Maple Top SGs and Tone

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by UTGrad, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. UTGrad

    UTGrad Member

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    I see the 2019 SG HD has a flame maple top. Do the maple tops change the tone characteristics of the SG? Sound more like a Les Paul?
     
  2. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

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    Nope, depends on the pickups.
     
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  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    It will never sound like a Les Paul with same settings, if only because of pickups position.
     
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  4. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    For the first part of your question, it depends who you want to believe, but I'd say the biggest factor is the BurstBucker pickups, coil splitting and DIP switch. All that will make a lot more difference to the tonal characteristics than a maple cap could.

    For the second part, does every Les Paul sound the same? If not, that's going to be difficult to answer: More like what, exactly? :)
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    I dont think so... I dont have a HP, but the body of a Les Paul (not planks like the MM, Jr, Special) gives the sound more bottom. An SG will in most cases not sound like a LP, but pickups matters too. But while the LP is chambered, the SG is a plank, and that results in two pretty diffferent sounds.
     
  6. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    When I pick a string on my SG, it goes plank plank.
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    Hm ... A string that goes plank plank ... :D
    Try 0.11s!:D
     
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  8. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    The importance of the pickups (and their placement relative to the bridge) outweighs the wood by... a lot.
     
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  9. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    A chambered LP is a different guitar, though, soundwise. No question about that. I have some experience with this, too...I have worked as a techhelper a period ... sold a lot of Gibsons for a store, spent days in that store trying out all those cool models on a zillion amps ... good times, yeah...I have played Gibsons for 30 yrs now and I have a owned quite a lot of guitars, also owned 5 Gibsons earlier: a 88/89 LP Jr, a '73 LP DeLuxe, A '92-93 LP Standard, 1980 LP Custom and a Flying V (a '00 I think) The tonewood-discussion (I believe its more 1 piece vs 3 piece, Korina vs maple and so on?) is overrated IMO ... but I thought that discussion is not about the difference between a chambered guitar and oneslab axe.. ? IMO that difference - chambered vs slab - has more impact on a neutral sound setting than the pu's. Thats also why I prefer oneslab guitars when I crank up tube amps with no master volume or preamp; I dig the sound, without that lowregister you get from LP's and ES's and such. To me those two models sound much more similar, than an SG and LP. But of course the pus can do A LOT. It think its just important to point out that there IS a major difference soundwise between an SG and a LP ...

    Edit: not really sure if that answers OP question, but IMO your SGs wood will have no or little effect on your sound - but the pickups will, like mentioned!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
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  10. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    I definitely agree there is a difference, but I think most of it comes from the pickup placement in relation to the bridge (provided the pickups are the same, though!). However, there are so many variables involved in a guitar, that it's really hard to compare different models. I tend not to worry, whatever sounds good must be right. When it comes to making an SG sound like a Les Paul I would say yes, you can. You can make it sound exactly like a 1961-early 63 Les Paul!:D
     
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  11. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, sure, man, with the help of pu's and EQ, making ia SG sound like a LP is no big deal, I just meant those two back to back, same pu's, same settings, amp and so on...
    Do we dig SGs?
    Yes, we do!:D
     
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  12. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    YES WE DO!
    (My point, by the way, was that the 1961-63 SGs were in fact Les Pauls, so they do sound like Lesters. The best ones.:dude:)
     
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  13. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    My 2018 SG HP has maple sounds the same as my previous 2017 SG standard so no noticeable impact.
     
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  14. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    Ah... thats right, hehe! LPs from those years rules, awrite, hehe. Need more coffee here it seems..
     
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  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    As for me, I think that I sound like I sound, whatever I plug in, it's me. So why bother ? Play what you have and find YOUR tone.
     
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  16. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    I don' t know about maple top but SG Modern knobs sound awesome ... LOL


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  17. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I believe Gibson has built SGs in the past with a maple top...
    These would be high end models like the SG Supreme, and certain
    customs etc. ... some of them have three pickups.
    I believe that Gibson built them to look pretty, not to sound different.

    So your assignment from ETSG is to advance... reconnoiter the terrain...
    listen carefully, observe... then return and report. We'd like to hear what you think on this subject.

    The only way to do it is to go where they sell them, and play as many
    as they'll let you. Plug them into the same amp, and listen.
    Then tell us what you perceive.

    My suspicion is that you will sound like yourself on an SG with a Maple Cap,
    and you will also sound like your self on an SG with a mahogany body.
    My suspicion is that you can get more tonal variation by turning the tone controls than by switching guitars. Or by switching amps.
    This is a ''vintage tone pedal..." with secrets revealed.

    Vintage Tone pedal.jpg
     
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  18. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    Unless the maple cap is pretty thick it won't really be relevant .How thick are they? A maple cap may (or may not) change the intrinsic tone, I dunno. Conventional wisdom says it should be a little brighter, but to honest I love an SG for being a fairly bright guitar as it is; I can move my picking-hand around and get Tele, or Les Paul depending on where I hit the string.

    If it does nothing for the tone, meh, I don't like paying for bling.

    If it makes the tone brighter, it's solving a problem I don't have.

    Not being big on bling either, there's nothing making me say get one. For myself, a thin slab of hog sounds damned close to right, it doesn't need a cap.
     
  19. njpaulc

    njpaulc Active Member

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    Doesn't mass also effect tone. The Les Paul has more mass than an SG.
     
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  20. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    I have live recordings of myself playing Telecasters, SGs, Solid Les Pauls, Chambered Les Pauls and Firebirds. They sound more the same than they do different.

    Once I was in the high-end room of a GC and they had a Guild Artist Award. This is a carved, full-size hollow-body jazz guitar. I played it a bit and asked my wife what she thought. She said "it sounds just like your other guitars". At first I thought "Pshaw", then I played some more and really listened. She was right. Whether it's my right hand, left hand, phrasing, whatever, I could have been playing a Les Paul, more or less.

    I get guitars that have a decent basic tone and good feel (looks don't hurt), and go from there.
     
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