Lyre/Maestro vibrola's on SG's: do they stay in tune?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by kingsxman, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm giving some serious consideration to picking up a 2000 SG with a Lyre Vibrola on it. I dont use the trem bar at all really but these look SO DAMN COOL I would love to have one on the guitar.

    Do they make it very difficult to keep the guitar in tune? Just wondering.
     
  2. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I owned a couple of original '61 SG/Les Pauls back in the day... I don't think that the vibrolas really contributed to tuning issues. The inadequate neck/body joints were the real culprit. I actually replaced the vibrolas on both of mine with stop tails, and STILL had problems with the guitars staying in tune.

    I don't know if the reissues are any better, but the neck joints on the old ones were not particularly stable, and couple be a real pain.
     
  3. Tadams

    Tadams Silver Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]

    This is my 2001 '61 reissue. Mine does not go out of tune any more than a strat or similar style whammy. I just use it for very subtle effect. If I don't use it, it stays in tune very well.
    Compared to other SG's, this Maestro does add something to the tone, hard to describe. A brightness or snappiness. Plus it looks cool.
     
  4. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Dude, thats EXACTLY the one I'm looking at. White and everything. The one I'm looking at is a 2000 and it appears to be more of a cream than a white. Are there markings on your Maestro plate? The one I'm looking at doesnt appear to have any. Can I also ask what you paid? PM me if you want. Thx.
     
  5. Tadams

    Tadams Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought it used for $1200, around 2003 or so. Lark St. Music.
    The markings on this tailpiece is of a "lyre" and has "Gibson" stamped in it. The aftermarket tailpieces do not have any markings on them.
    Hope that helps!
     
  6. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    White SG with Maestro = [​IMG]
     
  7. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Sweet!

    ABout the only thing cooler (well, to ME...) would be this in Pelham Blue!
     
  8. Tadams

    Tadams Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree, and I've been keeping my eyes open for an Elliot Easton SG.
     
  9. biggreen

    biggreen Member

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    If your going to get a vib equipped white sg it has to be a custom like Jimi's. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Interesting. The one I'm looking at is 2k. So...either its differnet or way overpriced.
     
  11. jazzbass1

    jazzbass1 Member

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    Guitars fitted with original '60s vibrolas had domed thumbwheels under the bridges that allowed the bridges to rock back and forth when the trem is used, in the manner of a Bigsby bridge. The Gibson Historics don't have these thumbwheels, (domed on one side, flat on the other, the domed side would face up to contact the bridge) without them you don't dare touch the bar...
    As far as I know, the domed wheels are not available new, you'd have to find vintage ones.
    Even with the domed thumbwheels, tuning is a bit problematic, due to (most) Gibsons having a 3 on a side headstock...the strings don't pull straight across the nut and tend to bind when the bar is used.
    The Lyre vibrolas don't have anywhere near the drop that a Strat trem has, but more than a Bigsby.
    My take, for whatever it's worth, is that it's not worth the risk of knocking the guitar out of tune by using the things.
    They also sit high behind the bridge and don't create enough down pressure, so the strings are easily knocked out of the saddles by vigorous picking and sustain and tone are lost as well. IMHO, these trems are a flawed design that negatively affect the guitars they were installed on. It's a shame Gibson didn't offer stop tailpieces as an option on '60s Firebirds, SGs, ES-355s, etc.
    I always thought that the best SGs Gibson ever made were nearly nullified by the poor tremolo units they used...the sideways vibrola is even worse!
     
  12. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan Senior Member

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    Ditto.
    I have a red 2006.
    Stays in tune better than any of my Strats, works very similar to my Bigsby's.

    Don't be afraid.

    Les
     
  13. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Nah, I can't play three-pickup guitars... middle pickup always gets in the way. :jo
     
    Alonzo sgl likes this.
  14. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Can you rest your hand on the bridge without it changing pitch? I always rest my hand there.... Thats why I could never have a floating trem. In fact...I block the trems on my strats.
     
  15. sleepingtiger

    sleepingtiger Supporting Member

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    I have the long Vibrola on one of my Firebirds & have no tuning issues. No problem resting hand on the bridge either.

    I'd go for it, cool guitar!
    Tony
     
  16. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    Anyone know where I could get a shorty for my SG Special? I have the trem, but some idiot cut the bar off.

    Nevermind, I see it at Allparts...I should look before I post...

    [​IMG]
     
  17. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks Tony.

    Turns out this isnt a 61 reissue (so its not exactly like the one pictured at least from a "what it is" standpoint but more like a VOS standard. So the neck I believe will be a bit chunkier....
     
  18. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    I read an Elliot Easton interview where he said he doesn't touch the bar on his sig SG but likes the tone.

    And they do look way cool.
     
  19. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    OK, I'm trying again. Anyone know where I can get a shorty in chrome? Or even just the bar?
     
  20. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    I dont know Chris. You may want to check at this site:
    www.everythingsg.com

    They may know.
     

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