I really want to save my SG, but it's just so uncomfortable to play.

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by holmcross, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. holmcross

    holmcross New Member

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    I've got a 2002 Gibson SG 'gothic' which which is the 1st electric I've ever bought:
    unnamed.jpg

    I love everything about her, except the balance. The neck dives like an olympic swimmer anytime I take my hands off of it. I think this is because the guitar has heavier tuning gear (grover tuners VS the traditional) and it has an ebony fretboard (from what I read online different species of ebony are on average 20% denser then rosewood species).

    I've tried wide straps and those with suede surfaces, there's so much weight on the left shoulder it just pulls my whole shirt down with it. And I don't want to get some strap that looks like an orthopedic device and ruin the whole vibe of the guitar.

    What can I do? Re-Balancing a guitar seems like a difficult thing to do. I've seen some SGs with metal plates extending down from the bridge, I wonder if something like that would do it. If I can't make it a comfortable guitar to play, I gotta trade or sell her :/

    It's one of the coolest guitars I've ever seen: manages to black itself out without looking like a BC rich / something hanging in hot topic.
     
  2. WallaceWinston

    WallaceWinston Active Member

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    I would start by ditching the grovers. As an absolute last resort you could move the strap button to the top horn. How low are you wearing the guitar? I bet if you shortened that strap to paul McCartney length it would balance.
     
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  3. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    There is one solution that should work, but risks reducing the resale value: Move the rear strap button higher up (or add another one). Gibson used to get this right in the 50s - if you look at the original Explorer & Flying V designs the rear strap button is NOT in line with the strings. For some reason they've forgotten this, and the current HP models have the front strap button moved to the the back of the upper horn (rather than the neck join). In my experience, this makes no difference at all on an SG. Moving to the tip of the horn might help, but I suspect the SG horn is too short to really solve the issue. This is why most 'modern' bass designs have very long upper horns - the balance can be perfect.

    You can test this yourself: Attach the front strap, then carefully hold the strap to the guitar, just where the rear button is, and support the guitar too. You should still feel the imbalance. Carefully reposition the strap higher up the rear side of the guitar - you should find a point where it feels balanced - and that's where the button needs to be.

    I plan to do this to my white SG in the near future, as I know it's a keeper...
     
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  4. jjudas

    jjudas Well-Known Member

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    All 3 of my SGs have neck dive. I don't use suede or wide straps. I just use comfortable cloth straps. I have Grovers on all 3 guitars. I like Grovers and I am okay with the neck dive in exchange for quality tuners. Many people can't handle the imbalance. It's a non issue for me. I compensate when I play my SGs. I also dont let go of the neck. Many people including myself wish they had an ebony fingerboard. ^What Wallace Winston suggested may be a solution for you.^
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Active Member

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    .

    Find weights you can put in the control cavity. I've heard some put a little 'sand bag' in there.

    I use a wide suede backed strap and hang it low with the neck more 'up'. Grover tuners are on it.

    .
     
  6. Goodyear57

    Goodyear57 New Member

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    I did what jvin248 mentioned in the previous post. I put a some BB's in a cut-off woman's nylon stocking. It's very pliable and fits nicely in the control cavity. The trick is getting the right amount of BB's. It completely eliminated the neck dive but doesn't add too much weight. Also saves you from having to do anything cosmetically to your guitar.
     
  7. holmcross

    holmcross New Member

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    That's a good idea. And I noticed in your pic you got a Bigsby vibrato, I was thinking of installing one because it'd be good to have but also for the added weight. I really do want to keep it though, so I'm not worried about hurting the resale value. I'd have a professional do any modifications: on some guitars the frankenstein look is cool but on this one I want to keep it's look intact. It's a very unique guitar and in gorgeous condition for being 12+ years old, I definitely want to do whatever I can to fix it's problem.

    The Derek Trucks model has this metal plate extended down under the stopbar. I think it's just cosmetic, but I figure something like that would add mass. I'm not sure what that thing is called.

    The BBs don't conduct anything from the pots? This is a good idea.

    The added density of the fingerboard may be a trivial difference compared to the added weight of the heftier tuners. The ebony fingerboard is definitely nice.

    Thanks to all who posted!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
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  8. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

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    That pimped up Gothic looks awesome! No need to move the strap pin, your best bet is, as said, replacing Grovers with lighter tuners, maybe putting some weight in the control cavity (I know people who have put a little bag of fishing weights or pellets) and get a leather strap with rough underside. No more diving! If you're into Bigsbys, that'll help too, but that's an expensive solution with its own kind of issues-peculiarities.
     
  9. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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  10. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    I thought the Bigsby might make a difference, but in my experience it did nothing for the neck dive. It' a very lightweight unit, also, if you think about it, adding weight to the guitar is not ideal; you're too near the CoG. It should make far more difference to remove a small amount of weight from the headstock end, than adding more on the body. I've not tried weights in the cavity - I don't particularly want to make my light SG into a weighty LP. :D But I might try it out on my Black SG one day, just to see if it does anything at all... (FWIW, the only SG I've played with no neck dive was a Diablo, with a carved maple cap, that's quite a lot of extra weight!)

    The plate on Truck's SG is the left over of a Maestro vibrato unit, and it was reproduced for visual effect on his signature model. Trucks is on record as saying the neck dive doesn't bother him because he clamps his right arm firmly to the guitar body & stops it from moving.

    I'd recommend any headstock mods you're happy with first, and moving the rear strap button as plan B if you've not resolved it (assuming you're happy with such a mod).
     
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  11. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you can hang from the bottom strap button something like this:

    1big-brass.jpg
    ... :D
     
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  12. WallaceWinston

    WallaceWinston Active Member

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    I do hope you figure something out. Please let us know what you try and what works. If that was your first guitar you brewery lucky indeed.
     
  13. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    eeeewwww! a scrotum on an SG... NO WAY!
    Some other guitar might need artificial balls, but SGs have plenty of
    cojones and don't need anything. Especially the Goth.

    Listen to Dave Death. he knows what he's talking about. Get rid of weight on the
    headstock and enjoy your Goth more. I have Grover Rotomatic tuners on several guitars
    and swear by them as long as the heavy bastards don't upset the balance.
    I would buy new tuner buttons first... an inexpensive fix. Try that because it's
    easy and doesn't change much except remove weight. You could also move the rear
    strap button up and see if that makes a difference. Another easy and inexpensive
    mod to try. Buy a set of black ones, and screw them in: put one 25mm above the stock rear button, and one 25mm above that, and leave them there. Use
    the one that serves best. Then remove the others, then drill out and fill in the holes with wood dowels stained with ebony stain.

    SGs are a more delicate proposition when it comes to weight. Mine only weigh about
    7 pounds (3.2 kg). They were never designed for Grover Rotomatics. I have a set of
    Grover Vintage Keystone tuners on my favorite SG, and I get all the benefit of the
    good machines without the neck dive.

    Good luck in your quest. Grover Rotomatics are excellent tuners, but too heavy for any
    SG. Grover makes other types, equally good but not so heavy. So does Gotoh, which I will also recommend. Gotoh makes black ones, which would be best for your Goth SG.
    Buy a set of those, and install them, and no more problem. Keep your cool SG.

    http://www.philadelphialuthiertools.com/guitar-tuning-machines/?sort=bestselling
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  14. holmcross

    holmcross New Member

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    Great idea, cheers for that. I even found a cheaper version: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Plastic-but...758814?hash=item544094fd1e:g:e1IAAOSwofxUfDBz

    Thanks. It really is a sweet guitar: I love the look but it also has great action and that ebony FB is like silk.
     
  15. Marln864

    Marln864 Member

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  16. Marln864

    Marln864 Member

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    I have the D.T. & I have no neck dive plus I like the way it looks.
     
  17. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    It's probably more due to a particularly light piece of Mahogany in the body.

    You could also do what I've seen some acoustic guitarists do: tie a string around the neck just behind the nut and tie the other end to the strap.
     
  18. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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  19. Cam.man67

    Cam.man67 Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  20. JereSG

    JereSG Member

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    I have a right-angle female to male 1/4 jack. It is pretty heavy; it's made by Hosa. Using one of these would do two things:

    1. Prevent damaging your guitar if a guitar chord is quickly pulled away from you
    2. Adds weight to the body

    I wonder if replacing the rear plastic electronics cover with a rear metal/steel cover would help. I can imagine adding any weight to the body would resolve your problem. Finally, I think the SG is one of if not "the" most comfortable guitar to play.
     
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