SG small guard, the little bit of plastic between neck & rhythm pup?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by GazzaBloom, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. GazzaBloom

    GazzaBloom Member

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    Does anyone else find the little piece of plastic on the small guard SGs a bit odd? It kind of looks like an after thought, wouldn't it look better as part of the neck humbucker moulding?

    Perhaps I need to spend more time playing rather than looking at my SG!
     
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  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    On the SGJ they have made much better use of that space - two extra frets.
     
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  3. Susihukkanen

    Susihukkanen Well-Known Member

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    And on some other models too..

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Guitarguy 1962

    Guitarguy 1962 New Member

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    In an interview, Les Paul said Gibson moved the rhythm pickup away from the end of the fingerboard on the SG in order to put a nameplate. You can see this on the 61 Custom, where the plate says "Les Paul Custom," although the Standard uses a blank plate. Les Paul claimed the change in the pickup placement was one reason he didn't like the SG and asked to have his name removed.
     
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  5. jrnic

    jrnic Member

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    I thought it had something to do with the neck pickup route being too close to the end of the body where the neck joint is, making the glued in joint unstable.
     
  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    well, that little piece of plastic is called the 'Tenon Cover' and it is intended to hide the glued joint where the neck fits into the body. That joint is an essential part of the design, and the design is what gives us all the great tone we get from our Gibsons, SGs and Lesters too. That Tenon needs to be right where it is, but it isn't too aesthetic looking, hence the cover.

    There's lots of mythology about why Les Paul didn't care for the SG... but really, who cares? He didn't like Rock an Roll either. Les Paul was a musician's musician, there's no doubt about that. But he was definitely from an earlier time, and he was a Jazz/Pop performer. Let's figure that by the time Gibson designed the SG, Les Paul was Passe and not too relevant any more, and they didn't really need his approval or input.

    Not that he didn't have a lot to offer. But in the harsh world of the music biz, he was a has-been in 1960. And the Les Paul guitar was not selling. They only built and sold about 1700 Gibson Les Paul guitars in the years 1958, 1959 and 1960 TOTAL.

    So here at ETSG, we refer to the Les Paul guitar as the SG Prototype. They were designed in the Jazz age, by Ted McCarty's engineers with some input from Lester himself. Intended to play Jazz/Pop. The SG was designed by Ted McCarty's team after some stinging PUBLIC comments by Leo Fender about how Gibson was a stodgy old company that hadn't had a new idea in decades. It wasn't true (refer to the P90 pickup and the ES-355) but it stung them into coughing up the Humbucking pickup, the Flying Vee, the Explorer, the Moderne and finally the SG. The rest is history. Gibson sold like 6000 SGs in EACH of the first three years of production, which comes to like 18,000 SGs in three years, or ten times the number of the prototype. Pretty emphatic approval from the guitar playing community. The SG is a rocker, and maybe Mr. Les Paul didn't get it. "and you know something is happening, but you don't know what it is...
    do you, Mister Jones..."

    So take a look at some pitchas here... I've recently made an SG pickguard AND tenon cover out of Ebony headstock veneer from StewMac. It's an elegant upgrade. The first three photos show what it looks like today. the last two show the work in progress. kinda bass-ackwards, I know... but there it is. You can make something easily (if I can do it, you can do it...)
    out of ebony that is a definite upgrade for your SG, and also hides and protects that essential tenon joint glued into the mahogany body, one of the things that makes an SG the cool and special classic guitar that it is.
     

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  7. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    This sort of stuff fascinates me; I real do like the Col's explanation...and the SG can still play jazz and pop too!

    However I do now get why Les didn't like the neck pickup placement - after getting used to my Norlin SG copy with the neck pickup set in the same place as a Les Paul, it is a bit better of a jazz guitar!

    I bet Les was sorry he didn't collect royalties on the SG's since they sold so well. Perhaps he made up for it later on all the various Les Pauls Gibson makes.
     
  8. Guitarguy 1962

    Guitarguy 1962 New Member

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    Here's the exact quote from Les Paul: "It was too thin, and they had moved the front pickup away from the fingerboard so they could fit my name in there. The neck was too skinny and I didn't like the way it joined the body; there wasn't enough wood, at least in my opinion. So I called Gibson and asked them to take my name off the thing. It wasn't my design."
     
  9. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    And his comment about the horns....plus he was divorcing Mary Ford and didn't want her to get any more money from his deals!
     
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  10. tolm

    tolm Well-Known Member

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    I gotta say, the extra frets look way better. IMO Gibson should start doing that on ALL the SGs bar the Original, '61 and Historics.
     
  11. R.A.F.

    R.A.F. Active Member

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    And why can't you ditch the tenon cover and install 2 more frets? I had this idea some time ago...
    If I was a luthier, or had appropriate tools, I'd cut a piece of rosewood (or ebony) to the right size, cut the grooves for the frets, screw or glue the wood in, install and level the frets.
    VoilĂ !
     
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  12. happy_tom

    happy_tom Active Member

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    Am I the only one who actually digs that little piece of plastic? :dunno:



    (I'm obviously strictly a rhythm player who only needs 14 frets or so :naughty: )
     
  13. GazzaBloom

    GazzaBloom Member

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    Personally, I would rather the tenon cover than 2 extra frets.

    As for pickup placement, I think moving it on the SG gives the SG a lighter more airy neck pup tone, certainly with the 57 Classics in the Std, when compared to a Les Paul. It has a clarity, and potentially less chance of sounding muddy when overdriven as Les Pauls can quickly slide into if not EQ'd carefully.

    I didn't realise this little tenon cover had LP's name on it at one point, I think that's kinda cool.
     
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  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    I don't mind the tenon cover, but I can live without the switch chip.
    It reminds me of a Scots bikee I knew, who tattooed "clutch" on one hand and "brake" on the other. ( He would later realise that he'd got them wrong way about and would have to move to America and ride Harley's.)
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  15. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    I had the same idea, not implemented yet, of adding 2 frets to my ES-175, which only goes up to a C.
     
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    An uncle, who was a great fiddle maker, used to extended standard fiddle-necks by sawing the end near the headstock and, using a dowel, inserted a 1 1/4" extension.
    Wes' fiddles were quite the hit with Country-swing players in the Ft. Worth area, in the 30s.
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  17. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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    Nice work.
    That looks GREAT!
     
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  18. Missy

    Missy Active Member

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    Whatcha guys talkin bout?
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. GazzaBloom

    GazzaBloom Member

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    The tenon cover certainly looks better when part of the pickguard as per your P90 loaded guitar
     
  20. Missy

    Missy Active Member

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    Aren't SG's made for P-90's? :naughty:
    Anyway, they're quite the match!
    And I do like it more like this, but on a humbucker SG it wouldn't really bother me much actually.
     
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