NGD: '61 SG Standard w/ Maestro Vibrola

Snake Plissken

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Have another thread where I was comparing a couple '61 SG Standards at a shop and commented on how different these two guitars looked and felt. Of course there will be differences between guitars even of the same model, but after playing them both for a while back to back I ended up taking home the 2019. I liked the color better on the 2022 (deeper, richer color compared to the lighter finish on the 2019). Both guitars have 2-piece bodies. The 2022 looked liek someone slapped two random pieces of mahogany together, while the 2-piece body of the 2019 is matched up very well, and the only way to tell that it's two pieces is by looking along the edge of the body by the strap button. In the end the feel and sound were what are most important. Neck on the 2022 felt slightly more substantial and rounder/fuller. Was tough to compare the setups because the 2019 had a much nicer setup (but dead strings) compared to the 2022 that I pulled fresh out of the box that had an abysmally cut nut, horrible action with pickups that were obviously not paid attention to at the factory evidenced by how they were canted 15 degrees in the rings and weren't even close to being parallel with the strings. Pretty easy fixes, but my gut said to go with the 2019 with the nicer feeling neck.

After setting it up at home I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the guitar felt. I like average action (I do a fair amount of bends, country stuff, peel steel licks, etc.) and probably have the action slightly lower than I'd normally go while still not buzzing or fretting out, and still feels fantastic to play. Truss rod works as it should and was easy to adjust. All the frets needed were a quick polish, otherwise they're perfect; no high frets, etc. and guitar plays beautifully up the entire neck.

The 61R & 61T pickups in this guitar are interesting. Can't say they are my favorite pickups for an SG, but they're not the worst I've had. My least favorite were the 490R & 490T that I had in a 2008 SG Standard I used to own, and my favorites being the Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers (that ended up replacing the 490R/T set) followed by the 57 Classics that were stock in a 2013 SG Standard I used to own. The 61's sounds nice, but the high end on the bridge pickup can be a little too bright and the higher strings can be a little loud compared to the lower strings no matter the pickup height, and I may just have to adjust the pole pieces to get a better balance. I've also messed with different pickup heights but seem to get the best sound setting them up just slightly lower than factory spec. I've been using the tone controls a lot to really try to dial int these pickups and that seems to help quite a bit.

The Vibrola works as it should. The arm moves freely, isn't super tight and is easily moved, stays in plays but isn't ridiculously tight and isn't so loose that it flops around. Nut slots are cut well, and with some gentle vibrato the guitar stays in tune for the most part and strings aren't going sharp, which would indicate they were binding up somewhere, either the nut slots or bridge saddles. Tuners work as they should.

Overall it's a very nice guitar with a fantastic feeling neck. At this point I'm going to live with the stock pickups for a while. I'm in no rush to replace them despite them not necessarily being my favorites, but again, they aren't awful and I'm getting some nice sounds, it just seems to require a little more time spent experimenting with pickup height and some additional knob turning, etc.

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Snake Plissken

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Just got one today myself…

View attachment 49656
Very nice! Love the grain on yours!

I am wondering what the differences are in the way they cut the mahogany for each piece as far as the technical descriptions...flatsawn, ripsawn, quarter sawn, etc., and what each would look like. There are obviously glaring differences that vary quite a bit on SG bodies.
 
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lcw

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Very nice! Love the grain on yours!

I am wondering what the differences are in the way they cut the mahogany for each piece as far as the technical descriptions...flatsawn, ripsawn, quarter sawn, etc., and what each would look like. There are obviously glaring differences that vary quite a bit on SG bodies.
Thanks man - I really dig it. Gives it personality.

Ironically the photos on the shops website didn’t really show that grain. Luckily I was there in person to see lol.

Here is the back. Less unique but nice grain nonetheless…

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Snake Plissken

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Thanks man - I really dig it. Gives it personality.

Ironically the photos on the shops website didn’t really show that grain. Luckily I was there in person to see lol.

Here is the back. Less unique but nice grain nonetheless…

View attachment 49657
Looks great. It's a nice 2-piece body. The other one I was comparing the one I ended up with had two random, very mismatched pieces. Reminded me of something I'd see on a Squier. Yours looks great.
 
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lcw

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