neither is flimsy or excessively fragile. They just aren't as immensely strong as most Gibson neck joints.
     
  17. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Just don't do it. A guitar isn't cheap and a good one represents an investment in much more than money, so look after it. There are plenty of ways to achieve tremolo without risking damage.
     
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  18. cheshiergrin

    cheshiergrin Well-Known Member

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    Gotcha, and I have never been a fan of the neck wiggle. And of course the slacken the strings and loosen the truss rod trick before a plane ride trick or bad things can happen. But I guess what I was getting at was I have not heard of a neck joint giving out under " normal" circumstances, but I am not an SG expert either.
     
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  19. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    I'll say this: my first electric guitar was an early '60s SG special, it was over 20 years old at that time and I was a teenager. I did not know anything about guitars, really, so I had no idea they were supposed to be fragile. I treated it like it was made out of solid granite. Hell, I didn't even have a stand and my case was the original cardboard one they used back in the early '60s (no protection at all except from dust) so I leaned it against walls, left it on the floor, tossed it on the couch, bumped the headstock into things, all that. No breaks, no cracks, no splits, no hairlines, none of that ever developed in the 10+ years it was my only electric guitar. Then the guy I sold it too managed to snap the neck in half (his words, not sure what he meant by that, heel or headstock) within a year when he got rear ended in his car. The car was fine, the guitar was not.

    So the moral of the story is 'SG necks are solid as a rock. Until they aren't.' Don't do anything stupid, treat them with more care than you would a maple necked telecaster, and enjoy it. May yours last your lifetime without trauma of any significance!
     
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  20. Rusty Chops

    Rusty Chops Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^^
    You’re SUPPOSED to throw Tele’s into the bed of a pickup truck -in a gig bag- and let an Ampeg SVT fall on it. Then retune and play the gig! They need it!
     
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