61 Reissue more treble?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by txclimber, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. txclimber

    txclimber New Member

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    I just bought a 2002 61 Reissue and really like it but with my amp settings I have to turn the tone knobs down to about 5 to get things to sound right. All of my other humbucking guitars are on 10. My SG Classic with P90s is also on 10 and still kind of dark. I've had a 61 RI in the past but don't remember it being so bright.

    I assume the pickups are 57 Classics, they have the PAF sticker but no other markings.

    Does anyone else notice this or is it likely that a previous owner has changed pots or caps or something? It looks stock (Gibson pots, with aged patina).
     
  2. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Two SG with same pickups can sound very different. You can darken a guitar tone with tone knobs, you can't get it to sound brighter though.

    I witnessed that comparing identical 2003 and 2005 Epiphones G400 Vintage. One sounded real dark, the other brighter. I even switched all electronics to see if they would still have that difference. That switch did nothing, The dark one remained dark. I am not a tonewood believer, but they had the same tonal difference unplugged.

    I kept the brighter 2003 (top one in photo), even if the 2005 wood grain looked way better.

    2003-2005.jpg
     
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  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    1. Have you adjusted pickup heights at all? Closer to strings should fatten up a bit, but there is often a "sweet spot".
    2. Your amp has knobs, use 'em.
     
  4. PixMix

    PixMix Well-Known Member

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    To echo Dr.'s comment, I too have two SG's from the same year and specs, 2014 Standard '61, pretty much same specs as the '61 RI. They sound very different. The burst is so much darker than the red one, as if it's a totally different model/make. When I have some time to kill, I think I'm going to take their electronics apart and compare them piece by piece.
     
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  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG!

    It seems to me that if you turn your tone knobs and then get a sound you like, you're doing the right thing. So I don't see a problem in what you describe...

    Except that if you run your guitars wide open, you are simply bypassing the tone controls. You have controls on your amp too, so maybe if you're running your guitars wide open you've got some controls on your amp set to pad the highs. When you say you've got your P-90 SG
    running the tone knobs at ten and it still sounds dark, I wonder what amp you're playing it through and what you've got that set to do. None of my amps would ever
    sound like that with P-90s. P-90s render all the tones, just like humbuckers do. Highs, mids and lows.

    AND the simple solution to whatever problem you are having is an EQ pedal. If your amp has an f/x loop, put the pedal in there. When you play a guitar that you are happy with, leave the pedal off. When you plug in a guitar that you think sounds dark, preset the pedal to give more highs, and stomp it. Problem solved.
    No surgery, no new p'ups... no hassle.

    I use my guitar's tone knobs, so I wouldn't run them wide open. I have an SG with the
    '57 Classic and Classic plus p'ups... I run my neck tone knob at about 8 and I run my bridge tone knob at about 3, and I get a tone that I like.

    I also use both pickups, and I like the blend of the darker neck p'up with the brighter bridge p'up. I believe that I'm using the pickups and the controls the way they were designed.

    And if you're turning your tone knob to about 5 and getting a tone you like, I believe you are using your pickups and controls the way they were designed to be used also...
     
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  6. txclimber

    txclimber New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. To clarify, I don't think I'm having a problem or issue. Certainly not something that needs to be fixed. I think it's great to have more treble on hand should I need it...and I need it. Yes, my amp has knobs too and yes I'm using them. I have a Mesa Lonestar and they are notoriously boomy, even muddy, on the gain channel. As such, even with the amp's bass settings very low and the treble pretty high, all of my other humbucker guitars and the one with P90s need their tone knobs dialed up to 10 (or use an EQ in the loop to dial back 240hz). Not so with this 61 RI, 5 gets me there.

    My query wasn't one based on "Why can't I get a good tone out of this SG?" I certainly can, easier in fact. Rather why/how does this particular SG have the ability to dial in much more treble than my LP (with the exact same pickups) or any other HB's (SG's included) I currently own or have owned, using the same amp, P/U heights, etc. Is it because it's a RI...unlikely or I would have noticed it before. Is it the particular piece of wood? Did previous owner mod in some way?

    If it is a characteristic of certain chunks of wood, as some of you suggest, I feel lucky. If there is a pot or cap that can be changed to achieve this, I'd like to replicate it.
     
  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I thought it had to be the amp...

    One of the differences between an SG and a Les Paul is in the placement
    of the neck p'up... The SG design is for a thinner body, with less wood to
    hold the neck pocket AND a pickup in the same part of the guitar.

    The thicker, heavier Les Paul has enough wood there to do this. But the SG
    needs to set the neck p'up farther back. This might be one of the reasons
    ol' Lester himself didn't like the SG. For my part, it's one of my favorite
    features. Internet threads go on and on about the differences (real and
    imagined) between SGs and Les Pauls, but this is one you can measure,
    and it's one you can hear if you listen VERY carefully.

    At band volume and in a mix with other instruments and f/x, I believe it
    amounts to very little.

    So the only difference I can think of which might cause YOUR '57s to
    sound bright and mine to sound normal is: coil tapping?
    Do you have four-wire leads coming off your pickups? Maybe someone did
    something to those, either to get rid of the coil tap or to make it
    permanent.

    I don't really know because I don't have any guitar with push pull coil tap
    knobs, and I wouldn't buy one. I have no use for this feature, since I like
    the tone of the humbuckers AND a also own a P-90 guitar. But I've listened
    to comparison videos, and when they turn a hum bucker into a single coil
    I don't like it much. But maybe if you have a coil tapped hum bucker and you
    play it into a muddy boomy amp, they counter-act each other.
     
  8. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    Perhaps the previous owner modified the guitar for '50s Wiring. Many people describe the change as having a blanket lifted from their tone. I have a Les Paul wired this way that is really bright. The tones are usually set between 5-7. By contrast, my 2019 SG Special w/P90s and '60s Wiring sounded pretty dull, even though it has 500K pots all the way around. To compensate for the difference, I lowered the P90s and raised the pole pieces quite a bit (along with a few other "tricks"). Sounds much better now! :thumb:
     
  9. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    50s wiring is functionally identical to modern when the volume controls are maxed. It is only when the volumes are turned down that 50s wiring will make a difference. Towards the bottom of the volume control, the 50s wiring will roll off the top much more strongly.
     
  10. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    Really? It's been my experience that '50s wiring helps retain the top end. The "downside" is the Volume and Tone are interactive, i.e. volume is reduced when the tone is rolled off. That's never been a problem for me, and I rarely have both controls wide open...
     
  11. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
    Had the same issue with a stock 2009 SG '61 Reissue that I had in the past. Annoying as hell icepick treble frequencies. The guitar sounded too brittle to my ears and throttling back the tone controls made it sound muddy and unresponsive.

    Had a 2004 SG Special at the same time that played and sounded much better to my ears. I sold the SG '61 Reissue and kept the SG Special. SG Classics and SG Specials are my favorites.
     
  12. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    What I figured ... (I'm probably out the left field with this) is that the more figured grain in the darker SG has more "air" between fibers, so tone is deeper, hollow. The other with tighter grain has vibrations bounce faster at a higher frequence.

    Hmm ...
     
  13. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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  14. Super fuzz

    Super fuzz Member

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    My SG with 57 classics seems much brighter than my two Les Pauls, but not uncontrollably so. I will run the tone on the bridge around 5 or so. My Lester’s tone knobs are usually set to around 7 for comparison.

    Not sure of the cause. I kinda always thought it was the pot values or pickups.
     
  15. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

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    I had that problem with my ‘61 reissue with the 57 classics.
    Ripped them out and installed my favourite combo, Seymour Duncan 59 in the neck and a JB in the bridge.
     
  16. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I know, crazy eh ? But that was when played dry, unplugged.

    As for when plugged in, I switched all the electronics from one to the other and dark guitar remained dark. Go figure ...
     
  17. txclimber

    txclimber New Member

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    I'm beginning to think @DrBGood is on to something with the wood grain.

    It's not the amp settings, my other guitars aren't bright on these settings.

    It's not the P/Us, I have other guitars with 57s.

    It's not an SG vs LP thing, this is the 7th SG I've owned and am quite familiar with their "standard" tones.

    It's not a 50's wiring thing. I opened it up and it's wired like a modern guitar.

    It's not coil tapped.

    It is however one piece of very tightly grained wood, more tight than any other guitar I own. After ruling out all the other possibilities, I'm leaning in to this one. I'm psyched to have a HB guitar that has so much treble on hand, especiallly with my particular amp. Thanks to everyone that chimed in!
     
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  18. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Now ... we gotta se the culprit. Show us that tight grain, it's for science !
     
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  19. txclimber

    txclimber New Member

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    61 RI.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  20. txclimber

    txclimber New Member

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    There she is. 2002. Read other threads stating Gibson changed hardware on the 61RI's to chrome and nashville bridges in 2002, but this one has ABR and nickel. Maybe there wasn't a hard cut off? Either way, I'm liking what this horse brings to the stable.
     
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