Potential First Vintage Guitar | 1967 SG

tolm

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So ... my local store has a (circa) 1967 Gibson SG for sale. I've seen it in person in the shop but not had it down for a close look or to play it but I'm considering taking it for a "spin" to see if I might want to go for it. That would involve selling / part-ex'ing my CS ES-335, though.

It's been refretted, has a non-original vibrola, one volume pot has been replaced and it looks like the bridge pickup is not the original ... if anyone has any idea what that pickup might be it would be interesting to know! None of that particularly worries me, though, as I'm looking for a "player" not an investment.

However, it does have a couple of splits in the body - one of which looks a little concerning as it's relatively near the neck. From brief inspection they seem to be stable but I dunno much about these things. Obviously I would be checking far more thoroughly before parting with any money!

Other than that ... I mean, it looks *old* but it looks *cool*!
  • Model - Gibson SG
  • Colour - Cherry
  • Serial - 552117
  • Weight - 7lb 4.2oz
  • Year - Circa 1967
  • Case - Non Original Hard Case
  • Condition - Fair. Visible wear and tarnish to the finish and hardware. Two minor splits in the body in the upper horn toward the neck and at the control cavity. Some chipping to the fingerboard by the frets where previously re-fretted. Non-orignal Vibrola. Non-original volume pot and socket.
Would welcome any thoughts folks might have as to whether this is worth looking into further?


front-body.jpg front.jpg rear.jpg body-split.jpg pickups.jpg
 

Bijou Drains

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Do you mind sharing what their asking price is?

If you’re considering parting with your custom shop ES to help finance this purchase, then I’d definitely go for something more original. A refret is fine, I’ve had my ‘68 refretted, but all else is original and whatever I have “upgraded” (compensated wraparound tailpiece, bone nut) to make my SG more stable and playable, is reversible, as I kept all of the original parts.

However, if, when you play this SG, you find that it feels as good, if not better, to hold and play, than the best guitar you’ve ever owned or played, then, you might just have a near priceless guitar on (in) your hands.


709DBA51-D13F-4131-9011-1A562540D03F.jpeg 14077D4D-9F06-44F7-AD37-EA2205CD1437.jpeg ADC517F4-6D69-4D18-9821-7C3BDF4CFFD5.jpeg 8974BCAE-9FB5-4F6D-B7A8-E4DD4DC01F21.jpeg 709DBA51-D13F-4131-9011-1A562540D03F.jpeg ADC517F4-6D69-4D18-9821-7C3BDF4CFFD5.jpeg 8974BCAE-9FB5-4F6D-B7A8-E4DD4DC01F21.jpeg
 
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tolm

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Ooh - that Special is really nice!

Asking price for the one I’m considering is just over 4,300 British Pounds and, yes, it would have to absolutely blow me away for me to go for it … the main reason I haven’t asked to play it yet is just in case it does!!!
 

Bijou Drains

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Ooh - that Special is really nice!

Asking price for the one I’m considering is just over 4,300 British Pounds and, yes, it would have to absolutely blow me away for me to go for it … the main reason I haven’t asked to play it yet is just in case it does!!!

Thanks.

There are many ORIGINAL 60’s SG’s on Reverb, Ebay and online vintage collector dealer shops for less than 4,300 £. That is crazy money for this particular SG. Shop around first and do some price comparisons of all-original vintage 60’s SG’s and the one you’re looking at. Then go play it and listen for what it might say to you. You can always say “no”. Frankly, I’m certain you can do much better price and originality-wise.
 
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tolm

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Cheers
Thanks.

There are many ORIGINAL 60’s SG’s on Reverb, Ebay and online vintage collector dealer shops for less than 4,300 £. That is crazy money for this particular SG. Shop around first and do some price comparisons of all-original vintage 60’s SG’s and the one you’re looking at. Then go play it and listen for what it might say to you. You can always say “no”. Frankly, I’m certain you can do much better price and originality-wise.

Cheers, dude - appreciate the advice!
 

Go Nigel Go

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It is a nice looking old instrument, worth a second glance for sure. I agree that price probably won't attract any collectors with the condition it is in. It is also a bit high for anything in the "player's market", but that is definitely the market it should be in.

The biggest concern to me would be the body cracks. Before I even thought about dropping that much cash on it I would make my offer contingent on a luthier's inspection to make sure the structure was not compromised. That crack in the photo is close enough to the neck pocket I would sure want to know everything about it before taking the plunge.

Beyond that, I would base my decision on how it plays. A vintage guitar is still "just a used guitar" to a player. If you wouldn't pay that much for a new one that looked and played basically the same, think twice before paying it for a vintage one. There are "intangibles" with an older instrument for sure, but if you aren't feeling them during the test drive, they probably aren't there. Leave it for someone with more money to burn and a better imagination.
 

tolm

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Well - I had a brief check around on Reverb and there’s a practically mint looking 68 Special for £500 less, a 63 Junior for a bit less again and then some decent looking standards for maybe 5-6K … so I’m not sure they’re crazy on the price … but, yeh, even if I got it checked I think the body splits would just bug me unless it was a total bargain - which clearly it’s not.

So, whilst I was kinda tempted by the thought of owning a vintage guitar for the first time, I’m gonna give it a pass and keep hold of my mint condition ‘59 reissue 335.
 

cerebral gasket

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That 1968 SG Special is awesome.
My first SG was a 1969 SG Special.

I've had current, vintage and custom shop models.

That 1967 SG Standard would be a hard pass for me. Would rather have a recent second hand custom shop model that is only a few years old with fresh frets and no headstock or neck joint cracks over a vintage guitar that is all busted up.
 
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pancake81

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Price seems pretty high to myself, so if your able to afford that I would shop around for a while and see what your money can get you. In the mean time, that guitar is local and allows you to inspect it and play it. That’s a great opportunity to play around with a vintage instrument and see if they are for you.

You mentioned parting with you CS ES335. That’s a pretty big request, as I am sure that guitar is a beautiful player an and drop dead gorgeous no doubt. The 335 is so versatile and beautiful I would have a hard times selling a CS for a vintage SG unless I just couldn’t live without it.

Personally, I would do a few things.

1) Go play with that vintage SG and see if you bond with it. Additionally, while your playing it, think if vintage instruments are for you in general (assuming you don’t already own a few)

2) Pick up and plug in that 335. See where your loyalty falls with it. I think it is likely one heck of a guitar, and you should really consider if you want to part with it. And… if you do want to part with it, let it go now and then search for a new guitar. Shopping cash in hand ensures you don’t miss any deals, and also increases the cost of what you will sell for (as you won’t be rushing it out the door)

3) lastly, really take a look on the market place and see what else is out there. With price you have provided there should be a ton on wonderful options.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

Norton

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Custom Shop Es335!!?? there's No way I'd make that trade, unless you really don't like your 335.

I say Keep your 335 and get a newer sg... they're pretty amazing, and allows for the only real solution: More guitars.
 

tolm

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H
Custom Shop Es335!!?? there's No way I'd make that trade, unless you really don't like your 335.

I say Keep your 335 and get a newer sg... they're pretty amazing, and allows for the only real solution: More guitars.

Ha ha - yes, more guitars is *always* the answer!!

I have very much decided to give this one a miss and keep hold of my 335 ... was playing it earlier tonight, in fact! It’s a surprisingly bright guitar but I’ve whacked some 11s on for a bit more “beef” and it’s sounding great.

I do actually have an SG already - a Junior with a single dog-ear P90 - so I’m covered!!
 

BillW

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I have a similar 1968 SG. The necks in that era were narrow at nut, and quite thick. I find I prefer the more modern ones. Definitely spend plenty of time playing it before deciding to buy.

Good luck
Bill
 

ruster1

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Well - I had a brief check around on Reverb and there’s a practically mint looking 68 Special for £500 less, a 63 Junior for a bit less again and then some decent looking standards for maybe 5-6K … so I’m not sure they’re crazy on the price … but, yeh, even if I got it checked I think the body splits would just bug me unless it was a total bargain - which clearly it’s not.

So, whilst I was kinda tempted by the thought of owning a vintage guitar for the first time, I’m gonna give it a pass and keep hold of my mint condition ‘59 reissue 335.
Just a comment, I agree that a vintage SG with scars in this case may be overpriced as you can find better examples for equal or less if you really wait. My advice would be to GO PLAY IT if you can. I bought a 1976 SG with a refinish and a headstock break for a song and made it my own. What i was looking for was the neck profile which had the 1 9/16th nut as well. After receiving it and replacing the harmonica bridge, putting VINEHAM t-tops replicas in it and changing out the knobs for witch hats and poker chip to white, given the dark walnut stain is currently has in satin finish I absolutely LOVE the neck. I have long narrow fingers so the skinny nut does not bother me but its like holing a fat toothpick in the hand.. narrow but rounded and actually widens nicely at the 12th and gets more rounded. Feels amazing in the hand and I would consider another late 60's to late 70's SG should it present itself. But to be honest given the vintage prices today.. a custom shop model to my specs for $ 4-5k may be a better buy and it will not require repair or replacement. I would love to build a 2 pickup SG custom with than late 60's - 70's neck profile.. just deciding what color to stain is the question. I REALLY love the trans ebony finish of the 2010's era.. really stunning finish when done right as it looks dark chocolate with the grain showing through.. Never hurts to try it and see how you like it as that neck profile was ONLY during that time period into the late 70's.
 

jk67SG

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I bought my 1967 in early 1968- $300 US + $15 for the case; this was my first guitar- I'd been playing bass before then. Your guitar looks like it's been refinished, some of the beveled edges look more rounded. Also, I can't tell for sure but your guitar looks like it's missing the lyre engraved on vibrato cover- it can be hard to see in photos, though. The photos you have aren't that clear, but it looks like the Gibson logo has 'b' that is rounded on the bottom... it should be squared on the bottom left (see photo- the gold color is due to aging of the clearr lacquer over the headstock). The only Gibsons I can find with that serial 552117 are 1955 made in Nashville and 1974-1975 if it also has 'Made in USA' on back of headstock. Maybe 'cerebral gasket' has better info; my '67 doesn't have 'Made in USA', and the serial is stamped into the wood, not printed, and it does appear in the same database I checked yours against, but the records at that time were 'sketchy' to put it kindly. I can tell you when I first checked my serials on Gibson's website a few decades or more ago, what they had online were photos of typewritten years and serials, and there were a whole big group of '67 serials; I had previously phoned them and asked them to check the serials for my and they told me they couldn't find it. Then, after finding the lists, and being disappointed I couldn't find mine, I found a small group of maybe 10 elsewhere on the same page that had my serial listed. FYI, mine is 6 digits that begin with '003', but that doesn't prove yours isn't legit, as it was uncommon to have more than one series of numbers in the same year.

I would ask the seller for a better photo of the Gibson logo, and also see if you can them take pictures of the back of the potentiometers that show the pot codes which give a better idea of when they (and the guitar) was made.

And if the vibrato cover doesn't have a lyre, or if it's chrome plated instead of nickel plated, then it's not original. Sorry I don't have any good pics of the lyre handy.

Also as BillW mentioned above, the nut end of the fingerboard is more narrow than Les Pauls... approximately 0.1" (approx 2.55mm); it doesn't sound like much, but after playing this guitars for decades, and then switching to Les Pauls, when I went back to the SG, it felt 'cramped' up towards the nut end, and it never felt that way before I started playing LP's.


67 SG Body.jpg '67 SG Full IMG_1385 Reduced.jpg '67 SG headstock logo IMG_0054.jpg
 

jk67SG

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One more thing, my SG came with reflector knobs and a cream switch tip. I had another SG, a Special w/ a single P-90, I'm not certain about the year, I think it was a '68 or maybe a '69 (it was the first year that SG's had a volute, whenever that was); it had black witch hat knobs, I don't remember what color the switch tip was... I had it less than a year, until someone knocked it over during a break on a gig and the headstock snapped clean off. I never liked that guitar much... had a very thick neck, which I didn't care for.
 

PermissionToLand

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Well - I had a brief check around on Reverb and there’s a practically mint looking 68 Special for £500 less, a 63 Junior for a bit less again and then some decent looking standards for maybe 5-6K … so I’m not sure they’re crazy on the price … but, yeh, even if I got it checked I think the body splits would just bug me unless it was a total bargain - which clearly it’s not.

So, whilst I was kinda tempted by the thought of owning a vintage guitar for the first time, I’m gonna give it a pass and keep hold of my mint condition ‘59 reissue 335.

You don't judge a guitar's value by what sellers are asking for it, you judge by what they are actually selling for. Sellers love to ask for the moon, and then other sellers follow suit, and then anybody looking to buy thinks they have no choice but to pay that much because everyone is asking it.

Going by Reverb's sales prices, the average seems to be around $4,250 these days.

https://reverb.com/p/gibson-sg-standard-large-guard-1966-1969#price-guide

Knock some off for condition and some more for unoriginal parts and I'd say around $3,200 is more of a fair price.

Oh, and the bridge pickup is just a newer T-Top. So not a big loss unless you're a collector. They didn't really change T-Tops much at all from 1965-1980.
 

tolm

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Thanks for the info guys ... there’s not a ton of vintage SGs about on Reverb in the UK so kinda hard to gauge what the “going rate” is ... in any event, I’ve decided to give it a miss, anyway.
 


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