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1960 Specials: Knobs and switch tips.

JJ Jones

Active member
Joined
Sep 28, 2001
Messages
1,260
My Special has black reflector knobs and a white switch tip. The serial no is 0 5886.

special_carmen_2.jpg


Serial no 0 5887 and 0 5894 has black knobs and amber switch tip.

0 5887

p2_udnawj5jr_so.jpg



0 5894
DSC08297.jpg


So is my guitar the last one with reflectors? :) Or did they switch back and forth? A few parts on my guitar has been changed over the years so I wonder if they are original or changed too.
 

JJ Jones

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Sep 28, 2001
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Here is 0 6317 with black knobs and white tip. So all combinations are possible I guess.

$(KGrHqVHJDkFIZE0OuPgBSKkc!kRZg~~60_57.JPG
 

VonPrikler

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Feb 1, 2011
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516
I could be wrong, but I think there was a switch to (mainly) black reflector knobs in 1960 at around the same time as the change to the moved-back neck pickup and redesigned pickguard.

There are definitely exceptions, but if you look at most 1959 and early 1960 DC Specials (the ones with the neck pickup still pretty close to the fretboard, with small rectangular black plastic spacer held in place by two brads), it seems like most of those guitars had the regular black plastic knobs (not reflectors).

As for switch tip color, I could be wrong about this, but I just figured amber is original, and snow white would be some sort of replacement, at some point in the life of the guitar?
 

VonPrikler

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Feb 1, 2011
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By the way, out of curiosity, how is the neck profile on yours?

My understanding is that the Special's (I know, techincally called the SG at the factory by this point...) neck profile began getting thinner at around some point within the 0 1000 to 0 2000 range, and probably by your serial number, it might have been pretty thin. This would seem to also correspond to Burst neck profiles in this same serial number range, which I guess makes sense.
 

JJ Jones

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Sep 28, 2001
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Thanks VonPrikler! Yes it is an SG Special. No Les Paul script on the headstock. It has the thin profile.
 
Last edited:

Tom Wittrock

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Aug 2, 2001
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42,567
JJ, look at your reflectors from the side.
If they look like the one in the middle of this photo, they might be original.
If they look like the one on the right, they are definitely changed.

917_p38724.jpg
 

JJ Jones

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Sep 28, 2001
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Well then they are changed because they look like the one on the right.
How about the white tip? Is that changed too as VonPrikler says?
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,130
Switchcraft went from using Catalin to plastic around 1960. the plastic tips don't age or yellow like the Catalin will. I do have a couple of Catalin tips that are still slightly white. My `59 Special has the black bonnet knobs an the switch tip turned yellow. When I bought the guitar in `93 the tip was still white.
 

JIMI55LP

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Jun 28, 2005
Messages
1,549
If you polish the patina off a Catelin tip it will be cream color for several years.
 
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