My 1965 SG Special or Standard?

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by SGStefan, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    I purchased a 1965 SG online about twenty years ago for a fair price,and was
    told by either the seller or someone who worked on it that the guitar was originally
    a SG special (came with P90's) but was converted to humbuckers,but how can I be sure?
    The serial number looks to be 555966.
    I would like to restore it to original by replacing the humbuckers with P90's,but would
    there be an issue with wood around the pickup cavity making it appear 'unsightly'?
    Before I take this project on,I would need to confirm if the guitar started out as a
    SG Special or came as a SG Standard.
    Any help would be appreciated,Thanks.
     

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  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    SG Special

    The P-90's were removed and pickup cavities routed for Humbuckers. The wraparound bridge and short vibrola were also removed. ABR-1 with stop bar tailpiece was added.

    The headstock and neck markings indicate the model. SG Special during that era had bound neck with dots, blank headstock with logo as inlay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
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  3. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.
    Here's a couple photos of the neck and headstock.
    So does this mean this guitar was originally a SG Special?
     

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  4. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  5. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    It's still an SG Special regardless of what pickups are in it.
    That one had P-90's when it left the factory.

    These are also SG Specials...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  6. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    If I have the humbuckers replaced with soapbar P90's,
    would the pickup cavity look noticeably odd like wood or filler
    would be needed to fill in any open space?
    Are the humbuckers dimensionally larger than the p90's?
    I am considering restoring the guitar to factory original,as I have a
    wrap around bridge and vibrola-tremolo unit and repro pickguard.
     
  7. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    There's no way to fill those pickup cavities and hide the repairs with a translucent finish.

    You could convert this 1965 to a 1966 SG Special.

    Replace the small guard with Batwing which would hide the enlarged pickup routing that was done to accommodate the Humbuckers. Maybe get rid of the ABR-1 and tailpiece and replace with wraparound lightning bar bridge for a wound G.

    I'm not a fan of vibrolas. I've had a 63 and 69 SG Special in the past and had the vibrolas removed. Use wraparound bridge only.

    Pictured below is a Humbucker route.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  8. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    1963 SG Special

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  9. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    Thanks for the input and suggestions,I've decided to leave the guitar
    as-is.
     
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  10. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Good call.
    Trying to restore it would be difficult.
    Looks like a good player's grade SG as is.

    There's plenty of vintage SG Specials out there that have not been routed for Humbuckers if that's what you want.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  11. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    What are the pickups? the hardware doesn't look up to snuff for a guitar that cool. Tuners included. That body/neck is stellar. With good pickups and decent hardware that guitar should play and sound incredible.
     
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  12. njpaulc

    njpaulc Well-Known Member

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    The only thing i would consider doing is getting the pickguard to lay flat. Maybe a little trim around the pickup rings and another screw. Other that that it looks great with popular mods like other specials of the period. When they were only a couple of years old they weren't vintage.
     
  13. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    Here is more current photos.The first photos was from when it was sold.
    The pickguard has been replaced and the pickups are DiMarzio's.
    The back of the body has some serious buckle rash but looks cool.
    The tuners are Sperzels.It plays ok but needs some messing with to be
    better.
     

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  14. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Oh I would definitely put some good alnico humbuckers in there. Unless you want to play metal, Dimarzios aren't really what you want. Take it to a local luthier and they will make it play so good you won't recognize it.
     
  15. SGStefan

    SGStefan New Member

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    Thanks for your advice,is there a brand name you can recommend?
    I'd like to keep the tone/vibe 60's blues/rock.
    Does anyone have an opinion on replacing the tuners?
    Should i go with the kluson strip tuners or the Vintage Schallers?
    I have the orig.gibson bridge and am considering replacing the tune o matic.
     
  16. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Originals would be the small white button 3 on a plate tuners. Those are fine for Juniors, but I prefer the Grover 135N on Specials. It's really a matter of personal preference. As long as the nut slots are cut properly for the string gauge that is used, any tuner will work fine.
     
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  17. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    What model Dimarzios are in it now? How do they sound?

    Dimarzio makes a lot of different PUs and they happen to make EXCELLENT vintage style PUs. The 36th Anniversaries were designed after the oringal PAFs in Larry Dimarzios original 1959 Les Paul. I have one in the neck position of my SG. These have Alnico 5 magnets.

    The PAF Master are another great choice for vintage tones.





     
  18. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    I have DiMarzio pickups in my custom Luthier build "Jazz Monster" (parts build, based on Fender Jazzmaster design). In particular the DiMarzio Evolution I have in the neck position is one of the most beautiful and flexible pickups I have ever played, clean or dirty, for both for rhythm or lead work. Judge the pickups based on what they do for you on any guitar you play. Unless you are going for a museum piece, it is all about how it plays. Nothing wrong with ANY pickup that sounds good to you on YOUR guitar.
     
  19. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Very nice SG, it' perfect like this. you can adjust bridge posts and replace those hravy tuners with Grover oval knobs, the SG look clean/
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021

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