1964 Gibson SG Standard

18 Aug 1964 Gibson SG Standard

This one…… was a major issue guitar for me. I bought it for 2k USD, maybe two years ago.

It had two serious cracks, one had been poorly repaired and the other was also desperately in need of attention. The headstock was basically split in two, and the neck joint (heel) was loose.

As what I was/am really looking for was old wood (I’ve developed a feeling over time for older wood, a kinda “harmony with mahogany” – this last phrase is Rob Taylor’s: was too beautifully meaning not to add it, thanks Bro’ 🙂 ) it was okay with me. The guitar had its original circuit (harness) and potentiometers/capacitors, which is an important factor in recreating the tone I have always been after, and also something that I’ve only realized the importance of in more recent times (i.e. the fact that the harness, with potentiometers and capacitors is old as well as the guitar).

So it was a ‘go’ for me. I knew I’d be able to get it repaired in no time for a reasonable price.

This – the issue guitar thing – is something I have been doing successfully for a few years now. Actually, I don’t like to have 20k USD guitars, I don’t need to. I just need them to sound good and be playable (i.e. have a great neck).

It is, by serial number and features, a 1964 Gibson SG, and it’s probably the most playable guitar I’ve ever owned. Funny, no?  who’d a thunk it?

It’s as easy as it gets, it’s butter, I really mean it. I don’t mean to be one of those guys that’s got to impress on you how great his gear is (though I have to say, mine is pretty decent, lol) but it’s the easiest of all my SG’s to play. In particular, bends and vibratos come out on their own, almost effortlessly. Usually I’m in a huge fight with the instrument, and with myself too, to obtain the vibrato I want.

For me, it’s related to how many hours it’s been played. Judging by the state it came to me in, this one has seen decades of real playing from its previous owner. He was an ole’ blues man somewhere in the US of A, and had now lost interest in the thing, I don’t think he was famous at all, I don’t even know his name.

I’ll take this opportunity to suggest that ‘issue instruments’ may be of interest to you. Have confidence in the fact that there isn’t anything made of wood that can’t be repaired.

And yes, even after it has been fixed – provided a good human being does it! – it will retain its inherent tonal characteristics.

Instead of spending (N) thousands of dollars on new gear (Historic reissues and such like) why not get the real thing at the same, or lower, price?

eGay and gbase.com are the usual places that I look for these things.

Ok, enough with the talk, more with the pictures!





Article adaptation thanks to Robert Taylor

Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:48h, 12 December

    phil i have the first angus sig with the vibrola which i had set up and love but i got offered a 64 sg for cheap it has the vibrola removed like yours and it has non original pick ups but he only wants $1500 for it do you think I should sell the AY sig for it or not cause it dont have the original pick ups? I have two sgs but ones a new standard and the other is the signature, both are kind of new I want to try a vintage guitar. Since this 64 is non original i feel that im just buying the wood

  • avatar
    Posted at 04:19h, 13 July

    Well now all you need to do is refinish it Black, and I’m talking a thin finish. Then you’ll have Angus’s main axe, which is a ’62 standard. Then again, I do understand that you should keep the original finish ‘cuz it’s beat up and pretty, and it affects the tone.

  • avatar
    Posted at 11:48h, 30 August

    thank you for this, but i prefer a gibson 🙂
    I think the price can be between 1500 and 2500 USD.
    But i don’t know which guitar, can you help me ? (for ACDC)
    Sorry my English isn’t so good I’m German.

    • avatar
      Posted at 12:00h, 30 August

      Let me search it up for you on ebay

    • avatar
      Posted at 12:04h, 30 August
    • avatar
      Posted at 12:05h, 30 August

      Another one:



      These – maybe with new wiring and an AY signature pickup – will deliver Angus tone for all your life.

      • avatar
        Posted at 12:12h, 30 August

        Really beautiful one. I’m looking for a bridge with nylon saddles for my 2010 SG, do you know where to get one, mate?

        • avatar
          Posted at 12:21h, 30 August

          Good question you smart one. I have never looked, and I have no idea. All the nylon saddles you see on mine are the original ones of the era. NOT because I think they sound better – I don’t – but just for I was always too lazy to search around lol

          • avatar
            Posted at 12:45h, 30 August

            Hmm…you dont think they sound better? Probably you already compared this, so you think its not necessary to swap the standard bridge?

            • avatar
              Posted at 13:15h, 30 August

              Not better, different. The nylon ones sound less metallic, clearly, possibly stopping some sustain (yep) and they could make the guitar seem to sound more woody (because they don’t add, they likely subtract).

              I also have several ones with the metal saddles (mostly replaced by me) as Blackie, several ’69s etc and all LPs!

              • avatar
                Posted at 13:43h, 30 August

                Ok, I understand, thanks. Hm, would be nice to try one. Funny thing is that many old SGs (and also the AY sig, right?) have them.

                • avatar
                  Posted at 18:45h, 30 August

                  Yes, most of the SGs dated from 1963 (maybe ’66) onward (until 1971 at least) had the nylon saddles.

                  The reason I think this happened is because of the metallic sound of the vibrola.
                  To dampen somehow the metallic effect of it, they likely put nylon saddles in place of the metal ones, that were instead used in 1961/1962.

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 19:42h, 30 August

                    Ah yes, that makes sense. Well, then…no vibrola, no nylon saddles needed, probably. Good, more money for other gear stuff 🙂

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 09:53h, 19 September

                    Apropos sound of the vibrola – I more and more get the impression, that this vibrola is sort of essential for this typical SG sound, that’s in my ear since I was 13. Later, when I got SG’s for myself, I always thought, a tailpiece is the better choice soundwise but I still couldn’t figure out exactly weather they used alu or zinc TP’s on the old 60s SG’s back in the days. So is this the original TP and is it lightweight? At least it looks as if it’s made from alu. You have so many SG’s, maybe you can help me a little with that since I’m still not able to make a final decision weather to install an alu or a zinc TP on my ’65 (which originally was equipped with a Bigsby) to get nearer to that sound in my ear. I had an alu, a zinc one and even a Callaham steel TP installed and they all had their pros and cons but there are also lots of combinations possible with e.g. steel and brass studs for the TP and the ABR (not to forget the thumbwheels) and therefore I’m in need of a default value, kind of a zero coordinate at this point for further sound investigations (btw, the TSR helps a lot with that – what a sound and feel catalyst (-:). What’s on the Angus signature e.g.?
                    Thanks in advance, Eric

      • avatar
        Posted at 13:41h, 30 August

        Thank you very much Fil.
        What do you think about this when i replace the original pick up with a AY signature ? http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/SG/Gibson-USA/50th-Anniversary-Robby-Krieger-SG.aspx

    • avatar
      Posted at 14:52h, 30 August

      Es gibt viele Deutsche auf SoloDallas.net!

      Im from the US, but I retain a bit of my high school German.

  • avatar
    Posted at 13:50h, 29 August

    Hello Fil,
    could you tell me wich guitar the best for playing ACDC is, please ?
    And where can i buy a guitar like the 1964 Gibson Sg Standard ?

    • avatar
      Posted at 13:56h, 29 August

      Which guitar… an SG without a doubt I’d say (or a Gretsch, for Malcolm). WHICH SG that might be a little harder to answer.

      New, used or vintage?

      A ’64 like this? You must look into the SG project guitars/issue guitars on ebay and gbase. Search for these. These are the bargains. You buy one broken and have it fixed at a fraction of the price!

      • avatar
        Posted at 16:53h, 29 August

        Hey Paul,

        A new but inexpensive option would be something like an Epiphone SG G-400 or a Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet. While they arent the *exact* thing, it will get you pretty close for under $500. This is my Gretsch here, Best purchase Ive ever made, and sounds just like Malcolm:

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:14h, 01 December

    Hey Fil!
    Finally I saved enough money for an SG;)
    Im going to get a new 61′ reissue (because of the thinner neck and the playability which you try to describe.)
    On 16th (this month) I’ll visit the guitar store but first i wanted t hear your advice 🙂
    I will definitely play both SG’s: the Standard and the Reissue one, before I make my final decision. What is your opinion of the 2010/2009 Standard SG’s? Did you play one, so that you could give me a statement? 🙂


    P.S. I thought about a Gear-Review, when i got that beast.

    • avatar
      Posted at 17:59h, 01 December

      As far as feel and build quality go I think it’s all a matter of personal feel, observation, and opinion. One thing to be aware of is in/around 2008 Gibson has started using printed circuit boards in alot, if not all, of their Standard and special line guitars. I believe only the custom shop models use real wiring anymore. This in my opinion has seriously affected the sound and tone of their guitars.

      Here is a link to a page that shows the old and new wiring. (3rd real pic down is the new style)


      Just a heads up 🙂

      • avatar
        Posted at 19:46h, 01 December

        I belive the Reissue has a non-printed-cercuit, but im not sure. Its no problem for me to do a soldering job. I’ve done it already on severel other guitars. But I asked in generel… in case of getting close to an “vintige”-SG-Sound.:)

        • avatar
          Posted at 21:44h, 29 August

          ive taken the back plate off of my 07 sg standard and theres NO printed circuit board in it, so sounds about right with the 08 n newer sgs

          • avatar
            Posted at 22:13h, 29 August

            I have a 2009 SG with a PCB in it.

            • avatar
              Posted at 23:55h, 29 August

              i have a 2010 ex-pcb sg.
              i rewired it with four 500k CTS pots (standard was 300k volume, not enough balls) and an angus young signature bridge humbucker, and I also used authentic 50’s style silver-wire for the ground and the oldschool wire they used in the early days (does not influence the sound, but looks a lot besser :D).
              i changed the hardware to nickel and throw away the nashville Bridge and installed a ABR-style-bridge and a aluminium japan-production tailpiece. but i left the original chrome studs because the M8 did not match. does anyone of you know where i can order -cheap- nickel stopbar studs?

              but you know? today’s usa standard sg’s can absolutely sound like a TRUE sg 😉
              an a chord rings and rings and rings and rings and rings……. but i also changed the whole setup of the guitar, the trussrod needed 2 rounds anticlockwise to get a slight bow in the neck to get a real flat setup WITHOUT sting buzz on any fret! also the stock intonation was fail, i needed to correct the octaves on the bridge and yep’ there you got a real gibson sg with its full potential!

              • avatar
                Posted at 00:12h, 30 August

                Good to know, I’m planning the same rewiring and getting rid of the pcb.
                Yeah, some people say a new Gibson these days comes with a very basic setup. Maybe they meant the final setup to be done by the shop. Makes sense.

                • avatar
                  Posted at 00:23h, 30 August

                  as it arrived it felt like plastic when playin’ it, but now the wood-structure changed and the whole body resonates very, very well.
                  but i have to say its a wonderful guitar, very beautiful and a PLAYER (very comfortable neck) but the finish is very fragile… a fingernail or a plectrum is enough for a scratch… a soft touch suffices.
                  anyway it’s rock ‘n roll and scratches are sexy.

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 09:44h, 30 August

                    The fact that the paint peels easy is exactly what I want.
                    I had “Blackie” (1968 SG) completely repainted the other day, as the paint job I received it with sucked balls. Now it has nitro paint, just one layer! Just looking at it it will lose paint lol
                    Much more resonant and will look “vintage” in no time.

  • avatar
    Posted at 06:17h, 15 September

    Hi Fil, I have two questions for you.
    First, how’s your definition of a “great neck”. I know there are some shapes but what’s your favorite? Can you post a drawing/section of this neck?
    And second, how does this guitar bends so “naturally”? The design of the neck is involved in this process or what else?
    Thank you,

    • avatar
      Posted at 11:19h, 16 September

      Radu, forgive me if you can for the delay! Now, great neck… hmm… I’ll tell you: I have a preference for thin necks but fat. Seems contradictory? It is, because I suck at explaining it. The fretboard I like it narrow, but the neck I like it chunky (in the back) so that I can appropriately apply strength to it when I bend and vibrate. Think, small necks are tougher for me to use. A guitar bends “naturally” (I think, in my own terms) when it’s “effortless”. Some guitars – I do NOT know why!) I have to fight with, some others are butter. It’s not a matter of action: ALL my guitars are now PLEK’d Radu, and action is as low as it gets without buzz. But some are tougher to use.

      • avatar
        Posted at 14:13h, 16 September

        Thank you so much…but the mistery has deepened 🙂

        Did you asked yourself about the strings?
        It seems to become more stiff (hardly to bend) when there are not used for a long time – kind of a “sleeping” steel.

  • avatar
    Posted at 16:27h, 02 September

    Beatifull guitar =) !

    From a general point of view, which guitar(if money is not an issue), which model seems as the ”best” choice if you want an new guitar and most ”guitar sound/quality/playability per price”; 61´Reissue or SG Standard Reissue Maestro VoS ?

    IS there any modern pickups that comes close to vintage pickups like original pickups on SGs from the golden era and to Angus sound?

    Is it worth getting VoS instruments as a first guitar if you cannot find an vintage at decent price in (used alot but still original parts) relativly good condition even if they are expensive?

    What function does an Maestro fill generally?

    Some people says you should practise with the guitar unplugged, correct?

    Does ebony fingerboards sound any largely differently from rosewood fingerboards generally, or does it not matter really?

    Is it considered taboo to ”restore” and well used guitar that looks like the 67´ SG that was from eBay and played in a band to original shiny condition, since the worn look is removed, or?

    What do you use to get studio track drums and everything to play with you playing on the solo/intro rythm parts, equippment i mean, and how much can such stuff cost?

    Is guitar strings toxit in sense that if you have recently played and touches the mouth, can it affect the health negativly in the long run?

    Ok thats all 🙂

    Again the guitar looks great, like the cutaways and the color it has, nice!

  • avatar
    Posted at 08:12h, 22 August

    Truth is, I don’t know. I am not very aware of current Gibson USA line, the standard one. It may be true that some builders out there, right now, are building great replicas, higher in quality than Gibson itself. Gibson has been a big company, it’s hard for them – evidently – to keep up with the standard line and high levels of quality. That’s why they set up the custom shop. Maybe the custom shop is equivalent to production standards in the ’50s/’60s, but I’d be stretching to say this as well. One thing I would do for sure right now – if I wanted a new guitar and not an old one, I’d be looking at the replica builders. Some of those guys are superb. They may cost a bit though. Burny has been making replicas for 20 years or more. Some of those are most surely excellent, but I have never held one personally (I have seen pictures though) and I can’t tell until I have one 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 20:47h, 19 August

    Hey fil, do you still have that 1964 vos reissue? (i think)
    I think you used it in some of your earlier vids.

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:16h, 18 August

    amazinggg guitar Fil! i lovee the sound u get out of that thing

  • avatar
    Posted at 13:59h, 18 August

    Hey Fil is your SG that you did the beatin around the bush with the white switch ring have an article yet or are the pics of it just without the white ring and that’s why I never noticed?

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