Neck dive: A permanent solution.

SG standard

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OK, I know neck dive can be a contentious issue here – so let me just say I’ve no wish to upset anyone, and I’m not telling anyone they should do this or that. But over the Christmas break I decided to get the drill out & try a drastic, permanent solution to the neck dive that I get with my SGs.

Sure, some people never experience neck dive on an SG – if you’re lucky enough to be able to say that, great. Those who do experience some degree of neck dive tend to suggest several solutions:

1] A thick strap with plenty of grip. This works fine for mild neck dive, but the stronger the dive the more that grip results in T-shirt drag, and the neck starts to go down. So sometimes this is only a partial fix.
2] Hold the neck up with your left hand. I guess, if you’re mostly playing open chords & not moving your hand much, that’s fine. But I believe your hands are best off playing, rather than supporting, an instrument. (But if it works for you: Great).
3] Clamp the body of the guitar to your side with your right arm. This probably works best if your right hand isn’t moving too much, perhaps finger picking, but again I see it as a restriction in the way you’re interacting with the guitar.
4] Add weight to the guitar. This should work perfectly, but I’ve never tried it – I don’t want to turn a light SG into a weighty LP if I can avoid it. The SG Diablo I used to have had neck creep rather than dive, but it came at a price: the heavier maple cap.

I guess I’ve ended up doing a combination of the first three when playing, after all, you have to stop the neck from diving, or else the guitar is soon in an unplayable position. But having decided my white Standard is definitely a keeper, and one I’m perfectly comfortable to modify to taste, I decided to move the lower strap button:

IMG_2337.jpg


I may even move the other button to the back of the upper horn – where Gibson have put it on my ’16 SG HP, as that seems to reduce the tendency for the face of the guitar to lean away when standing – it’s subtle & I hadn’t noticed it until I had the HP, but it’s a more comfortable position. However, I’m not planning to make this mod to my ’17 HP or SG Standard Bass, even though they need it just as much. I’ve no idea how long I might end up keeping them, so for now, I’ll keep using methods 1 to 3. ;)

Incidentally, I noticed Gibson used off-centre strap positions on the Explorer in it’s original ’58 form, and I recently saw the reintroduced Hagstrom H3 has twin lower strap buttons; presumably the upper one gives better balance & the lower one enables it to lean against an amp like a Flying-V. Not a bad idea.
 

grausch

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Cool post and my EB-3 is in need of an alternate strap button as well - I have just been too lazy to do it yet.

What I have done in the mean time is just have the bass slung as low as possible (think Duff McKagan or Slash). If the guitar hangs pretty low on the strap, it changes the angle of the headstock and reduces the effect a little. Downside to this approach is that since the headstock is higher than it would normally be, when it does come down, it comes down with a real vengeance. It is always a good idea to use methods 1 to 3 to avoid injury, but I have on the odd occasion been able to let the neck go without any neck-dive, but rather a slow but steadily accelerating neck creep.

With my SG Deluxe I usually have it slung low, but one notch higher than the EB-3, and I have never had any issues with neck-dive and there is no neck creep as well. I think the combination of maple cap and Bigsby probably help. With regards to weight, it probably all is relative - I spend a lot of time playing heavier guitars, so every time I pick up the SG it feels light as a feather.

So, in summary, have you also experimented with how high or low the guitar hangs when it is on the strap?
 

Notes69

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Great post. You make some great points on the negative aspects of some of the suggested remedies.

I'm a fortunate SG owner, as I don't have neck dive. It's about even though, so if I make any change at all, ill be driving for sure. I'll never put locking tuners on it.

You certainly have some sand, to drill into such a beautiful SG, which you have. But, if that makes it a keeper, it's a positive move. Good luck
 

Paul G.

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Does that work? Why? How?

I don't get it. You're not moving the CG at all.
 

58pit

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That thing looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

58pit

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Is that a roller bridge, cant tell?
 

SG standard

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So, in summary, have you also experimented with how high or low the guitar hangs when it is on the strap?
I haven't, as there's a fairly limited range where I find it's comfortable - which is a little lower than the guitar would be when sitting & the headstock higher. Too low or too high & it gets uncomfortable after playing for a while.
So you still had neck dive after adding the Bigsby? Jeez, you have lead in the headstock or something? lol
Yup, Bigsby did nothing, not even a hint of a difference. I guess it's fairly light, despite the appearance. By contrast, having a carved maple cap on the Diablo made a huge difference. I compared both with my stock '17 HP & this one & the HP behaved the same - the Diablo had no real issue.
Does that work? Why? How?

I don't get it. You're not moving the CG at all.
Long time since I studies physics.... But I guess the CG is relative to the point where an object is supported/suspended, and that is changing. It's easy to try without drilling: If you have a neck-diving guitar, just remove the strap from the rear button, and hold it there - you should feel the neck wanting to dive. Now hold it higher up, and you should feel the tendency to dive reduce or disappear. That's how I worked out it needed to move that far.
 

zisme

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first off - gorgeous guitar!

good suggestions i think

neck dive just hasn't been a problem for either of my SGs, and both have locking grovers. just got lucky i guess

i've always attributed most of the prevention to my straps (2ish" thick with fabric undersides). i can stand with my hands in my pockets and the guitar will stay where i last left it without issue.

i do tend to prop a foot up on my pedal board or something and rest the body on my bent leg while angling the neck upwards, but not always. not sure how much i do the clamp thing - i try to stay pretty loose. but then again i've never really thought about it
 

deci belle

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SG Standard said:
Yup, Bigsby did nothing, not even a hint of a difference.

dang— I was looking forward to that helping (goona do it anyway— haha!) Not that my SG dives much at all~ still there's a tendency for it to creep

I bet I'll be moving the strap button in due time— good job on a gorgeous guitar, SG!
 

SG standard

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Not that my SG dives much at all~ still there's a tendency for it to creep

I bet I'll be moving the strap button in due time— good job on a gorgeous guitar, SG!
If you're getting creep rather than dive, you may notice much smaller differences, so it's possible a Bigsby may make a noticeable difference. And it'll look cool. :)

I did a test a while back (I mentioned it here somewhere), with 3 SGs and a strap with NO grip:
'14 Standard + B3 Bigsby
'16 Standard HP -stock
'12 Diablo Premium Plus - stock

The first two dived as soon as I let go of the neck. Very similar, one moved slightly faster but came to rest with the neck almost parallel to the floor, the other seemed to move slightly slower, but came to rest with the headstock lower down. The Diablo barely moved, but would tend to creep down when I moved. Now a tiny increase in grip of the strap, or balance, would've made a big difference to it, but would've been hard to notice on the other two - they were so off balance. That's why I think a Bigsby might be helpful to you... Good luck with it!
 

paul-e-mann

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OK, I know neck dive can be a contentious issue here – so let me just say I’ve no wish to upset anyone, and I’m not telling anyone they should do this or that. But over the Christmas break I decided to get the drill out & try a drastic, permanent solution to the neck dive that I get with my SGs.

Sure, some people never experience neck dive on an SG – if you’re lucky enough to be able to say that, great. Those who do experience some degree of neck dive tend to suggest several solutions:

1] A thick strap with plenty of grip. This works fine for mild neck dive, but the stronger the dive the more that grip results in T-shirt drag, and the neck starts to go down. So sometimes this is only a partial fix.
2] Hold the neck up with your left hand. I guess, if you’re mostly playing open chords & not moving your hand much, that’s fine. But I believe your hands are best off playing, rather than supporting, an instrument. (But if it works for you: Great).
3] Clamp the body of the guitar to your side with your right arm. This probably works best if your right hand isn’t moving too much, perhaps finger picking, but again I see it as a restriction in the way you’re interacting with the guitar.
4] Add weight to the guitar. This should work perfectly, but I’ve never tried it – I don’t want to turn a light SG into a weighty LP if I can avoid it. The SG Diablo I used to have had neck creep rather than dive, but it came at a price: the heavier maple cap.

I guess I’ve ended up doing a combination of the first three when playing, after all, you have to stop the neck from diving, or else the guitar is soon in an unplayable position. But having decided my white Standard is definitely a keeper, and one I’m perfectly comfortable to modify to taste, I decided to move the lower strap button:

IMG_2337.jpg


I may even move the other button to the back of the upper horn – where Gibson have put it on my ’16 SG HP, as that seems to reduce the tendency for the face of the guitar to lean away when standing – it’s subtle & I hadn’t noticed it until I had the HP, but it’s a more comfortable position. However, I’m not planning to make this mod to my ’17 HP or SG Standard Bass, even though they need it just as much. I’ve no idea how long I might end up keeping them, so for now, I’ll keep using methods 1 to 3. ;)

Incidentally, I noticed Gibson used off-centre strap positions on the Explorer in it’s original ’58 form, and I recently saw the reintroduced Hagstrom H3 has twin lower strap buttons; presumably the upper one gives better balance & the lower one enables it to lean against an amp like a Flying-V. Not a bad idea.
You probably only needed to move the upper button to resolve this. What kind of tuners do you have, heavy Grovers?
 


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