This Gibson won't stay in tune if the whammy bar is used at all. What are your solutions? I've included a picture of the beast in question. I've already dressed the nut and saddle slots and installed plastic sleeves over the bridge mounting studs in order to limit the bridge movement when the strings slide over the saddles. Thoughts?
Yukon, You may be asking the impossible. SGs are notorious for going out of tune even with a stop tailpiece. This is usually because of the long, unsupported, usually rubbery necks, Some people think nylon saddles work better with the Vibrola. Gibson also had domed height adjustment wheels which allow the bridge to rock back and forth with the strings.
I don't sound very hopeful, do I?
ps. Nice article about you and your friends in American Luthiery.
You may get some improvement with a low friction nut.
Minimise the break angle on the saddles if necessary by shimming the tailpiece to allow freer sliding.
Look up the frudua method of tuning on youtube it helps
Replace the bridge with a TonePro's roller bridge. The Tune-O-Matic was never intended to be used with a vibrato tailpiece. Having lived with one for several years, I'm convinced that nothing else will work.
The bottom line is that the Maestro Vibrola is, and always has been a VERY bad design. It relies on a single piece of spring steel to maintain & return to pitch. This is why so many guys in the '60's & 70's (including myself) ditched them and put on stop tailpieces.
The Vibrola is best thought of as a fashion accessory.
Rusty (which is what a lot of them eventually become)