How would you describe the SG sound compares to a Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by james..., Jul 19, 2019.

  1. james...

    james... Supporting Member

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    Two guitars: Literally the same outside of body shape and Maple cap.

    I've played many a Les Paul. I have an ear for their tone. I've played only a few SG's in my life and don't think I appreciate that tone flavor. How would YOU describe it?
     
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  2. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

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    The bridge is the same. The neck is slightly different due to geometry.
     
  3. lendryesky

    lendryesky Member

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    When I got my first SG the first thing I noticed was the neck dive, but I know that's not what you asked. To me they sound less beefy and even weaker than LPs. But that hasn't stopped countless hard rock musicians from using them to their needs.
     
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  4. james...

    james... Supporting Member

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    I know the neck dive is bad with a strap. Is it just as bad sitting down?
     
  5. RhytmEarl

    RhytmEarl Member

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    I'd say the body shapes and the body thicknesses are VERY different. Plus SGs are solid mahogany and have no maple cap.

    That said, I'd say SGs emphasize the upper mids while LPs emphasize the lower mids.
     
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  6. Coopster

    Coopster Member

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    Raunchier. More mids, not as deep, but equally adept at 'eavy tones. Oh... and they don't break your back. Or shoulder. More ergonomic. Equally iconic. Significantly less expensive. Next.
     
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  7. lendryesky

    lendryesky Member

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    To me, yes they are still a problem even when sitting. YMMV though.
     
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  8. bigfoamfinger

    bigfoamfinger Supporting Member

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    I recently switched from my Les Paul to my SG as my primary guitar for shows, and agree 100%
     
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  9. Dale

    Dale Member

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    I have 3 SGs and 3 LPs. The SG have pickups in somewhat different places relative to the 12th fret and bridge. It makes the SG more articulate and a bit brighter.
     
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  10. Defendant

    Defendant Member

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    It’s like a les Paul with subtracted eq in the treble and lows -making for a midrange honk.
     
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  11. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

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    *ding*(FFWD to ~3:40)
     
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  12. datguytim

    datguytim Supporting Member

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    I've got great examples of both - my SG, as others have noted, has more midrange, less crispness, but has a brighter tone that cuts nicely. LP has a more overall balanced sonic spectrum - lows, mids, and highs, nice jangle in the middle.

    They really are VERY different guitars in construction - body shape, thickness, neck joint, lack of maple cap, etc.
     
  13. Riffzilla

    Riffzilla Member

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    Still sounds and feels like a Gibson, a bit tighter and with less of that top end sparkle and "chime" that a good LP has. More attack which for me makes them less fun to play but I think it could be simulated with a compressor pedal. SG doesn't have as many low lows, however this might actually help it sit better in a mix. Sometimes I think they look a bit cheesy, but SGs fit me like a glove, neck position and all. No shoulder or back ache after a long gig or rehearsal either. I've been spoiled, even a strat feels heavy now.
     
  14. orourke

    orourke Member

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    I’ve owned two Gibson LP’s and two SG’s. I have an SG and an LP that both have Duncan ‘59 pickups so it’s interesting to compare the two. My SG is definitely darker sounding than my LP. The LP also has a more complex tone with more of a snappy attack probably due to the maple cap.

    I love the upper fret access and general playability on the SG but I prefer the tone of my LP.

    I know most people say SG’s are brighter sounding than LP’s, that may be true for their instruments but on my Gibson’s the opposite is true. I’ve always found that all mahogany guitars tend to be pretty dark sounding.
     
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  15. JohnSword

    JohnSword Member

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    SGs have a bit more bark to them, probably because of the reduced body volume.
    LPs have more 'oomph'.
    I've found that in a band SGs tend to cut through the mix a lot easier.
     
  16. Windup 43

    Windup 43 Supporting Member

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    Same here, I own two SG Standards and both are without a doubt darker sounding than my R8.
     
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  17. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    I think if you approach it from the opposite angle you’ll see the answer.

    What actually *is* the same

    Pickups
    Controls
    Bridge
    Headstock
    Scale length

    That’s really it.

    What isn’t the same:
    Pickup locations
    Neck joint
    Neck shape (even a slim taper SG and a slim taper LP have different neck shapes)
    Body thickness
    Body shape
    Neck/body angle (usually a little different on SGs because of the thinner body and flat top)


    I honestly think the thing that gets the most hype, the maple cap, matters the *least*. I’ve played maple cap SGs and they sound nearly identical to regular SGs. At the very least much closer to an SG than a LP.

    What I think matter the most is the neck joint and pickup locations. And then the thinner body. The neck joint and thinner body I think give the SG it’s more resonant, “thin” tone. Then the pickup location gives it its upper midrange bark.

    It’s difficult to say an SG or LP is brighter because it’s really more about the entire frequency spectrum rather than how it’s tilted.

    The SG is focused fairly sharply in the upper mids. It’s why it can cut through almost any mix. Even the neck pickup is very mids focused.

    The LP has more presence, but less upper mids. So... a LP can get more airy, especially in the middle position, where an SG quacks almost strat like in the middle an LP does the airy telecaster type thing in the middle.

    In the neck position an LP is much fatter, but still has the presence. It can do the jazzy thing, or the woman tone thing. Or the Blues thing. The SG neck pickup is perhaps a touch more articulate. It’s great for rock and blues leads. But it can suffer from, at times, sounding very similar to the bridge pickup.

    An SG with gain is a glory to behold, as its upper mids focus cuts through the sludge and screams. And the gain makes up for the SG’s comparative lack of sustain compared to a LP. The SG is also more prone to feedback, due to the thinner, more resonant body. Which can be good or bad, depending on your needs.

    I really appreciate both. Ultimately if I had to pick one, I’d go with the Les Paul. It’s just better clean by a good bit to my ears, can coax a wider range of tones and the increased sustain is nice. I also prefer the feel. It just balances so perfectly and it stays put on your body. While the upper fret access and light weight in an SG are nice, I do most of my riffing between the 3rd and 12th frets. And a LP is just hard to beat there.
     
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  18. christophervolume

    christophervolume Member

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    My SG sounds really good.
    My LP sounds really really good.

    [​IMG]

    I think this dude had a pretty good summation.

     
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  19. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Gibson Geezer Silver Supporting Member

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    LP: crush your chest in
    SG: quick jab to the ribs
     
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  20. rxguitars

    rxguitars Supporting Member

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    For me it cuts through the mix better. A little tighter and more mid focused. Less bass as well but a gain for me I a good way. The neck pickup is less wooly and the bridge bites a little more in the kids than the the treble like a les Paul. I also line the weight and the access to higher Frets
     

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