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Discussion Starter #1
Found a cheap one today, a '70s Vibra SG... Not a lot online for it, maybe made by Aria? But also looks identical to a Hondo. Brown photo is mine, red is a Hondo.

Decent shape, lots of soft dings though, maybe steam them would get rid of them.

One downside is thst the trem arm is snapped off, and not likely to find parts for it.

So question is, even though not a sought after guitar (I don't think) how much do you keep original? Part of me hates modifying vintage stuff and wants to just fix what's there... But part of me says go get a bigsby style bridge and replace the pots and switches.

How do you guys approach this stuff?


 

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I’d go ahead and install the bigsby. It’s a vintage guitar, but not all vintage guitars are collectible, and I’d take a working trem over a busted one anyway. Unless there’s a way to machine a new trem arm and use the existing bridge, I’d change it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ya its at shame the arm is snapped off before where the arm attaches. Would need some metal fab skills that i don't have.

Super similar to the hondo, eveything except a small extra part under the tune-o-matic which may have been on the vibra at some point. I know 1 pot needs work and 1 pickup switch is dead... Was about to place an order at mouser.ca for some Bourns pots so may grab another 4.

My first guitar was like this with a brigsby, was a cherry Raven... Still hoping to find one cheap, just for nostalgia but meantime this will do. :)

Any ideas of the paint? This old was it all nitro? Or was poly being used in the '70s?
 

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If it's a great guitar that deserves to be left "original" then keep it original. But if it was never stellar to begin with, do what you can to make you want to play it!

Think of it this way: If in 30 years you could have a Gibson SG from 2018, would you care if it was in original shape? Probably. What if it was an Epiphone SG Special? Probably not. Is yours like the Gibson equivalent of the 70's, or the budget model?

Some 70's Japanese stuff is so, so good (even though they are knock-offs... many were better than the originals made at the time), but not all of it is great. I think some Hondo guitars may have been plywood, which to me is a sign that it was never intended as a high-quality instrument. Look in the cavities and see if you can tell what it is made out of.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually, one the sides through the translucent brown I can see that the core is indeed plywood.

What gets me though is how high that tune-o-matic is. Neck is pretty thick, almost like a baseball bat but seen worse. Maybe I should full-on mod it... shave down the butt/heal of the neck where it attaches to the body. Easily sits about 1/4" higher than normal.

Tomorrow I'll see how it sounds. Pickups look a bit rough but kinda cool. P90 sized but humbuckers with a row of screw heads and a row of rectangles. Garage sale so, no real testing before hand.
 

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If you can, I’d pop the tops off the pickups for a closer look. I’ve seen a few single coils disguised as humbuckers from around that era, which I think is cool because they have a sound all their own.
 

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It's your guitar, so you can do what you want. It could be a '59 lp and you could still do what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you can, I’d pop the tops off the pickups for a closer look. I’ve seen a few single coils disguised as humbuckers from around that era, which I think is cool because they have a sound all their own.
Good point... I assumed the switches were to toggle the pickups from 2-to-1 coil, but I don't see a 3-way switch so may simply be an on/off for each pickup.

Also realized looking at the bridge a bigsby may not work... top is cut out for the whammy bar but then realized that the bridge is pretty darn close to the ones on a Fender Jazzmaster. May be able to swap to one of those with little modification. Not as nice looking though... will say those Jazzmasters were always kinda "blah" looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ah' good ol' Eatons... mine apparently was Sears. Item C, on sale $95.90. :)

Weird... after all these years, prices went up/down and now a new Korean made starter guitar is still about $100.

 
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