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Guitar Store heartbreak and realizations

Always-Ben

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,851
Today, I went to guitar center while my wife hung out with one of her friends nearby. While I was there, a certain guitar caught my eye: a Gibson SG Junior reissue. Now this guitar had a lot of things about it that I assumed I wouldn’t like: a single P90, slimmer taper neck, non-adjustable wraptail. I assumed it would be a noisy, unwieldy mess. or that myself, having played many boutique or custom shop type guitars, would never be happy with a regular production type guitar. But guess what? I ended up playing that thing for almost an hour, through an AC15 and a bonafide vintage Fender Tweed Bassman, and I had a blast. I finally see what all the fuss is about for Junior type guitars.

Alas, I found that when trying to play the guitar with a strap standing up, the neck just ended up being too far away from me to play comfortably. Plus, it was a tad neck heavy, I found myself constantly having to adjust it back up after playing a few minutes. I tested it with other guitar types, and I found that a Les Paul type of body hangs off the strap better than an SG type does. So I sadly had to pass on it. But everything else up to the point was great. Feel, tones…it came all so naturally with this specimen. Part of me wonders if I should just go back and get it, and learn to live with stretching my arm out just a little bit more/maybe find an even thicker strap to compensate for the neck heaviness.

So I learned: Gibson USA guitars, I probably would not notice any difference between original collection and custom shop levels, and that the difference I might discover down the line would probably not warrant 1000 more dollars. I learned that I do really like the dynamics of a single P 90 pick up tape guitar. And most of all, I learned that I should probably spend less time analyzing stuff on the gear page, and just trying things out myself in person cruising around the local shops.

Now, a couple of questions here. Since an SG didn’t work for me while playing on a strap, I need to look at other body types. For those of you who have owned doublecut Les Paul Junior type guitars, do they hang off the straps similar to how an SG does? If not, then that sounds like the type I should look for next.

If yes, logic dictates I should try to find a single cut body Les Paul Junior type. My fear is that the tone I loved so much on this SG Junior, would be different due to the change in body type. For those of you who have tried an SG Junior and a single cut Les Paul Junior, were there any noticeable differences in tone?
 
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Chase Fuller

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
361
I can't speak to SGs or LP Jr guitars, but I'm genuinely surprised when I read so much discord about "not being able to play a certain style of neck" and similar statements. Just because you get used to a certain neck radius or length does not mean you can't learn to love a guitar designed with different measurements. The number of people on here complaining about the difference between vintage and modern style neck radiuses, for example, blows my mind. Just put in the work and play the damn thing! If it sounds great but is a little awkward, you'll get used to it! I'd head back and pick it up – I don't think you'll regret it!
 

monty

Member
Messages
24,133
I can't speak to SGs or LP Jr guitars, but I'm genuinely surprised when I read so much discord about "not being able to play a certain style of neck" and similar statements. Just because you get used to a certain neck radius or length does not mean you can't learn to love a guitar designed with different measurements. The number of people on here complaining about the difference between vintage and modern style neck radiuses, for example, blows my mind. Just put in the work and play the damn thing! If it sounds great but is a little awkward, you'll get used to it! I'd head back and pick it up – I don't think you'll regret it!
Have to agree. I started a thread about that earlier this year actually when I got my first SG. I felt the same way about SGs as the OP for years until I got a PRS custom 24 which sits in between a LP and SG as far as the neck goes and that made the SG feel less weird to me. You just get used to it.
 

Always-Ben

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,851
I can't speak to SGs or LP Jr guitars, but I'm genuinely surprised when I read so much discord about "not being able to play a certain style of neck" and similar statements. Just because you get used to a certain neck radius or length does not mean you can't learn to love a guitar designed with different measurements. The number of people on here complaining about the difference between vintage and modern style neck radiuses, for example, blows my mind. Just put in the work and play the damn thing! If it sounds great but is a little awkward, you'll get used to it! I'd head back and pick it up – I don't think you'll regret it!

Sorry, I edited in a detail I forgot after you replied: it was also slightly neck heavy, not too bad, but even with a leather strap, at its natural rest, it was a little too acute an angle for me. I found myself constantly adjusting back up a few degrees every few minutes.
 

Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,885
Gratuitous Sg Jr pic. The body has to be light to balance well, such great couch guitars.
IMG_20211113_193710_054.jpg
 

dconeill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,773
... [I played] a Gibson SG Junior reissue. ... I had a blast. ... [Standing up, the geometry was uncomfortable and] it was a tad neck heavy, ... I found that a Les Paul type of body hangs off the strap better than an SG type does. ... Since an SG didn’t work for me while playing on a strap, ... [what about a] doublecut Les Paul Junior...? [Do LPJ doublecuts] ... hang off the straps similar to how an SG does? ... My fear is that the tone I loved so much on this SG Junior, would be different due to the change in body type ...

The neck dive is caused largely by the geometry. The neck strap button is at the heel of the neck on an SG and current double-cut LP, at around the 22nd fret on the centerline of the guitar. On a single-cutaway Les Paul Junior, the neck strap button is around the 16th fret and displaced to the bass side of the neck. The geometry all by itself will make the LP single cutaway hang better from a strap.

I think I remember seeing some LPJ doublecuts with the strap button on the bass-side cutaway horn; that would hang better than one with the strap button behind the neck heel. I don't know how available those are.

As far as differences in sound, to the extent that they're built similarly they will sound similar. However, even though they're all slab bodies, I believe the LP single cutaway is a little thicker than an SG, and additionally because of the shape there's more body; therefore the LPJ SC weighs more, and that will change the tone a little. but possibly imperceptively.

The only way for you to judge is to find one and try it yourself to see what you think.
 

TK LP

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
541
A Les Paul Junior would probably have a heavier body than an SG, and would likely solve the neck heavy tendency. It may also have a chunkier neck. Also worth a look would be an LP Special.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
11,404
Could doing something like putting a heavier bridge possibly balance things up a little better?
There used to be a company that made straps with a pocket towards the bottom strap button (can't recall the name or if they're still around), and inside the pocket was a long heavy strip of brass or chrome plated steel, which was supposed to be an anchor of sorts that placed more downforce towards the rear end of neck-heavy guitars like the SG.

I've also heard about people securing small but heavy items inside the control cavity of an SG - lead fishing weights, short plastic canister filled with steel shot or ball bearings, a flat rectangular slug of stainless steel stuck on with sticky foam squares, etc. Anything small and heavy to counteract the SG's neck dive.
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
13,178
Today, I went to guitar center while my wife hung out with one of her friends nearby. While I was there, a certain guitar caught my eye: a Gibson SG Junior reissue. Now this guitar had a lot of things about it that I assumed I wouldn’t like: a single P90, slimmer taper neck, non-adjustable wraptail. I assumed it would be a noisy, unwieldy mess. or that myself, having played many boutique or custom shop type guitars, would never be happy with a regular production type guitar. But guess what? I ended up playing that thing for almost an hour, through an AC15 and a bonafide vintage Fender Tweed Bassman, and I had a blast. I finally see what all the fuss is about for Junior type guitars.

Alas, I found that when trying to play the guitar with a strap standing up, the neck just ended up being too far away from me to play comfortably. Plus, it was a tad neck heavy, I found myself constantly having to adjust it back up after playing a few minutes. I tested it with other guitar types, and I found that a Les Paul type of body hangs off the strap better than an SG type does. So I sadly had to pass on it. But everything else up to the point was great. Feel, tones…it came all so naturally with this specimen. Part of me wonders if I should just go back and get it, and learn to live with stretching my arm out just a little bit more/maybe find an even thicker strap to compensate for the neck heaviness.

So I learned: Gibson USA guitars, I probably would not notice any difference between original collection and custom shop levels, and that the difference I might discover down the line would probably not warrant 1000 more dollars. I learned that I do really like the dynamics of a single P 90 pick up tape guitar. And most of all, I learned that I should probably spend less time analyzing stuff on the gear page, and just trying things out myself in person cruising around the local shops.

Now, a couple of questions here. Since an SG didn’t work for me while playing on a strap, I need to look at other body types. For those of you who have owned doublecut Les Paul Junior type guitars, do they hang off the straps similar to how an SG does? If not, then that sounds like the type I should look for next.

If yes, logic dictates I should try to find a single cut body Les Paul Junior type. My fear is that the tone I loved so much on this SG Junior, would be different due to the change in body type. For those of you who have tried an SG Junior and a single cut Les Paul Junior, were there any noticeable differences in tone?

I would just get a Les Paul Junior. They sound awesome and don't have the awkward feel or balance issues of an SG.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,223
Double cut Les Paul junior or special will not have the ergonomics are neck heavy issues you experienced with the SG.

Give one a try and you'll probably find that it's instantly more comfortable.
 

budg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,990
I’ve got a 61 standard and I use a shade backed strap . It stays where I put it. Another thing that helps is playing with the neck angled up slightly. It’s a habit to play my Les Paul with the neck parallel to the ground , so I had to adjust a bit. Playing an SG takes a bit of adjustment , more so than any other guitar I’ve had. Once you figure it out , the SG gives up the goods.
 

Heinz W

Genuine '66 Relic
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,600
I have both types of Juniors, a '68 SG and a '58 LP DC. The SG Jr. suffers from the same thing all SGs do: the neck is further to the left than most other guitars. It is slightly neck heavy, likely exacerbated by the lightweight body. The LP DC hangs normally and is not neck heavy, but is heavier in general. My DC has the neck heel strap button which is not ideal, but since it's 100% original vintage I won't move the button to the top horn like Keef's above, though I'd like to. If I had a newer one I'd have no qualms moving the strap pin. The issue with this is that the guitar sometimes wants to tilt forward, but it's certainly not a deal breaker. The LP DC hangs more comfortably standing up.

As far as sound goes, they sound pretty close to me. Killer! Can't speak to the sound of modern versions.
 
Messages
7,406
There used to be a company that made straps with a pocket towards the bottom strap button (can't recall the name or if they're still around), and inside the pocket was a long heavy strip of brass or chrome plated steel, which was supposed to be an anchor of sorts that placed more downforce towards the rear end of neck-heavy guitars like the SG.

I've also heard about people securing small but heavy items inside the control cavity of an SG - lead fishing weights, short plastic canister filled with steel shot or ball bearings, a flat rectangular slug of stainless steel stuck on with sticky foam squares, etc. Anything small and heavy to counteract the SG's neck dive.
You can also use self-adhesive wheel weights; they come in 1oz or ½oz versions - just peel & stick.

Good fix for neck-heavy guitars, though IME a couple of ounces isn't enough to offset the inherently unbalanced SG design, unless you luck out and get one with a lighter-than-average neck. They do exist.
 




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