Maple Top SGs and Tone

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

  1. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    This is the reason the Les Paul has a slightly rounder sound on the neck pup. It is placed further away from the bridge than the neck pup on an SG.
     
  2. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry, despite being a native English speaker, Biddlin still doesn't even know what psychogenic actually means. It's not the first time he's misused it:

    I doubt it'll be the last. :rolleyes:
     
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    yes, I agree with the good Doctor that the placement
    of pickups will have a powerful effect on tone. '70s SGs sound
    different from their '60s cousins, and the post Norlin guitars
    we all know and love. They have their bridge p'ups farther forward.

    And this may account for the perceived difference in the tone of
    the Les Paul guitar and the SG... It might even be one of the reasons
    ol' Les himself never liked the SG. AND it might be one of the reasons
    I do. *grins

    But I still maintain that simply turning the tone controls can even
    this difference out some, and that the controls on the guitar and the amp
    will have a more powerful effect on tone than the wood from which
    the instrument is constructed.
     
  4. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. If you really wanted to establish that two guitars sounded the same, you'd have to work pretty hard to get there - make sure the strings are the same brand, gauge, age; the same pick, used with the same force, in the same spot, and so on and on, through to the speaker and beyond.

    Part of the problem is we all tend to think that the Les Paul has A sound, the SG has A sound, etc. Of course, they don't, they have an extremely wide range of sounds. Any one of which could be used to compare to any one of the other...
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I totally agree with you, Col. The pu's, the amp, not at least the speakers, that whole combo has endlessly more to say on the tone than the wood... Sure. Regardless of that: To my ears most Les Pauls (not planks like Jrs, Specials) have more bottom than SGs, more lowregister in their sound, compared to SGs, and this also another reason why I prefer SGs to LPs.
    Edit: typo
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  6. S.Ustain

    S.Ustain Active Member

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    I don't know why these threads instantly devolve into "no, only this is critical!" or "it's all in your fingers...you could play a banjo and sound like you!" etc. when the simple truth is that a guitar is an interactive system (including the player and rig) and everything has an impact. The real question is "how much?" and that depends entirely on what and how you play. If you run an SG through an OD pedal, then lots of small factors (like topwood) are erased and you don't need to care. If you play clean -- no amp distortion either -- then stuff like top wood, or fretboard wood, can make a difference. For most of my guitars, I'd rank tonal influences in this order: amp and signal chain; pots and caps; pickups; wood/build variations. Since like most of us, I adjust to the guitar somewhat and have a large number of ways of adjusting my sound regardless of the guitar, I don't figure my own touch and style into the equation. It's not as though the guitar selects notes, phrasing, or touch. No wonder I sound like me.
     
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  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    So ... you always pluck the string the same way ? Wow ...

    Here are just a few things that make MY playing sound like me.
    - I rarely pluck the string at the same spot on the string lenght. This is one of the ways you can modulate the tone on a single pickup guitar.
    - My string attack varies a lot depending on what I want to achieve.
    - I might use different kinds of picks, more or less stiff and made with different materials.
    - Sometimes I play a single string with my fingers.
    - Sometimnes I pluck a few strings at the same time, hard or soft.
    - Down stroke, up stroke.
    - Sometimes I strum with the top of a finger nail, just letting it glide down the strings (really nice airy and pure tone).
    - I palm mute often.

    And that's just with my right hand.

    With the left.
    - When I do vibratos ... speed and amplitude vary a lot.
    - Tapping can be soft or aggressive.
    - etc ...
    - etc ...

    So for me ... yes ... tone is in the fingers first. If not for you, I think you're missing the most fun part of playing an electric guitar and finding your own voice.

    But that's me ... :cool:

    PS ... fretboard wood on an electric ?
     
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  8. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    The way I see it, the entire signal chain is an instrument that I'm playing.

    Does wood type or thickness factor into it? Sure. Does it determine final results? Not at all.

    My sense is that Les Pauls are more complex and SGs are a little less-so. 95% of what I can do on a Paul I can do on an SG, and vice-versa. The build makes for some of that difference. Many, many other factors go into it, and using them (you've got knobs for a reason, right?) you can almost always cover the one guitar with the other, tonally.

    I sound like myself no matter what guitar I'm playing ... but what guitar I'm playing does have a small effect. Give me an SG any day.
     
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  9. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    I have no clue. I can say that I seem to play every guitar differently. I even seem play my 14 and 17 differently. I rest my left hand naturally in a different location for some reason. It creates a different sound as one tends to closer to the bridge and the other the neck.
     
  10. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    ya you betcha... and this is one of the reasons that guys tend to agonize over tiny details, or "tone wood" or what year a guitar was made.

    And I still maintain that there's enough hand work done on most Gibsons
    that general statements about them are not valid. Ya gotta play it.
    That's how you know. There are fine ones in every year class... and dogs too.

    I like the concept that the whole rig is the instrument we are playing.
    This also tends to unplug any "general statements" about this model of
    guitar or that one, or this brand of strings, or that one, or this fretboard
    material, or that one... I agree whole heartedly that the entire rig is
    the instrument... and the entire rig is what we hear when we play.

    When I play my SG, I sound like me on an SG...
    When I play my Telecaster, I sound like me on a Tele
    (which is a '72 Tele Deluxe replica... so go figure)
    I don't own a Les Paul... what for? But if I did, I'd sound
    like me on a Paul... whatever that might be.

    This is one of the reasons that there are so many different kinds
    of guitars made. Lucky us that we have all these choices.

    I like the good Doctor's statement that his pick dynamics depend a lot
    on what he wants to achieve... For me, my pick dynamics depend a lot
    on how I'm feeling. *grins (izzat different sides of the brain at work? or what...) But certainly how I'm feeling makes a huge input on the tone
    of the music. Much more than 'tone wood" in an electric guitar.
     
  11. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I'm an acoustic player... and I've recently been listening a lot to several
    different acoustic guitars. Acoustics are a whole different animal...
    conversely: Electric guitars are a whole different animal from acoustics...

    For an acoustic guitar player: Tonewood is crucial, and makes a huge
    difference to the tone and sustain, and to the depth and the jangle...
    Tonewood is ALL. The tone of an acoustic guitar is the vibrations of the
    tonewood in air, amplified by whatever technology we apply.

    For Electric guitars, the tone of the instrument comes from a steel string vibrating in a magnetic field. That's it, pretty much. Plug that into an
    amp, and vibrate that signal into a speaker's voice coil, and then vibrate
    the air with the speaker's cone. Turn your knobs to adjust the tone.

    These are truths. But a good guitar player will sound like himself on
    any guitar. If you think about this, you know I'm right. The thickness of
    the neck, the width of the fretboard, the position of the strap button...
    all these things make real differences, but a good guitar player will play
    right through them. That's my opinion anyway.

    We see and read lots of crybaby posts about neck shapes... or pickup
    technology. I don't get it, personally. I think that all the pickups I've ever
    played were accurate. And I own a variety of instruments with a variety
    of neck shapes, and I play them all without fuss.
    But I know that for the OP, those differences might seem important.

    So my comments are intended to be humble opinions, and I'm always
    interested in what my colleagues here might say.
     
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  12. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Ok, now I understand :rofl: :thumb:

    Image temp 5333.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  13. koaguilds

    koaguilds Well-Known Member

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    What I find interesting is that anyone that has played an all maple SG such as the rare SG Select or the SG Raw Power is that they notice a sharper tone than their all mahogany counterparts. I'm not talking about a maple top but a solid maple body AND a Maple neck. Is it the maple or the pickups?
     
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    When comparing a mahogany vs maple body SG, I wonder if those same folks are transplanting the same pickups, controls, strings, nut, bridge, etc between each guitar to make a scientific comparison?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  15. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    And what about red stain VS black paint ? :rofl:

    For the all maple SG VS mahogany, we'd have to make sure all other variables are the same: pickups, pickguard screws, caps, tuners, pots, fret material, string wear, etc ...
     
  16. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Ebony vs rosewood boards.
     
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  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Oops, had not seen your response and was commenting the Ebony/rosewood line.

    I tend to open multiple tabs and sometimes when I come to the last one, someone has commented and I don't see it. So this happens. But it shows that great minds think alike :naughty:
     
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  18. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    I'll say this: in the nearly 40 years I've been playing, probably 13 or 14 have been acoustic-only. I've always loved a good flattop sound and I get bored with electrics for my own music, so I do go back and forth.

    The greatest benefit I've gotten from this practice over the years is an understanding of touch. It took me a long time to learn that you can get very different sounds out of the same acoustic simply by how you touch it -- of course whether you're playing fingerstyle or with a pick, how hard you strike the strings in each domain, where you strike them (closer to the neck or the bridge), and even how hard you're fretting the strings with your left hand.

    The beauty of learning this on an acoustic is that it transfers fairly well to an electric rig, because things like string-excursion affect what the preamp sees, especially if you use minimal effects, which is my approach. One reason I love my Egnater so much is that when I dial it in right -- which is not hard, despite the amp's seemingly-complex control set -- is that it has a pretty broad sweet-spot where I can go between clean with a little hair to full-on pummeling without a boost pedal (I use that only to juice lead lines a little).

    Learning how to be touch-sensitive with your guitar works on electrics as well as acoustics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  19. brazilnut

    brazilnut Active Member

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    If you want more complexity in your SG, try some high-end aftermarket pickups. I am now a believer in spending beaucoup dollars for good pickups--it really makes a difference!
     
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  20. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Well-Known Member

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    I generally get that by playing in the middle position and balancing pickup volumes. On an SG, that's my go-to spot for jazz tones, for instance.

    Good to see you here, btw, Brazzy, you're one of the Mad Hatters and I miss you all.
     
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