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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Gibson "Robot" guitars and conversions



Mar 11th, 2018 08:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I ran across an SG is a store the other day.
It looked like an SG standard, and it was for an insanely stupid (cheap) price.
Upon eagle eyeing it a little closer, there are two possible reasons for the low price.

One is a cracked/broken/repaired headstock. Common on Gibsons. It looked to be repaired pretty well. I could barely feel the repair with my finger, and had to actually look before I discovered it.

I got to looking a little more.
I noticed the tailpiece where the strings went through looked a little strange. Then I looked under the tailpiece and noticed what appeared to be a teeny RJ-45 telephone looking type connector. I also noticed the cover plate on the back for the pots is clear see through.

I went and asked what the story was on this guitar, and was told it was a Robot conversion.

The mechanism has been removed, and it now has Grover tuners.
Custom color green finish.
Block/trapezoid inlays.
A beefy neck (maybe too beefy).
Uncovered humbuckers.
Robot knob replaced and rewired into a standard tone control.
Still has the funky jack.
Comes with a HSC.
I have seen a few pics on the internet that look exactly like it.

Were these "good" guitars that were asked to do "bad" things, and once in the right hands could be rehabilitated into good, sound instruments?
I searched the forums and did not find much.

Search terms for future reference:
SG robot

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Mar 12th, 2018 02:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

Possible the robot tuners were irreperably damaged when the headstock broke.

I recently did a full clean and setup on a on a 2016 SG in horribly poor shape with the G-Force tuners. Once properly setup, it was great! Possibly a little more headstock heavy than a standard SG because of the extra weight of the robot tuners. But it played and sounded great and once you learn how the tuners work, it's a breeze to tune and change the strings.

People afraid of reading an instruction manual carefully are the people that should leave these guitars alone.

Contributing Member


Mar 12th, 2018 06:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's probably a GREAT guitar now.

The headstock breaks at its weakest point. The repair is stronger than the original wood, so the headstock connection is now stronger than it was when it originally left the factory.

The robo-tuners thing is a personal preference (neither good nor bad).

If I played songs that require alternate tunings, perhaps I would have need for something like that.

I have a J45 that came with the robo-tuners, and I used it that way for several months. I ultimately replaced them with Grover Rotomatics strictly for convenience; it's just easier to deal with. I have no use for the added complexity.



Mar 12th, 2018 09:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

I am aware of the pros and cons and gripes and praises of the Robot system.
I have a friend who owns one and I was originally disappointed that he bought it.
After messing with it a while, and seeing a few YT videos, I now see where it could be a nice thing to have for some people (not all).

However, that was not the intended question or topic in my original post.
I am interested in peoples' experiences and opinions with guitars that have been converted.
Let me try to re-state the question.

Are these Robot guitars good basic guitars without the Robot mechanisms?
If you remove the Robot features and replace it with standard tuners, etc, are you left with a good basic guitar?
Would this de-Robot-ified SG be comparable in quality to a regular traditional SG Standard?

Even though the guitar I am stalking is an SG, there are other Gibsons that had this feature (Les Pauls) that may have also been converted.

(This message was last edited by ejm at 12:03 PM, Mar 12th, 2018)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Mar 12th, 2018 10:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

If you want to buy it as a player and aren't worried about resale value, and the neck isn't too beefy for you, then it's probably a great deal.

But the green finish is not a standard cherry (or tobaccoburst or even black) so that will probably lower the resale value. Even though Peegoo is right - the headstock should now be stronger than original, the headstock break also lowers the resale value (not the function of the guitar).

So if you're thinking of playing this for awhile, then likely moving it on, you might not recoup your investment, unless you're getting it really, REALLY cheap.

So what's your history with guitars? Do you buy and sell a lot, or buy and keep forever? That will determine what you should do about this one.

Doc Sarvis
Contributing Member

USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Mar 12th, 2018 10:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

"People afraid of reading an instruction manual carefully are the people that should leave these guitars alone."

Add to the list people that think it was a really stupid idea in the first place.



Mar 12th, 2018 11:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

RevMikey: I am aware of all that you said and have factored it into the mix.

It will be a player, and not intended for resale.
I always thought that I liked big necks, but this one might be a different animal.
The green finish: From what I can tell it was one of the standard choices on this model. There are a few that came up during a Google search just like it. I did not write the serial number down. I may go back and get the s/n to try and get a bead on the year.

"So what's your history with guitars? Do you buy and sell a lot, or buy and keep forever? That will determine what you should do about this one."

Unfortunately (or in a few cases, not) I tend to keep stuff and not get rid of things, even when I should. I already have enough crap, er I mean gear, so I *really* don't need any more.

But this one seems like a really good deal for what it is.
And my impressions are that when all is said and done, it is an SG Standard with a repaired headstock and a HSC.

Contributing Member


Mar 12th, 2018 02:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

ejm, is it like a metallic army green? If so, I remember those and it's an AWESOME color. I'd love one!



Mar 12th, 2018 03:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

BrentD: Google Gibson SG Robot
Then "shop on Google....."

There is a green one in Japan that is the spittin' image of the one I'm prowling.

Contributing Member


Mar 13th, 2018 06:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yup, that's it. Nice guitar!

As far as I know it's basically a Standard. It might have extra drilling and routing for the robot wiring but otherwise is like the real deal.

IIRC the Robot Les Pauls are like Studios, so keep that in mind if you look for one.


Rock Of Gibraltar

Thou Shalt Gas !
Mar 13th, 2018 10:00 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a Gibson Les Paul Less + that I removed the Robot tuners from.. it was an easy process and reversible if you wanted to go back to original spec.

Nothing wrong with the guitar either once the tuners were replaced

I got it early last year brand new for about half the price that it sold originally :-)

Les Paul Less +



Jun 18th, 2018 10:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree .the Gforce tuners work fine if you want them to .Read the manual.

Contributing Member

North Gnarlyington

Jun 19th, 2018 07:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

I had them on the LP Junior that were being blown out by Sam Ash last year. I removed them because I don't play the guitar enough to remember the procedure; it wasn't second nature as just plain tuning. If it was a main guitar I would have kept them on, as they did work well and would certainly be convenient, especially if you wanted all those tuning options in one place.

Easy to replace and to reverse.

I also bought a direct drop in replacement TUSQ nut from GraphTec. I had written to Gibson and they sent the harder steel nut to replace the brass one, which wears, but I found the metal added a brightness I didn't like.

(This message was last edited by professor at 09:59 AM, Jun 19th, 2018)

FDP Data Goon

We all want

our time in hell
Jun 20th, 2018 04:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

The nut is a titanium one (same as on the '16s that use it).

Wouldn't know what it sounded like without them as it came that way on both mine.

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Gibson "Robot" guitars and conversions

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