I'm new - and I have a question

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Brazoo, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Brazoo

    Brazoo New Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy my first SG. I fell hard for the SG the first time I saw Fugazi play a billion years ago but I only decided to hunt for one now. I'm not a great player, but I've been playing a lot more since the lockdown and loving it. And well, you only live once, right?

    It's unlikely I'll be able to afford a vintage model that Ian MacKaye used back in the day, but I'd appreciate some help identifying the make, year, and color name of the guitar Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney uses.

    I think it's a late 90s Standard, but it's got the small pick guard and I can't seem to find one in that same lovely dark brown.

    Thanks in advance!

    Here's a couple of pics:


    sg01.jpg SG02.jpg SG03.jpg
     
  2. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    With those inlays, neck humbucker placement and harmonica bridge, I'd say it's from the '70s.
     
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  3. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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  4. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    Bridge pickup location looks like '72/'73.
    --------------------------
    Notice where the neck joins the body, and how the end of the 22 fret fretboard butts right up against the neck pickup ring. That was a '70s thing. They set the neck back further into the body to strengthen the neck joint.

    Normally a 22 fret SG has about a 3/4" gap between the end of the fretboard and the neck pickup ring, covered either by the pickguard (large guard) or a black plastic trim plate (small pickguard).

    There are some modern 24 fret SG's where the fretboard extends all the way to the neck pickup ring. Don't get tricked by that -- it's the normal neck placement and they just filled up the normal gap with a longer fretboard.

    The rectangular Harmonica bridge is another '70s thing. (But not as conclusive since that could be a modification -- the neck placement can't be modified.)
     
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  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG! Take a good squint at the '73/'74 SG Standard.

    All of the above wisdom is right on. '70s Gibsons can be difficult to pin
    down, because the Norlin Corporation made some changes in the design
    that made most everyone unhappy. And then they slowly tried to
    change things back, but they didn't get it right for years and years.

    For Brownstein to go onstage with a '70s SG like that and kick arse
    the way she does is a radical statement. She looks cool with it.

    But I'm going to be slightly radical here and make
    a suggestion that you (and anyone else) is free to disregard... This is my own humble opinion.

    Trying to duplicate what a touring pro like Brownstein (or any other famous player) uses is an exercise in futility.
    You'll end up spending more money than you need to, and you'll never sound like what you hear onstage
    or in the studio.


    You'll never know what modifications are in that 47 year old guitar, or what her signal chain is like.
    You'll never know what amp she's using (unless you walk up and look) and even then you can't know
    what mods have been done to that amp.... or what the sound man does with the rack effects they have
    available. Brownstein herself would sound like herself on any guitar, if it's properly set up. Give her a brand
    new _____________ model, and she might grumble a bit but it would take her only a few minutes to find
    her tone on it. She could sound like herself on a Telecaster IMHO. But I love that old SG.

    So my suggestion is to start with a decent modern SG that you can afford, and spend some extra money
    getting it set up properly. Spend some money on an amp that you like the sound of, and buy a good strap and
    some good cables and some extra sets of strings in the gauge you prefer. Get a good hard case.

    Spend your energy on developing your style. Be influenced by any and all rock idols you enjoy listening
    to, but don't try and sound like them. Develop your sound so you sound like yourself. Let your influences show
    absolutely, but take them in your own direction. If you're not gigging, I suggest a medium powered
    Modeling amp. why? Because those amps are FUN! They make practice FUN. When you're practicing by
    yourself, you need inspiration, but you don't need to get your neighbors so irritated they're shooting holes
    in your mailbox.

    What I'm saying is: instead of spending way too much money on a 47 year old guitar that may have a lot
    of expensive problems, get a new one (or a used recent one) and get it set up, and spend your money and
    energy on YOUR music. And some amps and pedals that will get your music going in the way you want.

    IMHO the best way to get an SG is to go where they sell them, and play as many as they'll let you.
    Buy the one that comes alive in your hands. Gibsons are like that. The best one might NOT be the most
    expensive one. Generalizations about them are not very valid. You have to play it. And you have to play
    it through a signal chain you can afford. Your own amp and pedals if possible.
    That's how you know you've found the right one. Make it a quest. Keep looking until magic happens.

    Good luck with this...
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
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  6. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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  7. Brazoo

    Brazoo New Member

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    Aww man! I thought I read in an article that hers was from the 90s so I was hoping it was a more affordable re-issue of a 70s style one that I liked the looks of. I totally see what you guys are saying now though. Especially the harmonica bridge. I don't know much about guitars but the one I've been using since the early 90s is a 70s Japanese knock-off of a Gibson L6-S which has the same bridge - so I should have at least recognized that detail!

    Thank for the advice, Col Mustard. Much appreciated! As I said, I've been using this oddball knockoff L6-S for forever and I realized I could afford a "real" guitar, but my budget is under $2,000.

    I tried the new SG Tribute Natural Walnut, but I didn't like the lighter color and the finish on the neck didn't feel great. I tried a new Standard and I liked it a lot better. The neck size felt pretty good, but the new models are black and red and I'm still hoping to find the dream guitar of my youth which is a stained dark brown one. Also, I wouldn't mind a used one to save some cash and give it some character.

    But yes, I'm absolutely going to try before I buy!

    As for amps, I bought an Orange Crush 20 and a couple of pedals a few months ago. I guess it's got just enough power and crunch to keep my mind off of missing hearing live music, but not loud enough for neighbours to hate me (or for me to be too embarrassed by my sloppy playing.) I don't plan on playing in a band or play shows - I just want to work on my skills and have fun making some noise. I love music and playing gives me an even deeper appreciation.

    I know looks aren't everything, but it's been 30 years since I bought a guitar and I have to start narrowing things down somehow!

    There aren't any of these to try locally right now, but have you guys any thoughts on these ones so I can keep an eye out? Also, is there particular year I should watch out for where newer SGs were better or worse? I've been researching and reading through the forums but there's so much info to absorb.

    2006 Special Faded
    2008 Special Faded
    2014 Standard Walnut
    2016 Special Faded - Worn Brown
    2018 Worn Bourbon

    I really appreciate all the responses - I'm really glad I found this place!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
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  8. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    If you can swing one of the CME SG’s I think you would be really happy. It’s the beat of both worlds really, aesthetically it’s very close to what you are wanting visually, but you also get the build quality of a new guitar, removing some of the worry of buying vintage.

    If the budget allows it’s a no brainer to me
     
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  9. Brazoo

    Brazoo New Member

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    Thanks Pancake81, I've been checking out their website since skelt101 posted the links. Once the borders open again there's a good chance we'll go to Chicago so that store is high on my to-do list!
     
  10. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

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  11. Brazoo

    Brazoo New Member

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  12. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    I'd be willing to bet if you're patient you can find a mid 70s walnut SG just like the one in your pics for well under $2k. Maybe not on Reverb but between Craigslist and what turns up at the local guitar shops, you'd be surprised. I found my '74 Standard a half mile away from my house and paid about what a new SG Standard goes for.
     
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  13. Houdi_Elbow

    Houdi_Elbow Member

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    Looks like mine (with '73 pots and Tar-backs) but mine has Ebony fingerboard, no binding and small block inlays.
    Best of luck on your search.
     
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  14. Ed Burns

    Ed Burns New Member

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    Congratulations on selecting a Gibson SG, you can’t go wrong. I wouldn’t get hung up on the vintage aspect as the new Gibson’s are incredible! Personally I think people get hung up on vintage this and vintage that whereas the brand new Gibson’s are spec’d to the original and frankly I’d bet you couldn’t tell the difference. Get the best one you can afford and it will give you a lifetime of joy!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
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  15. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Same specs as mine. Between the Tar backs and ebony board, I've yet to play another SG that sounds or feels quite like this one. Absolutely killer guitar. And still relatively affordable all things considered.
     
  16. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    something about old guitars that you might not know is this:

    Gibson guitars are finished in lacquer. Lacquer, especially from the old days
    has the quality of turning yellow when it ages. Old Fender guitars do the
    same. So when you look at Brownstein's guitar, imagine that it may actually
    have been red when it was new. It is true that Gibson did make guitars in Walnut finish
    at that time. So it could be either one.

    But take a good look at other vintage Gibsons (and vintage Fenders).
    The yellowing of the lacquer can make a formerly red guitar look brown.
    (or it can make a formerly white guitar look yellow).
    Here's my 2007 SG faded special next to a 1936 Martin 0-17 that I
    sold in 2019 along with a lot of other stuff. Compare the color:
    Two guitars made 70 years apart, both mahogany. This is why I think
    Gibson nailed it with this faded (or worn) brown color.
    Luna and Rosebud@100.jpg
    Gibson designed the SG special worn brown to look like an old one whose
    lacquer had aged. Personally, I love this color... my favorite SG has it.
    So one of those SG faded specials you listed might be a really good idea.
    Once again, play before you pay, but I sure do like mine. And they are
    usually very reasonable in price. So you can afford the best setup job and
    a decent case.
     
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  17. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    The SG you posted is a "short neck" Norlin,
    The CME Oxblood Standard i really cool imho.
     
  18. Semla

    Semla Member

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    The guitar in the pictures is either a late 1972 or an early 1973. They were available in the walnut finish in the pictures, had the small pickguard, thinner neck width, harmonica bridge, the bridge pickup spaced a bit further from the bridge, the neck pickup up against the fretboard, block inlays and most seem to have had bindings. There were quite a bit of changes during the 70's, many of them occuring during the years, also many of them coming and going. I've got one with the exact same specs myself. Bought it as a kind of a skeleton, it had all hardware changed, cheap though. It was a few yeard ago, nowdays people ask crazy money for just about anything remotely vintage.
     

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