Gibson SG vintage Heels (i.e., neck joints)

26 Aug Gibson SG vintage Heels (i.e., neck joints)

This will be a post I will try to update as more info on the subject is known to me.

For now, I had shot these two pictures of some of my SGs in my new home studio (it’s actually a basement in my Roman flat).

I think it is striking to see the differences among all the neck joint types, i.e., “heels”.

Below, from left to right:

1961 Gibson SG Custom, 1971 Gibson SG Standard (note the cracked and then fixed heel: common on many SGs of any era), 1967 Gibson SG Standard, 1969 Gibson SG Standard, Angus Young Signature Custom Shop #37, 1970 Gibson SG Standard and last, 1964 Gibson SG Standard.

The heel on all Gibsons of the ’50s and ’60s are a critical feature that can help dating – approximately – the guitar. This is particularly true for mid to late 1960s Gibson Guitars, since those very years have serial numbers that are the most inconsistent of all times. Is it important? It may be important, since many sellers have “played” around this at times selling a guitar for higher values than it really was. So it is a feature to look into when considering purchase of Gibson guitars of that period.

On a side note, it is interesting to note how the current Gibson SG Standard “Angus Young” Custom Shop Signature has a heel looking almost identical to the 1961 Gibson SG Custom. This add to the story of “where does that Signature come from, exactly? What particular Angus’ SG inspired this replica?”. I still do not know clearly, and I would love your input if you have info on this.

Another interesting thing is that the heel change from 1967 (and 1968) to 1969 type introduced a change from one piece neck to three pieces neck (wood layer). This naturally introduces changes in the sound of the guitar, neck shape, playability and so on.

I don’t have a preference among all of these, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. I don’t even have a preference on tone – frankly – I love my 1971 Gibson SG Standard as I love the 1967 one.

They are rather different – and I will show you with a video/audio test, reviewing the guitars one by one – but these differences are all rather interesting.

I am being told that heels varied quite much during those very years – 1967-1971 – and that a 1969 Gibson SG standard might still sport the 1967 heel type (I have one coming to me just with that feature in fact!). This could/would mean that Gibson guys had laying around parts made during previous years – not uncommon at the time – and were assembling guitars with what they had as leftovers parts. Which makes these stories – and dating these guitars – even more fascinating, with lots of exceptions to the rules and so on.

Another image below, closing up on details.


Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 20:58h, 12 November

    Did you ever make the video?

    Could you take more pics of the various neck joints and year?

  • avatar
    Posted at 18:36h, 09 October

    Does all models (from 61´to 70´) necks fit on most year models, so that you can mix if you want your guitar to change neck, i mean can early SG models necks be fitted onto later years SGs like the 68-70, is the neck joints similar enought to allow such a swich?

    • avatar
      Posted at 18:43h, 09 October

      Nope. Amazingly different. All of them, even within the same year. Gotta be lucky to find a matching one

      • avatar
        Posted at 18:50h, 09 October

        I thought so as well, since there are so much differences.

        I’ve heard todays Gibson, like the electronics/wiring and all that is imfamous of having bad quality and reputation, is that correct?

  • avatar
    Andrea Sg
    Posted at 09:26h, 07 September

    ma come mai il manico della custom shop angus è molto simile alla 61 ?
    non dovrebbe essere a grandi linee come quello della standard..

  • avatar
    Posted at 07:48h, 30 August

    Thanks for your news Fil, do you only live in Rome or have you got a recording studio on your own? I live in Sardinia (Italy) and it should be great to see your private collection of SG’s. Hoping to see you soon, i give you my regards.
    Keep on rockin’

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:54h, 29 August

    Hey Fil!
    This Sunday I had enough time to spend on your website…it’s great!
    Great articles, videos and pictures:)

    P.s: as you see, I’m still here as “SoloDallasisgreat” 😀

    Best wishes from Germany!!

    • avatar
      Posted at 15:00h, 29 August

      DANKE, you!!! Fil 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:30h, 27 August

    Imagine if someone would completely replace an SG headstock with a custom made one, designed to look like a Demon/Devil-tail, the characteristic ”Arrow” tail, but with influence of how the ”horns” of the SG body looks like, asymetrical and looking like the shape of the horns, two horns pointing down to the body, and forming a sharper and sharper edge untill it forms an sharp edge. Imagine then frets with 666 inlays and some sort of candy apple red paint or some sort of cherry, faded cherry or a very worn cherry look 🙂

    I can see it right before me, it would fit perfect in a design point of view, it would look like the Devil’s own guitar 😛

    • avatar
      Posted at 10:25h, 03 September

      Scrap that idea it would destroy the guitar , wouldn’t look good i take it back 🙁

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:12h, 27 August

    Hello Fil!
    My guitar is copied from an early ’60s Gibson model. The neck joint is very similar, the cutaways too, the pickguard is the ’60s style.
    It has got a very slim, comfortable neck, it’s easy to play.
    The whole body resonants well, it’s very open, like an acoustic.
    I’ll record a sample soon to show you how it sounds!

    Best wishes

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:46h, 26 August

    Interesting how the ay custom shop neck joint resembles the 61 custom but not that suprising to me. Angus has favored early 60’s sg’s for the main part of his career (not the early years so much), I think mainly for their thin necks. I think one thing that the majority of angus’ sg’s all have in common is a thin neck.

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:05h, 26 August

    verryy facinating article Fil, i have noticed the different heels on different years, i saw a ’70 standard on ebay that had a 67/68 neck joint style, or veryy close to it… soo interesting but also a huge paiinn when trying to descover the exact year of the guitar XD

  • avatar
    Posted at 11:30h, 26 August

    Have You checked the joints of a 1968 SG and the Angus Young Signature ?
    After all, Gibson marketing says that AY Sig. came from a 1968…

    • avatar
      Posted at 12:04h, 26 August

      Muahahha… did you see my article here?
      Short version: yes I checked Dave, and the ’68 heel is identical to 1967 heel (same one). None of Angus’ guitars seen so far have such heel.

      • avatar
        Posted at 13:46h, 26 August

        Oh sh… , my bad. That’s why you need to do your homework prior posting comments. 😀

    • avatar
      Posted at 15:07h, 27 August

      Nowadays as I know, Gibson marketing is nothing. They just want to sell as many guitars as they can…
      Today, Gibson is not the same as it was 10-20 years ago.
      The new guitars have horrible neck joints(you can see under the neck pickup), I’ve seen many pictures, and the joint was horrible on an expensive Les Paul model. The body can lost a lot of resonance there. I think, the main problem is the crisis or slump or how to say that, from 2008 fall/winter.

      See this picture: http://kepfeltoltes.hu/100821/2008_standard_neck_www.kepfeltoltes.hu_.jpg
      See this japanese Edwards neck joint: http://kepfeltoltes.hu/100821/ed130_neck-02_www.kepfeltoltes.hu_.jpg

      I couldn’t believe my eyes :O

Post A Comment