Black/Dark-green 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Standard

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by Uncle Butch, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Uncle Butch

    Uncle Butch Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    Does anyone else have a 1961 SG Standard that is this color?? It looks black, but under enough natural light (or high-quality photography like the image below) it is actually green! I can't really find any information about this color online. From what I can tell, the majority of these came in red, and any other colors are very rare.

    My great-uncle bought this new circa 1961 and played it for a number of years before it ended up in a garage for a few decades. He died years ago, before I came into possession of it, so I never had the chance to ask him about it. I'm also curious what the original sticker price was...

    I'm taking it to Antiques Roadshow tomorrow (my wife was lucky enough to win tickets), so hopefully they'll be able to give me some information about it. I'd like to know it's value as well, though I have absolutely zero plans to ever sell it.

    I need to take some better photos of it, but here are a few that I have...

    image001.jpg image002.jpg image003.jpg image004.jpg
     
  2. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,290
    Likes Received:
    3,149
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    The green is from the lacquer clearcoat turning color..it is indeed black. 1961 Les Paul SG..if factory black, could be worth some serious money! New in '61, they wree like $275-299ish..BUT...those are recent tuners...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Best of luck with the show..but you might wanna contact someone like George Gruhn..
     
  3. Uncle Butch

    Uncle Butch Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    5 of the 6 tuner knobs crumbled in my hand when I first got the guitar and tried to turn them. I still have the original machines, but you're right - the tuners in the photo are NOT original.
     
  4. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,514
    Likes Received:
    24,236
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Couldn't that case,If original be worth some coin itself?
     
  5. Uncle Butch

    Uncle Butch Junior Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    It's definitely the original case, and yes, I've heard they can be worth a pretty penny by themselves.
     
  6. TheZ

    TheZ Senior Member

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    452
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    What a cool guitar!
     
  7. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

    Messages:
    11,670
    Likes Received:
    9,384
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    I personally shopped for a 61 SG Standard in 1961. Bought one new in November 61. It has a 62 serial number, probably because it was made and bought in late 61. Before buying, I went through all the sales literature. In summary all 61 and 62s of this model had the red cherry finish. All of the SG custom with three pups were creamy white. No other colors were offered. I'm not saying that somebody couldn't have somehow ordered a blackish one. But it is more probable that yours has been refinished. Way back then, I talked to the store manager about ordering one with a TP and ABR, as I have always hated that trem, and was told no special orders.

    I still have mine, and it is a real case queen. About nine years ago the tuner keys withered and started turning to dust in my fingers. I had to replace them with identical and reliced tuners. I doubt there are any 61 or 62 guitars of this model with original tuners that work. About 50 years and the tuner keys rot, no matter how well one takes care of the guitar. It is almost impossible to find one of these guitars with original frets, if it has been owned by any kind of player.

    But it is my opinion that your guitar has been refinished, with 99.99% certainty.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  8. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Factory black examples of early Les Paul SG's do exist and have been documented, however they are extremely rare. I would normally be one of the first to call this out as most likely being a refin, however this specific example I will not be so quick to judge as there are a few things I see that peak my interest.

    The few examples of factory black I have seen (pictures only) all had white pickguards and neck plates like a custom, but this could pre-date those. It appears this could be one of the earliest 61's based on the following features that were only present on the first LP SG's out the door in 1960 and the very earliest 1961's:

    1. Ink stamped serial number in 1950's format with first digit representing the year, 1 being for 1961. This alone is extremely rare as the serial number format was changed very early on in 1961, but there are a very small amount of documented 61's with this serial format.

    2. Pick guard is slightly longer in 1960 and very early 61, almost touching the switch ring and with a sharper point at the bottom. This one has it, again pointing to a very early 61.

    3. Brown case. While it is certainly possible this case is not original to the guitar it is an absolute fact that the earliest version of the SG case was brown with pink lining like a burst case.

    4. Greening of the lacquer, indicating a very old finish. This could be faked pretty easily though and is not a clear indication of anything by itself.

    Now, all of that said that still does not guarantee this is original, it could very well be the work of someone who really knows their S**T trying to pass it off as something it's not. I would still want a little more information.

    1. I'd want to see a neck heel picture to see if it has the correct heel shape for the era this looks to be from.

    2. I'd want to see pictures of the inside of the control cavity to see if there is any indication the solder joints have been tampered with or if there are any traces of cherry red.

    3. The serial font looks to be right to me, and I have seen that "double stamp " look on other dark finished Gibson's with ink stamped serial number in white or yellow, but I will state clearly that I am not in any way an expert on 50's style serial fonts and I would want that serial number checked by someone with more expertise to verify the font is correct. THIS IS THE MOST CRUCIAL PIECE OF INFO FOR THIS GUITAR IMO.

    If those three items check out, I would have this guitar inspected in hand by an expert. Someone like George Gruhn, Walter Carter or Elliot from Rumble Seat Music.

    At the end of the day, the neck heel (if correct, I still need to see a picture), the pickguard and the case all indicate a very early 61, which supports that the serial number stamp could be original. If the serial number stamp is original the finish under it would have to be original as well. There still could have been finish work done to the guitar, but the finish directly under the serial stamp would have to be original which would at the very least indicate that this was not cherry red when it left the factory.

    If the serial font does not check out though... then that indicates it's more than likely a refin.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  9. Oranjeaap

    Oranjeaap Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,144
    Likes Received:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Something looks funky, but I can't see what's causing it. Im far from being an expert on the matter so don't attach too much value to my remarks. If anywhere, here on the forum you'll find the answers you're looking for. It could be a very rare guitar and the knowledge required is so specialized, I can hardly imagine a random guy on a roadshow can proper validate and/or value it.
    ps: It's not green. The final 'clear coat' turns yellow and even orange (amber) after a while. On black guitars this can make it look green under certain light.
     
    Kris Ford likes this.
  10. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,290
    Likes Received:
    3,149
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    OR..well intended resto that was just released back in the wild..(with no paperwork)

    I'd be asking Kim at HM if is at all familiar...
     
  11. Oranjeaap

    Oranjeaap Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,144
    Likes Received:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Anyone can shoot black base laquer, add some tint to the final clearcoats and add the serial# stamp. Hell, the stamps are sold here on the member classifieds. If it's a refin and asking around who might have sprayed it, that would be a needle in a haystack no?
     
  12. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes Received:
    1,145
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    To be clear, I'm not saying with any certainty the finish is original. I'm saying the serial number if original points to the earliest of the 61's and there are other features on this guitar that also support it as a very early 61. And IF (and it's a HUGE if) the serial number stamping is original then there is more of a case for the finish being original, and at that point the guitar should be brought to an experienced professional for an in hand inspection. Photo's alone will not provide definitive proof. It is simply a matter of whether there is enough evidence to justify the time/effort/expense of having an in hand inspection done.
     
  13. Oranjeaap

    Oranjeaap Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,144
    Likes Received:
    3,720
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    No you're absolutely right. I'm not knowledable enough to validate such a guitar as a genuine 61, and I might not even be able to tell if it's a refin if I were to hold it in my hands. Obviously I hope for Uncle Butch the guitar is what he says it is. I'm gonna stay out of the debate about what it is and isn't because I don't posses the knowledge. But what I do know is that is easier to make it look like an yellowed black finish than most people seem to think, same goes for the serial number.

    I hope Uncle Butch comes back to this thread so we can get to know more about this (potentially :D ) awsome guitar.
     
  14. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,290
    Likes Received:
    3,149
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Any updates?
    Oh..as for Antiques Road Show..
     
    rockstar232007 likes this.
  15. jiveturkey1

    jiveturkey1 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    634
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    This is REALLY interesting.....
     
  16. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    9,012
    Likes Received:
    12,945
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    @Kevin James, the serial number looks legit to me. I'm no expert on the other nuances of this model, but that's one area that I am quite familiar with.


    Frank
     
  17. 58burst

    58burst Senior Member

    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    250
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Nice! A buddy of mine had an early SGLP custom that was original black, back in the early 70's. I see no indication that this is not genuine.
     

Share This Page