Two '61 SG Standards - Quite a Bit Different From Each Other...

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Been SG-less for a while now after parting with an SG Classic that I regretted selling some months back. Was in a shop a week or two ago and while on my way out noticed an SG on the wall. Went over to it and noticed it was a '61 Standard w/ Vibrola. All I did was wrap my hand around the neck while it was still in the wall hanger and thought to myself, "Hmm, that's really nice", then walked out.

Ended up going back yesterday and that guitar was still there. Played it for a bit along with another of the same model they had in stock. Was a bit surprised when I looked on the back of the headstock and saw that the one on the rack that I had eyeballed on my was out a couple weeks ago was a 2019. The other one was fresh out of the box (they left me unpack it) 2022.

Both guitars has the same specs of course but the finishes were very differnt. The 2019 was much lighter, almost orange, while the 2022was a much deeper, darker cherry color. Both guitars felt about the same weight. The 2019 was set up much better. Nuts looked to be differnt material, with the nut on the 2019 looking liek what I've had on SG's I've owned I the past, and the 2022 having a much brighter/whiter nut (wasn't bone, but definitely lighter in color than what I was used to). Both guitars had 2-piece bodies. Grain matching was pretty bad on the 2022 and there was an obvious, glaring seam down the middle, where the 2019 was only really noticeable if you looked along the edge by the strap button to catch the seam.

The 2022 right out of the box had a horrible set-up. I have no clue what's up with Gibson QC, but Ive seen it before where the pickups are canted/slanted a ton in the pickup rings. I realize this is an easy fix and you jsut have to remove the ring and mess with the way the springs because they end up binding up on themselves causing the pickups to can't liek that, but it just looks sloppy. Nut was cut horribly too, but this seems to be a Gibson specialty. Every new SG I've bought had always had a horribly cut nut. I get leaving the nut slots high from the factory to have it one-tined for the player's taste and preference, but it cant even close. Every note on the first couple frets was pulling sharp. They could have paid a LITTLE more attention to it. Comparatively on the 2019 the pickups were level with the rings and the nut wasn't bad at all. Action was way too low on the 2019 and a bit high not he 2022, with proper amount of relief on both. Both guitars had 61R/T pickups. The 2022 sounded very bright and a bit harsh, while the 2019 was a bit more balanced, but again, the pickup heights and the dramatic way they were canted on the 2022 along with the fact that the strings on the 2019 were dead, compared to strings on a guitar I just puled out of the factory box, so not a very well controlled comparison.

Necks felt a little different. The 2019's neck felt a touch fuller with slightly fuller shoulders, especially as you went up the neck compared to the 2022 that felt slightly less substantial with less shoulder. Much preferred the neck on the 2019. Vibrola on both looked and functioned the same. Neither's trem arm was overly stiff, and easily adjusted to bring into place or swing out of the way when not in use. Both would hit the tone knob if you were trying to swing the arm into place and had to go up and over from the top to get it into place. I only mention this because I've read that sometimes the arm will clear the knobs on some guitars and not on others, but I find this a moot point ebcause you won't be able to do that once you ahve a cable plugged into the guitar. Neither guitar had an issue with the bridge rocking when using the Vibrola, and both seemed very solid. Was also surprised how both guitars stayed in tune fairly well when using the Vibrola, with the caveat that I was using the Vibrola very subtly.

The next thing I noticed were the differnt cases. Both cases were brown with red interiors. The 2019 was was your basic case with the same latches that every other hardshell cases uses. The case for the 2022 had significant'y larger and wider latches which looked like a nice upgrade/improvement over what's been used for yers previously. Interiors were the same though. I forgot to look at what came with the 2022 as far as case candy, but the 2019 had a fairly inexpensive black Gibson (leather?) strap, a multi-tool, associated paperwork and an actual photograph of the guitar sitting on some sort of workbench (my guess is the bench where they QC the guitars?). Not sure if they still do this for the 2022.

Both guitars were new and I asked about the 2019, still had the film on the pick guard, etc., unmolested, etc. They said they'd only had it for a short period and suspected that it was just sitting somewhere in a warehouse previously, but who knows what the real story is. In the end the 2019 seemed to edge out the 2022, but who knows how they would ahve compared after a quick, basic setup done on the 2022. Was a bit disappointing though with the lack of grain matching, pickups and nut on the 2022. The beefier patches on the 2022's case were a nice change.

I was a bit surprised at how different the colors were, but I'm sure it has a bit to do with each piece of mahogany and how it accepts the stain/lacquer. Just for comparison I uploaded a couple pics of how different the finishes were (pics are not of the the actual guitars). The 2019 was much lighter, almost a bit orange, while the 2022 was even deeper and darker than the example below.

TzwOrMIh.png


DeuYSyEh.png
 

papagayo

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2020 - 2022 SG Standard '61 are orange, I prefer the Cherry finish, other difference is the hardware, nickel vs chrome.
oth have tuning issue with the Vibrola.
 

Huntroll

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Why is there such a difference in the horn bevels and horn thickness ?

It seems there are two versions -

Thick horns with minimal bevels

or

Thin horns with bevels that almost touch the pickguard.

Maybe we should go ahead and asign them official model numbers .

61 SG-MB for "minimal bevels" and

61 SG-TH for "thin horns" .

The "thin horn" version is what I prefer.

What's the deal Gibson ?
 

Huntroll

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Snake Plissken's are both "thin horns" while SGBreadfan's is a "minimal bevels" version.

Logically, the "thin horns" versions take more effort to manufacture .

Although the hardness of the wood could be the deciding factor .

I guess that's why some seem so much better than the others.

2018 SG HP II 's have thin horns and the front half of the bodies are flame maple.
 
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Just to clarify, the two guitars I was comparing were the same model, just differnt years, 2019 vs. 2022. I actually ended up going back and buying the 2019. Despite liking the darker finish on the 2022, the 2019 overall felt like th better guitar and just seemed like the fit and finish was better, neck felt nicer, etc. The 2022 looked the part, but also seemed like it was rushed when it was put together. Sure, some of the things are easily fixed with a decent set up liek the awful nut and severely tilted pickups, but those signs with the grossly mismatched 2-piece body just gave the impression that it was slapped together at the factory without much TLC. I'm sure that wasn't the case, but as guitar players it's sometimes hard to convert or explain why one guitar speaks to us while another doesn't. I was ready to walk out with the brand-spankin' new one that I pulled fresh out of the box, but ended up taking home the other new one that apparently had been sitting on the rack for a while.

Part of me wonders if this has anything to do with guitar companies experiencing QC issues and problems with skilled labor now after the pandemic where companies laid off workers, while some quit and now they're sort of scrambling to increase production but don't have the skilled workforce that they had prior. Seems to be happening with Fender as there are a lot of complaints about their recently released American Vintage II line, which is a bit of a flagship line of there's that is getting quite a bit of criticism about QC issues lately.
 

beerbelly

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I recently bought a 2022 SG Special; it's the lighter cherry color like yours, and a much lighter color than my Junior. It's a quarter sawn body that appears to be 1 piece. I wonder what causes the differences in color; the cut of the wood (flat sawn vs. quarter sawn), the mix of the paint, the painter?
No QC issues with the Special; no flaws that I can find, it comes plek'd from the factory, and Sweetwater did a nice job of prepping it.

20220713_143210.jpg 20220714_155853.jpg body front.jpg
 
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I recently bought a 2022 SG Special; it's the lighter cherry color like yours, and a much lighter color than my Junior. It's a quarter sawn body that appears to be 1 piece. I wonder what causes the differences in color; the cut of the wood (flat sawn vs. quarter sawn), the mix of the paint, the painter?
No QC issues with the Special; no flaws that I can find, it comes plek'd from the factory, and Sweetwater did a nice job of prepping it.

View attachment 49650 View attachment 49651
Mine is similar to this color. It actually shows up more red in pictures and depends on the lighting. I dig it though. It’s such a great playing guitar I can easily overlook my preference for a deeper cherry color.
 

SGBreadfan

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Snake Plissken's are both "thin horns" while SGBreadfan's is a "minimal bevels" version.

Logically, the "thin horns" versions take more effort to manufacture .

Although the hardness of the wood could be the deciding factor .

I guess that's why some seem so much better than the others.

2018 SG HP II 's have thin horns and the front half of the bodies are flame maple.
Not so sure about any differences, could just be the camera angle.
 

lcw

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NGD…. 2022 SG Std 61

Nice deep red… there was another that was more than faded red almost orange… I bought this one…

F4640EF8-87AC-437C-A090-408C3E3760CF.jpeg
 


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