Are SGs supposed to be resonant?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarlifestyle, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. guitarlifestyle

    guitarlifestyle I like guitars. Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought a '61 SG RI a year or so ago, and it wasn't resonant at all. In fact, it sounded pretty dead when played unplugged.

    I'm thinking about getting another one, and was just wondering if the one I bought before was a dud, or if the lack of resonance is just a characteristic of the thin mahogany body. I appreciate hearing other experiences with SGs.
     
  2. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Many vintage SGs are very resonant. Probably many of the newer ones are too.
     
  3. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

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    My 2001 '61 "Les Paul" Reissue SG is extremely resonant. Love it.
     
  4. theruley

    theruley Member

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    my '71 SG-1 shivers and trembles with even the lightest pluck. Weird because its supposed to be their cheapest made guitar from that period.
     
  5. rushcentrale

    rushcentrale Member

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    My '65 SG Jr is the most resonant guitar I have out of a bunch. Give em another shot
     
  6. SW33THAND5

    SW33THAND5 Member

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    all electric guitars are resonant when you turn your amp up loud enough
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  7. VHS analog

    VHS analog Member

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    Some players call that "warm". (kidding)
    Sometimes the acoustically dead ones can be ferocious when plugged in. That to me embodies the 70s rock guitar sound.
     
  8. rushcentrale

    rushcentrale Member

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    right on that's true. fyi, resonate is a verb and resonant is an adjective, so resonate is something a guitar does and resonant is something a guitar is. i'm not trying to be the grammar police, but i see this usage around here often...and yes, i know i'm using all lower case letters. :rockin
     
  9. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    What brand of strings are you using? Changing pickups might help.
     
  10. gtone

    gtone Member

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    When shopping for guitars, I always do the resonance test - strike a chord acoustically and feel for the depth of vibration at all four corners of the body and at the headstock. If it feels dead anywhere, I pass on it.

    Yes, SG's should resonate, but there are good and bad in every model. Maybe it's just me, but I tend to have better luck finding resonant vintage guitars, and as such, all of my current guitars are old.
     
  11. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    Depends on the piece(s) of timber used. Some planks are as dead as the Dodo, and some ring like a bell. Not all SGs will be resonant.
     
  12. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    I also do the resonance test...if a big fat open g chord cant get the headstock vibrating, I put the guitar down...

    my epiphone g400 (sg copy) is very resonant, almost has too much sustain plugged in
     
  13. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    :agree
     
  14. philamag87

    philamag87 Silver Supporting Member

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    My SG is probably in the lower end of resonance when unplugged. It always seemed a little bit choked sounding but the Callaham steel ABR bridge helped quite a bit. I have played some of the new SG's at GC and they sounded a little more open to my ears at least.
     
  15. Tmac1957

    Tmac1957 Member

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    I have a 61 RI as well and it sings. Maybe you did get a dud
     
  16. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I've never played many that were very resonant. It gets subjective. I mean yes, you can feel some vibrations, but it ain't gonna ring out like a Fender with a big open sound. Even an LP is pretty quiet and less resonant compared to a strat or tele. An SG is even more of that, since it's like half the girth of an LP.

    I did play a few real lightweight R9 LP's that were resonant, and they sounded more like they wanted to be Fenders. I don't really like much resonance in a Gibson. Lose some sustain and meat and that's what I want in my Gibson.
     
  17. Lotis

    Lotis Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a '64 SG Special and it definitely thrums unplugged. I had an SG Classic...also P90's and it was a dead plank. Big difference.
     
  18. oldcoot

    oldcoot Member

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    I've got a '69 I bought new that sounds totally dead unplugged and is an absolute monster plugged in. I just bought the 60's tribute SG and it is really resonant unplugged almost like an acoustic and it also sounds great plugged in. The 69 is a standard with hummers and tribute has P90's. Regardless, I would like to know what makes the difference unplugged. They are both suppose to be mahogany.
     
  19. guitarlifestyle

    guitarlifestyle I like guitars. Silver Supporting Member

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    I've since sold the "dead" one...just looking for advice on what to look for when buying another one.

    Thanks to everyone else for the information. I bought the old one from Dave's and didn't have a chance to play it first; this is the first mail-order guitar that I didn't like when I received it.

    We had a Gibson retail store here locally until the flood, and I was able to play a number of SGs there and never noticed that any didn't resonate. That's why I was surprised when I first played the one I bought.
     
  20. Truckdub

    Truckdub Member

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    Since I don't play them unplugged I don't pay much attention to how they sound unplugged. My 2006 SG Standard isn't overly resonant unplugged. Plugged in, however, it absolutely sings!
     

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