Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, April 13, 2018

My Version Of the Gibson S-1

My first "good" electric guitar was a 1979 Gibson S-1, which my uncle purchased for me at the annual Employee Sale at the Nashville plant.

This is not my actual guitar, but  photo of an identical version that I pulled from the internet. If it's yours, let me know and I will credit you.
You can see from the picture that it was a really good-looking guitar, even with an unusual build for a Gibson. It had a Les Paul style slab body (mahogany, in this instance, though the early models were maple), and a maple bolt-on Flying V style neck. The pickups were designed by Bill Lawrence (a Gibson employee at the time), and basically emulated the sounds of the Fender Telecaster (lead pickup only), and the Stratocaster in other combinations.
I loved the look and feel of the guitar, but I never liked the sound . This is, by the way, the same problem I have with actual Fenders. In other people's hands they sound great, but I just can't really get anything out of them without using effects pedals. 

And, because of that, I always played through a variety of effects with that guitar and virtually always through an Electro Harmonix Big Muff distortion. 

A few years after I divorced, I sold the guitar (which I had modified with two humbuckers in an attempt to get a more traditional Gibson sound). I never missed the sound of the S-1, but I did miss the styling.

Recently, I decided to stop gigging with my black Les Paul Special, which I call "Cooper", because I had cracked the neck, again, during some stage antics. To that end, I bought a copy of a Gibson LP Junior double-cut (there is a whole other blog post...), and I decided to build a guitar which would look like my old S-1, but sound more like Cooper.

So, I started searching for a bolt-neck Les Paul copy with a slab body to start with. After about three months, this popped up on eBay:

 It's a Korean Hondo, from the early 1980s; just what I was looking for. The seller was in Kansas (quick ship time), and had a reasonable Buy It Now, so I pulled the trigger.

 Gibson used this "pancake" method to build bodies in the mid 70s.

 The neck from this guitar ended up on the skateboard guitar I recently built. I t was a nice neck, just had the wrong shape of headstock for this project.

The body is almost identical to my S-1, in looks and feel.

Once I had the guitar in hand, I ordered up a P-94 style pickup, a Les Paul Junior pick guard and a maple bolt-on Flying V neck. I had a trapeze tailpiece to match the layout on Cooper, as well.

The results were just what I wanted:

All of the things I liked about the S-1 are here, along with a sound almost exactly the same as Cooper's. I call it the S-2 Junior...

This guitar, the LP Jr copy (again, more about that, later) and my Flying V are my three main guitars, at this point. Many of my other guitars will probably go on sale, soon, as I hate to have them hanging around gathering dust!



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