Which SG should I buy? (suggestions please!)

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by DCguitars, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. DCguitars

    DCguitars New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2021
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hey everyone! This is my first post on these forums. I was not entirely sure where to start this thread, so, if it's in the wrong place, my apologies!

    After many years of playing cheap/borrowed guitars, I am finally ready to purchase a serious instrument. I've played classical, acoustic, and electric guitars, and of everything I have tried, the SG is my favorite by a mile. I have about $6500 saved up for this purchase.

    I am a player, not a collector. I want to play this thing daily, for years, wear it out, and not treat it like a Ferrari, but rather, like a heavy duty pick up truck.

    I want this to be the best damn SG my money can buy. That said, NO current Custom Shop SGs (I just don't dig the whole VOS/aging stuff). NO Epiphones. And, I care very little for glitz and glamour on guitars. Quality and value are what matter to me most.

    Here are the options I am weighing right now:
    - Gibson USA (People say the worst things about their QC, I don't know what to believe, but it worries me. I want this purchase to be a slam dunk.)
    - Vintage 60s/70s/80s/90s (I have my eye on a mint 1991 SG Custom 30th anniversary)
    - Jaydee Custom Guitars
    - Do you know of any luthiers that could build me an SG?

    Obviously, I would prefer not to spend all of the money. If a new Gibson USA 61 Standard gets me 99 percent to the quality of an SG 2-3x its price, that would be good enough for me. But if it's only 50 percent of the way there, I would spend more. I don't want to lust after another SG after this purchase!

    Looking forward to your suggestions!
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,934
    Likes Received:
    4,276
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    The choice is ultimately between you and your wallet, but generally I would say that the best way to bypass all the concerns over quality (and they are real concerns) is to make a nuisance of yourself in guitar shops and play a lot of guitars. Obviously take a checklist with you of items that will make you bypass a guitar. Things to check would be
    1. Bridge height. The bridge should be sitting not too far off the body, but far enough that you can lower it so the strings touch the frets all the way up. It should not be so high that it appears to be on stilts.
    2. Sight along the neck. It should be straight or have a continuous slight curve. If it has a wave, reject it.
    3. The strings should travel dead centre along the neck. Look at the clearance either side near the 22nd fret. If they aren't equal, reject it.
    4. Look where the neck and body meet. Any sign of cracking could mean a deeper problem. Move on.
    5. Check the electrics. Volume and tone should all operate smoothly with no crackling. Same for the switch.
    6. Examine all the frets. They need to be in good contact with the fingerboard. If any appear to have lifted or sprung, reject.
    7. Obviously check the finish for overall quality.

    After that, play them. Eventually one will speak to you, and it may not be the model you expected. Good luck.
     
  3. Turned Into a Martian

    Turned Into a Martian New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2020
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    7
    I’ve been very slowly acquiring higher end guitars to fill out my personal collection and still my 2009 SG standard is my favorite.

    QC has seemed to improve on production models but still I think you’re best served being a pest at shops and playing as any as possible.

    I also would recommend considering the custom shop. Their VOS finish seems logical and not ridiculous while the quality of their CS is considered a genuine step up.
     
  4. Uffe Steen

    Uffe Steen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2021
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    23
    Before spending so much money, have you tried to make your "cheap SG" sound and play better checking the SG specs ?
    If not, I recommend you learn the way to do it (you tube) or make a luthier do it.
    I mean, no matter which price and year built it matters the same: Truss rod adjustement , string height and PU height makes a huge difference.

    Neck relief

    7th or 8th fret : 0.25mm - 0.30mm

    Pick Up distance
    1.6 mm (= 2:00) for the bridge pickup and 2.4 mm for the neck.

    String Height at the 12th Fret
    Low Action:
    Low E: 1.6mm
    High E: 1.5mm


    Medium Action:
    Low E: 2.5mm
    High E: 2.4mm


    High Action:
    Low E: 3.5mm+
    High E: 3.4mm+
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    Jesse D, AntF, Torren61 and 1 other person like this.
  5. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,934
    Likes Received:
    4,276
    Location:
    London, new hearing aid project - exciting
    That's all stuff you do to the guitar once you have played it in. None of that affects a purchasing decision.
     
    Uffe Steen likes this.
  6. Uffe Steen

    Uffe Steen Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2021
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    23
    Yes, if you are experienced. Still I know a lot of players who don´t do that, and change this and that for a lot of money and to no avail.
    But then again most likely, it might not be the case for DC Guitars..
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
  7. Decadent Dan

    Decadent Dan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2021
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    187
    Junior “It's a real fun guitar to grab down off the wall, light and easy to play, no piddling around with different pickups, you just get on with playing.”
     
    vancouverois and beerbelly like this.
  8. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    Here are a few of my suggestions below. Also, if you haven’t seen a VOS guitar in person it would be worth checking out. They are actually very tastefully done, and if it’s going to be a player it would look like that after a month of playing anyway. Just a thought.

    I will say this, a $6,000 SG will be one beautiful guitar. Should check all the boxes, even without playing it first. You are in Custom Shop territory and they should all come out of the box exceeding your expectations. Depending on playing style you may still require a set up, no big deal, just good practice to ensure you are getting the most out of your instrument. All that said, a Gibson USA will get you there as well. The 300% increase in price for a custom shop is really getting you historic features, color options, correct Bevel shape and heel design etc. I would argue more times is also put into their construction, as there is less CNC machining and almost completely hand built. That doesn’t make it a better guitar though, and it also doesn’t take 300% longer to build.

    You sound like a true player, good on you! If you fall in love with a custom shop and want to play it as it was built for… great! But don’t feel you have to spend $6,000 to get a beautiful instrument. I would spend half that and buy a new amp as well, or two SG’s!

    I own 3 SG’s. A USA 61 Re-issue, a custom, and a Custom Shop. They all play fantastic.

    In order of Price (lowest to Highest)

    [​IMG]
    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.co...-standard-oxblood-wtortoise-pickguard-1012292

    [​IMG]
    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.co...ommi-monkey-sg-special-vintage-cherry-1287371

    [​IMG]
    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.com/products/gibson-custom-sg-custom-ebony-2020-1288676

    [​IMG]
    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.co...hop-1964-sg-standard-reissue-cme-spec-1087970

    [​IMG]
    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.co...m-shop-1964-sg-standard-cme-spec-true-1132427
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    DCguitars likes this.
  9. sazista

    sazista Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2015
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    246
    Get an SG Faded (no glitz or shiny distraction), make sure the neck feels right for you, then bring it to the shop for a full make-up job and setup. You're done. The pickups are great. Now go play the music that you need to make.
     
    laza616 likes this.
  10. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2020
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    414
    On your stated budget, I would guess that about 99% of the SGs in the world are within your limits. As others have stated above, you should be running around playing every SG you can find for sale. You can afford to be very choosy when it comes to the look and feel of the instrument. The right one will come along if you keep looking. Your budget will allow you find pretty much whatever you are looking for, but I don't think anyone will be able to tell you what you want better than you.

    If I had $6,000 to spend, I would probably come home with six guitars of various patterns and makers all of which inspired me in some way and met most or all of my conditions for a "player's axe". I gave up on the "ultimate anything" a long time ago. There are things I like and things I don't like, and a wide range of instruments that satisfy my preferences to various degrees to choose from. But that's just me.
     
    DCguitars, JimH and pancake81 like this.
  11. laza616

    laza616 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2020
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Slovakia
    It depends on what style you will play with that axe.
    But remember its a wood, its not gonna survive anything
    As you said you are not a collector, but a player, the guitar will be used on a daily basis. So maybe getting a historic accuracy of a guitar is not the right thing for you, so is not if it has a binding, fancy finish and other cosmetic things.
    As someone mentioned Gibson SG faded would be enough for that really, with the pickups of your choice and liking this is gonna do all that you want
    Me personally, with this budget,....i would go for the Jaydee SG Tony Iommi custom
     
    DCguitars likes this.
  12. Torren61

    Torren61 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2021
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    68
    Here is a way cool SG. With this, you get the old school '60s without the problems that may or may not come with buying an antique guitar. It's new but I would certainly do some shopping around and I bet you can get that guitar closer to $4k or possible less if you're in the right place at the right time. I don't see how you could go wrong.

    It's a Murphy.

    https://reverb.com/item/44393418-gi...o-cherry-red-ultra-light-aged-005592-7-89-lbs
     
  13. An Abiding Dude

    An Abiding Dude Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2021
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    133
    Many players say it comes down to the neck. I have a pair of '61 reissues that I believe have a "D" neck profile, which means it's not as rounded on the back and a bit flatter which creates the illusion of the neck feeling a bit wider (but I don't think in reality it is). I believe the modern standard hue toward more of a "C" neck profile. If you want to go more upper end with a classic look, the '64 Standard reissue has a great reputation as well. I would agree with the many opinions that getting as many guitars into your hands as possible before buying is always a wise option.
     
    Les’s Nemesis and Torren61 like this.
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    4,002
    Likes Received:
    4,929
    TRY before you BUY.
     
    Westernrider and DrBGood like this.
  15. Les’s Nemesis

    Les’s Nemesis Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2021
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    17
    Agree with The Dude - neck and neck/heel are an issue with SG's. Find the one you like.

    I'd suggest buying a used, run of the mill SG that's in reasonable shape. Spend a couple hundred to have it professionally set up - perhaps even a Plek by Gibson.

    Play.
     
  16. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,929
    Likes Received:
    1,708
    Here is the SG I want with white tenon cover and white pickguard, ABR-1 bridge, Les Paul Custom TRC ...

    [​IMG]
     
    pancake81 likes this.
  17. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    You bet, that is a beautiful guitar. I like your idea of the white pickguard. My 2007 has the white with the gold and I think it’s killer, classy as heck. Maybe not everyone’s taste, but gets me going

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. DCguitars

    DCguitars New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2021
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for all of your responses!

    I don't have the best guitar stores in my area, so there is a limit to how many I can try in person.
    Also, SG availability seems to be very scarce right now.

    I sent an email to Jaydee Custom Guitars, still no response.

    I am looking at the USA Special and Junior right now, and considering the M2M route as well. I had my sales rep at Sweetwater give me the form.

    Does anyone know of a luthier who could build me a custom SG style guitar? I don't even need it to be a direct 1:1 Gibson SG, I love the Yamaha SG and Ibanez Artist shapes as well.

    Thanks again!!
     
  19. skelt101

    skelt101 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    292
    Hmm…. Jaydee has always been prompt when returning my emails. Due to demand, they have had to limit the number of orders that can be accepted. The next available slot is April, 2022. More info here:
    http://jaydeecustomguitars.co.uk/ordering.html
     
  20. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    1,311
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada

    Knowing what you like/want is just as important as trying before buying. Everyone will tell you, if you have a chance to play a whole bunch of SG’s, do it. Bit that’s not always realistic. Not everyone lives in a downtown code with a guitar center on the corner.

    I have bought many guitars without ever playing them. All three of my SG’s fall in this category. My 61 are/issue was a gift 20 years ago, and it had to be ordered in from a small ma & pa shop. My 2007 Custom was bought online. It was a limited run of 400 and I was lucky to even find one. Hit buy now as soon as I located it. And lastly, my Angus Custom Shop was impossible to find. They instantly sold out. Sweetwater tracked me one down and I have them my credit card info.

    All three of those guitars play a little different. But I love them all. 61 has a 61 neck, custom has a Large D shape, Angus has a pencil thin 9/16 nut. They are all fantastic players.

    Again, your looking at luthiers and the highly regarded Jaydee (John Diggins). Excellent route to go, but it will take about 3 years. Honestly. And…. Going this route you will pay a good chunk of money and not have an opportunity to play it until you have bought and paid for it. Only with a custom build you don’t have a return option. Buy from Sweetwater (or other major retailer) and you can ship it back if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

    I guess my point is playing before paying is not that critical. However it is a great way to increase your chance of buying and not returning. Because you already now you like the neck, pickups, wood grain etc.

    I would stay away from the made to measure program. It is extremely costly and meant for those who want something very specific that doesn’t exist over the counter. I don’t think you are in that situation, you seem to be open to almost anything. However you are looking for a “one true love”.

    I believe you mentioned that fact that once you buy this SG you don’t want to look for another one. Like this guitar should check all the box’s. If that’s the case I strongly suggest sitting down and writing down all the features you love on a dream SG. That will give you an idea of what your looking for, or more importantly what your not looking for! Go online, and browse SG’s. Look at hundreds of photos and a guarantee you that you will see one and go, “Dam, I NEED that guitar”. Once you have a vision, or a model, you know what your looking for. Once you know what your looking for, you can obtain it.

    Right now you are kind of all over the map (no disrespect). But it seems odd to me that you want your dream SG, but your looking at a USA Jr, a Yamaha, a Jaydee custom build, made to measure custom shop, but you also said you don’t like any of the current custom shop models… There are SO many beautiful USA and custom shop models. Look past current production on the Gibson site. Hope on reverb and type Gibson SG Custom Shop and scroll through all of the magic. Surely something will get you Randy

    I envy your position right now. Hunting for the next dream guitar is my favorite thing.
     
    DCguitars likes this.

Share This Page