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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    This past weekend, I managed to finally get my hands on another one of my dream guitars. A 1963 SG/LP Custom with three PAF pickups. It is an incredible sounding instrument, and It thought that much like my “other” favourite Les Paul Custom, the “Alnico/Staple” version, the SG/LP deserves its own thread.

    To kick things off, here’s my ’63…



    And here’s Les and Mary posing with their guitars…happy pre-’63 days, I take it



    Let’s have a look at the shipping totals:



    Don’t just listen to me of course, here’s George Gruhn, telling us all about it…



    And here’s Phil X rocking out on one…

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator KennyF's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    SWEEEEEEEEET!!!
    Stop by and get reacquainted with The all NEW Fender Forum

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    A local guitar hero played one back in the 80's , his band was on tour & the guitar was stolen now he plays a 61 JR white like his Custom !! Such a stunning guitar !!!! Great find love those white ones !!!
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Gorgeous, such a beautiful design, congrats!

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Thank you all for chiming in, when I posted this thread, I had to wait for forum approval for some reason, which has thrown my train of thought a bit off...never the less, I will now post the rest of what I intended.

    --------------------------------------

    Next up, an old advert...



    and some catalog scans…



    Last edited by zhivago; 06-22-19 at 04:01 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    The name plates…first, version 1, that lasts until sometime in early ’63…



    Version 2, after Les takes his name off the guitar…

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    The tailpieces…these never came with a stop tailpiece…they always had some sort of “wiggle stick”

    1. The “Sideways Vibrola” - Move it up and down vertically to get the warble…



    2. The ‘Ebony Block”…more of a standard up and down wiggle…



    3. The “Lyre Vibrola”…this essentially replaces the “sideways” one and is rather common after ’62 or so.



    4. The “Horseshoe” Bigsby…pretty rare to see one on a Custom, but they do pop up here and there.

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Anatomy of the mysterious “Sideways Vibrola”…some people occasionally call it a “Flash Gordon Tremolo”. Kinda cool.

    Top view:



    Underneath view:



    Guts shot (from different unit):



    Yep, the strings go under…

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    The truss rod covers are usually blank…



    …but then again, here is a guitar with the old school Les Paul Custom truss rod cover…



    Occasionally, you will see a cover with “CUSTOM” on it…here’s a large guard version with it:



    Sometime in ’65 the guard become large and the neck profile begins to change.

    The guitars were almost always white, although a couple of Black ones have appeared here and there..and then, there’s this crazy Sunburst…

    Last edited by zhivago; 04-04-19 at 03:48 PM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    And some image porn…









    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    More cool stuff to come over the coming weeks
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  12. #12

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Congrats - a real beauty!

    Always had a big soft spot for those - which started when I got this Terry Reid album in the late seventies (great one BTW):





    Playing one made me realize they're likely not for me though - felt very awkward for my picking style, those 3 pickups.

  13. #13
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Congrats and looking forward to your future posts. So when will complete the "Hat Trick" and get a PAF Custom?

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by VamboRool View Post
    Congrats and looking forward to your future posts. So when will complete the "Hat Trick" and get a PAF Custom?
    Heheheh! Thanks!

    Hopefully in the future PAF Customs will come down a bit more in price so I can score one!
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch D. Bunker View Post
    Congrats - a real beauty!

    Playing one made me realize they're likely not for me though - felt very awkward for my picking style, those 3 pickups.
    Many thanks! Yes the third pickup can be a hindrance...on mine, someone swapped the pickup rings, using the neck one in the middle. As it is thinner it allows for the middle pickup to be lowered more, so I have enough picking room there.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Great thread on vintage SGs! Excellent photography. . Thanks for sharing.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
    London, England

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Major Kudos and congrats on such a fine vintage treasure . Bravo Zhivago !

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Thank you, gents!
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Sometimes it felt that Mary was more into the Custom than Les...





    But Les definitely played this one...



    Here's a closer look from when it came up on sale a while back...




    Here is the Mary Ford SG/LP Custom that was on Pawn Stars...



    ...and the assorted video segment...

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread


    ..love the songs listed inside the heart
    “Makin Whoopee”
    with “It’s Been a Long Long Time” below

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by garywright View Post

    ..love the songs listed inside the heart
    “Makin Whoopee”
    with “It’s Been a Long Long Time” below
    hahaha!!!
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Here are some great photos of a '61...



















    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member sinner's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    I always loved the look of the White SG Custom played by Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper Band:




    Good tone.....cost good money

    Great tone.....years of practice

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    That is a legendary guitar for sure!!
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  25. #25

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    I have not paid much attention to these early LP Customs. But after seeing your 63 and these 61 pictures my interest is peaked. Your 63 is a thing of beauty. I noticed 2 of the 61 customs have the longer pick guard like the LP standards. I like that. The picture of the Custom from Guitar Point shows the TRC has been replaced with some cheap looking replacement... and what is with that strange brown case? Looks like some kind of modified LP standard case for some other guitar.
    Anyway, I can look these pictures of Customs all day....That chart show that the LP Custom was not produced in large numbers. Does any one know if any Customs were made in 1960?

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    They really are very cool guitars!

    I have never seen a 1960 Custom...only a few Standards and some of them had a brown case, in the same colour scheme as Burst brown cases.

    Yesterday I upgraded my Custom with a MojoAxe VibroStop...a great upgrade to the Sideways Vibrola guitars!

    https://reverb.com/uk/item/11655225-...1962-gibson-sg
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    This '62 popped up on YouTube yesterday...

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  28. #28
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Hey Z-Here's something else for you to look into. The early 61 LP/SG Customs have the pick guard attached with three screws, at some point in the year they added the fourth screw. Looks like the change occurred when they went from the large guard (3 screws) to the small guard (4 screws). The sunburst has five. My Custom is S/N 223** and has three. Only 512 more entries and we will have them all accounted for!

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by VamboRool View Post
    Hey Z-Here's something else for you to look into. The early 61 LP/SG Customs have the pick guard attached with three screws, at some point in the year they added the fourth screw. Looks like the change occurred when they went from the large guard (3 screws) to the small guard (4 screws). The sunburst has five. My Custom is S/N 223** and has three. Only 512 more entries and we will have them all accounted for!
    Sounds like a cool mission!

    it is a bummer that serial #s are so hard to read on these unless you have great closeups of each guitar...but I guess all we have to do is persist!
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  30. #30

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    I just got ahold of a 62’ Custom which was sent back to Gibson sometime in the mid sixties to be refinished cherry, like the SGs at the time. It also has a snapped headstock repair. Nicely done though. The thing sounds monstrous, never played real PAFs before, now I get it. Taking some time to get used to the narrow nut, it’s 1 9/16”.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Unless I'm mistaken, a 1962 SG/LP Custom would still have the normal 1 11/16" nut width. Gibson didn't change over to the 1 9/16" nut until early 1965.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
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  32. #32

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    I wish it were a ‘normal’ width. The serial number puts it ‘62 and it feels like a banjo at the nut.

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Mayer View Post
    I wish it were a ‘normal’ width. The serial number puts it ‘62 and it feels like a banjo at the nut.
    Gibson serial numbers can duplicate across the decade of the '60s. The preferred way to date a '60s Gibson electric guitar is based on the features and specs, and pot codes. And a 1962 Les Paul/SG Custom would probably have PAF pickups originally installed.

    Can you post a photo?
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
    London, England

  34. #34

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    I would like to but I don’t know how. I just got this Apple IPad thing and know how to take pictures but I don’t know how to get them from there to here. I’m computer illiterate to a very large degree. How is it done? It does have unmolested PAFs, pots are corroded, ( they work good and quiet ) can’t see the numbers, has a horseshoe bigsby. Completely stock ‘cept the finish and the pickup switch.

  35. #35

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Mayer View Post
    I would like to but I don’t know how. I just got this Apple IPad thing and know how to take pictures but I don’t know how to get them from there to here. I’m computer illiterate to a very large degree. How is it done? It does have unmolested PAFs, pots are corroded, ( they work good and quiet ) can’t see the numbers, has a horseshoe bigsby. Completely stock ‘cept the finish and the pickup switch.
    One thing I've heard is that when a guitar came into Gibson for a repair, refinish, etc., the guitar would leave the factory with all new electronics. Thus, if an '62 SG Custom with PAFs was sent in for repair in the late Sixties, it very likely was returned with Patent Number pickups and new CTS pots. '62 would more than likely have had Centralab pots. Gibson changed over to CTS around '65 or '66.

  36. #36

    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Two of the pickups have PAF stickers. The neck pickup has no decal at all. Will try to figure out how to take pictures and start a new thread, don’t want to Shang hi Zhivago’s great story.

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    A match made in heaven...

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Time for some more SGs!

    Unknown years...



    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Here's a '63...

    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: White Light / White Heat - The SG/LP Custom Thread

    Here's Mike Nesmith with his SG Custom...



    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

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