Mystery SG MIJ copy: Wheel of Fortune edition

Discussion in 'SG Copies' started by Szegedin, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    I picked up this sweet SG copy with the familiar "Steel Adjustable Neck - Made in Japan" neck plate.

    Does anybody recognize the ornamentation on this headstock that might ID this guitar? The letters of the brand are worn off, but almost legible. I see an "O" , something, another "O" but this also could be a sticker that was not the brand... Six, seven, eight letters?

    The pickups and the bridge tailpiece don't scream 70s Matsumoto to me, but they might not be original. Neck is straight and action is super, super low. Pickups are...let's see, do we have a barf emoji here?... not great.

    Anybody recognize anything here?

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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  2. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    SOLVED:
    By looking at the letters there reading across instead of down, I can faintly see that it's a Carlo Robelli. But a 70s one apparently, not the current cheap stuff sold by Sam Ash.

    I'm stoked to have found this for very cheap. It plays fantastically well -- always wanted an SG for that reason, although I'm a strat guy. The pickups are terrible (I guess I'm not used to humbuckers), and the tuners are so terrible that I think that might have discouraged the prior owner for learning to play guitar. But these are easy fixes. It has the very small vintage frets that I love (maybe 6130 low & wide?). This is maybe going to be by first fret job on a guitar with binding. :ohno:
     
  3. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Probably Matsumoku built, and the pickups look like Dimarzios.
     
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  4. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    When I saw the Matsumoku plate, I bought it before even looking at all the picktures. It was that cheap. :cool: I think it's a 1980, because the seven-digit serial starts with 0.

    The pickups definitely sound better after swapping out the pots, which were just so rusty they didn't pass signal. But I will take them out and see if they're DiMarzios. Would rather swap them for something chrome plated.
     
  5. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    No, not true. Matsumoku started with serial numbers sometime in 73. They started with with 0. Ones from 75, I've seen with a 1. Up until they became Aria Pro II, they were pretty random. And even when they were Aria Pro II, serial numbers in the very early years were hit and miss. I have 3 from 77. only one has a serial number, and it starts with a..... 0.
    You have to look at the features and the catalogs to semi accurately date them. yours, is most likely a 1922 or a 1932 model, Labeled for the Carlo Robelli brand, (Which was common as all hell back then.). Available from about 71 to about 77 or 78. There weren't making bolt on copies much after 78.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  6. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    Ah okay, thanks that's different from what I had heard. It does make more sense that it would be from the 70s (I think you meant 72-73) because I have seen slightly newer ones with a different logo. Not much info on these out there, if anyone has a link to a catalog, would love to see it.
     
  7. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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  8. Kirk Dahnke

    Kirk Dahnke Member

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    If they are old DiMarzios theyre worth some cash.
     
  9. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    Good to know. Yes, they are indeed vintage made in USA DiMarzio's. I will probably sell them off and keep the guitar.
     
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  10. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    May be it' s good guitar with a good setup
     
  11. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    It is actually a really neat guitar. At first I thought the pickups "sucked," but it turned out that the tone pot caps were bad (pushing 50yrs old) and new electronics cleared it up nice. I actually took the pole pieces out of one of each of the pickup halfs, making it sorto-single coil. The frets are super worn but I love that, because they don't even make "fretless wonder" low fret wire anymore.
     
  12. Kirk Dahnke

    Kirk Dahnke Member

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    If you don't like humbuckers maybe some humbucker sized p90s would work for you?
     
  13. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    Yeah that's a good idea, that's kind of what I'm faking with the poles out -- I never really looked at p90s - usually play a strat very clean. These DiMarzios are a little too midrange heavy for me -- I like the scooped mids and big bottom. But I love the neck on this SG.
     
  14. Kirk Dahnke

    Kirk Dahnke Member

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    Well, there's a ton of HB-sized P90s out there. Pretty much for every budget. GFS makes them. If it were me I'd get these though.

    https://www.guitarfetish.com/GFS-Metal-Foil-Single-Coil-Ferrite-Humbucker-Shell-Chrome_p_21929.html
     
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  15. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    Thanks for that tip man, I sold those DiMarzios for a good price, so I got this guitar for a net gain and get to keep it. :cheers:
    I put some random single coils in it and after a new set of tuners, it's my favorite guitar.
     
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  16. Kirk Dahnke

    Kirk Dahnke Member

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    Love to see a new picture. Awesome!
     
  17. Oig

    Oig Member

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    I second that. Sweet guitar!
     
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  18. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    So these pickups have a diMarzio logo on the bottom?
     
  19. Szegedin

    Szegedin New Member

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    Update on this awesome guitar: I noticed this Aria from the 70s for sale on an auction. The serial number is just two digits off from mine, which means Sam Ash was basically just re-branding the same Matsumoku built guitars as Aria, as @Bad Penguin pointed out. Good to know! Here's what that Aria looked like:


    When I look at mine closely, it seems like there is a thin top that is not mahogany. Hard to tell. The Aria catalog says 'Walnut or Mahogany.' The chips in the lacquer really show that it is a genuine relic, not some new epiphone.
    DSC_5037.JPG

    DSC_5033.JPG
    I did the mod Stew Mac talks about with wicking superglue under the frets and it makes a HUGE difference. This is the second Matsumoku guitar with a rosewood fretboard I've done that hugely benefitted from this.

    Loving the sound of this thing with single coils, now mounted closer together (it almost quacks like a strat!) as you can see in the picture. They are about 82mm apart, whereas a strat middle and neck are 60mm apart. I'm thinking about how to install a more solid bridge to get closer to strat sound. Not sure top-wrap makes a big difference. I might do a through body thing. Any links to how that sounds would be welcome.

    Yep well they said "DiMarzio, made in USA." I sold these for a good price, so I basically got paid to take this guitar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021

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