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Will 888

Modify an SG Reissue?

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I just picked up a 1988 Gibson '62 SG Standard Reissue. Really clean. I'm not a fan of the Bill Lawrence HB-R and HB-L pickups and looking to switch them out. So my question to throw out there is this.

For a reissue that is all original and in excellent condition, do you think it's better to...

(1) leave it untouched in original condition;

(2) make as few modifications as possible and try to select vintage parts from the era;

(3) who cares, install modern pickups/pots because it won't hurt future resale and has no affect on the value.

Thanks for reading.

1.jpg

Edited by Will 888

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The important thing here is that the mods you want to make are not irreversible. If needed you (or next owner) could restore to its original condition. So best to keep the old pickups for that reason.

Go for it 🙂

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I'm with ME,  nothing your about to is going nothing you can't walk back.   save all the original parts  and you're covered for a resale if that ever happens.

 

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I think it depends on your goal with this guitar.  Are you going to play it?  In which case getting the sound you want is very important so change the pickups.  But at the same time you seem concerned about it's resale value, so if that is the primary reason you bought it (investment) then leave it as is.

I never understood buying a guitar that had pickups you don't like.  If you don't like the pickups and the way they sound then don't buy the guitar.  Why purchase a guitar for a given price and then go spend another $800 for new pickups plus installation costs?  I'm not trying to be argumentative or critical.  But I always bought various guitars to perform with them, and bought guitars based on how they sounded and played.  If I didn't like the way a guitar sounded I wouldn't buy it.

I suppose there are instances where you love a guitars neck feel and frets etc, but you want a different tone so you purchase it and install different pickups.  But if that is the case then it would be a guitar you would keep for a long time, play, and not worry about resale value.  Generally guitars are not good investments anyway, unless it's a super expensive collectible to begin with, then it might go up in value over time.  But 99% of guitars are worth a lot less when you go to sell them than when you bought it.

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2 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

I never understood buying a guitar that had pickups you don't like.  If you don't like the pickups and the way they sound then don't buy the guitar.  Why purchase a guitar for a given price and then go spend another $800 for new pickups plus installation costs?  I'm not trying to be argumentative or critical.  But I always bought various guitars to perform with them, and bought guitars based on how they sounded and played.  If I didn't like the way a guitar sounded I wouldn't buy it.

 

Twang,  IMHO, that's a reasonable argument to debate.

But, I believe that sometimes,  it is not something you pickup on immediately.   often times, it's very subtle things that you discover over time. That's how it was with my 2002 LP.

it had v1 BBs stock.  over time I realized, they just didn't have quite the "stuff" I was looking for.  and then when I swapped em out with a set of Duncans, even that was a roll of the dice, b/c I had no good way to know the combo I decided on, was really the combo I wanted.  Turns out it was and those pickups have remained.. But that could have been a red herring too.

someday, I will put a set of Classic 57/57+ in that one (I really do like those.. My bro inlaw has a set in his traditional so I know what they do)

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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Thanks very much for the comments and opinions. I always bought guitars after playing them first hand … until the plague happened and now been going online. This one was at a good price and pretty much an impulse buy, but I knew I'd need to swap out the pickups if it was going to be my daily driver. 

I took it out again and played it and still unsure if it should be a closet sleeper and left original. It plays great and the neck profile is just about right for me. Duncans would be going in there, and I'd keep the Lawrences and pots stored if I ended up selling it. I have other guitars that I like to keep safe and sound and not play much because of the collector aspect and value, but if this ends up being my main guitar it may get destroyed on a gig at some point. But anyhow that's a good problem to have....

Thanks again for the comments.

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10 hours ago, Will 888 said:

I took it out again and played it and still unsure if it should be a closet sleeper and left original. It plays great and the neck profile is just about right for me. Duncans would be going in there, and I'd keep the Lawrences and pots stored if I ended up selling it. I have other guitars that I like to keep safe and sound and not play much because of the collector aspect and value, but if this ends up being my main guitar it may get destroyed on a gig at some point. But anyhow that's a good problem to have....

Thanks again for the comments.

 

Presumably you have a main guitar already right? One that this might replace? Or are you cycling through a collection of valuable instruments?

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I don't believe a 1988 will appreciate like a 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG.

I think current trend of "holding " value for any post Norlin guitar.

As long as you don't think you can add the value of the new pickups to the total of the guitar on re-sale.

Do what you think sounds best

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14 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

 

Presumably you have a main guitar already right? One that this might replace? Or are you cycling through a collection of valuable instruments?

Right I have a main guitar already and others in the collection. I was trying to figure out if this 1988 SG would replace my main one, and being a '62 reissue made only from 1986-1991, I believe, it seemed reasonable that it might appreciate in value in the next several years. The '61 reissues for instance are much more common. But, who knows? The LPs have more of a market for appreciation because of higher demand and SGs have less market. So I think this 1988 SG should be a player and make mods, and maybe other SGs like the good wood custom shops are the more likely guitars go up in value over time. 

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12 hours ago, Eracer_Team said:

I don't believe a 1988 will appreciate like a 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG.

I think current trend of "holding " value for any post Norlin guitar.

As long as you don't think you can add the value of the new pickups to the total of the guitar on re-sale.

Do what you think sounds best

Agreed. I think this 1988 SG should be a player. Hard to believe though that in 10-20 years the Good Wood guitars could be like the Norlins now. 

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Yes, I agree to reversible mods, and keeping EVERYTHING that gets taken off of it with the guitar (not only the pickups).   If you think at all that you may sell it in the near future, a "wholly original" SG will go for more one that is modified and with the original components.  People LOVE "all original".   The prices of 1980s guitars are definitely going up; even the prices of bad Les Paul copies (and the 1980s was littered with them) are getting obscenely decent prices.  As for me, I have a '79 SG Standard that I did modify (reversibly) with new pickups as the guitar came to me used with the treble pickup changed out for an original Dimarzio SD that did not pair well with the stock neck pup.  That was a great mod for me -- something I wish I did earlier than I did.  I also at that time replaced one of the tone knobs with a phase-out micro-switch (and wiring both pups with a single tone knob), but that was a mod I wish I did not  do (even though it came out fine and was reversible with no new holes created).  The bottom line is that mods can  be very good, especially if it is something  you feel the guitar needs.  Just think before you act, and don't do any drilling no matter what.

Edited by 01GT eibach
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Gorgeous SG!  drool.gif
Swap the pups if you’d like,  just keep the old pups  to put back in it when and if you go to resale. 

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On 11/27/2020 at 3:40 PM, 01GT eibach said:

Yes, I agree to reversible mods, and keeping EVERYTHING that gets taken off of it with the guitar (not only the pickups).   If you think at all that you may sell it in the near future, a "wholly original" SG will go for more one that is modified and with the original components.  People LOVE "all original".   The prices of 1980s guitars are definitely going up; even the prices of bad Les Paul copies (and the 1980s was littered with them) are getting obscenely decent prices.  As for me, I have a '79 SG Standard that I did modify (reversibly) with new pickups as the guitar came to me used with the treble pickup changed out for an original Dimarzio SD that did not pair well with the stock neck pup.  That was a great mod for me -- something I wish I did earlier than I did.  I also at that time replaced one of the tone knobs with a phase-out micro-switch (and wiring both pups with a single tone knob), but that was a mod I wish I did not  do (even though it came out fine and was reversible with no new holes created).  The bottom line is that mods can  be very good, especially if it is something  you feel the guitar needs.  Just think before you act, and don't do any drilling no matter what.

Really good information. Appreciate that. It is pretty much what I had in mind to keep everything that I remove. Beyond the pickups and pots, I am don't think I would make other changes and definitely not structural mods. Thanks again. 

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On 11/29/2020 at 5:44 PM, arcticsg said:

Gorgeous SG!  drool.gif
Swap the pups if you’d like,  just keep the old pups  to put back in it when and if you go to resale. 

Thanks! And thanks for the info! 

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Nobody has a Crystal Ball. & can predict what will or won't become a valuable Collectable. But, it's not likely most Guitars will. 

For me the Neck & the Pickups are the main reason I buy a Guitar. Then aesthetics. 

I can't see the logic of spending $$$ on a Guitar & more $$$$ to mod a Guitar than it would cost to have just bought a better Guitar with the features I want... 

If it's not the right Guitar for you consider how much it will cost to mod it. Compare that to the Guitar you really want.. The money difference for the cost of your Guitar plus cost of Mods compare that the cost of the Guitar you should've bought... Chances are you could sell yours & for about the same total cost buy what you really wanted..

theres always the chance you do the Mods & don't like it any better... Then you go down that rabbit hole.....

Edited by Larsongs

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On 12/2/2020 at 7:50 AM, Larsongs said:

Nobody has a Crystal Ball. & can predict what will or won't become a valuable Collectable. But, it's not likely most Guitars will. 

For me the Neck & the Pickups are the main reason I buy a Guitar. Then aesthetics. 

I can't see the logic of spending $$$ on a Guitar & more $$$$ to mod a Guitar than it would cost to have just bought a better Guitar with the features I want... 

If it's not the right Guitar for you consider how much it will cost to mod it. Compare that to the Guitar you really want.. The money difference for the cost of your Guitar plus cost of Mods compare that the cost of the Guitar you should've bought... Chances are you could sell yours & for about the same total cost buy what you really wanted..

theres always the chance you do the Mods & don't like it any better... Then you go down that rabbit hole.....

Yeah I understand that perspective, and it looks like many others share it. I should also mention that I have since parted with this 1988 Gibson SG '62 prehistoric reissue, though I think the topic is still relevant.

The less common reissues, limited editions, custom shops are probably good collector items when they're in original, exceptional condition. They've already been going up in price over the last 20-30 years, but is it the guitar or inflation? Not sure.

For me making mods goes hand in hand with buying any guitar because it's all about the playability ... neck profile and overall feel. Everything else such as pickups are secondary. I just like the feel of vintage guitars and know I'll need to swap pickups to get the sound I want.

Thanks for the comments. 

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It really depends. If you know you intend to sell it in the future then resale value is a concern. 
 

if you intend to keep it then resale is irrelevant and you ought to do whatever you want to make it more inspiring to you.

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