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Gibson SGs: Single Custom Shop or two Original Series?

Messages
40
Hey guys! I’ve been going back and forth on this topic over and over, and it’s been stressing me out so I decided to make it even worse and ask for help from the internet!

My 30th is coming up, and naturally, I’m about to treat myself to some gear to celebrate. I’m going with the new handwired Princeton, but I also want a new Gibson considering I had to consolidate out of everything but my AVRI 52 for financial reasons a couple of years back. I’m in a way better place now, so I want to expand the roster again.

I’m an SG freak, so I’ve been looking at mainly either the Original Series ‘61 with a Vibrola and an SG Junior together, or the new Custom Shop ‘63 Junior.

I play singer-songwriter stuff that kind of can rock. Stones, Petty, Springsteen, Replacements, The War on Drugs are some sounds I’m always inspired by.

I have played both of the OS Gibson’s in store, and can tell with a standard set-up they would play great, but I also am wondering if the Custom Shop Junior woulf be so far in a class of it’s own, it’d be better to spring for that and get an R9 or something in a couple more years.

TL;DR
I can’t decide between a standard ‘61 SG and SG Junior, or a CS SG Junior.

Help me out, fellow gear nerds!
 
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Tiger Ted

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
545
I agree. About 9 months ago I got one of the new '61 SG's with Maestro Vibrola and I can't think of any advantage the CS version would have except maybe some minor details that would be more vintage correct and maybe some nicer looking wood. But I wanted an SG to make music with, not admire on a stand. I've played a number of CS SG's in the past and they were all really nice. But sonically I didn't hear any advantage. And if there are some things you want to do to improve the looks or tone on the regular line model that can be done very inexpensive. I added a more vintage correct pick guard, truss rod cover, pointers for the knobs and a bridge with nylon saddles. Didn't spend much on any of it.

And if you follow the logic above having an SG Jr. to boot is a win/win.
 

Tim Plains

Senior Member
Messages
6,147
I have a ‘63RI VOS and had several USA Juniors. The USAs were good but I like the CS far more...but it's a hard guitar to recommend because they are too expensive for what they are. If you're a guy like me who has 10+ other guitars, than sure, go ahead and waste your money on one but you can literally buy a vintage Junior for the same amount.

If I were you, I would look for a used SG Standard VOS and then get the Junior later on. You used to be able to get them all day, everyday below $2,000. I got a mint 2017 in 2018 for $2,050 shipped. Maybe keep making offers until you find one for roughly that amount.

 
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Catatafish

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
521
Personally I'd rather have two, one with P90s and the other with humbuckers. But then again everyone needs a custom shop in the stable somewhere :dunno
 

JorisBlack

Member
Messages
220
So the question is: should you buy 2 SG's or 1 CS SG?

Honestly, I don't understand why someone would buy 2 new guitars at the same time. But then again, maybe I don't fit into this forum very well... I guess this opinion also answers your question ;)
 

agquake

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,168
Hey guys! I’ve been going back and forth on this topic over and over, and it’s been stressing me out so I decided to make it even worse and ask for help from the internet!

My 30th is coming up, and naturally, I’m about to treat myself to some gear to celebrate. I’m going with the new handwired Princeton, but I also want a new Gibson considering I had to consolidate out of everything but my AVRI 52 for financial reasons a couple of years back. I’m in a way better place now, so I want to expand the roster again.

I’m an SG freak, so I’ve been looking at mainly either the Original Series ‘61 with a Vibrola and an SG Junior together, or the new Custom Shop ‘63 Junior.

I play singer-songwriter stuff that kind of can rock. Stones, Petty, Springsteen, Replacements, The War on Drugs are some sounds I’m always inspired by.

I have played both of the OS Gibson’s in store, and can tell with a standard set-up they would play great, but I also am wondering if the Custom Shop Junior woulf be so far in a class of it’s own, it’d be better to spring for that and get an R9 or something in a couple more years.

TL;DR
I can’t decide between a standard ‘61 SG and SG Junior, or a CS SG Junior.

Help me out, fellow
It doesn’t matter what you do. Either way you go, you’re going to end up adding the other(s) eventually, anyway.
 
Messages
1,000
" I have played both of the OS Gibson’s in store, and can tell with a standard set-up they would play great, but I also am wondering if the Custom Shop Junior woulf be so far in a class of it’s own"

if it was me, instead of worrying how they play, I'd be listening to the things, listen to individual guitars, they vary in sound, especially anything made of mahogany. They farm grow mahogany in tropical climates and use the large pore, quick grown, low in oils mahogany in the production of electric guitars, you know that right?
A bit of wood stain and poly, and the buyer never even realizes cause they ain't listening, farm grown mahogany sounds like paper mache.
 
Messages
40
I have a ‘63RI VOS and had several USA Juniors. The USAs were good but I like the CS far more...but it's a hard guitar to recommend because they are too expensive for what they are. If you're a guy like me who has 10+ other guitars, than sure, go ahead and waste your money on one but you can literally buy a vintage Junior for the same amount.

If I were you, I would look for a used SG Standard VOS and then get the Junior later on. You used to be able to get them all day, everyday below $2,000. I got a mint 2017 in 2018 for $2,050 shipped. Maybe keep making offers until you find one for roughly that amount.

Was it mainly a fit and finish difference, or were there actual sonic differences that you could pick out between them?
 

Masa

Member
Messages
675
Mine isn't a custom shop, but I have a 1963 SG Jr. I think you can find a vintage SG Jr for about the same price. I paid a little over $2,000 about 4 years ago. The same seller had a 1961 SG Jr. for the same price. I played both, and picked the 1963. An awesome guitar.

If you go vintage, you'd get extra bonus, real Centralab pots, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard... And, most likely, sounds better than the current ones.
 

Tim Plains

Senior Member
Messages
6,147
Was it mainly a fit and finish difference, or were there actual sonic differences that you could pick out between them?
There's only one Gibson P-90 in all of their models.

The biggest differences I find are the neck, USAs are too slim for me, and Custom Shop models look better.
 

justonwo

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,658
I prefer the CS SGs and would get a Standard now and wait for a P90-equipped Jr later. The neck profile is the main determinant for me.
 

aguynamedben

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
69
I’m 34 and have the 63 Custom Shop SG Junior from 2020 and it’s epic. I got it on a trade never having had an SG or P90 guitar and it completely surprised me and I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of it. I agree with another poster that it’s expensive for what it is... but if you like simple guitars and aren’t trying to stack features against price, it’s just awesome. Im mainly a Tele guy too. If the SG Jr is one of your other favorite guitar designs, the CS one might be worth it. I think I like it better than my R8 even though I’m probably not supposed to. There’s just something about it! I’ve had CS Les Pauls, CS Teles, Collings electrics, Wildwood Thin Skin Strat, and a Taylor 814ce and while it’s a simple design, the build quality of the CS SG Jr is every bit as good as those. It’s for sure in “you can’t go wrong” territory.

One thing to consider is the neck size. I’ve heard most SGs have pretty thin necks to very thin necks. My 63 CS Jr has a thicker neck, I think like .88-.96”.

Another thing cosmetic-only thing to consider is that my CS SG Jr. is a single piece of mahogany. There’s probably 0 reason that actually matters, but I always think single pieces of mahogany are pretty cool.

Also cosmetically: How much do you like darker rosewood? That might vary between lines.

People also look at weight. I have an insanely light (6lb 3oz) swamp ash Tele, but my SG Junior is like 6 lbs 5oz. If you look at old models you can find ones at 5.5lbs, but I don’t know if I’d recommend that because I really like mine.

For what you pay for a CS SG Jr, it’s also worth noting that you’re approaching the price of real vintage SG Juniors in decent player grade condition. But you probably need to factor in $500 extra for refret or fret leveling on an old guitar. And pay attention to neck size, condition, breaks, etc. I think when I was looking I saw some 1964 SG Jrs for $4k. I ended up getting my CS one used but like new for around $2,800 I think.

If you go the 2-guitar route, I’d look closely at the Yamaha Revstar RS620 as a poor man’s Les Paul. I’ve never played one but from all the clips they sound amazing, and people love them. For $600 bucks it seems like they do a great build and nailed the pickups.

Other thing to think about is: how many guitars do you eventually want? For me, I’m not a collector, so I want like 4-5 great guitars. That leads me to buy nicer ones because I know there’s a higher chance I might keep it long term. A nice ass SG Jr will probably keep you R9 urge away for at least 2-3 years while you save :) and maybe rock a Revstar with hunbuckers for fun.


-Ben
 

mjross

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,828
CME just received some interesting SG’s with T-Type pickups in an interesting color, Oxblood. They look pretty cool. Might do the trick. The T-Type pickups are pretty nice.

 
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JorisBlack

Member
Messages
220
CME just received some interesting SG’s with T-Type pickups in an interesting color, Oxblood. They look pretty cool. Might do the trick. The T-Type pickups are pretty nice.

This is the first time I've heard the term "T-Type Humbucker".
What does that stand for, and what's special about them?
 

mjross

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,828
This is the first time I've heard the term "T-Type Humbucker".
What does that stand for, and what's special about them?
I do not know a hell of a lot about the subject but they are suppose to be close to the original highly sought after T-Top pickups Gibson put out years ago. I have an SG I purchased a few months ago with T-Type pickups and I like them. Gibson is also putting the T-Types in some of their new guitars. I see where some of the new 335’s have the new T-Type pickups. Don’t suppose they are for everyone but I’m diggin them.

CME has a video demoing them, you may want to check it out! If you scroll down it’s on the page I attached above. Not exactly sure it’s the best demo.

Try this one it will give you a better idea, just scroll down a little!

 
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