So, I'm thinking of removing my sideways vibrato...

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by Monstronaut, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    The original sideways vibrola is an utterly useless piece of junk - it has no redeeming features - starting with the rather obvious issue:

    IT DOESN'T WORK!

    Even Gibson themselves admitted this when they released their very ill advised reissue.

    Replacing it with a stoptail, or if you really must, a Bigsby is a very kind way to make an otherwise great guitar very happy. Mine got a Callaham ABR-1 and a Historic Aluminium tailpiece from a 59RI - amazing SG - sounds and feels wonderful.

    So, good work on a very wise decision!
     
  2. fleahead

    fleahead Senior Member

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    Hey man, I'll bet if you asked Fibson they'd tell you that the guitar will work but it will not have the tone, sustain and playability than the factory model, LOL!!
     
  3. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Yeah, these trems don't work. I have a '62 and was starting to give Gibson some grief over their refusal to SELL me one of their '13 reissue trems that their ads said "solved all the problems". Then I read some reviews of the '13 trems and could easily see that they don't work either.

    The decision to remove the early 60s trem and install a stop TP would depend on why you are keeping your early 60s SG. Back around 2006, the vintage guitar price books had the standards in excellent condition priced at about $24K. But in five years the "book price" had fallen on these to half that or less. I don't know what they book for now, and I wish somebody here would tell me.
    If the book price trend is continuing downward and you just want your guitar to be a "player" conversion to a stop TP will give you better tone and sustain. With the trem, what do you expect when the strings are mounted to a spring loaded attachment?
     
  4. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    decrease the value...
    go..cat...go!
     
  5. HenryHill

    HenryHill Senior Member

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    Seems sad, but if you're happy, that's what matters, it's your guitar.

    I would have found a late model standard with '57's to gig with, and kept this one as is.

    Selling it seems even worse.
     
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  6. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Henry,

    The market for vintage guitars is volatile. I don't know the current value of the OP's vintage guitar at the moment. Removal of the original trem unit will hurt collector's value (if there is any left). But addition of a good TP will improve tone and playability. There is a huge trade-off here.

    It would be nice if Gibson stopped selling crap like the trem in question.
     
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  7. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    Well, maybe, but not as sad as having a lovely guitar that you can't play because everything about the tailpiece is fundamentally flawed - amazing - eight years after Gibson got the bridge on the Les Paul totally wrong (yes, they installed it upside down compared to what Les himself requested), they release a radically updated model, and do exactly the same thing!

    Maybe they haven't changed as much as we might think they have over the years.....

    I love old Strats, but I simply cannot play on original Fender frets, not "don't like to", just can't - so, do I hang my old Strats on the wall to impress my cork sniffing friends (of which I have none), or do I get the guitars refretted and play them, which, after all is what Fender made them for?

    Doesn't really seem sad in that context - if you can't use it, the nicest guitar in the world is just a lump of firewood.
     
  8. xroadie_jim

    xroadie_jim Senior Member

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    David, butchering old guitars to personalize them to your playing style has been done for years,but is just plain wrong. There are literally thousands of instruments out there of little to no historic value that can be chopped up to satisfy even the most craven desires. As far as refretting a vintage Fender just to get the fret size you need, throw a new neck on it. You think Eddie hacked up a 50-60`s strat???
     
  9. Judas68fr

    Judas68fr Junior Member

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    I think you did the right thing! You can always keep the vibrato and put it back if you decide to sell it one day!
     
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  10. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    Owning old guitars and hanging them on the wall instead of playing them is more wrong. Besides, I did actually pay for them, I do actually own them, and I do actually gig with them - I love old guitars for a tone and feel that I just can't find in new guitars, but if it means they are unplayable, they are just junk as far as I am concerned.

    I have had refretted at least three pre '63 Strats, a 55 Tele, a 53 Les Paul and a 63 SG/Les Paul.

    They are all absolute killer gigging guitars.

    Do I have any regrets? Not one.

    The most valuable stringed instruments ever made - Stradivarius violins, are expected to be maintained in top playing condition at all times, whatever needs to be done, otherwise they are considered basically worthless, and what you would pay for a Strad right now would probably also let you buy every single 59 Les Paul in existence put together. After paying a reasonably substantial amount of money for a 55 Strat I am not going to whack a Warmoth neck on it, regardless of how good they are (which indeed they are).

    Don't get het up on it - refrets are reversible, and frets do actually wear out - it's a bit hard to play a 67 SG who's frets are so worn that in places there is only the tang left (yes, I have a friend who's SG is exactly like that) - George Gruhn at one stage bemoaned this whole "original frets" thing, saying exactly what I just said - his view, as one of the foremost vintage guitar experts - done properly it shouldn't affect the value of a vintage instrument.

    To get back to the point of the post - the sideways trem was a complete disaster - it is a shockingly bad piece of junk that never worked - pretty much invented because Gibson tried to avoid paying Bigsby for theirs, and paying Fender copyright licence by somehow copying a Stratocaster style trem. It looks like crap, weighs a ton, results in zero break angle over the bridge and is about as ergonomic as a 52 trapeze tailpiece.

    Did I mention it doesn't work also?
     
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  11. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    Eddie hacked up a lot of things over his career BTW.
     
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  12. EVH9442

    EVH9442 Senior Member

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    hmmmmm...perhaps vibramate has a "sideways trem to stop" plate you can purchase....other then that, I'd just buy another SG. You're basically throwing 2k in the trash by taking that sideway off and drilling huge anchors for a stop.
     
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  13. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    Of course you could always take the vibramate off, stick it in the bottom drawer and put a $15 trapeze tailpiece on the guitar using only the strap pin to hold it in place - not pretty, but 100% reversible, and it comes back to my earlier comment - if a guitar, no matter how valuable, pretty or collectible isn't actually playable FOR ITS OWNER, it is a piece of junk.
     
  14. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Could we see some pics of this guitar, as converted to a fixed TP? Might give us some ideas on how to cover the old holes.
     
  15. EVH9442

    EVH9442 Senior Member

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    I suppose it could be viewed that way, but in my opinion if the guitar will be depreciating in THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, and is therefore BOTCHING a rare, collectable, and clean example of such a sought after guitar...the owner is a goddamn dingus. If he wants to do that, so be it. One less original '61 SG on this planet.
     
  16. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

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    With all due respect they are not exactly rare ...... and as I said, if the owner really wanted to he could simply remove the sideways trem (have you ever tried one by the way - they are ghastly in every possible way that a tailpiece could be ghastly) and use a trapeze tailpiece attached by the strap pin - no additional holes anywhere on the guitar. - I even came up with a way of drilling holes through a stop tailpiece and screwing it without studs into the original screw holes of a Lyre tailpiece - again not aesthetically beautiful, but the guitar then stayed in tune and had sustain - unlike the Lyre, which, while better than a sideways trem is not exactly an engineering triumph.

    Collectability is largely a fiction on the part of people who are interested in collectibility - and most of the iconic guitars out there (Page's No1, Clapton's Blackie, Gilmour's whatever he calls it - the black one, almost any of SRV's Strats etc etc) are pretty heavily modified, and it doesn't seem to worry them too much.
     
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  17. Richard L

    Richard L Junior Member

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    You can cover the holes with a Ebony Block guitarcovers

    Gibson replaced the sideways vibrato with the first vibrola's with two mounting screws and a flat handle (Like the ones on the Ebony block guitars) but after a couple of months the Ebony block was removed and replaced by a vibrola with 3 mounting screws.

    My '62 SG custom has a fixed bridge (previous owner installed it but the original Ebony block was replaced with two screws) and plays like a dream. Still worth lots of money, but above all it is a huge sounding and usefull tool for me.
     
  18. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    I saw that Danelectro from Mojoaxe is developing a solid piece to replace the internals that the handle screws in for looks and the cover screws onto, totally invisible, no extra screwholes in your SG and 100% solid, no moving parts..if it were me, that's the route I'd go...
     
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  19. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    Exactly. Would solve any "tone suck" or sustain issues, looks totally stock, 100% reversible and no extra holes to drill. Pure win in my oppinion.

    Allthough personally, I like the sideways on my 61. I like the sound the guitar has and with light to moderate use I have zero tuning issues. It's all how you use it... it's not a Floyd Rose and you aint EVH :laugh2:
     
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  20. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    I hope this item is built, sold, and priced so I don't have to take out a second mortgage. I WANT ONE! I use the trem on my 62 only for a little bit of tremlo, and seldom for that. My problem is what that stock monster is doing to my tone and sustain. On my guitar, tone and sustain is really rotten, and I hope the trem unit is the problem (I've been advised it is). Sure would like to have this guitar reach its full potential without needing to butcher it.
     
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