Which SG should I buy? (suggestions please!)

Spiral

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1991 SG Custom 30th anniversary .. done and done ..

I agree. That'd be a nice guitar, if the condition (frets, etc) was decent. Late 80's, early 90's is considered to be a decent era, quality control wise.

Regarding price, try living outside the U.S... In my currency, my two SGs were both around the 6k mark, after customs, shipping, etc.
 

semka

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You mentioned you like this guitar, but couldn’t source one. Reverb is amazing for locating previous or sold out models!

there a number of these for sale



https://reverb.com/item/40404227-gi...are&utm_campaign=listing&utm_content=40404227
That was a pretty darn poor decision by Gibson to use richlite fingerboard on this one. I have no problems with sound or any other qualities of richlite, but using it on custom models is ridiculous and diminishes the value.
 

pancake81

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That was a pretty darn poor decision by Gibson to use richlite fingerboard on this one. I have no problems with sound or any other qualities of richlite, but using it on custom models is ridiculous and diminishes the value.

I completely agree with you Semka, just from a purest or traditional sense. I have no issues with richlite as a material, or tone “wood/substance”, not even an issue with it on a Gibson. But I think a lot of folks raised an eye brow when they saw the specs on Customs and Custom shops. We can be cork sniffers!

However when we step back and look at the situation in its entirety, it all makes sense. Ebony is getting harder and harder to source, especially that high quality jet black ebony. It’s not just that it’s expensive, Gibson will happily pass that bill along to you. It really comes down to species availability, and for a while it wasn’t available. Especially at the quantity a large company like Gibson would require. There for, if your going to have models with the jet black finger board, they had to be creative.

Now some folks probably never noticed it wasn’t ebony. Some folks knew and gave it an honest try (I am sure some liked it, and some didn’t). Others just despised the synthetic material and wished Gibson used rosewood instead. They were kind of in a position that they couldn’t win. When you have a long history of using ebony and now it’s not available, you have a bit of an issue on your hands.

Fortunately Gibson has been able to source sustainably harvested ebony again. Although, I believe they have “lowered their standards” in regards the coloring. Which is a good thing! Look we all love a true jet black ebony board. But on a production run guitar that is extremely hard to have that quantity reliably available. I think most of us would be okay to have a little grey streaking through our ebony board as appose to no ebony at all.

That 2017 model I posted did indeed have a richlite board. But I believe it was only that year. If we look here at a 2020 model of the same guitar it’s back to ebony.

https://reverb.com/item/43785754-gi...are&utm_campaign=listing&utm_content=43785754

 
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An Abiding Dude

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Bob Taylor gave probably the best run down of the global ebony crisis. If you have a few moments it’s definitely worth the watch


That was pretty righteous. It makes you wonder, do new guitars even really need to be produced anymore? There has to be multiple guitars available already to anyone who's interested. I get capitalism, they produce and we consume, but we are witnessing a true breaking point on environmental sustainability. Nobody really wants to think too deeply about these kinds of issues, but I'm glad there are companies like Taylor that seem to give a damn.
 

MR D

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That was a pretty darn poor decision by Gibson to use richlite fingerboard on this one. I have no problems with sound or any other qualities of richlite, but using it on custom models is ridiculous and diminishes the value.
I agree 1000%. Ebony has just got to be on the Fret-Board of a CUSTOM Shop Guitar...or at least the Bolivian Rosewood.Rich-Lite, WTF is that anyway ? IDK...and..for the kind of $$$ that GIBSON commands for these CUSTOM shop guitars, players just automatically should get the premium goods. I recently passed on a used SG SUPRA. Guitar was OMG Drop-Dead drooling beautiful but I noticed no grain pattern in the fret-Board, and I asked (but already knew) the Guy what the FB was made of:"Richlite" was the answer and I just had no interest at all after that was said. Even though I have never played a guitar with a Richlite board, nope, just nope...Wooden Guitars is just what I am willing to buy with my hard earned CA$H...it as simple as that.
 

pancake81

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That was pretty righteous. It makes you wonder, do new guitars even really need to be produced anymore? There has to be multiple guitars available already to anyone who's interested. I get capitalism, they produce and we consume, but we are witnessing a true breaking point on environmental sustainability. Nobody really wants to think too deeply about these kinds of issues, but I'm glad there are companies like Taylor that seem to give a damn.


It’s a little eye opening for sure. It makes you take pause for a moment and think about the actual industry, and not just that guitar your contemplating purchasing online. When we all squawk about rosewood vs ebony, or dark ebony vs streaked ebony, or how we love/hate richlite.

There is some massive damage being done to our forest in order to get a product that looks a certain way, not giving notice to the fact that ray charles would love both A grade and B grade ebony. Would make no difference to him. The ultimate outcome will be no choice at all of course, ebony doesn’t exist. Or is so rare it’s protected world wide under legislation like SARA (species at risk act).

You bring up a point, do we need to keep producing instruments. Surely not, but I think it’s great so long as we do it sustainably. When we look at other countries like Cuba who can’t even get guitar strings, let alone instruments, they are living proof that folks will make due and still have a bustling musical culture.

I do find it funny that we can’t be satisfied on the ebony front. We don’t want richlite, we don’t want streaked, we don’t want it died, we don’t want a similar species. Yet what we want is unobtainable… Other than sheer luck on finding a guitar that has Jet black heart wood (likely a custom shop) folks will have to look at the used market. I bet smaller companies like Jaydee can obtain the premium ebony as they purchase a fraction of what Gibson does (likely less than 1%) and pay a premium. They likely also have the luxury of hand picking from an importers stock. Gibson orders it by the ton.
 
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An Abiding Dude

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It’s a little eye opening for sure. It makes you take pause for a moment and think about the actual industry, and not just that guitar your contemplating purchasing online. When we all squawk about rosewood vs ebony, or dark ebony vs streaked ebony, or how we love/hate richlite.

There is some massive damage being done to our forest in order to get a product that looks a certain way, not giving notice to the fact that ray charles would love both A grade and B grade ebony. Would make no difference to him. The ultimate outcome will be no choice at all of course, ebony doesn’t exist. Or is so rare it’s protected world wide under legislation like SARA (species at risk act).

You bring up a point, do we need to keep producing instruments. Surely not, but I think it’s great so long as we do it sustainably. When we look at other countries like Cuba who can’t even get guitar strings, let alone instruments, they are living proof that folks will make due and still have a bustling musical culture.

I do find it funny that we can’t be satisfied on the ebony front. We don’t want richlite, we don’t want streaked, we don’t want it died, we don’t want a similar species. Yet what we want is unobtainable… Other than sheer luck on finding a guitar that has Jet black heart wood (likely a custom shop) folks will have to look at the used market. I bet smaller companies like Jaydee can obtain the premium ebony as they purchase a fraction of what Gibson does (likely less than 1%) and pay a premium. They likely also have the luxury of hand picking from an importers stock. Gibson orders it by the ton.
When Taylor said they have to cut down ten trees to find one with the "desirable" all dark wood and then leave the nine streaked ebony trees rotting in the forest was just heartbreaking. I fear for the human race sometimes. And I'm not saying I'm some sort of environmental saint or anything, but issues like this need to be seriously paid attention to.
 

semka

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I completely agree with you Semka, just from a purest or traditional sense. I have no issues with richlite as a material, or tone “wood/substance”, not even an issue with it on a Gibson. But I think a lot of folks raised an eye brow when they saw the specs on Customs and Custom shops. We can be cork sniffers!

However when we step back and look at the situation in its entirety, it all makes sense. Ebony is getting harder and harder to source, especially that high quality jet black ebony. It’s not just that it’s expensive, Gibson will happily pass that bill along to you. It really comes down to species availability, and for a while it wasn’t available. Especially at the quantity a large company like Gibson would require. There for, if your going to have models with the jet black finger board, they had to be creative.

Now some folks probably never noticed it wasn’t ebony. Some folks knew and gave it an honest try (I am sure some liked it, and some didn’t). Others just despised the synthetic material and wished Gibson used rosewood instead. They were kind of in a position that they couldn’t win. When you have a long history of using ebony and now it’s not available, you have a bit of an issue on your hands.

Fortunately Gibson has been able to source sustainably harvested ebony again. Although, I believe they have “lowered their standards” in regards the coloring. Which is a good thing! Look we all love a true jet black ebony board. But on a production run guitar that is extremely hard to have that quantity reliably available. I think most of us would be okay to have a little grey streaking through our ebony board as appose to no ebony at all.

That 2017 model I posted did indeed have a richlite board. But I believe it was only that year. If we look here at a 2020 model of the same guitar it’s back to ebony.

https://reverb.com/item/43785754-gi...are&utm_campaign=listing&utm_content=43785754

I know the situation with ebony. Pretty much everybody knows about that by now. People are willing to pay premium for scarcity, rarity, natural look, etc., but richlite is neither, it's just a mixture of paper and plastic. So, it is not OK using richlite on some of the most expensive models implying it was a premium material which it's not. As a result, that particular guitar and, for instance, the 2018 SG Standard HP II are not as valuable as their counterparts that are made with traditional materials, yet Gibson charged for them as if those were. Again, I am not concerned about richlite as "tonewood", I am just warning people against paying money they might not be able to recover when the time comes to sell it.
 

MR D

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You mentioned you like this guitar, but couldn’t source one. Reverb is amazing for locating previous or sold out models!

there a number of these for sale



https://reverb.com/item/40404227-gi...are&utm_campaign=listing&utm_content=40404227

That SG CUSTOM is the **** !! Just KILLER lookin'....OH Yes, that is THE ONE !! Its the next one on my short list of Guitars to get b4 I'm gone, that one or the same version of the FLYING 'V' as I've a few SG's but no Flying V's.....yet !
 

Col Mustard

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Lots of excellent advice here... I've got a few suggestions too.

1. DON'T spend all that money on one guitar. If you've got that much to spend, reserve some of it for your dream amp, which will be another quest. I really don't believe in hype and spin, so I'm with you on staying away from fancy models where you pay too much for decorations. I believe you can buy the guitar of a lifetime for $1000, or perhaps a bit more.

2. Ignore all discussions of "vintage" guitars, which are a can of worms. Ignore all celebrity sig models, which are a vanity scam. Ignore all discussions of "collectible" models which is another can of worms. Who needs it. An SG Standard will do everything you want it to, once you get it set up properly. So will an SG faded special, or an SG Classic with P-90 pickups. Spend $1000 or less on an excellent second hand workingman's guitar, and then use some of your budget to get it set up perfectly and to buy an amp that will allow it to do what you need done for your music.

3. You've got plenty in your budget to buy an extra one, maybe one with humbuckers and one with P-90s or mini hums. Setup is much more important than any decorations like inlay or binding etc.
So are your amp and your cables. Use some of your budget to get these, plus a few pedals. Pedals are fun.

4. Play it before you buy it. I believe this is an essential part of the quest. You've got plenty in your budget to pay for travel expenses if you're careful. We see so many posts where someone says, "I just received my new SG and it doesn't feel right, (or it doesn't sound right, or it has a flaw, or the neck is too thin, or the neck is too fat, etc etc etc...) Don't fall victim to this. Go where they sell them and play as many as they'll let you. Buy the one that comes alive in your hands. If none do, keep looking. Make it a quest. Have some fun doing it.

5. You are much more likely to get a slam dunk with a high quality used instrument that you get
setup by the best luthier you can find or afford. I say this because I read your original post.
If fancy decorations and/or celebrity associations were what you wanted, I wouldn't say this.
The value of a high quality used instrument is in the music it can play, and in the amount of
delight you get for the money you pay. Also, you can modify it later after playing it a lot, when
you want to tweak the sound. But if you buy a used '61 ReIssue from '07 or '08, or an SG Standard from the same time period, I don't think you'll go wrong. But do play it first, don't take my
word for it, or anyone else's.
 

Torren61

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Ah, Colonel Mustard. You did it in the bathroom with a rope and the maid.
 

Nikki Magnusson

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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!

GIBSON SG STANDARD '61 ELECTRIC GUITAR (VINTAGE CHERRY) download (1).jpg
 
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mcdetroit313

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Id recommend going out and playing some. You can ask 5 different people this question and get 5 different answers.
 

VSG

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SG7.jpg SG5Ab.jpg SG5Ab.jpg Hello. Your budget is pretty much covering a lot of territory. If you want to spend it all on the guitar so be it. I would use a good deal of that money to buy a really hot little amp.
Be that as it may I have owned more than a few SGs. Back in the day I had a 1968 Batwing SG. I had others in between as well. Today I own a 2017 SG Worn/Faded which most would consider a form of SG Special (The model that Pete Townshend used to use). I consider it one of the best guitars I have ever owned and I started buying and selling guitars back in 1968 when I switched from bass guitar. My Worn SG has a flamed maple neck (by random selection I am sure) and I really love playing it. See pics. View attachment 45734 View attachment 45735 View attachment 45735 View attachment 45735 View attachment 45735 View attachment 45736
 

65vibrola

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Lots of excellent advice here... I've got a few suggestions too.

" Ignore all celebrity sig models, which are a vanity scam"

...Except perhaps the original Captain Kirk SG Custom which was a complete bargain at the time, and also if you had a few 100 dollars left over from your SG, the Burns Brian May. Mine played brilliantly out of the box, pretty good quality for a Korean (I think) instrument and really innovative pickup switching
 

papagayo

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You can try to find a 2016 SG '61 RI Proprietary Limited Edition, 1 piece body, Gibson ABR-1, Nickel hardware, ....

Temp 47723.JPG
 


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