New member/owner of a 2020 Gibby SG standard

fuzbuzz78

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Owner of 4 Gibson’s here, spanning 1965 to 2020. Plenty more in between I have sold or traded. Your binding issue is a poorly cut nut. I’m guessing excess material on the back side, and/or the top of the nut. The plucking noise is caused from the string catching in the excess nut material! I have never put graphite in my nut slots, or changed the stock tuners on my guitars and I don’t have binding or tuning issues. I even use a bigsby on one and maestro on another and they are rock solid as far as keeping tune! You need to get your nut properly filed by a luthier to remove the excess material, and run some gauged files through your slots to match the strings you want to use. Well worth the $75-$100 it might cost, if you can’t do it yourself.
 
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SG standard

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As far as I can recall the only Gibson I bought new that didn't have this nut issue to some degree was a 'High Performance' SG with a titanium nut/zero fret. Is that a coincidence? It has been suggested that the whole move to brass (and then titanium) nuts in 2015 was to save their range-wide G-Force tuners from being blamed for tuning issues caused by the nut...

But hey, I'm not into conspiracy theories. :D

As this problem can be found on Custom shop models too, I tend to believe the argument that says it's better to leave too much material on the nut than to remove too much, and given the string pull on the headstock, it really means Gibsons often leave the factory with the need for some 'finishing' work to be done on them.

Ever hear of the 'String Butler'? A device designed to solve this issue that's been widely derided on this forum (well it is Fugly!). But in fact Gibson came up with the same idea many years ago, when they designed a headstock shape that made the problem far worse, in fact the strings couldn't even get from nut to machine head without being re-routed! Yup, here it is, the Moderne headstock:

iu

At least the strings have a straight pull through the nut, and probably have far less chance of 'sticking' to the rollers. Perhaps it was an improvement after all, and maybe that was the intention?

Thankfully SGs can be sorted with a bit of nut work!
 

No Talent

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Lots of good advice on getting the sticky string/nut issue sorted out here.

The overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal someone selects has more to do with your amp brand/model than anything else and a little bit to do with the type of pickups you are using than anything else in my experience.

I have used the following pedals more recently with a Marshall Origin, Marshall DS1HR, and with both p90 and humbucker pickups. All of the overdrives listed below can go from slight hair to partial fuzz. Of course taste in sound is personal preference so ymmv.

Overdrives:

Earthquaker Devices Plumes
Fulltone OCD Germanium version and standard version 1.4 model
Keeley Super Phat Mod (based on a modded Boss Blues Driver)

Fuzzes:

EHX Triangle Big Muff
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face mini pedal with silicon and germanium switch
Keeley Fuzz Bender


My two current favorite pedals are the Keeley Super Phat Mod and the Keeley Fuzz Bender. The Fuzz Bender is ridiculously versatile since it can do a wide range of fuzz tones.
 

Neezduts89

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Lots of good advice on getting the sticky string/nut issue sorted out here.

The overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal someone selects has more to do with your amp brand/model than anything else and a little bit to do with the type of pickups you are using than anything else in my experience.

I have used the following pedals more recently with a Marshall Origin, Marshall DS1HR, and with both p90 and humbucker pickups. All of the overdrives listed below can go from slight hair to partial fuzz. Of course taste in sound is personal preference so ymmv.

Overdrives:

Earthquaker Devices Plumes
Fulltone OCD Germanium version and standard version 1.4 model
Keeley Super Phat Mod (based on a modded Boss Blues Driver)

Fuzzes:

EHX Triangle Big Muff
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face mini pedal with silicon and germanium switch
Keeley Fuzz Bender


My two current favorite pedals are the Keeley Super Phat Mod and the Keeley Fuzz Bender. The Fuzz Bender is ridiculously versatile since it can do a wide range of fuzz tones.

I am currently using a Marshall DSL40CR tube amp. It is a solid amp all around. Every channel sounds great but I am just looking for a bit of an extra push on the overdrive channel, and something that sounds good on the clean channel. The humbuckers in my guitar are the 490s and they’re stock, I plan on keeping it that way. The tubescreamer I’m using now sounds great but I’ve been using one of these for years now and just want to try something new. I just want to experiment with some new pedals and see what kind of tone I can get with them. The Marshall by itself sounds great and doesn’t even need a pedal, but certain days I find myself wanting a bit more out of it. The keeley fuzz bender sounds like it would be right up my alley, I’ll give a look into it. Thanks for the recommendation!
 

Neezduts89

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This is terrible advice! For the love of all SG’s, Do not do this! You do not want wider slots.

yea I’m definitely not going to do this lol if anything I will continue to use nut lube and will try some smaller gauge strings. Just haven’t had a chance to switch out the strings yet
 

Neezduts89

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Hey everyone. Thank you for all the advice so far. I’m really enjoying the forum and all the great Info. The pics of all the SGs are all very nice too! Initially, I was supposed to setup my standard last night. I was going to fit it with 09-42s to see if the binding issue would go away. I still plan on doing this, most likely tonight or another night this week. When I got the guitar out of the case last night, I could not resist playing it! I had a very nice 2-2.5 hour jam session with it. This guitar is unlike any I’ve owned before. I really feel a great connection with it and that makes me want to play way more. So far, it has handled everything I’ve thrown at it with such ease. Everything from Led Zeppelin, to lamb of god, and everything in between plays fantastically on this guitar and it all sounds amazing. I’m so glad I gave this guitar a chance, I don’t even want to play anything else now, and I’m very excited to get my modern in the mail later this month! I do plan on adding a more “metal” guitar to my collection soon. I want something with a tremolo and active pickup, thin neck, jumbo 24 fret, etc etc. My SG standard is my absolute favorite guitar that I’ve owned so far tho, nothing else comes close to it!
 

Neezduts89

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Here are a few more pics of her. I love looking at pictures of guitars (especially SGs) so feel free to upload pics of your guitars! I will try to get some new ones with my current setup this week. There are only a few other guitars that I can think of that are as visually pleasing as a cherry SG. The only other guitar I prefer look wise, is a les paul. I’m also working on getting my hands on one of those sometime soon too. I owned an epi les paul back around the year 2000, and it was a work horse. I used it for band practice and played some shows with it, and it always performed. I have my eye on the graphite modern and if I have a hard time getting one then a good ole standard will do just fine. Let’s see those guitars!

CB7215AF-DEFD-438C-B86E-BEE9BED04618.jpeg 8E9B3092-721D-4351-A3D2-2AF87A616219.jpeg
 

Go Nigel Go

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If you are just looking for little push that doesn't overly effect the tone, check out the Marshall Blues Breaker or one of the many clones of that pedal currently available. I have been using an original Blues Breaker that I bought new almost 30 years ago, and that is a great description of what it does. The originals are rare, and have gotten super expensive on the used market, but I have seen several modern clones that appear to be pretty faithful to the original for a lot less money (more like what I paid back in the day for the original Blues Breaker). You can get some nice musical breakup from the pedal itself, or dial it back for just some good clean gain to push the pre-amp. It is a great tool, especially for a solid state amp that doesn't have the nice natural tube breakup you can enhance with clean signal gain alone. I think the only reason it wasn't more popular back in the day was the fashion at the time (late 80s early 90s) which favored higher gain sounds that were more radical than the Blues Breaker was capable of.
 

GrumpyOldDBA

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Yikes ha ha this is getting fun! The best solution for gibson nut is the zero fret titanium on the hp models ...

Careful filing on a nut without that by skilled people can help. The string butler does also help some for some guitars until a more permanent fix or nut replacement done.

You can also butcher a filing job not hard to do that!

I just use a tube screamer!
 

laza616

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Are they shipping Standards in gigbag? Not a hard case?
Man, the wood grain on your SG is very nice!!! I love it. Beautiful, just beaitiful. Much prettier than my Standard
 

Neezduts89

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Are they shipping Standards in gigbag? Not a hard case?
Man, the wood grain on your SG is very nice!!! I love it. Beautiful, just beaitiful. Much prettier than my Standard
Yes. Mine came with the gig bad, not a hard case. The gig bag is pretty nice tho if I must say so
 

laza616

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Yeah these soft gig bags are very nice looking but hard case is a hard case. I plan to buy this soft gig bag eventually, the only thing that i consider weak spot is a zip. If you put a pencil through it, it will open easily. And 150 bucks is a joke, you add 50 and you can get hardshell case....
If it was made of leather, it would have been even more expensive. But in case i will find one of these soft bags in my area second hand for half of its price i will buy it
 

Neezduts89

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Yeah these soft gig bags are very nice looking but hard case is a hard case. I plan to buy this soft gig bag eventually, the only thing that i consider weak spot is a zip. If you put a pencil through it, it will open easily. And 150 bucks is a joke, you add 50 and you can get hardshell case....
If it was made of leather, it would have been even more expensive. But in case i will find one of these soft bags in my area second hand for half of its price i will buy it

I agree and would’ve much rather had a hard case. Luckily this guitar will be staying home and not being used at practice or gigs so the gig bag will be fine for me. You’d think with the price of the guitar, you’d get a nice hard shell case though. Oh well
 

Go Nigel Go

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Yikes ha ha this is getting fun! The best solution for gibson nut is the zero fret titanium on the hp models ...

Careful filing on a nut without that by skilled people can help. The string butler does also help some for some guitars until a more permanent fix or nut replacement done.

You can also butcher a filing job not hard to do that!

I just use a tube screamer!
Yeah, a "zero fret" is a pretty workable solution, though I don't think any of my guitars has one nor is it an issue. Filing must indeed be approached with care since removing too much material makes a problem that is a lot more involved than most people can deal with. I have only had to adjust a couple of nut notches in my day. I just had to do a light "polish" with a folded piece of 600 grit sand paper and no down pressure at all. Hopefully going down a step to .009-.042 gauge strings will solve the OP's issue as he intends to do that anyway. No filing necessary if the smaller strings move freely and eliminate the binding/grabbing problem.
 

Les537

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Here's my thoughts on tuning a gibson after playing them for 30 years.

I don't think the headstock angle has much to do with tuning stability. If break angle causes instability then guitars with string through bridges like strats and some teles would never stay in tune with that crazy 90 degree string bend, but they do. Stretch those strings after you put them on (it takes up the slack in the peg wind). Put some pencil or grease in the slots. When you tune to pitch make sure you tune UP and not down. You should be able to pull the string with your hand and remain in tune - otherwise the string is not stretched and settled.

Someone said don't make the nut slots wider. If the string is binding then make it wider. I've done a few times with a soft touch and some 600 grit paper. Also round the edges on the bridge slot on the tuner side a little bit - if it didn't come that way already. Nuts are cheap to replace, though I have never had to.

One of my SGs came with gibson deluxe tuners that were defective. Swapping those out can help.

My '19 SG '61 stop bar has some issues, but it's not the nut. The change of seasons to winter here has caused me to adjust the truss rod about 5 times so far. It's shrinking, but it will settle down. Sometimes this guitar wants the truss rod almost fully released and then the neck seems to change shape with the weather. It will settle down after some time. It's a great guitar.

My old '97 les paul stays in tune for what feels like years at a time. A solid guitar.

In my experience of owning about 50 guitars I'll say Gibsons stay in tune just fine.
 

Neezduts89

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Here's my thoughts on tuning a gibson after playing them for 30 years.

I don't think the headstock angle has much to do with tuning stability. If break angle causes instability then guitars with string through bridges like strats and some teles would never stay in tune with that crazy 90 degree string bend, but they do. Stretch those strings after you put them on (it takes up the slack in the peg wind). Put some pencil or grease in the slots. When you tune to pitch make sure you tune UP and not down. You should be able to pull the string with your hand and remain in tune - otherwise the string is not stretched and settled.

Someone said don't make the nut slots wider. If the string is binding then make it wider. I've done a few times with a soft touch and some 600 grit paper. Also round the edges on the bridge slot on the tuner side a little bit - if it didn't come that way already. Nuts are cheap to replace, though I have never had to.

One of my SGs came with gibson deluxe tuners that were defective. Swapping those out can help.

My '19 SG '61 stop bar has some issues, but it's not the nut. The change of seasons to winter here has caused me to adjust the truss rod about 5 times so far. It's shrinking, but it will settle down. Sometimes this guitar wants the truss rod almost fully released and then the neck seems to change shape with the weather. It will settle down after some time. It's a great guitar.

My old '97 les paul stays in tune for what feels like years at a time. A solid guitar.

In my experience of owning about 50 guitars I'll say Gibsons stay in tune just fine.
I’d say generally Gibsons stay in tune just fine myself as well, but my point is that my only complaint with the guitar is that the binding issue with the nut should’ve been resolved before the guitar left Gibson. I love my SG, and I’m willing to put up with the tuning Instability until it is resolved (which will be soon), but I was just simply stating that this issue should’ve never happened in the first place. With the price tag of a standard, little issues like that should be well addressed and resolved before the guitar is sent out to be sold. I still love the guitar and it is my favorite by far after playing for about 20 years now, and I plan on adding many more to my collection. If they need a bit of love once I get them, then it is what it is. I’m willing to look past issues like this and deal with them based on how nice of a guitar the SG is
 

SteveFord59

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The "plink" comment was the giveaway which is why I gave you my "seriously bad advice" and a link to an inexpensive tool.

I use .11s on my electrics so have to do the top 3 strings on all of them and some truss rod adjustment.

I have pretty much the same SG as yours, it's a nice guitar. I really like the neck profile.
Mine doesn't go "plink" but I hit the slots with a file while I was doing the initial set up.
 

Neezduts89

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The "plink" comment was the giveaway which is why I gave you my "seriously bad advice" and a link to an inexpensive tool.

I use .11s on my electrics so have to do the top 3 strings on all of them and some truss rod adjustment.

I have pretty much the same SG as yours, it's a nice guitar. I really like the neck profile.
Mine doesn't go "plink" but I hit the slots with a file while I was doing the initial set up.

No worries. I appreciate all advice and am looking into filing the nut myself, just haven’t gotten there yet. I was planning on changing the stock string gauge from 10s to 09-42 to see if that would help the issue. I feel like I will but I just haven’t had time to setup the guitar yet. I’m going to try and do that tonight. If that doesn’t work, then I will try the filing method. I don’t have a luthier near me, but I am pretty handy and feel like I can take care of it if it comes down to it. I will keep everyone updated with my progress once I get the chance to set it up and tweak everything. Thank you all for the replies and all of the advice so far. I really like the forum and all of the great info on these guitars. I’m also really glad that there is a forum dedicated to the SG. It didn’t take long for me to favor my SG over any other guitar that I’ve owned. Once I get the little bugs and kinks worked out of it, It will be a perfect guitar in my eyes
 


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