Why SG Instead Of Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by NMA, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    This is the best place on Earth to ask this. With the Les Paul and the SG being Gibson's flagship models, we buyers had a decision to make. Why did you go SG instead of the Les Paul? (Or why do you prefer the SG over the Les Paul?)

    Me?

    I played my friend's Les Paul now and again and I always was put off by the weight and the thick (muddy?) tone. The SG looked cooler and to me it has more trebly bite to it.
     
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  2. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

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    Thin body is cool and looks awesome. The Les Paul is nice, but the SG looks like it means business.
    Plus tone that is muddy or trebly has got to do with the pickups and the setup.
     
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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    For me it goes back to when I was about 15...
    Just beginning to go to parties, on the hunt. I was learning how to play
    and dreaming rock an roll dreams.

    This would have been about 1963-64. Les Paul guitars were unknown to me.
    They were discontinued, due to lack of interest. I'd heard his name, but thought
    of him as a Jazz Musician... cool but playing my parents' music. L7, ya know?

    Most of my buddies talked about Telecasters and Strats. Or the sixties kind of
    fly-by-night brands, like Mosrite or Vox. Or Gretsch and Rickenbacker.
    None of my buddies ever mentioned Les Paul guitars. Gibson guitars were held
    in high esteem, but thought of as Jazz Guitars, ES-175 and 335 etc.
    They were also more expensive than Fenders, and were thought to be beyond the
    means of guys like me.

    But I went to a party, and found myself fascinated by the band they had.
    The lead guitarist played a red Gibson SG. I loved his tone, and his technique.
    I couldn't stop watching him (I wasn't getting anywhere with the girls there
    anyway). The band took a break and he set his guitar on a stand, flipped his
    Fender Deluxe to the standby setting and went and got a beer.

    I wanted that guitar, I wanted to be old enough to drink beer, and I wanted the
    girl he had on his arm... I wanted to be him. That SG was the coolest thing I had
    ever seen. Much cooler than Strats and Teles... It was a Gibson, but it was a rocker.
    That band rocked my sox off. I'd never seen an SG before. And I never forgot that
    one.

    I left there feeling an intense stew of mixed emotions:
    Envy, anger, teen angst, anticipation, elation (knowing I was part of the guitar army,
    even if a raw recruit)... in addition to ball busting frustration and longing...
    Young members might know the feeling.

    (fast fwd 45 eventful years)

    When I got ready to buy myself a present, a reward for making it to the hoary aulde
    age of 60, I decided I'd get an electric guitar. I had not had one for decades, and had
    played acoustic and bass for my whole career. I had not needed one, but had never given
    up the love for them.

    I started flipping through M/F catalogs, and of course the SGs caught my eye.
    They were the coolest guitars of 1964, and that has never changed in my view.
    I'd been following all sorts of other music since then, but never forgot how badly I
    wanted an SG when I was still working for tips as a golf caddy, or $1.25 an hour
    (60s minimum wage) pumping fuel into ski boats.

    So I went to GC one day in 2008, and there was a rack full of SGs. I played a
    bunch of them, and one of them rang bells in my heart. I was totally blind sided by
    the emotions of that discovery. I didn't even know what was happening to me, but
    I was bonding with that individual instrument. Other members have described this
    phenomenon. I had to learn about it by going through it. I was extremely reluctant to
    put that guitar back on the rack, and I never let it out of my sight while I was
    trying to understand my own feelings. Finally I picked it back up, and never let it
    out of my hands until the sales guy was saying he would "set it up' for me.

    My eyes got narrow, and I watched him like a hawk, making sure he didn't try and
    pull some kind of switcheroo... But I got safely home with my Gibson SG faded special,
    and have kept it near me ever since. I named her Luna, for the curves of the cutaways.
    She's still the Queen of my music room, ten years later.

    I have other guitars I play, but that humble faded special is the best guitar of any kind
    that I have ever played. I don't need a Les Paul.

    I don't want to sound like I'm dissing Les Pauls. They are lovely, and they make excellent
    music, and I've loved the tones of Les Pauls in the hands of so many famous players.
    I would never belittle the Les Paul. I just don't need one. My SGs do everything I'm
    capable of.
     
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  4. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I have not played a LP. My SG is an Epi G400. My reasoning behind a SG guitar was probably different than most. All my friends played Strats and Teles. I wanted something different. Then as luck would have it. It’s a pretty nice guitar.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  5. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

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    I’m not as eloquent as Col Mustard...

    Les Paul’s are ugly and heavy.

    SG’s are the bees knees.
     
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  6. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    You have to look for the right LP if the SG is your thing.

    I love my SG and like most of you I was never a LP guy. I hate the bulky body that cuts into your ribs and the weight ... gawd, the weight ! But then I found this one: the Epiphone Les Paul Ultra. With its heavily chambered body, it weights about the same as my SG. It has a generous belly cut and it sounds ... delicious with its Probuckers. Very complimentary to my G400 Vintage I might say.

    So, I wouldn't ask why the SG instead of the Les Paul, but why not both.

    01.jpg

    Back-.jpg

    Chambered.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  7. MP4-22

    MP4-22 Member

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    Definitely an SG guy but i like LPs too. If i could only have one guitar it would be a batwing SG standard without question.
     
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  8. musicman2242

    musicman2242 New Member

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    The weight and ease of access to the upper frets makes an SG perfect for me. Plus I'm a life long AC/DC Angus Young fanatic.. I wanted an SG before I ever wanted to play guitar.
     
  9. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    Always have been a Paul player, since my first one, a 72 Custom, way back some 30 years ago. Followed by a 75 Custom, an 81 Custom, a Voodoo, and a VERY brief stint with a 95 Studio. (Only guitar I ever truly hated, and I don't have a concrete reason to say why.) Always loved the Sg in the hands of others, since I just couldn't find that tone that they had. Then recently, pickup up one, and I was able to get what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, without thinking about it. Yeah, the neck pickup can be muddy, but it's supposed to be, (My opinion.) And I LOVE that mud. I sold off the remaining Pauls, and use my 72/73 SG standard pretty much exclusively now.
    I still have my Paul styled guitars, but I probably won't get another Gibson Paul again. And to be honest, I really don't miss them.
     
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  10. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Ergonomics.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  11. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Another LP Ultra owner here. Love it. It's what all LPs should be.

    HPIM4109 med.jpg
    lp ultra 009 med.jpg
     
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  12. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Active Member

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    I'm just scared of going on a PRS binge but haven't gone there yet.

    Many of us are influenced by the guitar players we grew up watching and admiring. SG's have a huge history in rock. So do LPs and Fender Strats and Teles etc. So that's huge right? AC DC / EC / Duane / Derek ... can lead you to the Gibson path right?

    As several people on the forum have noted over time one tends to get used to playing a certain scale length and the gibson one works for me. Guitarists can switch back and forth pretty quickly between different lengths but still especially maybe as we get older some of us get ... picky ...

    Personally I think that both SGs and LPs are excellent choices and that everyone should have at least one each. Obviously many people here have a whole lot more guitars than that.

    The SGs are a little lighter ... with similar pickups in both models for me at least I don't hear any huge differences in how they sound for the most part. ( Going to dodge the whole sustain longer arguments ... a good SG can sustain a really long time ).

    So tell us what you are thinking and heck show us a pic of your guitar!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  13. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    I love them both. At the moment my main guitar for standard tuning is a Les Paul and for slide it's an SG. Ive played SGs for 25 years, and quite frankly it was the looks that did it for me. They simply look awesome. The coolest guitar ever made, period. But LPs are sweet too... Here are my main ones. A rather nice pair, I think (both have been modded slightly since the picture was taken, though).

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Susihukkanen

    Susihukkanen Well-Known Member

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    I have owned two Les Pauls, one very heavy CS and one very light 50’s tribute faded. Both were good sounding and looking guitars, but the ergonomics did not fit me. I feel so much more comfortable playing an SG. And there is a slight difference in looks, I just love the appearance of SGs.
     
  15. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    I will go along with the statements of my brothers Col Mustard, Gahr, Iblive, and DrBgood.

    Having been a life long aspiring rocker, I grew up listening to all manner of players who of course played all types of guitars. In doing so, I never got in a narrow focused gotta have a LP, SG, Strat, Tele, V, Firebird or nothing at all type drive. Therefore, I got best available and would somewhere keep my mind open to the next guitar whatever make or model that might be.

    The same happened when I got my first SG. My first guitar was my '79 LP Std. Having sold it, I always wanted another LP. So, when I was hunting guitars on ebay and missed out on a LP BFG, I kept ebay open and kept looking for a potential other guitar. I saw a number of SG's and luck had it, I would be high bidder on a cool 1987 SG that I totally missed noticing did not have a scratch plate or even a 4th control for Volume/tone options. In other words, it is a 3 knob SG special. When it arrived, I noticed right away and this didn't bother me at all. I had 2 Strats by now and 3 knobs was not odd to play.

    After I bought my 3 knob, I found this forum and was warmly greeted by Col Mustard. As memory serves the first member to do so. He was ever so friendly which only added to the enjoyment of my new 1st SG.

    I liked my first SG so much, I now am happy to say, I have purchased 3 more. One Faded Special like Col Mustard's first SG, and a well thought of by many, P90 equipped SG Classic. Now, I almost forgot the latest gem guitar I took a leap on. After about 5 years since buying my Classic, I found a killer 1976 SG Standard that was for sale on ebay, but was being sold by a local pawn shop near me that I have done business with. I now own it even though it was quite expensive by my normal standards and ability to pay. It was well worth it for this beautiful guitar.

    Similar to my brothers here who have the LP ultra's, I have one LP. It is an Epiphone LP STD that I had professionally set up and a bone nut installed. Before the luthier work, I fixed a few build flaws and added 1979 T Top pickups in it. This guitar was $350+ I paid for it new, and has at least doubled in cost from improvements, but it is a killer player. Great tone and so easy to play. This is also one of the best reasons to buy an SG. Great Tones and Easy to play. So, I have both and am in a win/win status with my SG's and LP.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  16. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  17. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  18. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Active Member

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    Why on earth must we choose? These are simply different colors in the palette.

    [​IMG]

    Horses for courses. I use both in sessions based upon their strengths.

    Bob
     
  19. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    +1 on that... I'm with the good Doctor too...
    Why not both? (barring the expense) The Les Pauls shown in this thread are beautiful.

    Bob's picture above shows about $10,000 worth of Gibson rolling (and rocking) stock.
    Unless he decided to sell them, eh? And maybe that's part of the discussion.
    When you compare Les Pauls and SGs, to me one of the first major differences is
    the cost. You spend almost twice as much for the same thing when you buy the
    Lester. Some guys will maintain that there's enough difference in the tone to justify
    the extra money.

    I maintain that there is not. The two platforms are so similar IMHO
    that the SG is more practical for the working musician whose guitar needs to
    pay for itself. Here is a great range of tones...
    five electrics 5x@100.jpg
     
  20. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Active Member

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    That's funny. I find them to be profoundly different, especially on the neck pickup. Even on the bridge pickup, when you are chording with some gain, they are different: the SG has a brilliant clarity that is easy to contrast to the chunky girth of the Les Paul. I recently took only the SG to a session, thinking that it would cover both the arpeggiated choruses and chunka-chunka verses. I had to run home and bring back the '74 LP Standard to get the chunk I needed for the verses. I could push up the bass on the amp and pull down the tone control on the SG, but the LP just contributed a fatter bass with more bass saturation. By contrast, the wirier sound of the SG was far better for the choruses. That's the influence of the maple cap on the body, and that was intentional in the LP design.

    Bob
     
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