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Tony's white Gibson SG

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  • Tony's white Gibson SG

    I was looking at the cover of the 1970 Vertigo compilation that came out in Germany through the Sonderauflage Book Club and noticed Tony was playing his white SG. Made me think about how often and for how long he used it as there is not a lot of photographic evidence of it being used.

    We know he used it during the recording of Paranoid (the week of June 16, 1970) from the pictures:


    June 16-20, 1970 Paranoid Recording Session, Regent Sound Studio, London



    Right after recording Paranoid they left for a week long tour of Germany starting with two large outdoor gigs.

    From the evidence, it looks like he took the white SG with him on this tour. He also took his regular SG as the pictures from the last date of the tour in Langelsheim show him playing that. I think the shots on the cover of this German Club Sonderauflage compilation are probably from either the Rock Circus '70 or Big Gig Festival. Another interesting thing to note is Ozzy's microphone. Looks like they were recording this gig!


    June 21, 1970 Rock Circus '70 Radstadion, Frankfurt or
    June 22, 1970 Big Gig Festival, Derby-Platz, Klein Flottbek, Hamburg




    June 26, 1970 Audimax der Freien Universität, Berlin. This gig was supposedly filmed. Notice Bill is possibly wearing the same shirt as Geezer was a few days earlier!




    The next images we have of the white SG are from the two TV performances in September 1970 during another week long tour on the continent.


    September 26, 1970 Beat Club, Bremen (broadcast date)



    Iron Man http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6y6_xJ0SCY
    Paranoid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1G4JmbfvAQ

    and


    September 29, 1970 Top Pop, Hilversum (broadcast date)



    Paranoid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL4aJhIEJ8Y


    That seems to be it. So it looks like every known instance of Tony using the white SG is when he was being recorded!

    What was it about that guitar that he liked better for recording than his regular SG? Anybody ever heard Tony talking about his preference for recording with this guitar or know of any other times he used it or what happened to it? In the shots from 1974 when Tony is displaying his guitar colection at his home, the white SG is not in any of the pics.
    Last edited by Rollerjoint; 07-12-2013, 11:08 PM. Reason: First photo was deleted

  • #2
    Maybe he liked it for the humbuckers but stopped using it because they weren't powerful enough compare to the modded P90 in the Monkey.

    It's weird how long he used the Monkey, considering he has said countless times it had a weak neck. Despite having access to other instruments he stuck with that one until at least 1975.

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    • #3
      The white SG was actually stolen, I don't quite remember the circumstances behind it, I'm sure someone else on the boards could shed some light onto this?
      http://wickedinquisition.bandcamp.com/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 62_SG View Post
        Maybe he liked it for the humbuckers
        I've always thought SG's with three humbuckers just looks weird. Les Pauls too, for that matter... Just make me think of Ace Frehley...
        95% of everything i say is pure bullshit just for the fun of it. The other 95% is damn serious!
        Til įrs ok frišar ok forn sišr

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 62_SG View Post
          Maybe he liked it for the humbuckers but stopped using it because they weren't powerful enough compare to the modded P90 in the Monkey.

          It's weird how long he used the Monkey, considering he has said countless times it had a weak neck. Despite having access to other instruments he stuck with that one until at least 1975.

          In this interview from 2008 with Gibson, http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyl...blacksabb.aspx , Tony talks about his set up for recording Paranoid and mentions this white Les Paul/SG and his reason for not continuing to use it.

          "But I did use a white Les Paul. I did “Paranoid” on a Les Paul, an old one. And I used a black Les Paul, a Black Beauty, just to try something different than the SG. But that was the first and last time I used a Les Paul. I could never get the hang of it; I always wanted to but I could never do it. I could never get that sound that everybody else used to get. I remember there was this kid who used to jam with us around that time and he used one of my Les Pauls and plugged into my amp and he got that Les Paul sound. I thought, “Bloody hell!”"

          I was thinking something along the lines of what you were saying. When I first realized that all the shots of him using it were when he was recording, I thought of the way his Monkey SG sounds on all the live tapes, with the massive wall of feedback that he gets when he turns the volume up and I was thinking maybe he used the white SG for recording because it was a little more controllable. So I listened to the Audimax tape and compared it to the Filmore West 1970 show and with just a few exceptions there was that wall of feedback on a lot of the songs from the Fillmore and none on the Audimax.

          For comparison the first track they play at both these shows is Paranoid:

          Audimax: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE5uKBgPMfU

          Fillmore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OQhi2NTAec


          Here's a closeup of a similar vintage but right handed: http://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/th...stom-1961-024/

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          • #6
            I love that white sg, i think it looks sweet! It was stolen when they put it in storage. Tony loved that guitar and was heart broken when it went missing. I think Leslie West gave him that guitar.
            Last edited by scorpio 2000; 07-10-2013, 10:07 PM.

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            • #7
              Great interview Rollerjoint. Thanks for that.
              So let me get this right, Paranoid, the song, was recorded on a Les Paul? That's a turn up for the books.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Iconosphere View Post
                Great interview Rollerjoint. Thanks for that.
                So let me get this right, Paranoid, the song, was recorded on a Les Paul? That's a turn up for the books.
                His wording is a bit confusing. His white SG was technically a white Les Paul, but Les Pauls as we know them didn't come back into production until 1968. So either hes referring to his SG as a Les Paul or he used both white and black Les Pauls, but he says he only used it once. I think hes saying he used a black Les Paul to do the one song.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iconosphere View Post
                  Great interview Rollerjoint. Thanks for that.
                  So let me get this right, Paranoid, the song, was recorded on a Les Paul? That's a turn up for the books.
                  Originally posted by 62_SG View Post
                  His wording is a bit confusing. His white SG was technically a white Les Paul, but Les Pauls as we know them didn't come back into production until 1968. So either hes referring to his SG as a Les Paul or he used both white and black Les Pauls, but he says he only used it once. I think hes saying he used a black Les Paul to do the one song.

                  Here's a little bit from wiki that may help to explain the change in in body shape and name:

                  In 1961, Gibson Les Paul sales were significantly lower than in previous years. The following year, the Les Paul was given a thinner, flat-topped mahogany body, and had a double cutaway which made the upper frets more accessible. The neck joint was moved by three frets to further ease access to the upper frets. The simpler body construction significantly reduced production costs, and the new Les Paul, with its slender neck profile and small heel was advertised as having the "fastest neck in the world". Although the new guitar was popular, Les Paul himself did not care for the new design, and requested the removal of his name from the new model. He remained under contract to Gibson, however, and he was photographed with the new model several times.

                  Here is the picture from above of a similar vintage as Tony's. Gibson SG Les Paul Custom:

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                  • #10
                    Aaaaaaaah. All makes sense now. You'd think I'd know as I have both SG's and Les Pauls. And only been playing for 32 years. Heh. Oh well, you learn something new everyday. Cheers guys.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rollerjoint View Post
                      Although the new guitar was popular, Les Paul himself did not care for the new design, and requested the removal of his name from the new model.
                      Which is when they named it SG, as in Solid Guitar.
                      95% of everything i say is pure bullshit just for the fun of it. The other 95% is damn serious!
                      Til įrs ok frišar ok forn sišr

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Billy Underdog View Post
                        Which is when they named it SG, as in Solid Guitar.
                        Really?

                        an interesting factoid

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                        • #13
                          Wasn't it the "RED" SG that went missing or was stolen? I could be wrong.

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                          • #14
                            It's weird to think that the world went eight years without a new Les Paul. Last were in 1960 until they resumed again in 1968.

                            Originally posted by turch118 View Post
                            Wasn't it the "RED" SG that went missing or was stolen? I could be wrong.
                            That was his recent Custom Shop model, the prototype for his signature.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by turch118 View Post
                              Wasn't it the "RED" SG that went missing or was stolen? I could be wrong.
                              The "Monkey" SG was stolen on a couple occasions. One of the people who stole it, believed that Tony had put a curse on him when a bunch of horrible things began to happen to him. So he mailed the guitar back to Tony and begged him to take the curse off. I think the "Monkey" SG is in a Hard Rock Cafe somewhere isn't it?

                              It is:

                              Last edited by Axe fiend; 07-12-2013, 08:43 AM.
                              We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.

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