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  1. #41
    Rick, my 61 SG LP Special came with the wrap tail, but had been de-tremolo'd, and the wraptail had been changed to a Badass. The Badass dug into my palm while resting my hand there for solos, so I had Dr. Scumbag fill the holes for the trem and the wraptail, then redrill it for an ABR-1 and stop bar (with retaining wire, nickel plated for both parts) .

    Now it intonates perfectly, sustains better... and well, basically works!

    Your Titan is being a great dust collector... just kidding. The 18 watt prototype head has been using it as a base... I'll bet that's going to spark a bunch of private emails from you...huh?2

  2. #42
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Les Paul Custom '62

    I started a thread about this guitar somewhere here at the Forum, and promised to be back. Well, now I'm back, but I don't know where I posted it. I thought is was the "Other Gibson" place. Then, I did post part of it here too, thinking that I was hogging-space.

    SOOOOO..... I will keep the remainder of it here.

    Somebody here that's smarter than me (Mofinco for one) will know where it started (lots of tremolo work, plugging old stop bar holes, returning to original specs, bought a second tremolo just to get one part, etc.).

    Right now the guitar looks like this . . . it's waiting for the trem cover plate and a new string claw (the vintage replacement I bought and sent out to have gold-plated). I spent a great deal of time setting up the tremolo so that the down-pressure on the bridge is just right and the strings are centered on the bridge – splaying-out toward the outside E-strings equally.



    Once I found the perfect setup, I measured all the open spaces and trimmed off brass tubing on the lathe to within +- .001". All movement is frozen now, and the springs are removed. (My customer only wants the trem for looks and to hold the strings . . . he doesn't want it to move — and now it doesn't).



    One thing I like about the Tone-Pros AVR-II bridge is that although it looks much like an ABR-1, in design it is far different. The saddle adjust screws are much lower in the body, and there is complete clearance above the screw-head. The bridge you are looking at is for the Les Paul Custom here which has a fretboard radius of 7" — very arched. It was pretty easy for me to carve up the bridge saddles to match the arch in this case thanks to the AVR-II. All the saddles (the D&G barely) have been deep-slotted for strings, re-shaped, de-burred, and buffed. The radius is perfect, and there are no strings touching nothing no-how.



    Pretty sweet TonePros! (I suspect that might not have been part of the reason for the design, but it's a good sales feature).

    Soon I will have my gold-plated parts back and get the guitar back to a fellow Forumite — the good doctor G.

    dan
    Last edited by Dan Erlewine; 04-27-03 at 05:45 PM.
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  3. #43

  4. #44
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    THANKS, RONNY!

    (How embarrassing). The thread was more-detailed than I remembered. Even Tonefien's Pelham Blue Guitar. THAT is what brought me back to "real-life".

    Now, how can I combine the two threads together, and bring them here to the shop, so that they are in one place?

    Should I ask Lily?

    (I have tried to hire Lily as my personal consultant, but she's way to busy).

    dan
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  5. #45
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    Dan, I would love to be your personal consultant.
    But I must warn you, I can be very bossy. ;)

  6. #46
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    TWO!

    TWO!

    TWO threads in one!!!!

    Dan!!!! That '62 is lookin' fabulous! Can't wait to see it with all the parts on it! The owner is a lucky gun slinger! :dude

    FYI - my '61 is all boxed up and will be on its way to you tomorrow... yahoo!
    Rick N.

    "Get to work!" Tommy Emmanuel

  7. #47
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    That's what spose said . . .

    Originally posted by Lily
    Dan, I would love to be your personal consultant.
    But I must warn you, I can be very bossy. ;)
    (Just kidding). Thanks for finding the post. I will try to keep the shop cleaner from now on.

    Incidentally, LILY, you are a great website maker and bosser. This is the best-looking and easiest to use website I know of. (I like StewMac's too).

    ;)
    Last edited by Dan Erlewine; 04-28-03 at 06:54 AM.
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  8. #48
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    Why thank you Mr. Dano

    And I agree. StewMac's site is very easy to navigate now.

  9. #49
    Jesse Segovia
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    Re: Why thank you Mr. Dano

    Originally posted by Lily
    And I agree. StewMac's site is very easy to navigate now.
    I just navigated to StewMac to order Dan's book no setting up my guitar.

    I can't wait!

    Jesse

  10. #50
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Don't get too exxxcited . . .

    . . . jessee. It's only a book (not that many exciting pictures . . . although there are alot of pictures).

    How lucky can you be? (Segovia). You will be a great player!

    dan
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  11. #51
    Jesse Segovia
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    Re: Don't get too exxxcited . . .

    Originally posted by Dan Erlewine
    . . . jessee. It's only a book (not that many exciting pictures . . . although there are alot of pictures).

    How lucky can you be? (Segovia). You will be a great player!

    dan
    The book was shipped today, so hopefully I'll get it Saturday, although early next week is more realistic. I've got some work to do - intonation issues on my Les Paul Custom (see avatar), I just picked up my PRS after playing nothing but the Custom for the past three weeks and I realized the PRS action is as low as paper! Plus I'm also going to get my ES-335 back into action.

    'Got to clean and polish up these bad boys - they're there for me so I'd better take care of them, right?

    And at age 41, I'm not sure how much better a player I'm ever going to get. 8-)

    Jesse

  12. #52
    All Access/Backstage Pass George's Avatar
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    Dan,
    Looks great! I can't wait to see it! You are THE MAN!!

  13. #53
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    Re: Project '61 SG/Les Paul? Help and opinions?

    Got Mofinco's Les Paul today: Wow! You have a good one here, mofie!

    This is a very cool guitar. It seems to have been made from something like Cuban Mahogany - curly mahogany grain. Nothing is WRONG with it!.

    It is 1961 - a Les Paul (SG-transition) for sure).What surprises me is that the neck is SO THIN in width. It is not like what I would have expected from that
    date. It just shows that Gibson was experimenting with "modern," thinner, neck widths and profiles, and I think you do have a real early one (279 serial number).

    This is, however, not a REAL skinny neck like around 1966 and on - it's quite nice in the hand.

    The peghead shape PROVES the vintage - there is no way to fake that shape and look.

    Good score man!

    I will tell you more soon.

    dan




    Originally posted by mofinco
    Hi - I've got a chance to pick up a '61 SG/Les Paul from a friend. He's not the first owner, but he has owned it for a while. He's a good enough friend that he let me bring it home for inspection. He hasn't played it in years himself and it shows... it's kinda grubby. But here's the piece...

    As soon as I opened the case, I could see that it's not 100% original. It has exposed T-top pickups. It also had a vibrola on it at one point, which has been removed, and a stop tail put on. The stop tail and retaining-wire ABR-1 are chrome versus nickel, and the chrome bridge is pretty pitted. The tail piece is heavy.

    Here are pics of this piece. There are several so let them load.

    The body with strings and tail piece removed:


    The lower bout with the controls removed. This was probably the first time they've been out of the guitar:


    The controls. All of the solder joints look untouched besides the pickup connections. I didn't disturb any solder joint that hadn't already been disturbed. The pots date to the 43rd week of 1960:


    The pickups happen to be Patent Sticker T-tops. They obviously weren't from this guitar. As you can see from the pics, both them had their leads cut short and an extension tacked on each one. The neck pickup measures out at 7.34k. The bridge pickup is dead, unfortunately. I haven't had time to investigate to see if it's just a bad lead. The pickup rings are not M69... but I don't know if '61s used M69 rings?



    The fretboard and inlays are in good shape. The frets are pretty worn, and are original:


    Now for the mysterious stuff....

    The headstock is fine - never broken, etc. The nut is okay, but needs some restoration on the low E and A strings. The Grovers are ancient. BUT... the funny stuff starts with the serial number. You can barely make out the "279". That's it. This doesn't appear to be a refin, or a reneck...



    On to the pickup routes...

    You can see the neck tenon in the pickup cavity, and the basic route looks okay, but look at the route where the pickup mounting legs go... they almost look hand-done. The ones for the bridge pickup are similarly "hand-shaped". "Hand-shaped" is just my guess, because I've never seen another '61 disassembled.



    So here's my guess... I admit I'm putting one and one together and it may not add up to two...

    Given the pot dates, the funky serial number and the "hand-worked" appearance of the inside of the pickup routes, I've got a theory that this is one of a string of pre-production prototypes. I'm probably off-base, but that's my guess. I have no idea if Gibson did such stuff, but you have to imagine that they ran off a bunch of these during development of the model.

    I'm guessing that the PAFs disappeared when a previous owner had it in a shop for the removal of the vibrola.

    This thing is solid enough that, if I buy it, I'll take my time looking for period-correct pickups/rings/tail piece/bridge, and have Dan Erlewine do a fret job and nut repair and go out and rock with it.

    SO..... my question to you experts - cus I'm not - based on what you see, what's this thing worth????????????

    :dude
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  14. #54
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    Re: Re: Project '61 SG/Les Paul? Help and opinions?

    Originally posted by Dan Erlewine
    Got Mofinco's Les Paul today: Wow! You have a good one here, mofie!

    This is a very cool guitar. It seems to have been made from something like Cuban Mahogany - curly mahogany grain. Nothing is WRONG with it!.

    It is 1961 - a Les Paul (SG-transition) for sure).What surprises me is that the neck is SO THIN in width. It is not like what I would have expected from that
    date. It just shows that Gibson was experimenting with "modern," thinner, neck widths and profiles, and I think you do have a real early one (279 serial number).

    This is, however, not a REAL skinny neck like around 1966 and on - it's quite nice in the hand.

    The peghead shape PROVES the vintage - there is no way to fake that shape and look.

    Good score man!

    I will tell you more soon.

    dan
    Thanks, Dan! (I got your email too, by the way)

    It's nice to get that feedback. I mean, I was certain it was a '61, and that it hadn't been broken, and I thought it was a nice score, but what the hell do I know?? 2 It's a real relief to hear an expert say "Good score"!

    I thought the wood looked a little more figured than what I'm used to seeing, but Cuban mahogany???? How cool is that?

    I can't wait to get it back after your magic gets applied!!!!!!!!!! Take your time... Take your time!!!! :dude
    Rick N.

    "Get to work!" Tommy Emmanuel

  15. #55
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    It seems . . .

    like what I have seen as Cuban mahogany. I doubt it is. It's just sworly and curly and very rich.

    I have seen a couple pieces of Cuban mahogany though. I had a piece given to me and built a sewing chest from it for my wife. Maybe I'll take a picture of that and show you what I mean in the color and grain.

    Also, I doubt that all Cuban mahogany is quilted or curly. Heck, I don't even know if mahogany grows in Cuba.

    nice score

    dan
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  16. #56
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    Re: It seems . . .

    Originally posted by Dan Erlewine
    like what I have seen as Cuban mahogany. I doubt it is. It's just sworly and curly and very rich.

    I have seen a couple pieces of Cuban mahogany though. I had a piece given to me and built a sewing chest from it for my wife. Maybe I'll take a picture of that and show you what I mean in the color and grain.

    Also, I doubt that all Cuban mahogany is quilted or curly. Heck, I don't even know if mahogany grows in Cuba.

    nice score

    dan
    Well, whatever it is, I'm happy to have it.
    Rick N.

    "Get to work!" Tommy Emmanuel

  17. #57
    Fiendish One Tonefiend's Avatar
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    Mahogany has been virtually extinct from Cuba since the 30s or 40s. It's not cuban.
    Genuine mahogany can be figured. The good stuff all goes to the veneer mill though.


    "Rock and F'in Roll" -Slash-
    "You know what's wrong with music these days? Nobody chokes to death on their own vomit anymore!"









  18. #58
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    I looks like Cuban . . .

    . . . that's all. I'll take a pic of some Cuban. The guitar looks much different in person than in the pics.

    Got that SG buffed out yet?

    dan
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  19. #59
    Fiendish One Tonefiend's Avatar
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    Dan I'd like to see an acoustic made from Cuban.
    The only place I have heard of it being widely used was on boats. I am sure they veneered it as well.
    I knew a guy who had some 10 years ago and wanted $50 a board foot!

    The SG is low priority right now in favor of some other projects. Besides building for me is all the fun, and that is done witht he exception of shooting the head black, and sanding and polishing it out.

    You going to be in Healdsburg this year? Been thinking of heading up to check it out.


    "Rock and F'in Roll" -Slash-
    "You know what's wrong with music these days? Nobody chokes to death on their own vomit anymore!"









  20. #60
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Healdsburg . . .

    Originally posted by Tonefiend
    Dan I'd like to see an acoustic made from Cuban.
    The only place I have heard of it being widely used was on boats. I am sure they veneered it as well.
    I knew a guy who had some 10 years ago and wanted $50 a board foot!

    The SG is low priority right now in favor of some other projects. Besides building for me is all the fun, and that is done witht he exception of shooting the head black, and sanding and polishing it out.

    You going to be in Healdsburg this year? Been thinking of heading up to check it out.

    What are the Healdsburg dates? We have the ASIA SYMPOSIUM IN JUNE (4-8), but I might "get" to go from StewMac. But then I probably wouldn't get to go to Namm in Nasville – I've got lots of repair buddies there to visit. I'd be hard-pressed to choose between the two shows.

    dan
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  21. #61
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    All this talk about SG's

    Dan,

    Mofinco's SG looks awesome. I love the color. You said you liked the color of my SG Special, but I'm just making sure you wouldn't consider refinishing it to be more like Mofie's.

    Maybe you could post some pictures and let the forum member give me a yea or nay about refinishing?

    To let everyone know, my SG is a 1963? Special that had been refinished once before. The back side is worn away (buckle rash), and it's with Dan because the neck came apart from the body. Since it is apart for surgery, now would be a good time to decide if I refinish it or not.



    Also, how does my neck compare to Mofie's? I remember we were thinking someone might have sanded my neck down to thin it. Just wondering.

    Thanks,

    Don

  22. #62
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    Re: All this talk about SG's

    Originally posted by DonP
    ...Mofie's.... ...Mofie's...
    Nothing personal, there Don, but you don't know me well enough to call me "Mofie" yet... ;) It's "mofinco" :dude
    Rick N.

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  23. #63
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    C,mon Mr. Mofinco. . .

    . . . it's my fault. Don't blame Don. He's real nice.

    dan
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  24. #64
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    Re: C,mon Mr. Mofinco. . .

    Originally posted by Dan Erlewine
    . . . it's my fault. Don't blame Don. He's real nice.

    dan
    Dan - YOU can call me mofie! spin
    Rick N.

    "Get to work!" Tommy Emmanuel

  25. #65
    Hey MOFIE! How the hell are you! hee hee;)

  26. #66
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    Re: Re: All this talk about SG's

    Originally posted by mofinco
    Nothing personal, there Don, but you don't know me well enough to call me "Mofie" yet... ;) It's "mofinco" :dude
    Sorry. Didn't mean to offend. If Dan gets the time, I hope he gets a chance to post a picture of my SG Special. I bought her back in 1989 at the Hollywood GC. The wood on mine doesn't have as exciting a grain as yours, but the neck feels awesome, P90's sound real good, and it is a real feather weight guitar. I was really bummed when I took it out of the closet one day to show a friend and the neck was unglued? from the body and stretched forward from the tension of the strings.

    Also, my guitar has similar routes in the pickup cavity as yours (and mine are P90s - what gives?) so I think your routes are correct.

    My neck binding is very thin like yours too. Mucho playing time.

    I had mine refretted with Super Jumbos back in the "Metal" days.

    Did any of you SG guys use a FatHead? I still have mine.
    Last edited by DonP; 05-02-03 at 01:17 PM.

  27. #67
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    She's been "fixed" . . .

    . . . (sounds like a spay-job, not a spray-job).

    Don: So far so good. I broke the neck completely off the body - part of the body with it as you know. It had been glued on the same break with poor epoxy. It was still soft after over 10 years. We spent four hours cleaning to bare wood and put it back on with RBC epoxy - a wonderful epoxy that I learned about from the great Phil Jones at the Gruhn repair shop.

    This neck ain't comin' loose again. I am considering going into the neck pocket and milling away some stuff and epoxying-in some new mahogany then re-routing the P-90 cavity. Just thinking about it right now for a day or so.

    As U-know, some amount of finish work is in store for this guitar sometime down the road. (It has been re-fined, and I think pretty well, but Don P isn't sure he likes it).

    I will string it up tomorrow and watch the joint.

    Yes, I will take some PICS. (I just couldn't during the "operation," I was too busy keeping things aligned).

    dan
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  28. #68
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    Dan,

    It's amazing that the neck stayed together as long as it did. I'll trust you with whatever decisions you make in putting this guitar back together.

    I have got to bring in my frankenstrat to give you a laugh. In my younger days I routed the neck pocket "free hand" to sink the neck farther in the body for better access to the higher frets. I think it plays good but I'm not that good a player to notice things like intonation being out of whack. I read about some guys noticing every little note being slightly off and wonder if it's good that I'm spared thanks to my tone deaf ears. I never play to anyone but myself so I guess it's ok.

    As far as the finish goes, I'm just a anal "Gibson Original" fan, and just wanted it to look like it came from Gibson. The SG's I see most of the time from this era are that bright red or heritage cherry, but after reading Beauty of the Burst and how red fades faster than blue turning the guitar brown, I can see that this might look authentic. With you saying you like the color that goes a long was to convincing me to keep it the way it is.

    I really don't think I could ever part with this SG, and it probably wouldn't be worth it considering it's been refinished. Some guy offered to trade me an 80's white 12 string Stratocaster in good shape for the SG even with it's broken neck. I quickly looked on ebay and a strat just like his sold for $800, so in essence this guy was offering me $800 for a unoriginal SG with a broken neck. I turned him down.

    Don
    Last edited by DonP; 05-07-03 at 08:45 AM.

  29. #69
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    It's good you turned down the $800 . . .

    . . . I strung it up today and the guitar (an SG Special, I believe?) sounds great acoustically. The neck (fretboard that is) has some issues: whoever refretted it didn't get the fretboard surface truly flat so there are high and low spots). I think that in the neck-jig these frets would level and dress because they are quite tall. I haven't gotten that far yet. I have .010s on it. Is that what you wanted? Let me know soon.

    I am thinking about what to do with the finish. Are you SURE that ALL of this guitar was refinished? The top looks close to being original. The color is right I think, and I even think the lacquer looks right. The back, and the neck, have some non-original-finish issues as you know.

    What year do YOU think this is?

    dan
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  30. #70
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    Dan,

    I'm usually a whimp and use hybrid 9's (9-46). I've got 10's on my LP Standard at home and I'm trying to get used to them. Go ahead and leave the 10's. Also, go for 10's on the LP Classic too.

    I don't know anything about the refinish. I bought it at Guitar Center Hollywood back in 1989. The only work I had done on it was the fret job. All of the other work was done before I owned it.

    Guitar Center said it was a 1963 model. Without a serial number, it isn't easy, but the pickguard and everything else on the guitar seems to date it as a 63-64 from what I've seen on ebay and in books.

    Don

  31. #71

    Early SG neck heels

    I looked with interest at the pictures of Mofinco's SG/LP. Tonefiend asked for a picture of the heel of the guitar, stating that a smooth heel is indicative of an early one. Mofinco posted a clear photo of the heel of his SG, which has a "small step" heel, not smooth. This SG is apparently a 1961.

    I have two all-original early SGs. One is a 1961 SG/LP, sideways vibrato, PAFs, original case, etc. In really great shape. I also have a 1963 SG Special with P90s. Also in excellent shape with original case. Both of these guitars have a "smooth heel." There is NO visible step at all. In fact, there is something like a thin "external tenon" that extends from the neck under the body of the guitars, past where the strap button is screwed in. These necks are actually kind of complicated. Neither of these guitars have ever had or needed repairs. All the other early SGs I've seen also have had the "smooth heel." I haven't seen a 1963 or earlier with the step heel. In fact, I have always thought and been told that a smooth heel is the way to tell an early one. However, the Historic SGs and 1961 reissues have a small step heel; supposedly they are accurate.

    Question: Does anybody know if ALL early SGs had a smooth heel, or was it an option of some sort? I can post photos of my SGs if it would help.

    Thanks...

  32. #72

    Here's pics of my 61 SG/LP neck joint...

    http://www.lamacguru.com/61SG

    Serial # 31288, definitely a 1961 according to all Gibson or other serial # records. My neck joint has the step, no repairs and it's the original finish, too. Go figure.

  33. #73
    lpmaniac,

    Thanks for that post. I took a look at your pics. I wish they were higher resolution, the colors are all washed out and pixelated, it was hard to make out the neck join details. In some of the photos it looks smooth; in one I thought I could see a line indicating the step. By the way, I didn't see any front-shots of your SG, but from the tuners I see that it is an SG Special or Jr? I also see that you have replacement tuners. Looks like a real nice one!

    I just took a look at my 63 SG Special again. The smooth join is very well done, it almost looks like the neck and body are one piece. It's weird that they would do the necks differently. Seems that there may be more wood contact with the smooth heel. Also, my "smooth heel" SGs have very solid necks...minimal wiggle. I also have a 1991 SG/LP Anniversary TV Yellow one that has the small step heel. Also a great guitar, but a much spongier neck.

    Thanks again for the info!

  34. #74
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    LesPlucker,

    I'm rapidly learning that there aren't any hard-and-fast "rules" about the '61 LP/SGs, especially when it comes to necks. While Dan had my guitar, we talked a few times and exchanged emails, etc. It seems that Gibson was probably experimenting with neck profiles and body joints a bit during the early days.

    Mine is definitely a '61, and by all accounts by those who have seen it, it's an early one at that, it does have the step in the neck joint. Who knows! Seems that ya get whatcha get! I think there was something going on with mine. While it's clear that the neck on mine has never been broken, and never been loose, and there have been no repairs or resets, the angle of the neck set seems to be different. On my guitar, the bridge almost rests right on the body to get decent action height, and this is even after Dan's magic. I bought Historic pickup rings, and the back edge of the pickup ring is almost touching the strings. Something's different, but nothing's been altered. Kinda funny, but the guitar is killer nonetheless.

    I'd love to see some pics of your '61, particularly around the pickups and bridge area. I'd like to see how high your bridge sits off the body and the relationship between the bridge pickup ring and the strings. If you'd like to email them to me, that would be fine. Thanks for any help.
    Rick N.

    "Get to work!" Tommy Emmanuel

  35. #75

    OK, LesPlucker... you asked for it!

    The before dawn had to prop my guitar up on my stomach to take this shot of the neck joint picture! This clear enough? Guess I'm losing my Maui tan! 2


  36. #76
    mofinco--

    Glad to help out. I'll take the photos you need this afternoon. I'll also try to get a side shto so that you can see the neck angle, that might play into the bridge geometry. What's interesting about yours also is that serial number. I concur that it probably means it is an early prototype of some sort. Cool!

    lpmaniac--

    Thanks for the photos. To me, your SG looks like it has the smooth neck join! The only steps I see are on the two sides...I don't see one on the top. Check out my pictures later today, I'll take some of my 63 Special too. By the way, you have indeed lost your Maui tan. Be careful with your SG on that tummy...it looks like steel wool!

    Thanks guys.

  37. #77
    Les Paul Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    3,020
    I think mine has a smooth neck heel. It is still with Dan. Maybe he can post some pics, but I think he's on a trip this week.

    Don

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