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My Mistress

"The Player" One of the two SGs I bought this week. I don't have this one yet but if the neck is anything like the one I took in trade today, I might just keep one of them.

I’ve been married to the same wonderful person for 26 years or so. She is also my first and only wife. One of the keys to a long and successful marriage is staying faithful and not doing sleazy stuff like sending out lewd photos of your various parts over the internet. Well, I suppose I could make a similar analogy about guitars-specifically, the 335s, 345s and 355s I write about and buy and sell. They have always been my favorite but I have a terrible confession to make. I’ve been unfaithful. I have a mistress. I’ve even sent pictures of her various parts around the internet. There’s even one here. I can’t tell you her name but her initials are SG. She’s not as sweet as my wife and she’s not as pretty. She weighs a lot less but that’s not what’s so attractive about her. It’s a little like having your wife’s cousin as your mistress. SGs and ES-335s are more the same that they are different. They certainly don’t look anything alike and they don’t exactly feel an awful lot alike. The SG sound is a little less versatile to my ear and lacks some of the complexity of my beloved 335. But they have wonderful fret access and the small body fits me very well. I’m not a big guy and a 335 is a big guitar and I get a bit lost back there sometimes (or maybe I’m hiding behind it). But the circuit identical as are the pickups and (more or less) the layout and the feel is still Gibson like (as opposed to Fender-like). But the thing about the SG that I took in trade today-a ’63 Les Paul/SG with a sideways trem is the neck. There isn’t an equivalent neck on a 335 that I’ve ever owned. It’s wide a 1.71 (almost 1 3/4″) but not that deep -in fact it’s as thin as most 60-62 335’s at around .80 at the first fret but it’s got some serious shoulder. I don’t like a big fat neck with big shoulders like some of the R8’s and on the 59 ES-335 Historic. But a shallower neck with a shoulder feels just great. There’s plenty of neck to grab in order to get the leverage required to do big bends without too much mass which makes my hands tired. I guess these necks feel closest to a 64 335 at the lower frets but these SGs are different. They feel big without really being that big. By the time you hit the twelfth fret, the SG is plenty big-bigger than the 64 and bigger than some 59s at over 2″ wide and over 1″ deep. That’s some big neck. It doesn’t seem to have the same sustain as a stoptail 335 but I’m guessing that has more to ┬ádo with the sideways trem, the shallow break angle and the lack of a big stud sunk an inch into the wood. So, the SG will never be my main player but I love to play them. ┬áMaybe my taste is too narrow and I should broaden out my writing to include these as well. The problem with SG’s however is that there are just too damn many of them. ES-335/345 and 355 are just variations on the same theme. Two humbuckers in stereo with a Varitone or not. If I start writing about SGs, I have to write about jrs, specials, standards, customs not to mention the fact that they changed the neck join every five minutes because they kept breaking off. What are there six different ways to stick a neck on an SG? And none of them any good. I traded a 345 for the 63 below and I bought a player grade 62. Neither have any neck problems and these early ones (61-early 65) have just the most fabulous necks. I am really, really going to enjoy these guitars. Just don’t tell my wife.

This is "The Mistress", a 63 I took in trade today for a '63 ES-345. Why can't I find a 335 with a neck like this. Not deep like a 59-more shallow like a 62 but with these big ass shoulders that make it feel huge without being huge. The ultra wide nut probably adds to that. And while I can't say i like the tone as much as my 64 ES 335, I do love playing this guitar. I'm going to have a tough time letting this one go. And a brown SG case? Who ever sees one of these?

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