SG Vibrola Questions...

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Bettyboo, Dec 18, 2019.

  1. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    So, the bottom three Vibrolas below are apparently called "short vibrolas"(?). The first is just the standard vibrola(?).

    Also, the first two and last are called Maestro Vibrolas by Gibson whereas the third one isn't.

    The fourth is a 1964 special with Maestro Vibrola that I snapped from Reverb just to compare with the 2019 sp.

    I know nothing about these setups, history, usage, so would like to get knowledge from you fellas who have worlds of experience.

    2019 '61
    Screenshot 2019-12-18 at 15.45.30.png

    2019 CS
    Screenshot 2019-12-18 at 15.43.01.png

    2019 sp
    Screenshot 2019-12-18 at 15.42.48.png

    1964 sp
    Screenshot 2019-12-18 at 15.59.21.png

    Here are the questions:

    1) By the looks of it, short vibrola means it doesn't go down the body much whereas the standard one goes right to the end of the top, to the strap button - is that right?

    2) The first two and fourth are called Maestros just because they are licensed systems whereas the third is just a "Gibson interpretation" of something they probably build under license (maybe they buy them in?). Although, the 1964 "Maestro vibrola" special looks very very similar to the 2019 vibrola special... same, same but same or same, same but different, I'm not sure. Maybe it just doesn't say Maestro in the description, but is. Is "Maestro" a brand name or vibrola system style (or both/neither)?

    3) The first two vibrola systems look like they must be used to string the guitar because the ABR-1 simple doesn't have it's own tailpiece whereas the last two have a wrap around bridge, so you could just slot the strings through there and avoid the trem if you want to - is that right?

    That leads onto the main question: from your experience/knowledge, how would stringing the wraparound and avoiding the vibrola affect playability and tone?

    A few of you have the 61' 2019 with vibrola (gorgeous looking guitar, imho), how are you finding it?

    Anybody got a 60s SG with a short Maestro vibrola (also a gorgeous looking SG, imho)?

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    The Standards had the long "Lyre" Vibrola. It appeared in 1963, taking over from the sideways varirty. Specials and Juniors came with the short varieties. Some of the Specials came with the ebony block fitted for decoration. In 1966 the Short Vibrola changed from having a "spring" mount on the angel wing Specials to a slightly longer "flange" mount on the batwing Specials sometime in 1967. The Specials and the junior you have posted pics of have the spring mount variety.

    The flange mount type can be seen on this 1967 Special:
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. njpaulc

    njpaulc Active Member

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    I believe that Maestro is a Gibson brand name. Owning a '69 SG special with a short Maestro, and having played it with and without, there is no difference in the playability or tuning stability with either setup. I removed mine because I wasn't using it and later added a Leo Quan Badass to improve intonation. The original wrap around was so beat up and damaged trying to get it right that it needed to be replaced.
     
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  4. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    Excellent educated comments, exactly what I was after, thank you.

    Thanks, Gahr - great info. I had no idea at all about flange and spring mounts, but makes sense as you explained it. Also, in retrospect, the long "Lyre" Vibrola makes sense too.

    I'm gonna have to research and better understand the spring v flange mounts... Thanks for pointing that out.

    Thanks, Njpaulc. I thought that "Maestro" might be a brand name and closely linked to Gibson. I'm surprised to hear that playability and stability is the same on the guitars which have lightening tailpieces, but trust your experience - that's really interesting; exactly the kinda experience I'm really interested in.
     
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  5. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why the Vibrolas changed from the spring to flange mount, but it might be because the way the spring mount was done. The screws on the spring mount each goes through a ferrule underneath the spring itself, in order not to bend the spring when the screws are tightened. Over time the ferrules will leave indentations in the guitar body. With the flange, this problem is avoided. I have no idea whether this was the actual reason for the change though.

    If you want to see the differences between the two types, check out these links:

    https://www.crazyparts.de/tremolos-.../gibson-short-spring-mount-vibrola-nickel.php

    https://www.crazyparts.de/tremolos-.../gibson-short-flange-mount-vibrola-nickel.php

    You see the ferrules I'm talking about in the pics in the first link.


    Btw. Gibson used the "Maestro" name on other products as well. In the 1960s the made several amps under the Maestro name. These were made for accordions, but were in fact really cool guitar amps as well.
     
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  6. Bettyboo

    Bettyboo Well-Known Member

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    ^ so, I'm a spring man, Gahr. Funny, I always thought I was a flange man... :D

    Interesting links, thank you. I reckon then that the 2019 is a Maestro short vibrola spring mount (I love flange though...).

    :shock:
     
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  7. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    1963 SG Special
    When I had this guitar, I strung it with wraparound bridge only.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    Now, THAT is a beauty!
     
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