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Should I attempt this restoration?

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  • Should I attempt this restoration?

    I have an old vintage 61 SG that was butchered many years ago. Some fool re-cut the body and refinished it taking the serial numbers. I picked it up a LONG time ago in that condition and it's been setting ever since. Today I got a chance to get an Epiphone SG 400 mahogany body that somebody knocked the neck off of. One of the reasons I never repaired the old guitar was because a real period body was rediculously expensive since eBay. And... since the old guitar has no serial numbers I'm thinking of cutting the neck off of it and and glueing it onto the G400 body. Then I would refinish it white and make it into a 61 SG Customish guitar. My question to you all is, "Are the newer Epiphone SGs bodies like this cut close to the Gibson originals?" I know they make an SG 400 Custom. Basically it would be a real 61 neck on an SG 400 body with an SG 400 61 pickguard and 3 pickups. Another variation will be a slug bridge with a Badass and chrome hardware instead of gold since this will be made of mostly original old parts I have laying around and the new body. So should I do it or is the SG 400 a tacky reproduction? I'm considering it because the SG 400 body is mahogany and looks really close to me.

  • #2
    Originally posted by olddawg View Post
    My question to you all is, "Are the newer Epiphone SGs bodies like this cut close to the Gibson originals?"
    Not close enough.

    If the original body has been cut down, I'd recommend gluing "wings" on the body and recutting to the original contours. Save as much of the original body as you can. A good, professional luthier will be able to rebuild your guitar to essentially new.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sweetfinger View Post
      Not close enough.

      If the original body has been cut down, I'd recommend gluing "wings" on the body and recutting to the original contours. Save as much of the original body as you can. A good, professional luthier will be able to rebuild your guitar to essentially new.
      I'm sure a good professional luthier could for a good professional price. This thing seems to have been first dropped and the control cavity fracture. So they cut that part off and joined a piece of ash there. Then they re-cut the body to something like a Strat. And.... for some reason the decided to inlay the pickguard into the top. Since it has no serial numbers and is really a total butcher job, I thought the expedient way to make something functional would be to just graft this Epi body onto it that I ran into. Maybe I should just put it on eBay as is and make it some one else's problem. If I don't do this it will collect dust for another 30 years.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by olddawg View Post
        I have an old vintage 61 SG that was butchered many years ago. Some fool re-cut the body and refinished it taking the serial numbers. I picked it up a LONG time ago in that condition and it's been setting ever since. Today I got a chance to get an Epiphone SG 400 mahogany body that somebody knocked the neck off of. One of the reasons I never repaired the old guitar was because a real period body was rediculously expensive since eBay. And... since the old guitar has no serial numbers I'm thinking of cutting the neck off of it and and glueing it onto the G400 body. Then I would refinish it white and make it into a 61 SG Customish guitar. My question to you all is, "Are the newer Epiphone SGs bodies like this cut close to the Gibson originals?" I know they make an SG 400 Custom. Basically it would be a real 61 neck on an SG 400 body with an SG 400 61 pickguard and 3 pickups. Another variation will be a slug bridge with a Badass and chrome hardware instead of gold since this will be made of mostly original old parts I have laying around and the new body. So should I do it or is the SG 400 a tacky reproduction? I'm considering it because the SG 400 body is mahogany and looks really close to me.
        Both Epis and Gibson SG bodies are different. The neck pocket is different, the angle the neck is set in relationship with the body is different... the p'up cavities placement are different, the tone controls and toggle switch placement are different... and the biggest problem is that both are VERY CLOSE, but different anyway. Ever tried to fit a Gibson batwing pickguard in an Epi body? I did! Didn't fit! Everything was CLOSE, but NO CIGAR.

        Unless you're emotionally attached to that guitar, I don't think it's worth the time and effort to make the pieces fit.

        My two cents.
        Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
        Milano, Italy

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        • #5
          Originally posted by olddawg View Post
          I'm sure a good professional luthier could for a good professional price. This thing seems to have been first dropped and the control cavity fracture. So they cut that part off and joined a piece of ash there. Then they re-cut the body to something like a Strat. And.... for some reason the decided to inlay the pickguard into the top. Since it has no serial numbers and is really a total butcher job, I thought the expedient way to make something functional would be to just graft this Epi body onto it that I ran into. Maybe I should just put it on eBay as is and make it some one else's problem. If I don't do this it will collect dust for another 30 years.
          That style body has always been prone to that control cavity break, even without abuse. The wood is just too thin and doesn't have enough support the way it's routed. I had a '61 that was the same way, and knew of a couple others as well.

          I agree with the previous poster, though. The poor thing has been through too much and had too much done to it for it to have any value to a collector. Plus, it still needs to have a lot done to it. If it were me, I'd put it on ebay and hope someone sees it as a lost love to be rekindled rather than an investment in history.

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          • #6
            I think you're under-estimating the difficulty in putting a neck onto a body it wasn't designed for. Even if you had a '61 gibson sg body you'd still have to do enough shaping to make the job tricky. I think gluing the wings on as was suggested would also be the easier route.

            And if the pockets did work close enough together to fit with relative ease and not mess up intonation (which I would doubt), I'd be wary of an epiphone body and want to inspect it closely first. If it is a solid finish there is a good chance it is made of several (at least 3) pieces of not stellar quality.

            Another thing to consider is that you'd probably want the body retrofitted for '61 style hardware. An epiphone body could have some decent gotoh hardware put into it easily, but to make it closer to the originals, you'd have to yank out the studs, fill it, re drill, etc.

            I'd say only attempt it if it seems like a fun project for you. If thinking about it gives you headaches, then unload it to someone who might enjoy something like that.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the input. I passed on the Epi body. I think what I am going to look for is a single piece LP Jr DC type body. That's what I wanted to do originally. I had a '59 LP Jr DC TV for years that was stolen long ago. I'm not worried about mounting the hardware. It's all there except for the original tuners which were replaced with Schallers.

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              • #8
                My sense is that the integrity of the neck-body joint is more critical to the sound than any joint between added wings and the core of the body. So, adding wings would likely be the smarter move sonically....unless it was really poorly done.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by olddawg View Post
                  Thanks for all the input. I passed on the Epi body. I think what I am going to look for is a single piece LP Jr DC type body. That's what I wanted to do originally. I had a '59 LP Jr DC TV for years that was stolen long ago. I'm not worried about mounting the hardware. It's all there except for the original tuners which were replaced with Schallers.
                  Let me tell you what I did. I wanted an Explorer with an loong SG neck. So I got a G400 and cut the wings off. Then I got a slab of poplar and cut out an Explorer body, routed out the inside, and put the SG chassis in it. It turned out awesome.

                  sgex pictures by devnull_photos - Photobucket

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by devnull View Post
                    Let me tell you what I did. I wanted an Explorer with an loong SG neck. So I got a G400 and cut the wings off. Then I got a slab of poplar and cut out an Explorer body, routed out the inside, and put the SG chassis in it. It turned out awesome.
                    I'll probably do something like that eventually with a slab DC body. The problem is that the fool planed the top to actually inlay a pickguard. I had a chance at an Epi Dot ES 335 body a while back. That would have been nice with an old SG neck. I just wasn't sure I would have the skill to get it right. BTW, did you have any loss of sustain from laminaing all those pieces of different wood?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by olddawg View Post
                      I'll probably do something like that eventually with a slab DC body. The problem is that the fool planed the top to actually inlay a pickguard. I had a chance at an Epi Dot ES 335 body a while back. That would have been nice with an old SG neck. I just wasn't sure I would have the skill to get it right. BTW, did you have any loss of sustain from laminaing all those pieces of different wood?
                      No, so far as I can tell the sustain is ok. The fit was pretty tight.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How does it sound and play as is?

                        You might have some of the old-growth mohogany they used in the '50s Bursts, and you might have PAF/patent-sticker pickups. I have a '63 Jr. that has a tone to die for.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Glass Snuff View Post
                          How does it sound and play as is?

                          You might have some of the old-growth mohogany they used in the '50s Bursts, and you might have PAF/patent-sticker pickups. I have a '63 Jr. that has a tone to die for.
                          Well...No vintage pickups unless you count the late 70ish Dimarzio Super Distortion that came with it. I'm sure that the neck and aboout half of the body is old wood. It's still a worthless mess.

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