How does an SGJ "play/feel" compared to top line SG?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by ECW, May 8, 2020.

  1. ECW

    ECW New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hi,
    New here. Looking to purchase a lefty SGJ. Never had an SG before. The play & feel of the neck is most important to me, so I was wondering if there are any major differences in how it feels compared to more expensive models... that a great setup &/or plek job would not fix?

    Say if you played both blindfolded... could the SGJ feel as "slinky", "easy bending" "ease of playing notes /chords" (or the potential to)? For instance....some Epiphone Lefties I've picked up in stores just feel stiff... cold... difficult to bend etc.

    BTW(edit) This would be for an online purchase only. I just can't put my hands on to tell for myself at this time. I know all the other specs.
    Thanks for any info to help me decide!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    4,743
    ECW likes this.
  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    sgjsbds1.jpg
    Here's my 2013 SGJ with Tronical tuners added. It plays and sounds great, I really like it for recording. Maple neck is very stable.
     
    rotorhead, RhinestoneStrat and ECW like this.
  4. Derald

    Derald Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2018
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I’ve personally owned an SGJ. It’s a nice guitar with a satin finish and 50’s style rounded neck. Those are the unchangable aspects of the guitar. Whether it plays slinky or stiff is up to the player the strings and the setup. The SGJ has a thick neck and a satin finish. Some people prefer those aspect some do not. I liked the maple neck since it added stability and made the neck feel stiffer, and thus, I could lower my action without buzzing the frets.
    The SGJ is definitely a cheaper guitar so you’re not going to get the great fret jobs that the Standards have. Nothing a good setup can’t fix.
     
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    Not the case with mine. Frets were/are perfect. Also, since they don't hide the fret end with "nibs" you can see and use the whole fret.
     
    rotorhead and ECW like this.
  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    8,055
    Likes Received:
    8,139
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    Welcome to ETSG!

    Know that the human hand can play any musical instrument from a
    double bass to a mandolin with NO PROBLEMS...

    So all that stuff about neck shape is nonsense. Just imaginary difficulties
    amplified by internet intolerance. A closed mind is nothing to be proud of.

    That said, if you are picky about neck shapes, you have to play it
    before you buy it. That's the truth. You can't ask guys on an internet forum
    (like me) who know nothing about your music...to give you accurate advice
    about which SG you should buy.

    My humble opinion: you have to go where they sell them, and play as many as
    they'll let you
    . That's how you know. Play all of them within reach... buy the one
    that comes alive in your hands. THAT, my friend is priceless. If you play a bunch
    of SGs, and buy the one that makes your music flow... you will have the guitar of
    a lifetime. If you look at it that way, the price is unimportant. How much is your
    tone worth? So the magic SG could be a Standard, or a Special, or an SGJ, or a
    61 RI, or any of the other interesting variants Gibson has offered.
    IMHO it's mostly setup.
    If NONE of the ones you play rings your bell... keep looking.

    Your guitar is out there. It doesn't have to be an SGJ. The advantage of buying one
    of those is the price. If you regard the price as just a way of getting your hands
    on potential, then you are likely to find your way to great music. An SGJ is an excellent and inexpensive Gibson. The reason to buy one is that you want what
    that guitar can do. AND you want the low price so you can afford to get it set up
    to be exactly what your music needs.

    If you want what any particular guitar can do, then you practice with it until
    your hand knows its way around the neck. The shape of the neck means very
    little. It's only the tone and the feel that matter.
     
    Fltwrench, VSG and Dallaz like this.
  7. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    4,743
    Here we go again.
    Neck is everything to some folks.

    Would you wear shoes that are too big or too small for your feet?

    Would you sleep on a mattress that does not provide the proper support and alignment for your back?

    Would a tall basketball player drive a car that was too compact and did not allow enough headroom or space to stretch out the legs?

    Maybe it’s best to let folks decide on their own what matters to them instead of trying to tell them.
     
    LesSGTeleNYC and SG standard like this.
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    I have 20+ guitars, Classical to pointy. I can navigate all the necks without difficulty and most without giving any thought to their shape or size. Sometimes we need a little push to realize our potential. Bike riding and swimming come to mind. I know a lot of guys that convinced themselves "Heavy gauge strings are needed for big tone." They see guys like Rev Willy and then they give it a second thought.
     
  9. ECW

    ECW New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    SGJ is in my current budget, so I'm trying to get some opinion on the pontential of that model. I'm LEFTY so I can't just go try a"bunch" like right handers can. There are only about 2 even online. There is a Pandemic so most stores are closed right now (in my area). I stated this is would be an online purchase... or else I know putting my hands on them is the preferred way. And if it all came down to a good set up, then my other 30 Lefties would play like my new Suhr. I've had some of the best shops in NY, LA and Nashville do work on them. I played some lefty Epiphone SGs in LA stores before I moved to Nashville... and they were stiff, heavy, and I would say could never play like a "great guitar". I guess I was looking any comments like "mine PLAYS just like an expensive one now".. or "I could never get the fretboard to have that smooth bending feel for some reason". etc. Biddlin's comment was most helpful so far. Thanks guys!
     
  10. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    6,586
    Likes Received:
    3,509
    Location:
    Maryland
    The POTENTIAL of an SGJ is endless. WHEN they were selling new and even at the end of their run, they sold like HOT CAKES if my memory serves me right.
    Their popularity speaks volumes to me even though I never owned one. Same goes for the Faded SG's despite them being 22 fretters.

    To Be Cont.
     
  11. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    4,743
    Great!

    How so?
    Try convincing someone who needs a 15" bicycle frame that they can use a 21" bicycle frame just as well while maintaining an optimized pedal stroke.
     
  12. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    6,586
    Likes Received:
    3,509
    Location:
    Maryland
    ECW Welcome to the forum. To enlighten you. THE guys who have posted here so far, ar nothing short of some of the top pro and experienced players and guitar tech members of the forum. I see you seem to have your share of experiences as well.

    I sort of sense the stiff feel of Epi G400 type SG's too. My Epi LP seems the opposite.
    I am not tall and skinny, although when I first played a guitar I was skinny. Now at over 245 lbs and a lifetime of physical labor, I could easily snap a Gibson neck from the body without much force. In saying this, I go back to my EPI LP Std seeming more bendy than how you view the EPI SG's. I have noticed without much effort, I can have the LP across my torso and if I take a deep breath while strumming or doing bends vibratos etc, I can literally watch the strings get closer or farther from the fretboard.

    Having said all that, once I fixed some flaws in the build and added my favorite pickups, this guitar plays really nicely. I just don't yank it all out of tune.
     
    ECW likes this.
  13. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    Not great at analogies, huh?:rofl: I'll play along.
    Of course by raising the crank set
    [​IMG]
    or lowering the seat
    1lorise.jpg
    one could actually make the 21" frame work fine.
    Now since we're really discussing hands negotiating a difference of perhaps 1/16" thickness and even less difference in fingerboard width, 99.99% of us should be able to easily adapt.
     
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    4,743
    [​IMG]

    There's much more than a 1/16" difference in neck thickness between a 1970 SG Junior and SG '61 Reissue. In addition, one neck is rounded on the back while the other is flat.


    1970 SG Junior...

    [​IMG]

    SG '61 Reissue feels like this...

    [​IMG]

    All my guitars have necks that are on the thick and rounded end of the spectrum. No two necks are the same. I can switch between guitars without any issues.

    Never had a preference for necks in the past until I got an SG '61 Reissue. At the time I also had an SG Special with thick rounded neck. The more I played the SG '61 Reissue, the more I realized that thin and flat necks annoy me.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  15. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2016
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Canada
    In my experience when a guitar feels stiff (Vs other similarly built guitars with the same gauge sting) 99% of the time it is because the nut is cut too tall.


    EDIT: regarding your original question, I had an SGJ and now have a faded, and I thought they were very comparable in quality and feel. The 2013 version looks off to me with the black hardware and plastic covered pickups, but the 2014 version had kickass pickups, some of the best I've ever played (61 zebra). They have a new version of 61s that they used on other models in 2016 I think, I don't know if they are the same). I would buy a set of those 2014 61 zebras used no questions asked if one came up, even if I didn't have a guitar to put them in. Just to have them for a rainy day. The ONLY downside with the SGJ for me was the sharp fret ends, but that took about an hour of work to correct (take it to a shop if you're not comfortable doing it yourself...)

    Short answer, buy it, it's a really great guitar.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
    ECW likes this.
  16. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    6,586
    Likes Received:
    3,509
    Location:
    Maryland
    CG, I think Bid might have meant nut width wise, not neck chunk or slim wise. I have short fat fingers. Playing Thumb over back of neck licks are not my forte at all, but on the fret board, my stubby fat fingers have to work at not making dead notes on adjacent strings I mean to ring out while doing chords. I never could imagine playing a mandolin.
     
  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    Somebody needs to put an ice pack in their knickers before they blow their cerebral gasket. Gee Zeus, the OP asked about SGJs, I give a testimonial, the Col. does his usual Welcome and caveats and cg starts to come unglued. What's up with that?
    [​IMG]
     
  18. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    4,743

    OP asks about the play and feel of the neck.
    Gets told by others that it's nonsense.
    You figure it out.

    :io:
     
    SG standard likes this.
  19. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,895
    Likes Received:
    306
    i'm on the side of the gasket here...
    if all ur doing is strumming some cowboy chords...then necks probably dont matter much...then again those guys would probably avoid a universe neck anyway...so then the necks still do matter to them :p
    so it's not to say that u can't play on any necks...its just what feels more comfortable to u for extended periods...

    now back to the OP.
    imo, the SGJ isnt hard to play...it falls somewhere between the thick 50s and slim 60s...so its quite comfortable.
    the epiphone u tried could have just needed a set-up or lighter strings or even better strings...
    interestingly epiphone still come with 10 gauge strings from factory...some gibsons now come with 9...
     
  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Messages:
    12,051
    Likes Received:
    10,145
    Location:
    -
    Not enough fiber in your diet?
     

Share This Page