Trouble balancing the Epiphone Vintage G-400 SG

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by Miguel, May 30, 2020.

  1. Miguel

    Miguel New Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I'm a beginner guitarist, and until today, I've been playing an Yamaha Pacifica 112V until today with no special issues.

    I like a lot hard rock style music (AC/DC fan) and I was "romancing" a Epiphone SG Vintage G-400 for some time in a local respected Luthier that also sells guitars in second hand. This one was in mint condition, with a nice setup, and today I brought it home! :)

    Well, the issue, is that I'm feeling quite uncomfortable playing the guitar due to the weight on the head of the guitar, which in constantly pushing down.
    Normally I practice seated in a guitar bench, with the guitar resting on my right leg with the Yamaha Pacifica, and on the right leg with the classical (sometimes I also rest the electric on that leg).
    I've tried the SG both ways, resting on my right and left leg and I didn't feel comfortable in either position. Also tried to use a strap to try help keep the guitar balanced, but didn't help either.
    So right now, I have to constantly control the balance with my right forearm (I'm right handed), and after playing for about half an hour I was feeling the right upper back (Rhomboids) tensed and contracted and decided to stop.

    Does anyone can give me some ideas in order to control the balance of the guitar?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Regards,
    Miguel
     
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  2. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Just because you mentionned it, I had to check. Damned ... forums will do that to you.

    I've been playing a long time and that never bothered me. But I checked anyways and all the guitars you see in this photo do have a tendency to neck dive when resting on my right thigh, if I raise both arms off the guitar. Even the heavy bodied Jr LP.

    2020-03-01.jpg

    Since I never do that and my right forearm is always hugging the guitar body as I play, I consider this problem non existant and an internet fabrication. Sorry that I can't help you.
     
  3. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Isn't any guitar going to be unbalanced when it's resting on your leg and you're not holding the neck or hugging the body with your forearm?

    Sorry mate, haven't got any advice. Maybe the Pacifica is the better guitar for you.
     
  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Generally 7-8 lb. guitars don't give me much fight, but like the good doctor (Dr. Good) the top rear bout of thee SG rests against my right forearm.
    My other thought is that you might copy Sister Rosetta Tharpe's style:[​IMG]
    A strap designed to go around the headstock should solve the "balance" issue when standing.
    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acc...V0qfNsUnGfLGwgwVu6sOOy5LPSVzrVHxoCUF4QAvD_BwE
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...zZTLfhB6Z2L9UJizHVBoCh0wQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
    Play on.
     
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  5. geetaruke

    geetaruke New Member

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    If you’re sitting on a couch, sit the guitar on your right leg and let the body sort of fall off your leg and rest on the couch itself. That should get your playing position closer to what you’re accustomed to.

    As far as standing goes, moving the strap button to the horn will definitely help.
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Somebody has skinny legs. My SG would be damned near perpendicular to the seat in that position.
    Not much and the horn is not particularly well designed for that..
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    All right, the head heavy nature of Epiphone SGs has been discussed on this forum
    until we've all got blisters on our eyeballs... Here's my take on what to do:

    Stand up when you play. Stand up straight and breathe deep. Keep your thumb
    behind the neck. If you are a new guitarist, don't teach yourself bad habits.
    Spend some money and effort on lessons... then you won't develop wrong
    playing posture, and you won't develop Rhomboid tensions.
    SGs are so light and handy, they are mostly considered a joy to play.
    if yours isn't, don't blame your guitar, blame your posture.
    THAT is a thing you can do something about.

    Go online and look for "guitarists who play SGs..."
    You'll see that we ALL play standing up. Including Sister Rosetta Tharpe back
    in the sixties. AND including all other rockers who play SGs. I don't think SGs
    were ever meant to be played sitting down.

    Classical guitarists usually play sitting down, and that's fine.
    So do many Jazz guitarists. But the SG is a rocker, and
    needs her owner to stand up and rock. Boots on the front monitor optional.

    Get yourself the best strap you can afford. A wide strap will help keep your guitar
    from moving, unless you are wearing a shirt that clings to the strap more than it
    clings to your body. A wide strap can mitigate neck dive.

    If you are good with tools, replace the heavy Grover Rotomatic tuners that Epiphone saddles
    their SGs with, and install a lighter set of Gotoh tuners. Gotoh tuners are not too expensive,
    and are MUCH lighter than Grover Rotomatics. Get them from Philadelphia Luthier Tools and
    Supplies, or from Stewart MacDonald.
    Fig 14 Feb 09 headstock.jpg
    Grover Rotomatics are excellent, but too heavy for an SG.
    They are fine on a Les Paul, because the Les Paul is SO MUCH HEAVIER
    than an SG, the tuners don't matter. I have Grover Vintage Keystone tuners on my SG,
    (see above photo) and they work just as well and they don't weigh
    the headstock down to the floor.
     
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  8. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    While I do often play standing up because I'm practicing as I would perform, I find an SG to be an excellent guitar to play sitting. It's even great when I'm lounging on the couch, leaning back a bit and just playing unplugged while watching TV. It's a much better design for playing seated than a Les Paul, those things have to be played standing.
     
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  9. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    There have been quite a few threads on this subject (neck dive), which tells you it's not an uncommon problem with SGs (and some other guitars too!).

    This is a thread I started after making a successful modification to one of my SGs - but I'd only recommend it if the guitar is definitely a keeper, as it involves moving the REAR strap button.

    Here's an updated version of the basic approaches to the problem I mention in that thread:

    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, read no further).

    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. Both [2] and [3] present a risk if the neck dive is very strong; if someone throws something to you and you instinctively try to catch it, your headstock will be heading south.

    4] Remove weight from the headstock by fitting lighter machine heads. This should be the first thing to consider if the above solutions aren't working for you.

    5] 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.

    6] Move the REAR strap button upwards. Test by carefully holding the guitar with the strap and guitar in your hand, moving the point of contact till it feels quite balanced - use a non-grippy strap so you get a clear impression of any movement. Again, only do this to a keeper - it will probably reduce the value or make it harder to sell.

    My original post has lost the photo I took, but here's a recent one where you can see the new strap button location on the back of the white SG:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. njpaulc

    njpaulc Active Member

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    Never had a "neck dive" problem specific to an SG. I find sitting and playing any guitar "unbalanced" and I never do it without a strap. Get a leather or cloth backed high friction strap and "wear" the SG "high and tight" while sitting. This should be your sitting and playing strap. Should at least alleviate the fear of dropping the guitar on it's head.
     
  11. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    The raised rear button will require a lock or the butt of the guitar is going to fall. Frankly some people are not meant to play certain guitars. Teles are my kryptonite. These "Can't balance my SG" threads are like my bleating on cello fora about not being able to hold the bow without my pinky touching the frog. Solution: Don't play the cello.
     
  12. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Please, not another stupid neck dive thread! I beg you! Just sell it and get one that balances.
     
  13. rotorhead

    rotorhead Well-Known Member

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    Heavier pick guard is the answer.
     
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  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    "How do I build a stronger pelvic girdle?" is the question.
     
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Play heavy handed heavy metal.

    Velcro the whole back of you SG and wear a Velcro suit.
     
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  16. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    No, you're wrong. If you've got strong neck dive, and the neck does dive (because you had to let go for any reason), then you need a strap lock! And you'd better hope you'd already had the sense to use one. Think about it: The headstock is now pointing at the ground, so the rear of the strap is being pulled in the exact way you'd pull it if you wanted to rip it off. :facepalm:

    By contrast, with the strap button moved, and the guitar in a normal playing position (i.e. the neck is raised, not parallel to the floor), the strap is NOT pulling away from the button. I KNOW because one of my SGs is modified, whereas you have no experience of this and have to think about it... no doubt the issue here.

    I bought strap locks for my SGs because of the neck dive, and I use them on SGs that haven't had the rear strap button moved, because they need them.

    Now, if you don't have strong neck dive... you don't need to move the friggin' strap button! As I think I made pretty clear in my post (see point 4).

    :lol: Let's not forget you thought neck dive was the result of a psychological process, rather than gravity. As such, you're probably not that well equipped to comment on the subject... Certainly it's not your place to judge who is 'meant' to play certain guitars.
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    No, the gravity is pulling the button out of the strap, unless it's locked, but go ahead with your inane theories, hopefully no one else is going to try it.
    And I still do. My other thought is that an average adult can manage the light weight guitar just fine by keeping their fretting hand on the guitar, leaving their dominant hand free to express their disdain for blatherskites.
    Nope, it's the guitarist's place to decide how much time to waste on a problem that can be easily eliminated.
    Now I remember why I put you on "ignore" in the first place.
     
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  18. Miguel

    Miguel New Member

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    Can anyone recommend me a good strap that can be found easily in Europe?
    A site like Amazon.co.uk, Thomann or similar. Ordering from U.S is a pain due to the shipping costs, shipping time and several times customs too.

    Thank you guys for all your tips! :dude:
     
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  19. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    Here you go...when standing rest your picking arm against the edge of the body. That, and a thick leather strap, that headstock ain't going nowhere bucko! (I know this from playing a Kramer bass, the one with the aluminum neck, for 20 plus years. I actually broke a bone in my foot with that serious neck dive!)
     
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  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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