John Diggins 'Old Boy", here we go..

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by IommiSG, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    My screen name says it all. I turn 55 this month, have always been a tremendous Sabbath/Iommi fan, but in recent years it's become..um...obsession? I have little time in my life for playing these days, and when I do, i pick up one of the SG's tuned to C# and run thru a bunch of Sabbath.

    I've spoken with both John Carling of John Birch Guitars, and John Diggins of JayDee about building an Iommi for me.

    I guess the deciding factors were that one, Iommi's favorite guitar is "Number One The Old Boy", the fact that John Birch is gone (passed away in 2000. I don't know who actually does the luithery there now), and those guitars are all maple compared to the mahogany of the Old Boy.

    So, this thing is the holy grail for me, and I've just arranged the down payment (1/3) for an 8 month build for my Old Boy.

    John sent me a picture, and it's my screen saver in my studio. I'll be looking at it every day in anticipation. I've had a lot of guitars come and go over 30 years of playing, but I've never been so excited about any one of them.

    In terms of investment, I dunno. Gibby CS Iommi's have gone thru the roof. I don't know if the rarity of this thing will cause it to increase in value, but I really don't care. That will be for someone to worry about when I'm gone.

    I'll share the build pics as they start coming in.
     
  2. guitarweasel

    guitarweasel Well-Known Member

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    You should talk to Lou (Brucewayne131) I know he could whip one up with no problem. I've seen and played the "Monkey" that he made and I have to say, it was outstanding!!
     
  3. Barghest

    Barghest New Member

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    [quote author=IommiSG link=topic=17793.msg219045#msg219045 date=1220550393]

    I guess the deciding factors were that one, Iommi's favorite guitar is "Number One The Old Boy", the fact that John Birch is gone (passed away in 2000. I don't know who actually does the luithery there now), and those guitars are all maple compared to the mahogany of the Old Boy.


    [/quote]


    Maple??? I'd been looking at the John Birch SG's and never realised that!

    The Jay Dee Iommi SG (the one with the walnut strip running through the body) is gorgeous, if that's the one you've ordered then i'm jealous!!

    But doesn't that have a maple core? I seem to recall looking through the Jay Dee gallery ages ago and there was a picture of the guitar being made, with the pick-ups out, and you could see a pale creamy coloured timber inside the cavity which i guessed was maple - which would mean the walnut was just a facing?

    Anyone know for certain? And if so, does it have much effect on the tone?
     
  4. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to ETSG Barghest! :) :) :)
     
  5. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    barghest, the Old Boy isn't pictured on his site. His new "Iommi" is neck thru, as you saw, and has the tailfeather headstock. Looks like at least the neck-thru portion is maple, and the body wings may be too. The "Old Boy" is the guitar that you see Iommi play that has all the finish off of it, leaving mostly the brown mahogany color. It was completed in a hurry on John Diggins kitchen table and not allowed to cure properly, then left in a hot car where all the finish bubbled off.

    John only builds Old Boys on a one-off basis, hence the 8 month wait.

    Maple tends to lack the warmth of mahogany, and is brighter sounding, not to mention a good bit heavier.

    The truth is, and don't dare say a word to the wife....I want a John Birch as well. We'll start working on that when the Old Boy is in hand.
     
  6. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    Weas, Lou and I talk all the time. I don't know which of us is the worst Iommi addict.

    Maybe Lou will chime in, but I believe the Monkey is based on an older Gibson SG he modded to dupe the original. I'm pretty sure he didn't build it from scratch, tho he may well have that ability.

    Anyway, it was Lou who kinda pushed me in the JD direction, and it was good advice, tho I think both the JD and JB are awesome.
     
  7. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    That SG was an outstanding player before he did it up .. I was there when he got it! ;D And I'm sure it's even better now that Lou's worked his magic on it
     
  8. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    I think it's awsome that Gibson is going to build the Monkey. Whether they tip their hat to Lou or not, he thought of it first, and more importantly, he has the complete approval of the man himself.

    I really have to wonder how close Gibby will get to the real Monkey. Will they license/dupe John Diggins pickups?

    I talked to John about the 24K pickups, he said I can have that if I want, but the bridge in the Old Boy is 18K, which is plenty, and I want to stick with the holy grail...
     
  9. Barghest

    Barghest New Member

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    [quote author=IommiSG link=topic=17793.msg219087#msg219087 date=1220583765]


    Maple tends to lack the warmth of mahogany, and is brighter sounding, not to mention a good bit heavier.


    [/quote]

    I did wonder with that Iommi guitar of Jay Dee's whether he'd used a maple core to brighten the sound up a bit, my reckoning that the glue lines of the three piece body might deaden things a little, hence the maple to make it a bit more lively. Though it isn't a neck-thru, there's definitely a tennoned neck there on it.......i keep looking at it, it has to be the most beautiful SG i've ever seen...

    I agree with you lot, i'd love a Jay Dee too, if only i had the cash spare!!

    Anyway, can't wait to see the pics of the old boy that's being made!!
     
  10. Zeppelin Rules

    Zeppelin Rules Active Member

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    He probably also liked the maple because it would give you a bit more clarity with the lower tuning.
     
  11. axmaker

    axmaker Member

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    [quote author=guitarweasel link=topic=17793.msg219046#msg219046 date=1220551980]
    You should talk to Lou (Brucewayne131) I know he could whip one up with no problem. I've seen and played the "Monkey" that he made and I have to say, it was outstanding!!
    [/quote]

    actually lou has been looking to get one made, or find an old one to rebuild. (lou quote: a gibson will not do).

    iommisg: you're looking at $450 minimum just for the pickups. ;)
     
  12. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author=axmaker link=topic=17793.msg219213#msg219213 date=1220905712]
    actually lou has been looking to get one made, or find an old one to rebuild. (lou quote: a gibson will not do).
    [/quote]

    YES I AM !

    here is some pics my buddy sent me of his "Old Boy" being built:


    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  13. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author=IommiSG link=topic=17793.msg219205#msg219205 date=1220897534]
    I really have to wonder how close Gibby will get to the real Monkey. Will they license/dupe John Diggins pickups?
    [/quote]

    When Mike Clement and I shot the bull over several cold bottles of Guinness, he told me that Jaydee was "Tooling up" to make those pickups that are in the original Old Boy. ( Although the neck pickup is a John Birch pup )

    That makes me think, although it's just a guess, that Gibson may in fact contract Jay Dee to make the pickups for the Monkey SG.

    These are the pickups that Jaydee will be making.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    John promised to send pics of the build as it progresses. It's going to be a long 8 months.

    The whole John Birch, John Diggins, John Carling thing gets a little muddy ...Lou, do you know the chronology?

    I know Birch built the black/aluminum pickguard SG's for Tony In the mid-70's. Was John Diggins working for him at the time? Didn't he make the pickups?

    Then I think the Old Boy was built in about '78 by Diggins.

    Didn't Diggins or Birch work for Gibson at one time?

    Carling bought Birch out when? Is Carling a luthier and doing the JB builds?

    Lastly, didn't Birch go to work for Diggins after selling his shop to Carling? (I know Birch died in 2000 at 80)

    Lou, will those pickups fit in the place of P-90's? If not, loox like it wouldn't take much routing. (Yeah, you know what I'm thinkin'...wouldn't mind doing a Monkey sans decal.)

    I have to agree w/Lou...a Gibson just won't do. I love my Iommi and all my other SG's,
     
  15. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author=IommiSG link=topic=17793.msg219305#msg219305 date=1221035669]
    John promised to send pics of the build as it progresses. It's going to be a long 8 months.

    The whole John Birch, John Diggins, John Carling thing gets a little muddy ...Lou, do you know the chronology?

    I know Birch built the black/aluminum pickguard SG's for Tony In the mid-70's. Was John Diggins working for him at the time? Didn't he make the pickups?

    Then I think the Old Boy was built in about '78 by Diggins.

    Didn't Diggins or Birch work for Gibson at one time?

    Carling bought Birch out when? Is Carling a luthier and doing the JB builds?

    Lastly, didn't Birch go to work for Diggins after selling his shop to Carling? (I know Birch died in 2000 at 80)

    Lou, will those pickups fit in the place of P-90's? If not, loox like it wouldn't take much routing. (Yeah, you know what I'm thinkin'...wouldn't mind doing a Monkey sans decal.)

    I have to agree w/Lou...a Gibson just won't do. I love my Iommi and all my other SG's,
    [/quote]

    This pretty much sums it up :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Birch_(luthier)
     
  16. IommiSG

    IommiSG Member

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    Thanks Lou, good reading!
     
  17. Rooney

    Rooney Member

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    The routing for the controls in the back of that 'Old Boy' is... different. What's the deal?
    What pickups were used in the Monkey SG?
     
  18. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author=Rooney link=topic=17793.msg219392#msg219392 date=1221192454]
    The routing for the controls in the back of that 'Old Boy' is... different. What's the deal?
    [/quote]

    All of the John Birch guitars were routed that way, the larger the cavity the more controls JB could load into it. It just so happens that John Diggins aka JayDee worked for John Birch and he ( JayDee ) adapted that style cavity to the original Old Boy. Since than, any Old Boy replicas that JayDee built or builds, he still uses the large round cavity.

    What pickups were used in the Monkey SG?

    [quote author=Rooney link=topic=17793.msg219392#msg219392 date=1221192454]
    What pickups were used in the Monkey SG?
    [/quote]

    The Monkey SG has a John Birch modified and rewound Gibson P-90 in the bridge position and a John Birch single coil Superflux in the bridge position.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. axmaker

    axmaker Member

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    [quote author=brucewayne131 link=topic=17793.msg219395#msg219395 date=1221210010]
    All of the John Birch guitars were routed that way, the larger the cavity the more controls JB could load into it. It just so happens that John Diggins aka JayDee worked for John Birch and he ( JayDee ) adapted that style cavity to the original Old Boy. Since than, any Old Boy replicas that JayDee built or builds, he still uses the large round cavity.

    What pickups were used in the Monkey SG?

    The Monkey SG has a John Birch modified and rewound Gibson P-90 in the bridge position and a John Birch single coil Superflux in the bridge position.

    [​IMG]


    [/quote]

    ...you mean superfux in the neck position? ???
     
  20. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm gonna drop an email to Mike C. Maybe he might know about who is gonna supple the pups for the Gibson Version of the Monkey SG
     

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