1st post - I don't understand my Gibson SG

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by alex1fly, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. alex1fly

    alex1fly New Member

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    Cross posting from another forum - got some good advice there, but since this is THE SG FORUM, I thought I'd put my post here too to see what y'alls perspective is.

    Coming from 18 years in Fender land, I am having an interesting time getting to know this Gibson SG that I picked up earlier this year. I'd never been inspired by Gibsons until I played this guitar, and the thing just oozed tone and woody vibes so I brought it home. I've been plinking on it for several months now and after a couple of jam sessions with others, I'm as confused by this guitar as ever. It is all mahogany with 57 Classics.

    Cleans - Fat. Woody. Marvelous sound. Warm, even the bridge pickup. Needing to add treble at the amp. Almost lacks dynamic response to picking attack - all notes kind of come out the same. Middle position seems to make the tone thinner and more clear, which is a nice contrast to the neck or bridge by themselves. Gorgeous bedroom tone, live it feels a little clumsy. Less to "explore" because my picking dynamics don't come across, but probably sounds better and more consistent to the listener. Maybe I should try adding rests in my playing.

    High gain - Oh my. This is the money. The compressed nature makes high gain riffage real smooth and slick sounding. Solos sound like I know what I'm doing. Classic, almost radio-ready sound. I almost don't know what to do with a classic sound after so many years of chasing my own sound. I can't seem to get any extra snarl by picking harder. Would probably sound nice on a recording.

    Hardware - I don't know what to do with 2 volumes and 2 tones. Running volume at 50% and below seems to open up the sound and let it breathe somewhat. 2 tone knobs feels crazy when the whole guitar is so warm. Frets are super tall even after I crowned them. Tempted to take off more fret height so its closer to what I'm used to. I was pushing notes out of tune easily so I put on heavy gauge strings... not pushing notes out of tune anymore but my fingertips are sore from a 2 hr jam, what gives? Love the fixed bridge... tuning is super stable. Whole guitar is 6.5 lbs so it's no sweat to pick it up and plink. 24.75" scale is a revelation! I can hit lines and chords that I never thought possible.

    Live band - so many mids! What do I do with all these mids? I am taking up a boatload of musical space here. Usually I take up space by playing big chords with a fat attack and thin out my sound by backing off the attack... this guitar takes up the same amount of space with a single note. I need to find a new way to dial it down and play dynamically - maybe the volume knob plays more of a role here than my picking hand.

    Anyways, just reflecting on this instrument instead of working. Back to it.

    Alex
     
  2. Matt748

    Matt748 New Member

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    A very interesting read.
    Out of interest what model SG do you have?
     
  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Enjoy discovery, man. welcome. I played ES 225 and Fender Strat for 35 years before the SG bug bit me. Now i have a herd, P90s, 57s and 490s. for pickups.
    I am toying with the idea of changing knob assignments, going to 1 master tone, individual channel volumes and a master volume.
    Pics of your SG would be ever so appreciated.
     
  4. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    If you’re coming from Fenders with single coils to Gibsons with humbuckers, that is why you are hearing a difference.

    It’s not specific to the SG.

    Single Coils- thin, little to no midrange
    Humbuckers - fat with midrange

    My favorite pups are P-90's.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  5. Hammer

    Hammer Well-Known Member

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    What'd ya buy? And, yea...we're gonna need pics!
     
  6. alex1fly

    alex1fly New Member

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    What's the best way to post photos? I know some forums prefer BB code directly in the text box, others prefer the actual URL in the "Image URL" field... what works best here? Happy to share some shots. I THINK it's the Future Tribute model based on the truss rod cover and the Gibson page for it.

    Look out... massive photos coming lol
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  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Cool photos of an excellent Gibson. Welcome to ETSG!
    The tones of a Gibson and a Fender are very different, so you shouldn't expect
    one to ever sound like the other. That's why we like to have both.
    Some songs, you'll want the Fender... other songs, the Gibson will nail it.

    Finding your place in the band mix will need some EQ work. You can notch the mids
    with an EQ pedal, that's an easy and fairly inexpensive way to keep two guitars running
    through the same amp. Play the Fender the way you always do, and when you pick
    up the SG, stomp the pedal. You can tweak the pedal to put the SG tone right where
    you want it.

    Don't lower your frets! Remember that tall frets make bending easier, as does the
    shorter neck of the Gibbie. It's very likely that you're squeezing your guitar too hard
    if you're throwing your notes sharp. Heavier strings are not necessary unless you are
    tuning the SG a step low, or more. What you might have to do is second guess your
    fretting hand work.

    I had to learn this the hard way, of course. But I learned it. After getting my first SG, I
    couldn't believe how my hand was throwing the notes sharp. But I put my SG into the hands
    of a guitar player I highly respect, and watched him play it, and listened. That's how I found
    out that there was nothing wrong with my guitar. It was my years of playing badly setup
    acoustics that had developed my "grip of death..." And the Gibson showed this up clearly.
    Not only did the SG show my poor technique clearly, but I bought a Telecaster not long
    afterwards, and the Tele tends to show ALL a player's faults, as well as all a player's virtues.
    Teles are like that. So it wasn't the guitar's fault. It was me.

    I already knew that gripping the guitar too hard kept my hand all cramped up and
    unable to move.
    So I decided to learn how to play all over again. Except this time with a much more relaxed hand. I forced myself to re-learn every song, but keep my thumb behind the neck. It was good practice too.

    Once I formed habits of playing with my hand relaxed, my style took off, and I found myself
    playing parts I never thought I could. It's not easy to change bad habits, but it's very worth the effort. Good luck with this.
     
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  8. alex1fly

    alex1fly New Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts! It is such a different beast. Your approach of re-learning seems wise. Sometimes it's tricky to switch from focusing on what you want from an instrument to getting what the instrument gives you. And I'm so used to wrangling tones out of the Fender style guitars! I can be really musical with them, but there is absolutely a violent element to it. And perhaps this SG wants to be cuddled instead of slapped around.

    I have a couple other shorter scale mahogany/humbucker guitars in the stable for comparison, but the SG just dominates them in terms of warmth. Maybe I need to do some more drastic EQ work than what I'm used to.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  9. alex1fly

    alex1fly New Member

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    Another interesting point I'd forgotten about - the neck felt real wobbly at first with .10s. Like I could pull the pitch a half step in either direction with the slightest pressure. I'm doing some searches on here and it looks like there's some discussion about this. I don't know anything about neck tenons or glue joints, but I do know that the neck feels way more stable with the heavy gauge strings (.14s! George Benson TIs. I was curious. Wow!). But I usually play .10s so it'd be nice to get back down to that size (or 11s, even) while avoiding that wobbly feeling. I saw some advice on one thread about setting it up with a straight neck (little to no relief) and cranking the tailpiece down.
     
  10. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Bridge is installed backwards.
    Look at high and low E strings.
    Look at the notches on the saddles.
    All will be revealed.

    From the factory...

    ABR-1: screws face the pup
    Nashville: screws face the tailpiece

    Your bridge is a Nashville.
    I spotted the screws facing the wrong way and then saw that the notches on the saddles do not correspond with the correct string diameter.


    Crank that tailpiece down and...

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    too steep of a break angle and downward pressure over bridge will cause it to cave in over time. Happens to both ABR-1 and Nashville bridges.

    Set tailpiece height so that strings do not hit the back edge of the bridge. Some necks are set to the body at a greater angle than others. When this occurs, the bridge and tailpiece will need to be raised higher.

    Be sure to check the intonation after you get the bridge sorted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  11. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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  12. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    HAHA, Biddlin. I bet our new member would like an SG like my first one.

    87 3 Knob  SG.jpg
     
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  13. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    LMAO @ Cuddled THATSA HOOT!!!!
     
  14. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Perfectly said
     
  15. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    I seem to be the opposite. I played SG's for 30 years and wrestled with them and thrashed them around. The project I am in now requires mostly Strats. Never liked them. Now I love them as I needed to re-educate my hands to lighten up to get the desired result.
    Every guitar is a different animal and requires us to adjust to what it has to offer. I have become a better player because of it.
    Keep playing your new SG and you will adjust and notice an improvemant in your ability to be more diverse of a guitarist.
    Congratulations on your new SG! Awesome!
     
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  16. alex1fly

    alex1fly New Member

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    Wow, good catch! That's 100% my bad. Who makes a bridge that FALLS OFF, honestly? Just kidding - I'll get it.

    Thanks for all the advice. I had a good session last night playing with a lighter touch and man, this guitar really is something special. It just oozes vibe all over the place and it's neat to connect with such an iconic piece of music culture. I feel like we'll have to "date" for a while before we get the best out of each other.
     
  17. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    That's the beauty of guitars. They don't care how many other guitars you are dating!
     
  18. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Thatsa good one Shreddy. HAHA.
     
  19. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Then there are the EPI bridges. If I remember right, the screws face the head stock.
     
  20. [RGMW]largie

    [RGMW]largie New Member

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    Nice to see somebody else enjoying a future tribute :-) lots of people bad mouth them because of the tuners but once you've used them they're great. IMHO anyway.
    Mine's in chocolate and since I bought it I don't play anything else.
    Cheers
    Dave
     

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