SG '61 Historic with or without maestro?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ToneRanger, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Hello.. It's not like I'm actually buying one right now, but I was playing my mate's SG Standard just the other day thru my Bad Cat and it sounded absolutely fabulous. It also recorded very very well. It was a bit of a struggle to get used to the neck and radius as I'm a full time Fender dude normally.

    Anyway, this very nice experience with the SG got me thinking I got to buy one. I think I'll get a custom shop SG when I get it.. I really love the look of the one with the maestro vibrato. I was wondering how it affects the sound compared to the normal stop tailpiece? Is there a noticeable difference in tone, feel or sustain?

    Thanks, any input is appreciated!
     
  2. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    Most likely in a million years you wouldn't hear any difference between the two though some may differ. I would certainly go for the masetro version for it looks way cooler! Well it also depends on how much extra it is? I recently bought a Reverend guitar and after looking at them the bigsby was a must! It just looked naked without it. For the most part I don't even use it either.
     
  3. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    carbz, thank you for the answer! I must admit my reasons for getting the guitar with the maestro would be mostly cosmetical, it just looks so cool, I rarely use vibrato. I don't know how much extra it is, probably a couple hundred, but it will be bankrupcty either way when I buy the guitar so it won't matter :)

    Keep the comments coming!
     
  4. hogy

    hogy Member

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    The difference in sound is actually very noticeable.
     
  5. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    I think most guitars look better with trems. It just adds character. I used to have a wolfgang and still don't like the way they look at all without the trem. I used to be a trem player but now I don't use them too often anymore but certain guitars just don't look right without them. Actually the SG's look good without them just better with them especially the masetro...
     
  6. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    Even there is does it mean one is any better than the other....
     
  7. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    Can you describe the difference in sound?
     
  8. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    It is absolutely personal preference. Derek Trucks removed his for whatever reason; can't argue his tone either way.

    Say - I've been eyeballin' another SG for awhile now. Other than the demon figure inlay, what's the difference 'twixt the Angus Young Signature Model and the '61 SG Historic? The Angus Young model is significantly less in price...

    Peace,

    jb
     
  9. GuffMorgan

    GuffMorgan Supporting Member

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    I have a Historic SG and I went with the stopbar. Mainly because I coudln't see myself using the maestro that much, but also because I've read a lot about the supposed tuning instability of the maestro and that it makes the guitar sound a little thinner and cuts down on the sustain. But add that on to the fact that I never found a Historic with maestro to play it, but I had played a stopbar version and loved everything about it. So, I went with the stopbar.

    I can gauruntee you'll absolutely love the Historic SG though, it's a very easy guitar to play, I actually chose it over a Historic LP as my first Historic guitar. Good luck.
     
  10. Shnook

    Shnook Supporting Member

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  11. Neill

    Neill Member

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    im with hogy... i owned a cs ri w/ maestro and it had a more glassy high end with more bite and "karang" than all the non maestro sg's i played. adds weight, and though some say it also adds sustain i found just the opposite.
     
  12. hogy

    hogy Member

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    The way the strings travel over the bridge there is almost no down pressure with a Maestro.
    That's how the Vibrola works, look at one closely. If there were any downpressure to speak of the strings would instantly bind on the tuneomatic saddles.
    As a result the guitar sounds like a banjo, and it gets especially bad (read: plinky and thin) higher up the neck.

    There is a certain percussiveness and tinny hollowness with a Maestro (the "karang" Neill speaks about) that can sound really cool for rhythm playing, other than that, the stoptail does everything better.

    The arm gets in the way too when you're working the controls.

    Clapton started messing with his as soon as he got it. If you study the old pictures you'll see that he went through several mods in an apparent attempt to get some more string pressure on the bridge.


    Hogy
     
  13. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Thank you very much for the responses!

    Does anyone have positive comments about the Maestro? :)

    Anyway, the problems you've stated have made my think about this very seriously. I really don't want to spend that much money on a guitar I'm not satisfied with. On the other hand it feels a bit weird if Gibson was selling a top dollar instrument with that serious "design flaw"...

    Discuss! :) :JAM
     
  14. Buffalosix

    Buffalosix Member

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    I had a Historic '61 with the Maestro for a while. Great guitar. I didn't notice a whole lot of difference in tone, the main thing that didn't work for me was that anytime it was put away in the case for more than a short while, it went way out of tune due to the case lid pushing down on the Maestro. The arm doesn't tuck away as nicely as it does on Bigsbys....

    But dang that guitar looked awesome...
     
  15. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Buffalosix, do you own or do you have owned SGs with a stop tailpiece bridge?

    I think the '61 RI with the Maestro is probably the coolest guitar there is to my eye.. It just looks so...sexy! If/when I get it (with or without Maestro) it'll be hard time deciding between the cherry and white finishes. Ofcourse the cherry is the standard and classic, and looks super cool but there's just something about the white as well.. And I'm sure the white one would look even cooler in flesh.. Might be harder to re-sell though.
     
  16. TwinandTwang

    TwinandTwang Member

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    Colin Cripps and Gary Louris both use Vintage SG's with the Maestro, I believe. They sound good to me.
     
  17. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    I have a 61 RI w/ Maestro. I love it. I don't have tuning problems with it, and I don't notice any lack of sustain. I have a blues song on my CD that was done almost totally on the SG. If you go to my GarageBand.com page and listen to "Out The Door", the first and last solo, and the incidental licks in the verses are my LP, all of the rest is the SG. http://www.garageband.com/artist/scottlr
    I use the trem, too, but no dive bombs, it just adds a little trem to a chord for me. I am not an aggressive whammy bar guy, even on my Strats, so for me, it is just fine for what I use it for.
     
  18. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    I've got one on my recently acquired SG Special.

    The neck is arrow straight and the action was too low for me - also there was so little downforce on the bridge that the strings moved even under gentle strumming. Difficult to remain in tune too.

    I raised the bridge to "my" height and put on a new set of nines - the strings still moved. Simple fix - the bridge is a wrap around too with the zig-zag line ('cos its almost perpendicular to the strings). So wrap around they went. Instant improvement allround on everything.

    So now I've got a Vibrola that is completely disconnected to anything! It's the one with the nylon chisel shaped end on the arm. Take it off and leave three holes? Dunno, it still looks kind of cool and fooled a member of Hot Tuna who waggled it and said "It doesn't do much?".
    Btw the reason I got this really was because it has absolutely "killer" P90's on it that are both powerful and toneful - said to be untouched, not sure.

    Best, Pete.
     
  19. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    I have an Historic 61 SG with Maestro and a 61 RI SG with the stop tail. I don't notice an appreciable difference in tone or sustain once plugged in (though they certainly sound different unplugged). If I had to pick one for keeps, I'd keep the Maestro. Sounds great, plays well, looks cool. If the Maestro is properly setup, it'll stay in tune just fine.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    Does anyone know where you can buy a maestro trem? I would like to get one for my sg standard, but I wont have the money for this little project until this summer.
     

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