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1962 Gibson SG Standard

09 Aug 1962 Gibson SG Standard

I had owned previously a mint example of a 1961 SG Standard. Got stolen.

Revised: thanks to friend KJ (thanks Kevin) this appears to be a 1962 Gibson SG.

I built one from scratch recently, assembling parts over the years, but it turned out the wood body is not a 1961: it is a 1964.

So I wanted to add a real 1961 Gibson SG Standard to my “collection” (quoted word because I don’t collect guitars: I play them. I play them all, and intensely. The ones that aren’t played, get sold in time).

When I found one that didn’t cost a fortune (1961 Gibson SG Standards are in the like of 15k – 20k USD right now) I bought it @ 6k USD.

This one is actually mint as well, but had had its headstock chopped off (happens frequently to vintage instruments of that era). The fix job had been done excellently therefore – already knowing they work perfectly and most likely, the damage and repair doesn’t affect the sound/tone of the instrument, or not that much – I pulled the trigger.

These are fine instruments. Built in an era long gone, these can be considered as the tail of the last great Gibson production. Sporting real PAFs (the way PAFs are intended, i.e., with the build and tonal characteristics of the late ’50s, so sought after by collectors and players everywhere) and a weird, malfunctioning vibrola system (sideways vibrola), this type of guitar looks killer.

I am a fan of vibrolas in general, and especially on SGs (not on LPs). I just love the look and tone of them.

Everything on this guitar is original: unmolested pickups, circuit and its components and all of the hardware.

Action is also great and so is the neck (you can see/hear this guitar here).

Besides the fact that I liked the 1961 look, I also had noticed that Angus did have an identical model back around 1981.

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I also believe that he still owns it and plays it and possibly, the guitar is now being his number one live gig guitar, with a black (re)finish.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08:  Guitarist Angus Young of AC/DC performs onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

So in short, chances are that Angus’ favorite SG for live gigs is a (modified) 1961 SG Standard.

(Note: it might actually be a mid-60s SG Standard).

A few more pictures of this guitar.

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Visible on the above image are the characteristic early to mid ’60s tone and volume knobs, small pickguard, sideways vibrola system and the peculiar body contour of a 1961 Gibson SG (it did change quite a lot in the following years).

Also of interest, the rather deep wood carvings on the cutaways, both of them, a good looking feature in my opinion, to be constantly reduced being made shallower and shallower (unknown reasons other than, keeping labor cost down) in later years.

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Also, these have a specific neck joint – rather fragile as well – that changed shape around 1963:

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A detail of the back and front of the headstock is visible in the two pictures below.

Recognizable are the classic Gibson logo on the front and the “Les Paul” marking (to be discontinued in around 1962, when Les Paul himself asked that his name be taken out this model that apparently, he hated).

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On the back of headstock image, the absence of the later to be added “infamous” volute (a bump at the base of the headstock to prevent breakage) and – in fact – an almost invisible sign of the cracking that has happened on this one. Also note the difference in color, a typical sign to look at when trying to determine if the guitar has had damage. Also visible clearly, the original Kluson “double ring” tuners.

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Note of the author for the more ‘particular’ reader: these articles on  SoloDallas’ gear are not intended to be egotistical, neither am I intending to show off. They are for passion, documentation/information and sharing pleasure with those who have a similar interest.  Thanks for your trust and understanding, SD

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Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

22 Comments
  • avatar
    kevin james
    Posted at 01:59h, 17 January

    Fil,

    BEAUTIFUL GUITAR!!! Are you sure that’s a 61 though? I see a couple red flags. The neck joint should be smooth, no step on a 61. That looks like the 62 joint. Also, it’s hard to see but the photo of the back of the headstock looks like the serial number is 73884 or 75884 (hard to read that second digit and the whole number execpt the 7 actually lol) and according to a couple sources from 71XXX – 96600 is 1962.

    Incredible guitar either way, but looks like a 62. Have you checked the pot codes? They should be 13461XX for a 61. I’m actually having a hard time dating mine specifically too do to a SN restamp after a repaired head brake. Its either a VERY late 60 (very rare but there ARE a few proven examples), or VERY early 61, serial number is an ink stamped 60 number and pots date to 3rd week of 61. I’m now thinking mine is 61 not 60 but not 100% sure either way. Still VERY happy with it.

    Here’s some SN info I found which leads me to believe yours is a 62:
    http://home.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html :
    0100 to 42440 1961
    42441 to 61180 1962
    61450 to 64222 1963
    64240 to 71040 1964
    71041 to 96600 1962, a few from 1963/1964
    96601 to 99999 1963

    http://www.gibson.com/Files/downloads/bluebook/GibsonSERIALNUMBERS.pdf :
    1961 100-42440
    1962 42441-61180
    1963 61450-64220
    1964 64240-70500
    1962 71180-96600

    Kj

    • avatar
      KyleSG
      Posted at 05:10h, 17 January

      One thing though is you can never really use serial numbers to date 60’s and early 70’s SG’s as the numbers were not kept in a strict particular order and many were double stamped meaning 2 guitars have the same numbers so the best way is features and pots.

  • avatar
    blackboarder3
    Posted at 05:49h, 15 January

    Hi SolloDallas,

    I’m wondering for a while now if there is a big difference in sound, feel, stability between the vintage guitars and the historic custom shops they make today.

    I ask you this question because you are in the position to compare them, since you have both historic and vintage guitars.

    For example how do you compare the the 52/59 conversion to your R9?

    And the vintage SG between the historic?

    Kindest Regards,
    Maarten

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:51h, 15 January

      I too had been wondering about that for ages. Now, this is my take. It depends. It depends on the vintage instrument and on the historic instrument. Some vintage instruments are BAD! And play/sound badly (please see the difference between play and sound: play is how easy it is to play and instrument, low action, easy to bend, neck straight/non straight and sound: the character of the wood/pickups). Some historics are really, really good. Now, when a vintage instrument is instead a good one and is properly restored (functionally, I don’t care about its looks), it usually shows the number of years it’s been played and you can HEAR that in the wood and pickups. If playability is good/excellent, than the vintage instrument could be considered superior. But there are some historics – current ones especially – which are really, really good. I have a couple of chambered R8s for example that are just sweet to play and sound terrific. One is even stock (you can hear it here, it’s a 2010 R8). They are however different. The 5’53/’59 is for example, “untouchable”. It goes there where sit the real 1959 Les Pauls. It’s resonance, timbre characteristics. Tonal characteristics of real (good) PAFs. But that doesn’t mean that I would quit playing the R8. They are DIFFERENT. I see it as that. I think that they see the same amount of time played. I go to both of them. This is the indicator: when you “go to” a guitar, it’s a good one 🙂

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:54h, 15 January

      Additionally, I truly think that some of the current historics – in 10/20 years – will sound terrific, and it will be difficult to tell the different from some vintage instrument, sound wise. Here, I said it in a very realistic way.

      • avatar
        blackboarder3
        Posted at 16:56h, 15 January

        Hi SolloDallas,

        Thank you for your answer on this 🙂

        I saw your metro session video’s with the 52/59 conversion and the R8. Really nice and interesting to see! I’m also in love with that 60’s rock and roll sound from page, clapton, … (watch out for the GAS disease :p) When i hear you play all those guitars, i think the marshall is also a big contribution to the overal sound and the guitars give subtle differences. And ofcourse like you say good guitars, you don’t want to put down :p

        I also read the 5 factors that contribute to the sound of a burst by MAX. I see that article is also on your site. He said that it is mainly the wood (old growth wood), glue, finish and pickups of the old one’s that are different from today guitars and that’s why they sound like the old one’s.

        You say the age of the guitar is also important and how much it is played. I think that’s true if you want the feel of a broken in guitar. But clapton’s burst was like new in the days and it sounds like a burst right? 🙂

        I have a R8 (not chambered) myself and i’m wondering how it will sound different from the original. But the old burst cost like a fortune. So i’m thinking about a conversion or maybe an old sg. They are a lot less expensive. 🙂
        But to be honest i have never played a vintage guitar. I live in belgium and you don’t see these guitars here much. Buying from ebay can be dangerous i think. But i guess i just have to play vintage guitars myself… 😉

        I recently read on the lespaulform that jimmy page was using 9’s as string gauge (and i also read it here :p). So i tried them on my les paul also. Wow!!! What a difference! You sure loose some acoustic tone, but i can have really low action now and it plays effortless! And the strings are so much more sensitive now. I can hear the pickattack (the honk?) much more and that was something i was missing with 10’s. And that pickattack is prominent in the old tone’s! So that 5 euro upgrade was the best 5 euro’s in my live :p And i can play whole day long now. Guess that’s a good guitar?! :p

        Thank you for your take on this!

        Kindest regards,
        Maarten

        • avatar
          Kinglance
          Posted at 17:10h, 15 January

          Hey Maarten, where are you from? I am from Flanders, Vichte, close to Waregem and Kortrijk… Greetz, J-L

          • avatar
            blackboarder3
            Posted at 17:50h, 15 January

            Hey,

            Ik ben van heist op den Berg. Ligt tussen lier en aarschot… dicht bij leuven ook 😉
            Allé de wereld is klein, hier kom je zelfs vlamingen tegen :p

            Groetjes,
            Maarten

      • avatar
        Kinglance
        Posted at 17:13h, 15 January

        Hey, what do u think about your Angus Young Signature guitar (the aged one)? Good guitar, as good as those vintage guitars? For me that signature guitar is a bit a collectible-item…

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 18:08h, 19 December

    Does an SG VoS from the Custom Shop has an similar neck/joint/heel – design as this year model has?

  • avatar
    SGStandard68
    Posted at 21:08h, 17 December

    How can you afford all these guitars….They are so expensive o.O
    (I have a SG Special, which I “modified” with humbucker-covers, new knobs (the ones Angus has on his 1968 (the one with the lightning-bolt inlays…it’s an ’68, isn’t it!?!?!)), a white treble/rythm marker and lightning-bolt inlays…simple love it <333
    (Sorry for bad English. I'm German)

  • avatar
    jakesg61
    Posted at 12:17h, 20 October

    I agree, they should be played, but I can see where people are comming from. When I got my SG I was paranoid about it and I still am, It means alot to me, this may sound crazy but I actually wash my hands before I play it because I just want to take care of it so much, I never lay it on the floor or stand it up, if I need to put it down it goes back in the case I cant help it hehe, however I do play it all the time. I have the reissue version of this guitar, “The 61 Reissue” This if it is this guitar its ‘Reissuing’ I think it will be. I agree the 1961 is an awsome guitar. The reissue has the ’57 classic’ humbucker pickups sounds great. I heard the pickeups on todays SG Standards dont sound as good, so i went for the 61 as Its closer to a vintage model, as I cant afford a vintage. The one you have looks great Fil!! Nice buy. Qick question, I dont know if its true or not, but was the 61 the first SG that was made?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 12:30h, 20 October

      Understandable. I’ve been thinking about this babay-ing thing, and I do it too, though not “clean the guitar”. I only take care of the fretboard because THAT needs to be in perfet order to play. I also think I don’t baby my guitars because I have many. If I only had one or two, I’m sure I would be like anyone else.

      • avatar
        jakesg61
        Posted at 12:57h, 20 October

        Yeah I can understand that, I think its just something some people cant help doing where others can. Does the original 61 have 57 pickups?

        • avatar
          Hardrockerdave94
          Posted at 21:28h, 02 December

          Hey, the original Pickups on these guitars are PAFs, the 57 classic is a replica of a vintage PAF, seeing as PAFs pickups were handwound, they weren’t as precice with the amount of coils wrapped round, so some guitars (with more winds) were hotter sounding and some were underwound resulting in a less hot sound. That’s why Gibson makes a few different kinds of PAF reissues, like the burstbuckers or the 57 classics.

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 13:01h, 20 October

      Can understand this. However, I’m not really paranoid about my SG Standard, but I take care about her. Won’t washing my hands before playing but wouldn’t play it with greasy fingers and from time to time I’m cleaning the fretboard and putting fretboard oil on it. Marks of use, scratches or dents are not a big problem, if it gets worn, no problem. It just shouldnt break or becoming unuseable.

      For me, a guitar should just like feel like an old comfortable jeans where you get in and it just fits. And a brand new jeans needs to be worn out a bit 🙂

      • avatar
        jakesg61
        Posted at 13:07h, 20 October

        Well I can agree with you there, I know what yu mean. Maybe I worded it wrong, maybe Im not paranoid but very cautious, I think its becuase it took me years to be in the position to get an SG and I just take good care of my guitar Id hate to scratch it, but I dont get me wrong, I play it to death. However I do see your point. 🙂

      • avatar
        jakesg61
        Posted at 13:07h, 20 October

        By the way, thats the reason for washing the hands hehe as not to get any grease on the guitar

  • avatar
    Ryley
    Posted at 15:29h, 09 August

    lovee this guitar Fil, and again what a deal considering the value of these guitars. im glad u actually play the guitar man, and theyre not just an investment oprotunity like they are for sooo many other people. imagine all the mint SG standard models and ’59 les pauls just being stored away not shown and love… just breaks my heart! these guitar should be played and enjoyed

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 15:33h, 09 August

      Ryley, that’s exactly the point. I do understand people locking them away fearing that costly, vintage instruments may be stolen or damaged during play, but boy, what a waste. That’s why I do not intend to spend too much on these. I still want them, I love vintage guitars (I do like current ones though) but they need to have the right price. Guitars were meant to be played as instruments, not collected being locked in cages! Thanks, Fil 🙂

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