Did Gibson Actually Improve on the Les Paul Design with the SG?? - SG Love..

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Yamariv, May 2, 2019.

  1. Yamariv

    Yamariv Member

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    So I picked up my first SG a few weeks back, it's a 19 SG Speacial in Pelham Blue and I'm in love with this thing! I am lucky enough to have a few guitars to choose from in my arsenal but had it in the back of my mind that I needed a 2 P90 Gibson at some point.. I've always kinda of thought of an SG as "It's nice but it's not a Les Paul" mentality without ever playing one..

    Fast forward after a few weeks of playing this thing and I'm starting to think that Gibson back in the day may have actually improved the Les Paul design with the SG!! It's soo light, rings for days and the thin body with its contours are crazy comphy! The upper fret access is HUGE and the tone is very comparable to my LP Standard but with less weight. Yes, there is a bit of neck dive which takes some getting used to but you can't win them all..

    Anyone else feel the SG body may actually an improvement over the iconic Les Paul design??.. Either way, I still love my LP, just very impressed with the SG design!
     
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  2. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Gibson Geezer Silver Supporting Member

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    Not an improvement, just a totally different design.
     
  3. bluesky636

    bluesky636 Member

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  4. caledoneus

    caledoneus Member

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    I'd agree with you. I've always liked the SG design over the LP. As you said, you get a lot of the tone of an LP (thought he SG does have more upper mids and a little more "bite" than the LP), but with the fret access and comfort of a strat. Really a great design--visually, ergonomically and tonally (at least imo).

    Welcome to the world of SG.
     
  5. naveed211

    naveed211 Member

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    I wouldn’t say improvement, but it comes down to preferences. Upper access is slightly better, but I prefer the playability of LPs. SGs feel like longer scale with how the neck is attached and I don’t prefer that. Some but not all have neck dive. It’s lighter and sounds close, but not quite the same chunk, which sometimes you just want the chunk.

    Overall one’s not better than the other.
     
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  6. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    On paper, absolutely. In practice? That's all preference...
     
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  7. Jeff Gehring

    Jeff Gehring Silver Supporting Member

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    Much better frangibility with the SG.
     
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  8. Brutus

    Brutus Member

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    An SG is a Les Paul with all its characteristic tone stripped away. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because that purity is something you can work with to shape the sound into something unique with pedals and such. An SG doesn’t have as much bottom naturally, so you can use it in situations where a Les Paul would be too boomy. I’ve got both kinds of guitars, so I play around swapping them in or out depending on what other stuff I’m using in the chain at the moment. It’s good to have flexibility.
     
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  9. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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    No and Les Paul hated the SG.
     
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  10. EtaCarinae

    EtaCarinae Member

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    It's light and it has great upper fret access; better than most super strats actually - very few guitars rival it in this regard. It has very different feel in that the nut feels further away than on most guitars.

    As others have mentioned, it is lacking something of the timbre of a Les Paul. Not necessarily worse, just different. I prefer the sound of a Les Paul but the Ergonomics of an SG. The difference in sound is pretty subtle though, I doubt it's very noticeable in a lot of mixes and especially at modern gain levels.
     
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  11. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    At the time, I imagine Gibson could have introduced the SG as a new model and still kept the Les Paul model in production. However, in 1962 Les' endorsement contract being up for renewal and declined at the time of his divorce from Mary Ford would have resulted in the LP model being discontinued anyway.

    From the books I've read on this history, and that's a lot, I don't think Gibson had improvement on their minds. They were looking to compete with Fender's double-cut design and cut costs at the same time. An SG has always used less wood and less labor to build than a Les Paul, and the new shape was intended to attract the attention of Fender's market. Regardless, Gibson did something right with the introduction of the SG, as this design has been in constant production since its introduction and continues to be a top seller.
     
  12. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    Lots of photos of Les Paul and Mary Ford playing Gibson LP/SG Customs (both 2 & 3 pickup models).
     
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  13. cugel

    cugel Supporting Member

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    Satan plays an SG.
    /thread
     
  14. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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  15. Mikhael

    Mikhael Member

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    No. They're two different beasts. And after the introduction of the SG, they found it necessary to move the neck pickup away from the neck, since the pickup route made the neck connection too flimsy. What I never understood is why they didn't put the extra two frets on every SG after they did that, since the room to do so is there, and it doesn't mess with the neck attachment.
     
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  16. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    They loved SGs. :p
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
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  17. data_null

    data_null Member

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    Definitely seems like an improvement to me.

    The look of the SG was never something that interested me. I always preferred the look of Les Pauls, and never got around to actually trying an SG until like two years ago. But as soon as I picked one up, I immediately noticed how comfortable it was, especially the upper fret access as you noted (that was always my biggest gripe with LPs). I now own a few SGs. Still don't love how they look, but the playability and ergonomics are a vast improvement (to me).
     
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  18. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    So...upper fret access is improved from the LP to the SG. What else improved? What else was worse?

    As for @caledoneus saying the comfort of a Strat, I beg to differ.

    Regardless of what Gibson thought when they discontinued the LP, I see it as another model, and definitely not an improvement on the Les Paul.
     
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  19. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    They got the weight down, made it a bit quicker to build yet still with a sophisticated, unique aesthetic and they improved high fret access, so I think they did a good job with the SG. What they got wrong was to discontinue the old one at the same time of course, but the SG is one of Gibson's true classics.

    I'm inclined to believe Les's public negativity towards the new design was more a convenient way of explaining the end of his Gibson deal than a serious dislike of the design. And let's remember the result when they finally let Les come up with his version of a improvement to the original...

    [​IMG]

    (And yes, I own that one and yes, it's actually a lot of fun one you get past the fact it weighs more than a small car. But it's no SG in the design department!)
     
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  20. scelerat

    scelerat Silver Supporting Member

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    They seem like completely different guitars to me.

    SG - light, thin
    Les Paul - thick and heavy

    Is the Firebird an improvement on the Les Paul design? I mean, I know the model history of the SG, how it initially debuted as a "Les Paul." Still...
     
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