NGD 2018 SG Standard

KelvinS1965

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I borrowed an SG Tribute off a friend this summer to see how I got on and so I've been looking at local used deals since it went back. I found a local shop with a number of different used SGs in stock and had placed a deposit on a 2011 Standard with the bat wing pickguard in gloss Ebony and the thicker 50s neck. I'd played this and a couple of other SGs (and also a lovely 2009 Les Paul they had in, just for comparison of course ;) ) and felt like I preferred this one.

Today I went back with my trade in Telecaster, but decided to try another SG they had in: A 2018 Standard, with the smaller pickguard, in gloss Cherry Red and the slim taper neck. Described as 'secondhand' and priced accordingly, but it still had the celophane on the pickguard.

I played the two back to back as I originally wanted a thicker neck as a compliment to my 60s Tribute Gold Top, so was leaning to the Ebony one. However I found that I preferred feel of the Cherry Red one* and it was in much better condition for only a small amount extra. The pickups sounded better too for my tastes (playing through a Fender Blues Junior set clean). So I paid up and took the Cherry one home with me. :)

Shop photos, so I'll add some of my own another day.
Body.jpg



Front full.jpg



It sounds amazing through my Marshall Mini Jubilee (and no doubt will through my SV20H 'Plexi' too. No issues with neck dive either and I'm just using a cheap spare strap I have until I can get something nicer.


* Having compared it to my GT they both feel different enough anyway, plus I can always go back for a Les Paul with a 50s neck and humbuckers another time when my finances recover. I've got Fenders with thick and thin necks so I do have quite a variety which seems to help my hands.
 
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KelvinS1965

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I've been playing it most of the evening, wearing out my fingers. :D Just feels so nice to play, I can't stop but I need to go to bed as I'm at work in the morning and it's after midnight here in the UK. :)
 

KelvinS1965

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Finally had chance to take a few photos. I found the switch washer in the case, so fitted that and I've re-strung it/top wrapped as the strings were catching on the back of the bridge before. I've been playing our current set list through my Marshall Mini Jubliee tonight and the SG really sounds great through it.

Kicking back on the chase:
SG & Chase.jpg


With it's new best friend:

SG & MJ.jpg


Close up of the body. Might get some black top hats with the silver inserts, like the '61 models have:

SG Body.jpg


I've been over the setup of this guitar...not to adjust anything in particular, but for reference because it feels and plays so well. I have adjusted my Gold Top to the same string height and neck relief to match though and it feels great too now.
 

KelvinS1965

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I'll be able to make a similar photo soon: The friend that lent me his SG Tribute this summer has messaged me to say he just traded it in this afternoon for an SG Standard in Ebony.

It's only fair...he tempted me and I tempted him I guess (I'm sure he would have bought one anyway sooner or later). :D
 

KelvinS1965

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I ordered some reflector knobs, a white switch tip and a blank truss rod cover. I prefer the look of it now, but only a phone photo.
New knobs fitted.jpg


We had a rehearsal last night for a gig in November. We're covering quite a range of songs, some clean tones and some more dirty. The SG absolutely nails the sound I need for some of the heavier parts. In particular the start of Blondie's 'One way or another' sounds just like the record now (helps I'm playing through my Marshall Mini Jubilee).

Also; I've had no issues with tuning which was one of my worries before buying it: It was in tune when I got it out of the case at the studio and stayed that way all night...same as my Tele. If it had been my Gretsch or my Strat I bet they would have needed a tweak.
 

moreles

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That's a particularly nice looking SG. I like the minor changes you made. None of them are super-obvious, but together they really make for a nice look. I love the blank truss rod cover -- too many "custom" covers out there for my taste. Plain looks better, IMO. Glad it plays well for you.
 

KelvinS1965

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Thanks Moreles; the best part is that all those bits only cost £11 including delivery. OK, not genuine Gibson parts, but they are only plastic and fit perfectly. That truss rod cover was £2.99 and is a slightly narrower shape like the £25 '59 style one my friend bought for his Les Paul.

I left my case open with the guitar out as it has quite an over powering smell, seems to be going now. It means I can glance at my SG on the nearby chase (well I had to make sure it is laying somewhere safe ;) ) . Handy to pick it up for a quick play as soon as I have the room to myself as well. :)
 

jaycoyoyo

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I'm a sucker for reflector knobs. Nice guitars!
 

KelvinS1965

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Well I haven't had it a month yet, but have played a gig this weekend on it. I've decided to take out the PCB as I don't like how flimsy the pots feel and their abrupt action. I'm replacing all the electrics (so it could be put back to standard) with some DiMarzio 36th Anniversary pickups (already have the neck one from a previous project). I've ordered Gibson 500K audio taper pots, switchcraft toggle switch and new jack plug. I have some Spragg orange drop capacitors already, so will try 0.015uF in the neck tone pot and a 0.022uF one in the brigde tone pot.

I did some back to back testing comparing the SG to my Epiphone LP that I've completely replaced the electrics on and fitted Bareknuckle Mules: I prefer the more open sound of the Mules and I know that the 36th neck had that same sort of sound too, so fingers crossed it will work out well. Worst case I will cut the connectors on the 61T and 61R and wire them onto my new loom.

Got a nice handmade strap for it last week too:
SG New Strap 2.jpg
 
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KelvinS1965

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I took some better photos using my DSLR camera, also I've ordered a set of 500K full sized Gibson pots, switchcraft 3 way switch, a jack socket and a DiMarzio 36th Anniversary bridge pickup (to go with a neck one I already have). I'm going to pull the PCB and 61T/61R pickups and replace with traditionally metal braided 50s style wiring.

I didn't like the flimsy feel of the original pots and the abrupt roll off the volume and tone knobs had. I've previously done similar work to my Epiphone LP with great results and it will all be completely reversible should I want to put it all back to standard for some reason...

Updated photos before I take it apart to re-wire:
SG 61 & MJ.jpg


Group photo with my Epiphone LP and one of my Teles:
LP SG & Tele group.jpg


Selection of parts to be fitted:
Electrics upgrade kit.jpg
 

KelvinS1965

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I fitted all the parts today; took out the PCB and original pickups, replaced it all with good quality parts and DiMarzio 36th Annivesary pickups (since I had the neck one already and liked how it sounded in another guitar).

After I stripped it all out:
Striped down.jpg


Wiring loom I made up:
Wiring loom.jpg


Installed in the body:
Rewired.jpg
 

KelvinS1965

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I restrung my SG tonight ready for a small gig tomorrow. I put 'Gibson Britewires' 10 gauge on it and it feels really 'stiff'. I took off a set of Ernie Ball 10s, so it isn't like I went up a gauge. I even played the SG back to back with my Gold Top which has EB 10s and exactly the same neck relief/action setting and the GT felt slinkier.

I'm swapping back to EBs in the morning, but I'm surprised how another brand can feel so different. I also have a friend who did a similar comparison between EB 9s and Gibson Britewire 9s and came to the same conclusion. Shame I didn't ask him before I stocked up on Britewires. :doh:

At least the Britewires work OK on my Gretsch, so they won' t be wasted; I just need to order more EBs now though.
 
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