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* 1968 SG Standard - Stoptail Conversion Question -- Distance for new posts?

sgt_steiner

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Nov 3, 2007
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Hello All --

Have an old '68 SG Standard I want to convert from the stock Lyre tailpiece to a trusty stop tail.

My question -- what are the proper measurements regarding where to drill the new posts for this type conversion? Many of today's SG Standards come directly from the factory with stop tails installed. Would it be wise to follow their placement/measurements? And if so, what exactly would those measurements be?

Any help or guidance with this would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance!
 

K_L

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Sep 11, 2014
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Yes I would like to know that too as I have 69/70 SG w/ the Lyre Maestro tailpiece and always have tuning problems. Would it be wise to change it to a stop tail SG to help w/ this? Or are there any solutions to eliminate the tuning problems while keeping the original tailpiece? Thank you.
 

Cream Fan

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One solution would be to convert your Maestro to a Maestro/Clapton style tailpiece. If you like the tone but don't want the tuning hassles this is the way to do it. Sixties SGs did not have stop tailpieces and they sound better with the Maestros, modified or not. Here are a couple of photos of my SG with a modified Maestro. Dan Erlewine's shop did the work and they actually custom-made a jig to do the drilling. This tailpiece gave the guitar (which had a stop tailpiece for many years) way more air and snap. It's amazing. And the tuning is rock solid.

<a href="http://s169.photobucket.com/user/campstalag/media/03-Clapton-SG-Body.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u238/campstalag/03-Clapton-SG-Body.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 03-Clapton-SG-Body.jpg"/></a>

<a href="http://s169.photobucket.com/user/campstalag/media/IMG_1864.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u238/campstalag/IMG_1864.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo IMG_1864.jpg"/></a>
 
Last edited:

Cream Fan

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That's fine. Just know it will change the tone of the guitar. You may end up liking it, but it will sound different.
 

K_L

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Thank you 'Cream Fan'--your guitar and it`s modified tailpiece looks great! And thank you for the great pictures and a great way to have the best of both worlds imo. Looks like that may be the way to go for my SG [which I bought in `73 because of the picture of Clapton playing his SG on the cover of 'Live Cream Vol 2'! No Internet back then and my guitar friend and I just thought that Clapton was playing a Les Paul on all of those great 'live' Cream recordings!] Back to my SG--not sure if I want to ship my guitar to Dan Erlewine`s shop as I have read too many 'horror stories' of guitars and amps getting destroyed due to poor shipping [packing, handling, etc]. I`ll have to look into it though. The tuning issues I have are somewhat minor but I`ll never get rid of my SG--it`s always been part of my life even tho it has spent time in it`s case--so I`ll keep playing it and thinking about improving the tuning issue. It is 'funny' that it seems that all SG Standards had a vibrato tailpiece from the beginning [ `61/`62] until `72/ `73 or so--I wonder why!? Thanks again!
 

Cream Fan

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You don't have to ship the guitar. I didn't ship mine. Just ship them the tailpiece and they'll take care of the rest. When you get it back, screw it back on, string it up and you're ready to rock. If you contact Erlewine, the guy to speak to about this is named Elliot.

As for SGs having the Vibrola tailpieces until the 70s, I couldn't tell you. My theory is that the switch was a cost savings at a time when Norlin was looking to save every penny they could. I think it was simply that the stop tailpieces were cheaper.
 

Kris Ford

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As for SGs having the Vibrola tailpieces until the 70s, I couldn't tell you. My theory is that the switch was a cost savings at a time when Norlin was looking to save every penny they could. I think it was simply that the stop tailpieces were cheaper.

Nope...
Gibson was still ran by CMI when that decision was made..:ganz
And it was the 1973 model year when vibrola tailpieces became OPTIONAL.
 

K_L

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You don't have to ship the guitar. I didn't ship mine. Just ship them the tailpiece and they'll take care of the rest. When you get it back, screw it back on, string it up and you're ready to rock. If you contact Erlewine, the guy to speak to about this is named Elliot.

Thank you so much! Big relief! Now I`ll have to outweigh changing the stock cosmetics my SG for a SG that will stay in tune better! One thing is for sure I believe--the huge Lyre Maestro tailpiece does add alot of resonance my SG--it has always sounded GREAT w/ a nice 'boldness' and sustain!!! Over the years however I have struggled w/ the output of the bridge pick-up--it was very weak compared to the neck pick-up. About 7 yrs ago I decided to put a SD '`59' in it and that helped alittle [nice sounding pick-up I think] but then I kept reading about how good the Gibson '57 Classics were in SG`s so about 3 yrs ago I put in one of the '57 Classic Plus' pickups--the one w/ more output and it did make a nice difference. However I do read alot on this forum that lower output pickups are really the best--what are your thoughts on that? Thanks again for your great help to me--I really appreciate that from you! Sincerely, KL
 

Cream Fan

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When I undertook to re-create The Fool SG, I purchased a stripped husk of a 1964 SG Standard—the same year as Clapton's. The neck was broken. The only parts that came with it were a five-screw vintage pickguard (it should be a six-screw on a '64, but there you go), the trapezoidal plastic neck joint cover, and a complete Centralab harness with all pots dated mid-1961. SGs still had Centralabs in '64, but I have a feeling the guy from whom I bought had nothing except the body and he acquired the other parts, ironically to do exactly what I ended up doing: a Fool replica. Long story short, I originally had Gotoh parts on it and Duncan '59s with vintage Filtertron magnets in it. Those eventually went by the wayside and over the course of 25 years I must have changed pickups dozens of times. And none of them sounded right.

Finally, I decided to invest in a pair of vintage Patent Number PAFs and my search for pickups was at an end. If you have the money, I would recommend that you look for another original T-top pickup, as this is what a late Sixties would have. Another solution if you still have the original pickup is to see if the magnet needs recharging. Sometimes that will really wake up a pickup.

Does your bridge also have the Nylon/Delrin saddles? If so, that is part of the tone of those SGs from that era. Angus Young's '68 has them and his modern black SG that he plays most often, also has Nylon saddles. From what I've found out with this guitar and my Les Paul is that vintage parts sound better. The metallurgy was different back then, giving the guitar more chime and warmth at the same time. Every vintage part I've put on these guitars has improved the tone, both acoustically and electrically. Now my SG has nearly all vintage parts and sounds worlds better than it ever did. Changing out the tailpiece was one of the biggest positive changes. It added loads of chime and airiness to the tone without sacrificing any punch. If you're nervous about modding your tailpiece, I would recommend finding another one on eBay and having Erlewine mod that. This way, you can swap it out and if, God forbid, you didn't like the change, you could put the old tailpiece back on.
 

Kris Ford

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Then I stand corrected. Thank you.

Hope I didn't come across as an A-Hole..:salude Honestly just trying to be of help.
But I too wonder why they were made optional in '73...but I don't think it was a financial motive....(If you wanted one, you paid for it...)..maybe a change in the playing styles of the time?
 

Cream Fan

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No, I did not think you were an a-hole at all. I didn't know the Maestro was "optional," as I don't recall seeing any 70s SGs with a Vibrola. I've seen a lot with stop tailpieces and those awful Schaller harmonica bridges, however.
 

marshall1987

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Cream Fan......do my eyes deceive me or is there a slot milled into the chrome-plated bar lengthwise to which the strings are attached? What is that for? Thanks.
 

Cream Fan

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That is correct. The spring slides into that slot and is held in by two pins that have to be removed before the spring can be removed.
 

marshall1987

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I think they talked him out of doing the stop-tail conversion in lieu of the Maestro style tailpiece.
 
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