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NGD - 2017 Gibson SG Custom - modded out


hi13ts

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Very happy to share that I was finally able to get an ebony SG Custom at a reasonable price about a month ago and am having a great time playing it. I had an ebony SG Standard for a few months, essentially to be the SG counterpart to my Les Paul Custom Axcess w/Floyd. I rewired it with push-pull pots for coil split and mounted a Floyd Rose FRX on it. It quickly became my number one guitar as it was light, nimble, easy-to-play, and incredibly versatile, more so than the Les Paul Axcess. Although I ended up loving it, I got it to essentially test out the Floyd Rose FRX system on a "cheaper" guitar and was very pleased with the product, so I figured it was time to upgrade to what I originally wanted: an SG Custom with Floyd Rose. 

 

When I received the SG Custom, I was pleased with how easy it played and how resonant it was compared to my SG Standard. I did the same mods to it as I did to the Standard but was taken aback at how much more difficult it was to install the Floyd Rose FRX. SG Customs (it seems all Custom Shop SGs as well) have a much shallower neck angle than a production SG. Also, the Custom split diamond decal faceplate on the headstock is thicker, so it made it difficult to install both the Floyd Rose and the locking nut as I wasn't able to get action as low as it needed it to be. I ended up routing a small channel on the body where the spring plunger hits the body and cutting a piece of the pickguard off. Sounds horrifying but it was a great learning experience and I'm happy to say the effort paid off. The Floyd system worked flawlessly and I was able to get a special locking nut from Floyd Rose that has a spacer to accommodate for the strings being so close the the decal plate. 

 

Interestingly, this particular guitar came with a factory-installed nylon nut instead of corian, which is to my benefit, and the fretboard looks suspiciously like ebony. There are grain patterns on it, but I'm well aware that Gibson was use exclusively Richlite at the time. I reached out to both Gibson and Richlite and both analyses were inconclusive. Gibson couldn't verify the particular specs of each guitar and could only tell me it was a PSL sent to Japan. I've attached some close-ups of the fretboard to get your opinion on it in the photo link.

 

I used it for rather big gig and it was excellent. Finally got around to recording a video of it last week:

 

Thanks for reading and looking forward to your thoughts on the fretboard. I like both ebony and Richlite so it wasn't a dealbreaker, but I'm rather amused that it might be ebony. I'm leaning towards it being Richlite as it has no pores on it and it feels a bit denser than ebony would when I'm scratching or knocking on it, however, I haven't reached a certain conclusion yet. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/FrGpHAu1W73zXnYD7

 

Edited by hi13ts
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I have a Custom Shop 356 built in 2017 and it has a Richlite fingerboard so I would lean toward yours also being Richlite.  It's hard to tell from pictures because in person the two materials look very similar.  But just based on the year built I'd say it's probably Richlite.

RKnKRPk.jpg

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Pretty good.   Very well done and congrats on your mods.   Looks like ebony to me - do they sand Richlite like that?

I can't play that stuff, wish I could.   Hope you get to play more rather big gigs in the future. [thumbup]

HNY2023!

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On 12/31/2022 at 1:08 PM, Dub-T-123 said:

Excellent playing. Could you post a couple pics showing the locking nut up close? I’ve been curious about that part ever since first hearing about it

I've attached another photo  in the Google drive with the locking nut close up. Because of the thickness of the headstock decals on the Customs, I had to a get a special one from Floyd Rose that has a spacer on the bottom, otherwise the strings would sit on the locking nut, but not the existing nut. Overall, it's a great a design and has worked very well for me.

Edited by hi13ts
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On 12/31/2022 at 2:44 PM, jdgm said:

Pretty good.   Very well done and congrats on your mods.   Looks like ebony to me - do they sand Richlite like that?

I can't play that stuff, wish I could.   Hope you get to play more rather big gigs in the future. [thumbup]

HNY2023!

Thank you for your compliments.

Those are my thoughts as well, regarding the fretboard. I've never seen Richlite looking like that and I own two LPCs with Richlite. I guess it's possible they could have finished it in a way that simulates wood grain, but I'm not so sure. I was able to get into a shop today and look at four Gibsons with ebony boards. Two of them are from the 90's/early 00's and those boards look very similar to the SG I have. There aren't any visible pores and the grain is very tight and smooth. The more recent Customs (2021/2022) with ebony have a slightly more porous ebony with more noticeable grain patterns.

Still inconclusive, but I've been reaching out to a few Japanese dealers and asking. No bite yet, but hopefully will find the merchant who put the order in. I'll also plan on taking some steel wool to it on the next string change to see how it goes.

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