Why Frank Zappa's SG Has a White Headstock

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by godilovethis, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. godilovethis

    godilovethis New Member

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    I know Frank Zappa had a lot modificated guitars/SGs but this headstock always made me think and nobody mentions about it. Does anyone know the story behind it?
     

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  2. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    At least one of his main Sg's from that time was a custom built sg look alike, and not a gibson.
     
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  3. SatansGwitar

    SatansGwitar Member

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    the only version of its story I'm aware of is his Roxy SG was stolen along with his bands equipment, and some time later he was on tour and a fan of his sold him a fake Gibson SG highly modified that he loved from face value and the rest is history of the infamous 'Baby Snakes' SG which he altered even more to suit his desires.
     
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  4. godilovethis

    godilovethis New Member

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    So Gibson manufactured around 400 Frank Zappa signature guitars and the inspired guitar was not even a real Gibson... The most successful SG copy xd
     
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  5. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    No, Gibson produced the signature based on the 'Roxy' SG which Dweezil still owns, along with Baby Snakes. That's the one with the light headstock. A fan sold him a hand made guitar based on the SG - not a 'fake' at all, as that would be a non-Gibson made SG that purported to be a Gibson. This hand made guitar is the one that became known as Baby Snakes. There a fair bit of info about these guitars in the Tony Bacon book.
     
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  6. Jason

    Jason Active Member

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    The baby snakes SG says Gibson on the headstock so if it wasn't made by Gibson then wouldn't that make it a "fake"?
    Or at least a knockoff
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  7. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    100%, thays a “legitimate” fake... how does that work.

    I know that you know, that I know that it’s trying to be a Gibson, made by Gibson, that originally was not made by Gibson.

    twilight zone. In one sense, the whole situation is very Zappa
     
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  8. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you both need to look into the history of the guitar before you make such claims: The story begins when Bart Nagel was given a Gibson SG with a broken neck....

    That SG was made by Gibson, had Gibson on the headstock, was 100% a real, genuine Gibson, even down to the classic Gibson feature of a badly damaged neck. :)

    But Baby Snakes isn't the guitar that Gibson used to create the Zappa signature model, that was Roxy, which was also 100% a Gibson SG when it left the Gibson factory, so spreading rumours about the signature model being based on a fake Gisbon is pure nonsense, regardless of the provenance of Baby Snakes.

    And we're still no closer to knowing why Roxy had a white headstock - although I'm sure I heard the story told somewhere in the past.
     
  9. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    It's likely just because somebody sanded the finish off of it. On vintage SGs, the Gibson inlay is set into a thin veneer of a wood called Holly, which is very white in appearance. In 1971, this was replaced with a resin-impregnated fiberboard veneer, a practice which continues to this day, and now only Custom Shop models have a Holly veneer.

    I'm no Zappa fan, so I don't know much about his guitars, but I assume that's what you're seeing on his. The signature model they did for him may or may not have a holly veneer, but from the pics I can find, it looks more like they just painted it white.

    However, you can see the wood grain in this pic:

    8883464840_cacae8d13d_o.jpg

    But it looks a lot like Mahogany grain and from other pictures I've found, it doesn't seem to show thickness from a side profile the way a Holly veneer is noticeable. So I think it's either translucent paint or there's no grain filler and the grain you see is the texture of the surface.
     
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  10. godilovethis

    godilovethis New Member

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    You got a real good point there but still, the mystery of the headstock remains..
     
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  11. Jason

    Jason Active Member

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    I’m not spreading rumors that anything is a fake. I was only referring to to the baby snake in my responses and never mentioned the Roxy SG at all. Now if the the baby snakes is an custom body Sg with a Gibson factory neck I didn’t know about it. Now I do.
     
  12. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Just pointing out that Baby Snakes started out as a Gibson SG, and wasn't simply a fake or knock off.

    The Signature and Roxy were mentioned elsewhere, so I wanted to clear that up, especially as the third & fourth posts combined suggest it was a 'fan made fake' that the signature was based on. I didn't intend to imply you'd claimed the signature was based on a fake. Sorry if it came across that way.
     
  13. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    I've read that there was damage and when it was repaired the holly headstock veneer/inlay was replaced but not stained black or re-lacquered in the process, for whatever reason. I can't point to any authority to confirm it but that story makes sense from the look of the guitar.
     
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  14. jeremy whittle

    jeremy whittle New Member

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    I’ve owned this guitar for 20 years and haven’t been able to find any info on it. I called Gibson and was told they don’t have records past 1980 can anyone point in the right direction?? A2C48FC9-433B-41D8-A6E1-34DA3C62BDF4.jpeg 8C343BD7-22B7-4723-A995-7464744AFCF8.jpeg
     
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  15. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    It's an SG Special.
    Original tuners would be three on a plate.
    Small white buttons.
    Headstock face has been sanded.
    P-90's removed and routed for Humbuckers.
    Hole pattern looks like Bigsby was added at one time.

    5 digit serial number.
    Small guard.
    Bridge is straight across, not an angle.
    1963-65 SG Special.

    Check the pot codes.
    If original, can narrow down the earliest year.
    Pot Code Format
    134YYWW
    134 = Centralab
    YY = Year
    WW = Week
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
  16. jeremy whittle

    jeremy whittle New Member

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    Thank you!!
     
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  17. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Active Member

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    Jeremy - That is one awesome axe! As wonderful as all the pristine examples are on this site, I find these modded and refinished examples to be some of the coolest and most engaging guitars ever. I want to play yours!
     
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