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Upgrades to an SG Special Faded...?


Cooperstowncook

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Hey guys,

I have a 2002 Gibson SG Special Faded that I bought with the intention of removing all of the electronics and hardware, and turning it into one hell of an upgraded players guitar. Now, I understand this is all preferences as to what each player likes. But, I wanted to go to the forum and ask for your advice. So, what do you think? If money was no object, and you were doing a similar project, what would you buy? What kind of pickups, tuners, bridges, electronics, etc. would you install? I have my own thoughts from some research I've done. But, I am curious to hear what my fellow Gibson friends have to say. Thanks in advance!

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I had a faded. I think they're pretty sweet right out of the box, but here is what I changed on mine:

 

Swapped out pickups for a set of Gibson zebra ceramics (496R and a 500T).

Changed the volume pots to 500k.

Added black Gibson speed knobs.

Dunlop Strap Locks.

 

 

SG_0019_small.jpg

 

I didn't really have a problem with the bridge or tuners. I know some dudes change that stuff too. Just remember when you customize yours, keep all the parts you take off. -Just in case you change your mind, or want to sell it and the buyer asks for the original stuff. Good luck.

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Hi I also have a faded special which is my main guitar but could not resist modifying it as I never intend to sell it:

 

- Gibson 57C neck pickup (soon to be replaced with a BK Mule)

- BK riff Raff bridge pickup

- witch hat knobs

- Derek Trucks Maestro base

- Custom Angus style TRC

 

Here is a photo, the cream switch washer has since been removed in favour of a black one again

 

Cheers good luck with yours let us know what you do to it :)

 

164ec00b.jpg

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If you want a sustain boost, swap of the stock stopbar tailpiece for a Gibson TP-6 fine-tuning tailpiece. I use one on my SG and it made a noticable difference in sustain. Alternate pick-ups would depend on the style of music you play. The SG Special comes stock with a 490R and a 490T. If you install a 498T pick-up at the bridge position, you would have the same pick-up set as used in the SG Standard. For more agressive styles of music you might want to consider the Ceramic 496R/500T combination or a pair of Dirty Fingers pick-ups.

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Grover Rotomatic tuners with the 18:1 ratio worked wonders for me.Some will dispute it, but for me,it eliminated the backlash of the old kluson style and holds tuning much longer now. Much better than the older 14:1 ration rotos too.

 

Gotoh's, if you can find the ones with a matching bottom tab screw hole, are superb too. The string posts are non tilting. The Gotoh Delta series in particular are used on very high end acoustics and jazz boxes with a 21:1 ratio!

 

Both of these Gotoh's stomp the crap out of the ancient Kluson design. The Japanese have out engineered the Kluson into obsolescence. If you do a lot of extreme bends and vibrato this is the way to go.

 

My link

 

My link

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I think of this particular model as "tuner friendly" Gibson.

good bang for the buck right out of the box, yet full of untapped potential.

this is a mod worthy platform from mild to wild, here is the rundown on my '07:

 

stock pots

Sprague OD caps

Seymour Duncan SH-2's(very PAF soundingmsp_thumbup.gif)

 

these are both tapped for the following:

Series/Parallel/single

 

I currently Have the stock TOM Set on it, thinking tone pros set up eventually.

The Stock tuners work just fine for me, for now...

and I currently have it laced up with Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinky 10's

 

Twiz has a good point, Always keep your OEM parts, for either refitting or another project down the road.

 

Spare parts is better than no parts.

Happy Modding!

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If you want a sustain boost, swap of the stock stopbar tailpiece for a Gibson TP-6 fine-tuning tailpiece. I use one on my SG and it made a noticable difference in sustain. Alternate pick-ups would depend on the style of music you play. The SG Special comes stock with a 490R and a 490T. If you install a 498T pick-up at the bridge position, you would have the same pick-up set as used in the SG Standard. For more agressive styles of music you might want to consider the Ceramic 496R/500T combination or a pair of Dirty Fingers pick-ups.

 

This is all great input guys. Thank you. Keep it coming!

 

BobB, I've been contemplating the TP-6, even for my Standards. I can see how they help with fine tuning over the stopbar tailpiece, but how does it help with sustain?

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Not a faded Special. It's a Platinum Special in Sunrise Orange. Mods include

 

- 57+ in the bridge

- P94r in the neck (can you tell I do not like the 490 series pickups?)

- sperzel trim lok tuners

- Bigsby B5

 

Not pictured are a Wilkinson Roller Bridge and I do not have the mismatched knobs. It has the original chrome top hat knobs for both tone and volume.

 

 

l.jpg

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I was waiting for ya to post EVOL. Yours is one of the more unique SG's on the forums. Good stuff man. [thumbup]

 

Thanks! She's been spending a lot of time in her case since I got that SG Classic. Been meaning to take her in for some work. Tuning stability isn't the best and I suspect the nut wasn't cut correctly for an SG. Also, the last guy who cleaned up my frets (I use 11s so my frets get dents) did a craptastic job so I have to get a few leveled and dressed. She'll be out soon, though. Looking at those old pictures brings back so many sweet musical memories.

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Funny this should come up cause I'm in the middle of doing a complete overhaul on my sg special faded. my upgrades are:

1. Grover rotomatic 18:1 ratio tuners

2. all new wiring, ripped out the pcb. includes 500k cts volume and tone pots, vintage cloth wiring, orange drop caps, switchcraft jack and switch.

3. did mag swap for A5 mags on stock 490s, sounds so much better.

4. chrome covers on humbuckers.

5. silver top hat knobs and blank 2 ply trc.

6. schaller strap locks.

 

Only thing I still want to do is put in a bone nut. All this was on the cheap cause I did it all myself. Cost around a hundred dollars total. I did all this stuff with my 04 les paul studio faded and thats one bad girl. I did replace the BB pro's in that one though with a seymour duncan 59 set.

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  • 2 months later...

post-48186-010441400 1351103505_thumb.jpg

 

Hey Folks,

 

Here's my first post and it fits this topic. I've got a 2009 Special Faded SG and have done these mods so far:

 

*57 classic pickups

*Bigsby B5 with Vibramate V5 (no drilling required)

*Locking Roller Bridge from StewMac

*Dunlop Strap Locks

 

I love the tone from this guitar and play it though a Laney VC30-212 for AC/DC-ish crunch and a Laney L5T-112 for Blues.

 

The problem: The guitar will not stay in tune. Yep, I know not to abuse the Bigsby and started in graduations of pitch bends instead of full-on dive bombs. I've read dozens of threads and players say the tuners, the tuners. I was ready to ream these holes (or have someone do it) and put in the Grover 18:1 Rotomatics on my desk. You don't want to use a drill, but splintering could easily happen with a hand-held wood tapered reamer. After being on the fence with this mod idea and after spending hours on the phone with techs and luthiers (who graciously gave me their time), I'm now not fully sold on peg hole mods for the tuners - things can easily go wrong. The only tuners I could find which do not require a reamed mod and are locking (which could be important) are these http://www.allparts.com/Locking-Tuners-Vintage-3x3-Nickel-p/tk-0735-001.htm - The way I see it, I've narrowed the tuning to 3 areas:

 

Strings: I've been using 10-46 Gibson Brite Wires, but read and heard Ernie Ball 10-46 Regular (although I'd love 11's) suit well with the Bigsby, so I bought them today and will try them.

 

Bigsby: I'm also going to try playing without the Bigsby to see if it will stay in tune. The Bigsby may need adjustment. Are there any other suggestions that would help me and anyone else with similar issues? I think a dialogue like this could others a lot of time, when considering mods.

 

Nut: The plastic nut is likely just OK? What type of material for a Nut (Ebony, Ivory etc...) would anyone recommend in this situation?

 

Thanks,

Roots

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I can't imagine doing anything to my faded that would make me like it more. It's a wonderful little slab as-is.

 

Anything can be improved upon I suppose, but in my world there needs to be a shortcoming in order for me to act. Improvement for improvement's sake isn't my m.o.

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Strings: I've been using 10-46 Gibson Brite Wires, but read and heard Ernie Ball 10-46 Regular (although I'd love 11's) suit well with the Bigsby, so I bought them today and will try them.

 

Nut: The plastic nut is likely just OK? What type of material for a Nut (Ebony, Ivory etc...) would anyone recommend in this situation?

 

Hey Roots!

 

Nice SG. Love 57s in these axes.

 

Tuning issues - My guess is it is the nut. I have stock kidney bean tuners on my SG Classic and with a Bigsby she stays in tune well. My Sunrise SG has had tuning issues for a while so I had a new nut put on and it has helped a lot. Whoever cuts this nut for you, make sure they know what they are doing. Break and string angles make all the difference on an SG because of the headstock's tilt. I am a fan of bone nuts with a little Big Bends Nut Sauce on her for smoothness. Some cats swear by graphite.

 

You should still up your string gauge to 11s. It's what I play on all of my electrics. Slash is an 11s guy too. They just sound better.

 

And please, lose the Vibramate and properly mount that Bigsby. You're keeping training wheels on your bike.

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post-48186-010441400 1351103505_thumb.jpg

 

Hey Folks,

 

Here's my first post and it fits this topic. I've got a 2009 Special Faded SG and have done these mods so far:

 

*57 classic pickups

*Bigsby B5 with Vibramate V5 (no drilling required)

*Locking Roller Bridge from StewMac

*Dunlop Strap Locks

 

I love the tone from this guitar and play it though a Laney VC30-212 for AC/DC-ish crunch and a Laney L5T-112 for Blues.

 

The problem: The guitar will not stay in tune. Yep, I know not to abuse the Bigsby and started in graduations of pitch bends instead of full-on dive bombs. I've read dozens of threads and players say the tuners, the tuners. I was ready to ream these holes (or have someone do it) and put in the Grover 18:1 Rotomatics on my desk. You don't want to use a drill, but splintering could easily happen with a hand-held wood tapered reamer. After being on the fence with this mod idea and after spending hours on the phone with techs and luthiers (who graciously gave me their time), I'm now not fully sold on peg hole mods for the tuners - things can easily go wrong. The only tuners I could find which do not require a reamed mod and are locking (which could be important) are these http://www.allparts.com/Locking-Tuners-Vintage-3x3-Nickel-p/tk-0735-001.htm - The way I see it, I've narrowed the tuning to 3 areas:

 

Strings: I've been using 10-46 Gibson Brite Wires, but read and heard Ernie Ball 10-46 Regular (although I'd love 11's) suit well with the Bigsby, so I bought them today and will try them.

 

Bigsby: I'm also going to try playing without the Bigsby to see if it will stay in tune. The Bigsby may need adjustment. Are there any other suggestions that would help me and anyone else with similar issues? I think a dialogue like this could others a lot of time, when considering mods.

 

Nut: The plastic nut is likely just OK? What type of material for a Nut (Ebony, Ivory etc...) would anyone recommend in this situation?

 

Thanks,

Roots

 

You need witch hat knobs. They'll improve your tone exponentially.

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EVOL(lution)!

 

Thanks brother. 57 plus in the bridge. I play do play in the 'saddle' quite a bit between the pups.

 

I'm leaning towards the Nut being the culprit and found a guy locally who'll look the entire axe over for $50, which includes minor adjustments and string install. He's an actual Luthier and said not to worry about the Tuners for now and if swapping Tuners he'd also go with Locking tuners like http://www.allparts.com/Locking-Tuners-Vintage-3x3-Nickel-p/TK-0735-001.htm - anyone with any feedback on these?

 

The luthier has a few ideas for the Nut, even advising Ebony (huh? was what I said, apparently the tone is killer but more fragile), but I'll likely go with Bone or Ivory. Here's a great link on Nut info: http://www.lutherie.net/nuts.html Can anyone verify the Nut material on a stock 2009 SG Special Faded?

 

This luthier did say he had 2 Special Faded SG's and sold them both due to the G string not being able to stay in tune, no matter what. "Each unit is different" is what I'm telling myself! I've been playing Bass (although I'll admit the short-scale Mustang Bass is a blast) for a few weeks in my band, but really want to be playing my SG again.

 

Once I get the Bigsby dialed in, I'll lose the Vibramate. I'll likely be making more calls and hopefully getting more feedback here - I just want to do this right.

 

Thanks!

-Roots

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Thanks brother. 57 plus in the bridge.

 

 

Another great humbucker. The 57+ comes in second for me.

 

 

Can anyone verify the Nut material on a stock 2009 SG Special Faded?

 

 

I am 99% sure it is corian. That is the only material I have seen used on Specials.

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I am 99% sure it is corian. That is the only material I have seen used on Specials.

 

Has anyone used any other material, changing out the stock (Corian?) Nut and what kind of results did you get with regard to Tone and did it stay in Tune better?

 

Thanks!

-Roots

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Just do what I did......put on some pickup covers, and swap out the black speed knobs for the silver topped ones like the SG Standard has. Everything on these guitars is fine out of the box, but if you find you need slightly more GAIN, get hotter pickups. If you buy a modern day 498T for the bridge, it should come with the connector so all you have to do is mount it and simply plug it in! :D

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

Hi I also have a faded special which is my main guitar but could not resist modifying it as I never intend to sell it:

 

- Gibson 57C neck pickup (soon to be replaced with a BK Mule)

- BK riff Raff bridge pickup

- witch hat knobs

- Derek Trucks Maestro base

- Custom Angus style TRC

 

Here is a photo, the cream switch washer has since been removed in favour of a black one again

 

Cheers good luck with yours let us know what you do to it :)

 

164ec00b.jpg

 

I was thinking of getting a gibson SG special with wrap around bridge and add the full maestro. If I get the normal sg special the tailpiece poles would show as they're wider than the maestro. Would that work do you think?

 

I originally thought that was what you had done but can see it isn't now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine sounded awesome from the get-go. I thought about taking the EMGs from my now broken Les Paul and putting them in the SG but I thought, nahh, screw it. Combined with my Peavey 3120 half stack, it sounds amazing as it is. The only mod I did to mine were Dunlop Strap Locks and those new Ernie Ball Cobalt strings but that is all. Great guitar and great sound!

 

Photoon3-29-13at800AM2_zps790e517b.jpg

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