My Gibson SG Monkey Repro

Russell Rubman

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So I knew that the $25,000 Limited Monkey was going to be a bridge too far for me and so I started about making my own reproduction. Little did I know that Gibson was going to drop a more affordable Monkey tribute just recently....DOH!

Anyway, I believe that mine has a more special ingredient than that model....LOVE :-)

Vintage repro harness
Copper lined cavity
vintage style Witch hat knobs
Yanked the bridge and added a Tonepros tailpiece
(had to countersink it a bit to get the action right)
Custom made reproduction pickguard, pickup rings and tennon
John Birch Simplux and Superflux pickup replacements
Gotoh "Iommi correct" tuners
Monkey sticker (of course)

1.jpg

I'd say that she is now a tone machine that plays and sounds a damn sight better than the Iommi Monkey tribute that Gibson just released...so it was worth the effort.

What do y'all think?
 

shreddy bender

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Sweet! I really like the TonePros bridge. I have one on my home built guitar and it's awesome.
Nice job!
 

Russell Rubman

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Thanks man. She started life as a Gibson Cherry faded 60's tribute or some-odd name. I forget.
New lease on life for the old girl.
 

Go Nigel Go

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That looks like a very capable rig. The mods are functional, purposeful, tasteful, and look well done to me. Just a nice player's axe all around.
 

papagayo

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Well done, are you sure this is not Iommi' s SG ? :D

What is the process to install the wraparound bridge?
 

pancake81

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So I knew that the $25,000 Limited Monkey was going to be a bridge too far for me and so I started about making my own reproduction. Little did I know that Gibson was going to drop a more affordable Monkey tribute just recently....DOH!

Anyway, I believe that mine has a more special ingredient than that model....LOVE :-)

Vintage repro harness
Copper lined cavity
vintage style Witch hat knobs
Yanked the bridge and added a Tonepros tailpiece
(had to countersink it a bit to get the action right)
Custom made reproduction pickguard, pickup rings and tennon
John Birch Simplux and Superflux pickup replacements
Gotoh "Iommi correct" tuners
Monkey sticker (of course)

View attachment 45925

I'd say that she is now a tone machine that plays and sounds a damn sight better than the Iommi Monkey tribute that Gibson just released...so it was worth the effort.

What do y'all think?

this is awesome, great work. How hard was it to install the bridge? And where did you source your witch hats?
 

Russell Rubman

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Had to dowel and re-drill for alignment and countersink to lower it since it was riding too high (one might say that it was "a bridge too far" LOL). The Witch hats were straight from Ebay. You just need to buy Bakelite ones or the cheap plastic feel will make you sad.
Thanks for all the swell comments fellas....you really know how to make a sailor blush!
 

Grizzlyman

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That’s some great work there, congrats man!
Although, I have to ask, have you a/b the guitar against the Iommi Special? Just wondered as you said it sounds better than the Gibson…
 

Russell Rubman

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Yes I have, although not side by side.
The Iommi Special uses standard Gibson P-90's with chrome covers and a modern harness. Mine uses the John Birch pickups that were used by Iommi and were also contracted for the Ultra Limited Iommi Monkey guitar that Gibson was previously hawking at $25,000. Birch pickups are wound and wax potted by hand. My harness uses the Bumblebee caps, 500K CTS pots, Switchcraft jack and cloth covered wire. The difference in sound quality is immediately noticeable.
Also, just as a side note, they threw on that wraparound bridge without any care for height or adjustment. The strings ride too high and there is very little adjustment possible. Overall, whatever one might think of my modded beastie, the Gibson one is definitely a B/B- IMHO.
 

Grizzlyman

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Yes I have, although not side by side.
The Iommi Special uses standard Gibson P-90's with chrome covers and a modern harness. Mine uses the John Birch pickups that were used by Iommi and were also contracted for the Ultra Limited Iommi Monkey guitar that Gibson was previously hawking at $25,000. Birch pickups are wound and wax potted by hand. My harness uses the Bumblebee caps, 500K CTS pots, Switchcraft jack and cloth covered wire. The difference in sound quality is immediately noticeable.
Also, just as a side note, they threw on that wraparound bridge without any care for height or adjustment. The strings ride too high and there is very little adjustment possible. Overall, whatever one might think of my modded beastie, the Gibson one is definitely a B/B- IMHO.
Cool man, really appreciate the detailed answer there. Sounds like you did an amazing job on that. Really awesome that you got a chance to play the monkey special too. Sadly sounds like Gibson dropped the ball a bit there, although the ones I’ve seen have had a lovely wood grain and nitro finish, so I guess that’s one thing.
I have a faded special myself that I converted to lefty, stuck on the monkey sticker added some funky pickup covers, but it’s nowhere as sweet looking as yours! Sounds nice though! 6155C7DB-9050-49C3-AC2C-A51BC50FF4FD.jpeg
 

Russell Rubman

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Oh yeah...they definitely look great, no question there. I also miss the one thing I couldn't do, which is the neck binding!
Hey though...sometimes perfect is the enemy of great ;)
 

MR D

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Oh yeah...they definitely look great, no question there. I also miss the one thing I couldn't do, which is the neck binding!
Hey though...sometimes perfect is the enemy of great ;)

Yeah, doin a Neck Binding is beyond my capabilities too. IDK anyone personally that can actually do that . Its a skill unto itself.
Great job that you turned an old Tribute into a BRUTE ! NICE ONE !
Only have one question: Are the 'Correct' Tuning Machines for an Iommi 'Special' Sperzel T.M's ?..I've seen them on one of his Guitars, IDR which one, "The OLD BOY" was it? IDR but I figure he has 'em on a few, maybe ?
 

Grizzlyman

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Oh yeah...they definitely look great, no question there. I also miss the one thing I couldn't do, which is the neck binding!
Hey though...sometimes perfect is the enemy of great ;)
The binding on those does look particularly good!!!!
 

skelt101

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Only have one question: Are the 'Correct' Tuning Machines for an Iommi 'Special' Sperzel T.M's ?..I've seen them on one of his Guitars, IDR which one, "The OLD BOY" was it? IDR but I figure he has 'em on a few, maybe ?
The Gibson Monkey guitar has no-name Schaller-style tuners. (I'm not sure of the brand.) The JD Old Boy has Sperzel tuners.
 

Mario St DeHaven

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So I knew that the $25,000 Limited Monkey was going to be a bridge too far for me and so I started about making my own reproduction. Little did I know that Gibson was going to drop a more affordable Monkey tribute just recently....DOH!

Anyway, I believe that mine has a more special ingredient than that model....LOVE :-)

Vintage repro harness
Copper lined cavity
vintage style Witch hat knobs
Yanked the bridge and added a Tonepros tailpiece
(had to countersink it a bit to get the action right)
Custom made reproduction pickguard, pickup rings and tennon
John Birch Simplux and Superflux pickup replacements
Gotoh "Iommi correct" tuners
Monkey sticker (of course)

View attachment 45925

I'd say that she is now a tone machine that plays and sounds a damn sight better than the Iommi Monkey tribute that Gibson just released...so it was worth the effort.

What do y'all think?
Bro, the way you reshaped the pickguard is pure genius. It put an entire new slant on the axe, and you also did it so that the post holes converge symmetrically with the entire new layout, resulting in a work of art. Good job bro.
 

MR D

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The Gibson Monkey guitar has no-name Schaller-style tuners. (I'm not sure of the brand.) The JD Old Boy has Sperzel tuners.

I C, TNX Skelt, so the new Signature has the "CORRECT" T.M.'s ? Normally on an SG I wouldn't care as much as long as the neck isn't a Dive-Bomber......but on a Signature 'Replica' type Guitar it helps if specs are accurate as possible. Recently it was between the MONKEY 'SG' and a FLYING 'V', went with the 'V'...but that 'MONKEY' is probably NEXT if GIBSON keeps production going ! Have yet to hear a bad word about one.
 

Russell Rubman

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I had thought that the ones he used were Schallers as well but I couldn’t find a set that visually aligned. Someone advised me that his guitar tech had them in a drawer and even he didn’t remember what brand they were LOL so these Gotohs were the ones to use because, at least visually, they matched.
I tried playing Snowblind on the Schaller set and couldn’t do it. That’s how I confirmed :rofl:
 

skelt101

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I had thought that the ones he used were Schallers as well but I couldn’t find a set that visually aligned. Someone advised me that his guitar tech had them in a drawer and even he didn’t remember what brand they were LOL so these Gotohs were the ones to use because, at least visually, they matched.
I tried playing Snowblind on the Schaller set and couldn’t do it. That’s how I confirmed :rofl:
What about these:
https://www.mojotone.com/Mojotone-3-Per-Side-Machine-Heads-Ivoroid-Chrome-Set-6
https://www.amplifiedparts.com/products/tuners-sealed-center-screw-mount-schaller-style-knob-3-side
 


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