Gibson SG Special

I can’t believe I finally have a Gibson. It’s been a long time coming. I have been looking at and following Gibson for a long time. Anyway, I was at a pawn shop on 14th street near U street and I was walking by and just stopped in to look at what they had. I saw a whole row of guitars long the top and at that moment I saw this cherry SG. Then I walked out. The Monday after I walked in asked to check it out and then I bought it. That’s my story. For a while I was dead set on a Les Paul then I wanted a jaguar then a Les Paul again. I’m glad I ended up with this one. I had tried out an SG standard at guitar center a few months ago but I really didn’t like the neck. The 2 main things, I didn’t like the binding and the frets were too high. It was too bumpy. That’s why I decided to go with used. I wanted some worn down frets and I wanted it broken in.

However, it needed some replacements. I took out the nut and replaced with a tusq that I bought. That made a huge difference. I got rid of the buzz and the old nut had graphite.  I got new knobs and a new control plate, but those aren’t as interesting.

This is an SG special, so no binding or pick up covers. That seems to be the big difference between the standard and special.

Specs

Cherry red with a full pick guard built in 2000

490 alnico pickups – The specials now have dirty finger pickups, but on the Gibson site it still says the 490s so I’m not sure who to trust

Gibson deluxe tuners – These maybe need to be replaced

Mahogany body and a mahogany Set neck

Rosewood fingerboard – before Gibson was hit with all these Lacey Act charges

2 tones knobs, 2 volume knobs and a 3 way switch

I love this guitar and I liked being able to do work on it. I really like having my telecaster new, but having a used knocked up guitar doesn’t make me feel as cautious about working on it. Thank god everything I have done has been correct so far.

 

And now Pictures …

My SG

My SG in all its glory

Head Stock

Head Stock, I looked into the graphic because at first I thought it was fake but this is an older logo

I replaced the knobs

I replaced the knobs

Pickups

Pickups

I replaced the control plate also

I replaced the control plate also

Horns

Horns

I have a few pictures of the nut I took off. I just used a razor blade to cut it out and then I sanded down the tusq nut and after about an hour of sanding it was ready. However, I am not going to do any work on the body. I like all the dings and nicks.

This nut was in bad shape and the A string has cut down too far into the nut. A lot of buzz.

That’s it so far. If you are considering an SG, I highly recommend one, but it is a great compliment to my telecaster also.

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Fretboard Journal

Issue 23 of Fretboard Journal- Gillian Welch on the cover from Fretboardjournal.com

Issue 23 of Fretboard Journal- Gillian Welch on the cover from Fretboardjournal.com

If you are interested in all things guitar (both electric and acoustic), bass, banjo and/or mandolin, I would recommend Fretboard Journal. It is a great magazine and I think the articles and photos are far superior to many other boutique guitar magazines.  They have been publishing for about 6 years now and it’s a quarterly journal. It’s also the only magazine I don’t throw issues away. I’m not a photographer but there is something very down to earth and real about the photos they take. It makes these incredible guitars seem very accessible and tangible. Unlike other magazines that but there rare beauties on a pedestal never to b touched or played and any worthwhile musician knows that instruments were made to played not collected and kept in a display case. That is why Stradivarius violins are still played and rented out to violinists. Sure its Yitzhak Pearlman and Hilary Hahn but still they are being used.

They recently released their fall issue with Gillian Welch on the cover. She is one of the most important women in Folk and Americana music today, and I love it. When I found out about his magazine about a year ago, it really started to motivate me to read about different tone woods and try experimenting with guitar building and modifying. I guess you could say along with Old Crow, Fretboard Journal helped make me the man I am today. It also has opened me up to the wide world of independent luthiers and builders. That may also mean I’ll make my next guitar a small business one rather than a corporate one.

The issues range from $8 to $18 depending on how you buy it, at the stand vs. subscription. This is the only magazine so far that I bought a subscription to the day I saw it. If that isn’t enough to convince you I don’t know what is.

Wonderful magazine, great topics.

Against the Blue Wall: Guitar Restoration- Old Kay Arch-top

Along with my passion for playing guitar, I have also been getting into building and repairing guitars. I got an old guitar from a yard sale over the summer and I played around with it for a little while. I put some new tuners on it and tried to replace the bridge but nothing too intensive. Until I tried a neck reset.

Garage Sale Guitar - Kay Arch-top

Garage Sale Guitar - Kay Arch-top

I heated the fret board and loosened the glue a little bit but mostly I just got moisture underneath of the wood laminate. One thing I did not do was drill a hole into the 15th fret, insert a narrow hose in and pump the neck full of steam. I realize now this is a necessary part of a neck removal. After failing to get the neck off I tried to just re glue it. That did not work at all. So I finally said why not try to put strings on it and play? Another terrible idea, it doesn’t stay in tune you can’t tune it to itself and the neck is always flopping around. To add to the problems, the scale length is so long the extra strings I had laying around hardly fit at all. This is one reason I want to get rid of the guitar and salvage the neck. Then I could build another body for it. This would take a lot of work.

So I put it away for a while. Now I am thinking of doing a neck reset for real, or at least trying to get the neck off of the body. I am also trying to decide what to do with the guitar. Should I try to repair it? Or get rid of the body and try to make a new guitar body? I like the neck a lot but I could live without the laminate arch-top. Plus the body is kind of gross and old not beautiful and vintage looking. I personally and not much of an arch-top player so re doing that whole thing may be worth it.

Any suggestions?

Here are some more photos

Mmm look at those humidity stains

 

I'd say nice headstock
Neck separating from the body

Neck separating from the body

I’d say nice headstock