SG Confusion: 1963, 1964 and "The Fool SG"

Kevin James

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I was looking at an SG guitar at Gruhn's and noticed something strange that peaked my curriosity. Through a little more checking around looking at several different SG's of the same year I was surprised at what I found.

It is often stated that the SG's pickguard recieved a 6th screw in 1964, right next to the bridge pickup ring. Prior to 1964 there was no screw in this location. There were only 5 screws. This information helped determine the real year of Clapton's "The Fool" SG. Close examination revealed the guitar had this 6th screw and therefor MUST be a 64 (technically it COULD be an early 65 too).

I was looking at a 1963 Les Paul SG on the Gruhn's Guitars site and noticed this 63 had the 6th screw in the pickguard. This particular guitar is a Les Paul SG (has the LP trc), has the sidepull trem and even has 2 PAF's. With those features it is most likely an early to mid 63. That got me thinking, has this guitar been modified? Whats up with that screw?

I started looking for more 63 SG's to check if they had the 6th screw. Found a 63 Les Paul SG with the newer Lyer at Rumbleseat and..... it has the 6th screw. Found a 63 Les Paul with Sidepull trem that was at Elderly (Now gone) it too has the 6th screw. Found a few others as well which by he numbers, clearly shows this is not a fluke, the 6th screw was added in 63, not 64 and also that it was added while the guitar was still being called a Les Paul.

Then it hit me that the 6th screw is what was used to determine Clapton's Fool SG was a 64. So one has to wonder, could it have actually been a 63???

Here are the pictures of several 63's, all Les Paul SG's that have the 6th screw

63 Les Paul at Gruhns with 6th screw and sidepull:
EC2014bGruhns.jpg

63 Les Paul at Elderly with 6th screw and sidepull:
Elderly63withscrew.jpg

63 Les Paul at Rumbleseat with 6th screw and Lyre:
63GibsonSGLesPaulRumbleseat.jpg


And for good measure here is a 63 at Elderly with side pull and only 5 scews showing it was some time mid 63 the change was made
Elderly63noscrew.jpg
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Changes usually happen mid year with Gibson, this does not surprise me, thanks for the research.
 

Kevin James

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Changes usually happen mid year with Gibson, this does not surprise me, thanks for the research.

Right, but the change is most commonly believed to have happened in 64. Not necessarily Jan 1, but still 64, and certainly after the Les Paul name and sidepull trem were long gone. That is not the case though.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Based on what?

Based on my observations, if you want proof, investigate rather than believing the accepted mythology. A LOT of information is simply people repeating things over and over what others have repeated over and over. The OP has at least made some effort in finding things out for himself.

There are MANY accepted things that just happen to not be true in all aspects of life. This MAY be one of them, that 1964 was when this added screw happened. It seems it MAY be true 64 was the first FULL model year where this was the case. A lot of people say 1961 was the first year for the Les Paul SG Standard too, but most people here know otherwise. A LOT of people think 1976 was the first year for the Les Paul Standard with full-sized humbucker's return, but I know it is 1974 (and by special order, even earlier).

So it is based on what I personally have seen or experienced, not based on what is commonly accepted.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Right, but the change is most commonly believed to have happened in 64. Not necessarily Jan 1, but still 64, and certainly after the Les Paul name and sidepull trem were long gone. That is not the case though.

Commonly believed and agreed on does not make it so. I have encounted this in collector car circles too. I am sure I would encounter it in ANY hobby or discipline.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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And having worked in a few factories in my life, I know a bit how things work. Enthusiasts like things to be neat and orderly and definative, makes the world easier to explain.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Here is a 1962 SG whose body style most people think ended in either 1960 or 1961:

Gibson 1962 SG Special Les Paul Slab DoubleCutaway Body | eBay

Most people think that the original Les Paul body style ended in 1960, and yet there are several Les Paul Customs made in the 1957-1960 syle, that were made in 1961.

The J45/J50 switched from round shoulders to square shoulders in mid 1969, that is pretty commonly known.

So, I find it NOT surprising that the 6 screw thing may have happened during the 1963 model year.

The batwing guard happened during the 1966 model year, not at the beginning nor the end of 1966.

How many more examples? In mid 1977 Gibson switched from pancake to solid bodied Les Pauls. Mid 1970 is when they put "Made In USA" stamps on their guitars. I could go on and on.

It is just that some of these things are "accepted" and some are not. And what I am saying just because something is "accepted" does not make it true.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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You see a soft tooled factory like Kalamazoo was would NOT throw away nor rework their 5 holed PGs. They would use them up as they pulled them out of the bin. So, I theorize that the 6 hole guard was introduced in 1963, and if you grabbed one of the new guards, you would drill six holes in the SG and move it down the line. If sometime in 1964 you grabbed a remaining 5 hole guard, you would not toss it back or even take the trouble to drill and countersink the extra hole manually. You would mount it just as a 5 hole guard and move it down the line.

Factory workers do not give a shit, they want to make quota and pass inspection.

They do not say "hmmm, we went to the six hole guard, and what will historians think if 5 and 6 hole guards are interdispersed before and after a demarcation line?
 

Kevin James

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Here is a 1962 SG whose body style most people think ended in either 1960 or 1961:

Gibson 1962 SG Special Les Paul Slab DoubleCutaway Body | eBay

Most people think that the original Les Paul body style ended in 1960, and yet there are several Les Paul Customs made in the 1957-1960 syle, that were made in 1961.

The J45/J50 switched from round shoulders to square shoulders in mid 1969, that is pretty commonly known.

So, I find it NOT surprising that the 6 screw thing may have happened during the 1963 model year.

The batwing guard happened during the 1966 model year, not at the beginning nor the end of 1966.

How many more examples? In mid 1977 Gibson switched from pancake to solid bodied Les Pauls. Mid 1970 is when they put "Made In USA" stamps on their guitars. I could go on and on.

It is just that some of these things are "accepted" and some are not. And what I am saying just because something is "accepted" does not make it true.

I'm not arguing with you. I'm well aware changes happened randomly and not on Jan 1. What I was saying was that the whole basis on why Claptons guitar was determined to be a 64 was that screw, and that is faulty reasoning because it happened some time in 63, so that doesn't proove it was a 64.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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I'm not arguing with you. I'm well aware changes happened randomly and not on Jan 1. What I was saying was that the whole basis on why Claptons guitar was determined to be a 64 was that screw, and that is faulty reasoning because it happened some time in 63, so that doesn't proove it was a 64.

And I totally agree with you.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Just think of all those 64 SG owners who now are in doubt and have to buy a 63 just to be sure they have the same model that Clapton had. Now they have an excuse "THAT is why my SG doesn't sound like Clapton's!"
 

27sauce

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Changes usually happen mid year with Gibson, this does not surprise me, thanks for the research.

Your subsequent posts make much more sense than this generalization. What I have found is that changes didn't usually happen in any specific time, mid year, early, late...

For instance would you say that the change from '59 style bursts to the last variant happened mid year? Based on what I've seen it happened late.

Or the '64-'65 features on the SG, I'd say that change happened early.

Who the hell knows.

Momentary absolutism-everything is absolutely the way it is, until it isn't. :)
 

kharrison

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I have not done any specific research but I always thought that the 6th screw came along as early as 62:hmm: However the year of Claptons SG has been all over the map and has settled on '64 but it could have been a '63 with PAF's. Either way not much difference between '63 PAF and '64 Pat # anyway. Like previously said it is hard to pinpoint exact Gibson model years.
 

SKATTERBRANE

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Your subsequent posts make much more sense than this generalization. What I have found is that changes didn't usually happen in any specific time, mid year, early, late...

For instance would you say that the change from '59 style bursts to the last variant happened mid year? Based on what I've seen it happened late.

Or the '64-'65 features on the SG, I'd say that change happened early.

Who the hell knows.

Momentary absolutism-everything is absolutely the way it is, until it isn't. :)

It was my mistake to use "mid-year" instead of "in the course of the year". Like changing horses in mid stream, means anytime once you enter the stream, not necessarily at its 1/2 way point.
 

nbeersiii

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Dont yell at me for posting this in here but my 04 g400 is a dead ringer for a 61 or 62 reissue its the worn cherry. I compared it side by side with a gibson 61 reissue they were identical. I know better electrics and wood on the gibson but Epihone did a good job in 04 one peice neck binding on the fretboard neck heal and it only has 5 screws in the pickgaurd. I figured you guys might be somewhat intrested in that little fact.
 

Ace1432

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Factory workers do not give a shit, they want to make quota and pass inspection.

this could not be more true. not that its of any importance, but this is the general attitude of the environment at the factory i work at. granted, our facility gets high volume orders, so everyone is always busy. But most people just come in to put in their time and make a paycheck. 'continue working until further notice'. you just do whatever work you need to do with the tools they gave you.
 

Boppy

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And here in all its foolish glory is Clapton's "Fool SG."

fool.jpg


I've always just assumed that it was a '61 SG too.
 

EgilH

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My '63 SG Custom also has the (4th on a custom) pickguard screw near the bridge pickup. Earlier customs had only 3 screws.
 

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