SG Special -> single coily sound

laupuru

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Hello,

I have been playing a Gibson SG Special (made in 2000) as my main electric guitar for about 10 years now. I absolutely love how this guitar plays. I've grown accustomed to it and love the weight, body shape, body resonance, scale length and the position of the switch and knobs of the guitar. But recently I've noticed that my preference for tone has changed. I have Seymour Duncan humbuckers (Pearly Gates in the bridge and a 59 in the neck) and I find they are a bit "too much" for most occasions. The guitar sound is somehow too present, too overpowering and when overdriven, the sound is too compressed. I would prefer something with a more kind of dynamic, snappy, airy or even kind of "hollow" or "clanky" tone. So perhaps I would need something more like in the direction of single coil pickups.

So, of course it's a complex subject to discuss, but basically, what I'm interested in is to find either:
a) a new (perhaps single coil) guitar, that plays somewhat similarly to an SG. Although, usually the problem I have with at least new Fender-style guitars that I've tried is that the playing feel is just so different from an SG. Means, scale length, controls, resonance...
b) replacement pickups for my current guitar.

I'd appreciate any ideas you guys might have, thanks!
 
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DPaulCustom

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Welcome to the fun zone!
The easiest thing to do would be replacing the pickups.
Then the problem of 'I miss my old sound' will arise.
You can never have too many guitars, so my recommendation would be, go to all your local music stores, & try out a bunch of different guitars, till you find something that suits your needs.
Now you'll have your SG for what you love about it, & something else to fill the space that the SG doesn't 'cover'.

If you decide to go the pup swap route, you might try a humbucker size p90. Lots of good choices out there.
 

Biddlin

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1. Play ballsier music.
2. Get a coil splitter. That is a thin sound.
3. Try a short-scale fender Mustang.
fender-mustang-surf-green.jpg

Squier also makes a version.
 

laupuru

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Thanks for the suggestions!
Perhaps it is too subjective a question.

I think using the vol & tone controls doesn't really change the fundamental tone of the guitar/pickup.
Mustang or P90s could be interesting choices for sure.
 

DCCable

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What amp are you playing thru? My experience is that amps make more difference than pickups.

Just about any sound that you can think of can be had in a number of different ways.
 
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Kep

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I agree with DC Cable on how important the amp is.

The other thing is this: How do you use your volume and tone knobs when playing? I am a more recent SG convert and I discovered (way too late in the process btw) that the volume & tone knobs are HUGE in getting particular sounds. In fact I never play with Volumes on 10 unless playing a lead and even then I tend to stay back around 8 or 9.

Try the middle position with neck vol on 8 tone 9; Bridge vol 6 tone 4 - getting there?
 

sg jones

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Get a coil splitter. That is a thin sound.

Yes try the coil taps and you can go heavy with a twist of the knobs....sounds like you like the guitar and it fits you other than the sound so experiment....this is the less expensive way so far of the suggested.
 

jvin248

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Get a push/pull pot to replace your tone pot. That one pot can handle putting both pickups into single coil mode. Then your 3-way works like it normally does but between two single coils. They will be lower volume than the humbuckers, but that is what you want (and you could run the single coils with the guitar volume at 10 while the humbuckers get run at 8 or something).

This Epi Junior gets a lot of play time. It's an ebay low cost pickup that I dismantled and split to single coil (neck side) with push/pull on the tone pot. It's a 16kohm humbucker/8kohm single coil.

Another trick I've seen but not tried, you remove all the screws from a humbucker so you end up with one working coil and one dummy coil that still gives you humbucking benefits.

EpiLPJr_150620b.jpg

.
 

jjudas

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The coil split idea is the best, but also humbucker size P90s or P94s is an option. I put Guitar Madness P94s in one of my SGs. They are a huge difference from HBs. They sound like single coils but not thin. They have a nice crisp full beefy tone.
 

Dave_Death

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You could look at the Bare Knuckle Manhattan humbucker size Alnico III P-90s. They will give you 'airy' ... they are jazz pickups. Probably would be great for goth music too. You can also get them with sexy art deco inspired covers.

bridge pickup:



neck pickup:

 

njpaulc

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Don't know Bidden, I got a Fender Mustang and damned if it doesn't sound like my P90 Special, right into the amp, no pedals. I think the OP should go to the music store and play a tele and see if that's what he's looking for, or maybe an EQ pedal.
 

syscokid

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Another method that should at least be researched: Switching a 4-conductor wired Humbucker to Series instead of Parallel. Instead of Coil Tapping, which singles out one coil, big loss of volume, and induces hum, Series keeps both coils active, still quiet, not as much volume loss, single coil sound...

2H_3G_2VppSP_2T.jpg
 


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