NGD: J&D Luthiers SG

plankton

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I had heard of this company before, seen a couple for sale second hand online, usually a Strat or LP copy, and initially was fooled by the name thinking they were from a custom builder, but soon realised they were just inexpensive Chinese copies and didn't give them much more thought.

A couple weeks ago I wandered into a small shop that I'd only been to once before and there was a nice looking SG hanging on the wall and it was a J&D Luthiers for $399. I had a look over it and a little play and was really impressed. About an hour earlier I had been at the "big music shop" and had done the same with a 2018 SG Standard, and this guitar didn't feel appreciably different in my hands. I asked if I could plug it in and was quite satisfied with the sound after a short play. The only reasons I didn't buy it right then and there was that it was cherry and I have two guitars in that colour already, and I wanted to do a bit of homework about them first before plunking down some cash.

Found the site for the Aussie distributor and everything looked good. It's listed as having mahogany body and neck with rosewood fretboard. It's got a set neck, neck binding and the body and pickguard were the proper shape (unlike some Chinese copies). I also found a black one for sale online for $320 shipped. All good.

Just got it today and I'm very happy with it, especially for the money. It's less than half what my '66 G400 Pro would have sold for new, and in many ways I think it's a better guitar. The body bevels are much nicer and more Gibbo-like on the J&D, it's got neck binding and the heel joint is much more contoured. Not necessarily better, but the neck is a bit thinner that the '66 Pro and it balances better on a strap.

I was thinking I'd most likely want to swap the pickups and electronics eventually, but everything is quite decent in that regard. I like the tone of the pickups through my rig, especially after some height adjustment. I measured their output at the jack, the neck was 7.3 and the bridge 8.5, right were I like them. It's nice to see a company selling inexpensive import guitars that realises not everyone wants a 14k super-hot bridge pickup. Pulled of the back cover and found full size 500k Alpha pots, linear for the volume and audio for tone. I actually like how the linear volumes work on this guitar. The tone caps are 0.47, which I usually find too dark, and that's true for the neck pickup, but it's perfect for this bridge pickup. They only thing I might do soon is change the neck tone cap and add treble bleeds to the volumes.

The hardware is good and it was setup well right out of the box. The frets could have used a polish and a few of the ends were a bit rough, but I didn't even notice while playing, only when I went looking. The only real weakness is the nut, which is plastic and seems like it's causing some tuning issues. When I change the strings I'll try lubing it or maybe a little sandpaper. The fretboard seems a bit dry as well, so that will get some attention too.

All things considered though I'm really impressed with this guitar. It easily competes with instruments double it's price. I'm not sure where else in the world they're available, but I would definitely recommend them if you're in the market for such a thing. Here's the link to it on the Australian distributor's site,

https://www.jademcaustralia.com.au/...-electric-guitar-black?variant=12672960364631

And of course the photos.

20190126_121045 (389x800).jpg 20190126_121103 (389x800).jpg 20190126_121215 (389x800).jpg 20190126_121258 (573x800).jpg 20190126_121307 (573x800).jpg 20190126_121635 (800x490).jpg 20190126_122551 (766x800).jpg
The best bit, I'm now a member of the multiple SG club!
 

Ray

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Congrats! Sounds like quite a buy, this. :) The specs sounds good, the looks are already in place.:D

And WOOOOT! Multiple SGs Club is just the coolest club there is. Period.:D
 

Worblehat

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Congratulation on your second SG! Looks fantastic. I haven't known this manufacturer before. Looks like they only sell in Australia...
I wonder why they can use the open book headstock and actual SG body shape without getting sued by Gibson. Is this an australian thing?
 

plankton

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I wonder why they can use the open book headstock and actual SG body shape without getting sued by Gibson. Is this an australian thing?

I'm not sure, maybe. My Tokai LPS (which happens to be distributed by the same company here) has an open book headstock as well. :hmm:
 

Worblehat

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I'm not sure, maybe. My Tokai LPS (which happens to be distributed by the same company here) has an open book headstock as well. :hmm:
I know the Tokai brand but haven't seen them here in Germany either.
 

Daniel.S

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I've got one of these in cherry. It was my first guitar I purchased. Looks like they've changed it a bit.
I've been trying to sell it, but no luck yet.
 

PermissionToLand

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Glad to hear you like it! There is a certain pleasure that comes with a cheap guitar that punches above its weight.

Might I suggest some cheap changes that would make it more authentic; black pickup ring screws and maybe a Gibson pickguard if it wouldn't leave screw holes exposed. I was able to convert my Samick SG to an authentic Batwing without any exposed holes. You just need to print out a template and make sure it's the actual size.
 

plankton

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Black screws aren't a bad idea, those silver ones do stand out a bit. I'm happy with the pickguard though, but between playing one in the shop and it arriving in the post I was entertaining the idea of a full batwing/P90 mod. I'm not going to do it though, I'm liking the pickups and having two dual humbucker SGs, plus I have the P90 thing already sorted anyway.

The only thing I've done is replace the speed knobs with witch hats, add treble bleeds to both volumes and change the neck tone cap from 45nF to 22nF.

20190205_172330 (573x800).jpg
 

Worblehat

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Well done! Looks even bettter now. And we all know that black screws yield a more aggressive, punchier tone!

I wonder why these silver screws where so striking. I mean my black SG has silver screws in the same places but I never really noticed them...
 

plankton

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The heads on the original screws were a bit bigger and the mounting ring ones didn't actually sit down in the countersink. Sometimes little things like that really stand out.
 


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