Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Tanqueray, Mar 29, 2016.
You hit the nail on the head. Gibson and consistency is not usually 2 things that go together.
Also as you can read in my links I posted, action, string type, and several other factors will affect your tone from your various guitars.
So, that goes to show you that it may be ONE cause of how your various guitars compare in your ear's hearing of the tone between each one.
Also Tangy, read us the little numbers on the orange caps for the Classic, vs the blue ones on the Special. They should say .22,.15, etc....
I sympathize with your struggle. I regard the Gibson SG Classic as one of the world's best
guitars, and well worth any and all effort to bring the tone out. Before you consider replacing parts
I'll suggest putting an EQ pedal in your f/x loop. Leave your amp settings the way you like them
for your other guitars. Then when you pick up the Classic, kick the pedal.
Bingo... complete control over the level and the tone of your SG, and for half the cost of new p'ups
and no surgery.
The advantage of this approach is that you can also use the pedal for other things.
I like to have one with almost any pedal board. I use mine as a clean boost.
If you don't want to do that, I'll say +1 on the bone nut, or one made of tusq. Can't go wrong
getting a good luthier to set your classic up properly and really pay attention to the slots on the
nut. They are crucial to the tone.
I've just completed modding my Epiphone ES-339 P-90 Pro. I played it for more than nine months
with the stock wiring and p'ups because I thought they sounded good as they were. But I replaced the
bridge with a Gotoh unit and the nut with Tusq. Those helped a lot, because Epiphone nut is not as
good, nor is their bridge. Gibson bridge and nut is supposed to be better. Right...
When the toggle switch on my Epi began to crackle and fail, I decided to yank the whole shebang out.
I bought new pickups from here:
And I bought new wiring harness from here:
You can see that these are considerably less expensive than other options such as Lollar pickups
and RS Guitar works wiring harness. And glory be... I'm delighted with the sound and the operation
of my new p'ups and wiring. This inexpensive Epi has been transformed into an instrument just as good
as your Classic (which is saying a lot IMHO). The difference is like night and day.
I'd replace the wiring first, and then listen carefully to decide if that made the difference. Gibson P-90s
are the originals, and they should not need replacing IMHO. But if you decide to, you can actually speak to
Ken Currie of Rose pickups and explain all of what you've said here. These guys will listen to you and
then make your pickups. I sure do like mine. The neck pickup has a great woody clean tone which I really
like, and the bridge pickup is hotter and has that brash and bold P-90 sound in spades, so the two offer
a great range of tones.
Typically bridge pickups will be much closer to the strings than the neck, but will vary on fine tuning and type of pickup.
There are good articles out there on what a lot of techs do typically or what they use as a starting point.
Start out with the factory specs, and the method I use is to adjust the bridge until you are happy with it, then adjust the neck to get the volume output close. I leave humbuckers parallel to the strings; With single coils I may further play with heights of the treble or bass sides.
I dont get crazy it with though, I just run through it, fine tune a little and then just play unless something tells me otherwise.
SG classic has gloss finish. SG Special 60s has faded finish, which breathes more, sounds more alive. Maybe it's there.
Keep this in mind...if you're trying to match, or nearly match, the sound of your other guitars, don't worry so much about the spec, though that would be interesting. Measure those other guitars, too, to see how closely the pots in the Classic come to those in the other guitars. Others have already suggested that, so let me just reinforce the idea.
Also, get the readings off the capacitors. This can tell you if the caps in your Classic have the same value as those in your other instruments.
Earlier you questioned the PCB. In and of itself, using a PCB will have no perceptible effect on sound or tone. That may ruffle some feathers to read, but it's true. However, how well the PCB is built can affect things. So, ScottMarlowe's suggestion earlier about connections is a valid consideration. Maybe get some electronics cleaner and pull the connections and give them a little cleaning to remove any potential oxidation. But, be careful and protect the guitar. Electronics cleaner may damage your guitar's finish.
Also, I have had PCBs in other electronics equipment exhibit poor solder joints. So, jtcnj's comment about solder joints comes into play, here. A few years back I fixed an amplifier by just reflowing a solder joint on a PCB. I also had an old CRT computer monitor that would periodically fritz out on me, and I fixed that the same way.
Foam under P90s to angle them ?
Use some dense foam, the soft kind, not the pink construction insulation kind. More like chair cushion foam. Cut a small piece the lenght of the pup, I'd say ¾" X ¾". Cram it under the pup, on the side you want to jack up. When you screw the pup back on, the foam will push up the backside of the P90 and get it pretty much parallel to the strings.
The lower image on this pic illustrates the concept. Although that one is a pup with legs.
Throw a set of Duncan invaders or some 57 classics i there and listen to that joker GROWL. (or actually just one of those in the bridge). Works for me, every time.
On an other guitar I have a set of Lindy Fralin P90 pickups, they are fantastic
The output level problem on your SG Classic is strange, did you find the problem ?
I haven't yet. I've gotten a number of suggestions that I'll try out when I get some time.
Good luck .
Like others have said, 500k audio taper pots for volume, CTS or other, really bring P90s to life. Gibson has used 300k linear for many years.
When you check pickups you put level and filter to 10.
Pots are the same than a short circuit .
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