1961 to 1965 juniors

fernieite

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Hi guys.
At some point I'd like to get a nice 1961 to 1965 sg junior.
Is there anything I should look out for?
Are there any problems associated with any specific years?
Any other thoughts with this type of guitar?
Thanks a lot. :cool:
 

Duane_the_tub

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Juniors from that period were commonly modded, so finding one that hasn't been, say, routed for humbuckers or had a bridge/tailpiece swap can sometimes be a challenge. They are also prone to other typical "old guitar" problems, such as tuner buttons deteriorating and pickguards shrinking. There are also a few design elements that changed over the years and affect desirability of certain years, such as nut width.

(Full disclosure: I have an all-original '65 SG Junior for sale in the classifieds, link here and pic below. I would be happy to tell you as much about it as you'd like.)

20171027_111206.jpg
 

bossaddict

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I love these guitars. Like @Duane_the_tub mentioned, '65s can have a narrow nut width, Indian rosewood fretboard, and/or chrome hardware, but not necessarily.

On the later end of that range, the neck should be nice and chunky.

Good luck!
 

fernieite

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Thanks guys.
I've played a couple of these guitars and like the wider neck, but I don't think I'd want wide and chunky. Medium thickness is preferred.
I wonder if a 63 "Les Paul Junior" would be my thing? I hear in 63 - the neck joint may be stronger and perhaps medium thickness?
 

tigger

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 61-63 necks can be seriously thin and the later necks are just a bit thicker. I have a '65 where the supposedly thick and wide neck is really less than .8in thick at the first fret. And wide means more like normal width compared to the very narrow late '65 necks.
 

Duane_the_tub

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 61-63 necks can be seriously thin and the later necks are just a bit thicker. I have a '65 where the supposedly thick and wide neck is really less than .8in thick at the first fret. And wide means more like normal width compared to the very narrow late '65 necks.
I agree with this. The neck profile on my '65 is considered chunky, but in reality it's somewhere between an R0 and R9 profile. Very comfortable.
 

bossaddict

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My '64 that I used to have was chunky, but sort of a '59 type profile. My '65 is a baseball bat.
 

tigger

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How thick is the '65 baseball bat neck? (And is it narrow or wide?)
 

bossaddict

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How thick is the '65 baseball bat neck? (And is it narrow or wide?)
It's the wide 1 11/16" nut width. I just measured it and the thicknesses are actually a little less than I expected...

1st fret: 0.824
7th fret: 0.918"
12th fret: 0.995"
 

tigger

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It's the wide 1 11/16" nut width. I just measured it and the thicknesses are actually a little less than I expected...

1st fret: 0.824
7th fret: 0.918"
12th fret: 0.995"
Thanks! My early '65 is only ~.75 at the first fret, I'm almost wondering if someone didn't sand it down actually.
 

fernieite

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Thanks guys!

Btw, the general consensus seems to be saying that these have a wide neck, but isn't it the same width as a regular Les Paul? (1 11/16" at the nut)

Also, what was done on the 63's and on that made the necks more stable? And, are the 61 and 62's really all that flimsy?


Btw, .080 or so at the 1st fret doesn't seem very thick to me. Sounds great actually....:dude:
 

fernieite

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Well, I'm on the hunt for a nice early les Paul junior now (SG)

I've come across an early 62 that looks nice, but has had a pro headstock repair. I haven't seen it yet, but the guy wants $2400 US. Is all original, with case and (non-zig-zag/lightning bar) wraparound bridge. Setup and plays great with healthy original frets. Faded cherry finish.

Is a "nearly invisible" pro repaired headstock break a deal breaker for most people? If not, is that price reasonable in your opinion? Thanks.
 

PermissionToLand

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Thanks guys.
I've played a couple of these guitars and like the wider neck, but I don't think I'd want wide and chunky. Medium thickness is preferred.
I wonder if a 63 "Les Paul Junior" would be my thing? I hear in 63 - the neck joint may be stronger and perhaps medium thickness?
Here's the truth about SG neck joints; there is no difference in strength until 1967. The changes made before then were entirely cosmetic. Not only that, but the "weakness" was very much overblown to begin with. The tenon on an early '60s SG spanned the entire width of the neck. Ted McCarty & co. were not idiots, they knew that design would require a substantial mortise/tenon design (also, when they moved to the bulkier late '60s heel design, the tenon shrunk to almost nothing). Better yet, you are looking for a Junior, which has no wood routed out of the tenon for a neck pickup. Those are the strongest SG joints you will find, period.

But I have to say, if you are buying a guitar based on how strong the neck joint is, you are playing them horribly wrong! SGs are fine instruments and are to be treated as such. You wouldn't call a Stradivarius "flimsy", would you?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 61-63 necks can be seriously thin and the later necks are just a bit thicker. I have a '65 where the supposedly thick and wide neck is really less than .8in thick at the first fret. And wide means more like normal width compared to the very narrow late '65 necks.
Necks were sanded by hand, so you will find just about any variation imaginable within any given year. Width, however, had a standard specification, which changed to 1 5/8" in 1964 and 1 9/16" in 1965.
 

OBX351

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 61-63 necks can be seriously thin and the later necks are just a bit thicker. I have a '65 where the supposedly thick and wide neck is really less than .8in thick at the first fret. And wide means more like normal width compared to the very narrow late '65 necks.
They can be but I have 2 '63s with necks that would be considered big for an SG. It just depends, for I have had also had a '63 special with a blade neck. 64 necks tended to be bigger but they can also vary. For example, the neck of my friend's '64 special is bigger than my '64 std neck. These were still hand made guitars and the necks were not really uniformed as they are today, and even today there's deviation.

Regarding nut width, that changes sometime in '65 from 1 & 11/16" to 1 & 9/16" and I've also heard of guitars with 1 and 5/8". However, and there's always a "however" or "but" with vintage hand made guitars, some '65s have the 1 & 11/16 AND have the larger '64 neck. I had a chance to buy one of these and, stupidly, passed....that's another sad story.
 
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