Liveliness of the SG and unplugged volume

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Bonzo21, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Well-Known Member

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    So, having been playing my new SG for a few weeks (an 07' Special Faded), I noticed that it is as loud or louder unplugged than my current #2, an Epiphone 339 (which is a great guitar, and is not dead or dull by any means). I just saw a Rick Beato video on youtube (don't remember which one, I leave youtube on in the background on autoplay) where he said that of all his guitars, his SG is his loudest electric guitar unplugged. Is this your experience? Is there something about the construction that makes it a louder and more lively guitar in your opinion? I'm not talking great ones vs. bad ones, I mean as a type of guitar (epiphone SG included) are they louder than other types of construction in your experience....

    Preliminarily, one factor might be the neck/body connection. The amount of neck that clears the body makes it easy to pull it out of tune if you are not used to playing them, could this also affect how the thing vibrates? The three I've had a significant amount of experience playing were also satin/open pore finished so that might be a factor too. Or was I just lucky to find loud ones? Interested in hearing some of your experiences....

    Disclaimer: If memory serves me right I've played 4 SGs. My current one, an SGJ that I owned for about 2 years (it was also a loud guitar but I never really focused on that), an epiphone satin SG that a coworker's daughter was learning on (I was teaching her once a week, and I remember being very impressed with it overall but it was a while ago), and an epiphone SG 61 custom that I encountered in a pawn shop that I liked and regret not buying (this was my first ever SG experience). I was always a Les Paul guy, but got an SGJ on a deal in that same pawn shop and that's what started my SG journey ;)
     
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  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    It's the thinness that does it. Makes it easier for the wood to vibrate.
     
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  3. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    I have 5 solidbody guitars 1 SG 2 LPs ( all gibsons ) and 2 PRS models.

    All of them to me can be played no amp but to me i think of all of them sounding similar in volume. Maybe the LPs are slightly louder dunno?

    Enjoy the SG but for heavens sake turn it up!!

    My new best toy is an attenuator to crank amp up but keep dog from howling!
     
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  4. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    I’ve commented on this subject before in this thread below:

    http://www.everythingsg.com/threads...f-the-gibson-standard-2013.35708/#post-520732

    “.... I don't know anything about the grain cut of the wood and all that. What caught my attention to this topic was mention of tone, ring, resonance and in general the acoustic qualities of the SG while not being plugged into the amp.

    My most resonant unplugged SG is my 2005 '61 reissue, with the 2013 Original right behind it. It's always intrigued me why my 2005 was so resonate. Many times I've been practicing and gone to turn the volume down a tad when I then realized I wasn't even jacked up yet. I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but both of these are of the low neck tenon variety, with one piece backs, and cherry translucent paint. :D

    Not wanting to start the 1 piece, 2 piece (either way it's all good), just thought I'd mention what I have noticed with my own gear.

    2005 SG 61RI:

    [​IMG]

    2013 SG Original:

    [​IMG]

    .....”
     
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  5. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Well-Known Member

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    As for the guitars, those are all very high quality instruments. It could be a function of quality and not design...

    My amp has an attenuator, and I have several headphone amps (and am planning a headphone amp/pedal board build so I can play with a looper at night when the kid is sleeping...pictures to come), but honestly, since I started playing in my teens, at least 75-80% of my playing is unplugged. I do most of my practice and noodling like that. Once something is under my fingers, then I plug in and play over a loop or throw on a backing track. I'm not even saying that's how things should be, it's just how I've always done it... In any case, I realized how loud my SG was when I noticed my wife getting particularly annoyed while watching TV. When she puts on the subtitles, I know I'm really rockin ahahahah
     
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  6. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Well-Known Member

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    That's a beauty. I'll check out the thread when I have some time.
     
  7. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what the relationship is or isn't. My loudest guitar unplugged is a 2016 Les Paul Traditional, followed up one of my SG's and a Firebird, which are probably about the same volume acoustically. On the other hand, I have a 1981 SG Deluxe that is dead as a brick acoustically but absolutely screams through an amp, so not sure if it makes any real difference, and since I don't really sit around playing them unplugged I don't think too much about it. It they sound good and give me the kind of response I need through an amp that's what ultimately matters to me.
     
  8. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I mean if it makes a difference plugged in or not is an entirely different thing (I don't dare get into a tonewood debate ahahaha). I just wondered, given my observation and what Beato said, if it was something common that people have noticed. At least from yours and GrumpyOldDBA's answers that it doesn't seem to be the case. At least not an open and shut one. We'll see if anyone else chimes in...
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I also am the proud and besotted owner of an '07 SG faded special.
    I bought this one because it called to me from at least ten meters away, maybe more.
    I don't remember any more, just going with after-images from 2008.

    I picked up another SG first... tuned it, played it unamplified... yeah yeah...
    Then I picked up the one I took home... WOW, it was like night and day.
    It rang like a bell unamplified. I was NOT planning on buying any guitar that evening,
    just cruising through GC trying not to drool on my shoes. I was NOT going to buy
    any guitar. So I pretended not to be blown away, and acted cool, and put the special
    back, and took down another one, marked more than twice the price. It didn't sound
    as good, and it didn't sing to me, singing: "C'mon big boy, pull out yer Mastercard
    and get me out of here..." I was NOT going to buy any guitar.

    But the unamplified tone of this humble SG special faded
    changed my mind, and I fell for this instrument arse over teakettle...
    I haven't changed my mind. It's almost 12 years later and I'm still
    crazy for this instrument. I named her Luna, she was my first SG and
    the carve of the cutaways made me mindful of the phases of the moon.
    She's still the Queen of my my music room, and it's two thousand effing twenty.
    IMG_1097@100.jpg
    I dunno if it's the thin finish that causes the resonance I've experienced, but something
    does. Play your faded special loud, and care for it like it's precious, because it is.

    To answer your original question: I believe that Gibson guitars are all individuals.
    Guys on internet fora are fond of sweeping generalizations that are mostly doo-doo.
    Don't try and make generalizations about Gibson guitars. You're just blowing smoke
    if you do. There are great ones and dogs in every year class... and in every model type.

    As to the loudness and the unamplified tone... I'm going to guess that it relates
    more to the age of the strings than any other factor. Any guitar with new strings is
    going to out-sound any guitar with dead strings, until you plug it in. Then it's all
    EQ. That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it.
     
  10. Spuds

    Spuds New Member

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    Yep I've noticed it too. And my SG body is three piece I think. Always found it a headscratcher but the resonance explanation in the second post seems to make sense. It's a pretty nice quality of these guitars, gives them even more character than they already had.
     
  11. Kraftybob

    Kraftybob Member

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    My SG and PRS are by far the most resonate guitars I have. And the only set neck guitars I have. Coincidence?
     
  12. S.Ustain

    S.Ustain Active Member

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    My '87 Reissue '61 LP/SG Custom (3 pickups) is very physically resonant. It is one of the most resonant solidbodies I have played (though not the most resonant ). I honestly can't account for this beyond, possibly, the relationship between the modest mass and material (good mahogany) of the body, and the greater length of the "bare" neck free to vibrate. I don't think most of the other factors mentioned in this thread, such as finish (regular Gibson spec) really apply. But it is what it is, and like some, I prefer the resulting feel and tone to that of my LPs.
     
  13. Super fuzz

    Super fuzz Member

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    My 2009 fully chambered studio is by far the loudest guitar acoustically followed by my SG.

    I love playing unplugged late at night. My studio has a 3D kinda sound and feel that just blows me away. My SG sounds amazing too, but not as loud.

    I had a few other guitars that sounded dull acoustically and always felt that basic character was amplified through the amp.
     
  14. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    One thing to remember is that the louder a guitar sounds unplugged, the more prone it is to feedback.
     
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  15. Michael Blackmore

    Michael Blackmore New Member

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    My '13 SG Standard is the loudest acoustically I've owned and is also probably the best sounding Gibson I've played. You can feel the vibration in your hand and body. Has 9's to 46 strings and a reasonably high action. I had a 05 SG Standard that was nearly as acoustically loud but was just good amped.

    My 06 Faded LP Special is probably next for acoustic volume and also sounds great amped. My 73 Strat has alot of resonance you can feel, but for some reason it's a little harder to hear....more scooped midrange, all that space under the guard ??. Killer sounding Strat though.

    My 02 LP Standard is the quietest of the lot acoustically. Dull on the low strings and sort of tinny. I put that down to it having the lowest action of the lot and the strings touching the bridge behind the saddles. Terrible guitar for clean sounds. But plugged in, at volume into a crunching 2203 halfstack, and it's chunky, chewy perfection. Never boomy and with a sweet chime in the top end. Growly midrange and compression thats killer for slide, even though its got super low action. So who knows ??But don't disregard the setup especially string height.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  16. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I don't believe that the number of pieces of wood has anything
    to do with tone. Both Gibson and Fender have always been making guitars out of multiple pieces of wood... they just paint the ones that show too much.
    And they use clear varnish on the ones that look good. Tone and sustain
    are independant qualities IMHO. Fender and Gibbie guitars mostly sound
    good. No matter how many pieces they are made of.

    naw... the one instrument I ever owned that had the most sustain was my
    '66 Fender Jazz Bass with its bolt on neck and its plain stock bent steel bridge.
    That would sustain till long after the applause died down.
    Fender guitars in general have awesome tone and sustain, so the bolt on
    neck is NO detriment IMHO. I love my Gibsons for their elegance and their
    tone, and I love my Fender instruments for their general awesomeness and
    their excellent balance, practicality and tone. My Tele sustains almost as long as my SG does, maybe 17 or 18 seconds until I can't hear it any more.
    Snow White & Orange@100.jpg
    And that's all the sustain I need for my style anyway.
    This MIM Telecaster is painted black, with thick polyurethane (gasp!)
    so who knows what's under that paint job... multi pieces of what ever
    kind of wood was on sale. But it sounds great anyway.
    I ain't selling this one. It's got a lovely one piece neck of figured maple,
    so maybe that helps.

    But I don't think multi-piece necks make any difference either...
    As long as they're made by someone who knows what they are doing.
    I have a Martin acoustic with a laminated neck, it looks like a butcher block
    in minature. But it has excellent tone and sustain, and it has excellent tuning
    stability. Better than one piece mahogany necks, which are traddie...
    Martin Laminated neck@100.jpg
    Go figure, eh? But this is newer technology, forced by the disappearance
    of tropical forests with all the mahogany and ebony that are traditional.
    When you can't get legal supplies of your favorite tone wood, you'd better
    have some alternatives planned, or give it up.
     
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  17. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I never play that loud, personally... so how would I know.
    Venues I play don't encourage it, and the mix I need to be
    part of doesn't need it, except maybe on big stages. I've never played
    an electric guitar loud enough to feed back, on any stage.
    I'm sure that's just me, and the fact that I don't have to stand
    next to an insane drummer or a partly deaf (and dumb) bassist.

    But does this rule apply to guitars with uncovered pickups,
    or only to the ones with the metal covers on?

    The world wonders...
     
  18. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Active Member

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    Of my guitars I think the 1977 Stratocaster is the loudest unplugged. There's not much difference between them though.
     
  19. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    It applies to all guitars. Acoustics is a two-way street. The more powerfully a guitar emits sound, the better it absorbs sound from outside. That is what causes feedback.
     
  20. Kraftybob

    Kraftybob Member

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    You might be right - I'm just speculating. Then again maybe the wood comes into play with some other unknown factors? My PRS and SG are both Mahogany, while my Strat and Harmony are Alder and my Ibanez RG is Basswood. I do have another Ibanez that's Mahogany, but it's an entry level guitar so I'm sure the grade of Mahogany is not that of my PRS or Gibson.

    I have a MIM Strat with the same color scheme as your Tele! It originally had a white pick guard and accessories when I bought it but I changed those out to black. I then converted it from a SSS to HSS and this weekend am going to do some more work on it - changing the standard tuners for locking, I have a few frets to file, and wiring in the SuperSwitch and a push/pull pot so I can have tone control on all my pups as well as split the humbucker in position 1 (push/pull pot) or automatically in position 2.

    ^^^ This is funny!
     
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