More focus/punch from a Gibson SG?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by e-flat, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    I have an SG standard that I really enjoy playing, but I wish it had a touch more projection to its natural sustain. As it is, the tone of the unamplified guitar is very nice but very warm and "jazzy". The amplified sound is very good (thanks in large part to some WCR Crossroads) but I'd like to get a pluckier, tighter tone from the wound strings than what I have right now. All hardware is original on this guitar...Where should I start to upgrade if I want better projection and sustain?
     
  2. Neill

    Neill Member

    Messages:
    2,514
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    the big smoke
    Usually SG's are extremely punchhy/agressive. Not known for sustain however.

    You might try pup height, but I'd say the biggest tonal change will come from amp settings. Mids will make it more punchy (also more ice pick-y).

    What are you playing through?
     
  3. 60HzShuffle

    60HzShuffle Member

    Messages:
    535
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA area
    I had a pre-ban ivory nut and tone pros bridge & tailpiece put on my new SG Standard. I have 11's on it and love it.

    What string guage are you using?
     
  4. e-flat

    e-flat Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Neil:
    My main amp is a Vox AC30CC, and I also use a Valvetech 22 watt 1X12 combo. The slight lack of "punch" I am referring to is mostly something that I feel in the vibration of the instrument and is not anything to do with the amplifier, I don't believe. I want a little bit more of a piano-like tautness to the wound strings with better sustain.

    60HZ:
    I am using 10-46 gauge Snake Oil Rock strings right now. They are great strings, and give a good balanced tone.

    Did you notice a more significant change in tone when you replaced the nut or when you replaced the bridge on your SG? Maybe I should swap both.
     
  5. Neill

    Neill Member

    Messages:
    2,514
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    the big smoke
    ac30? wow .... hard to believe there are "punche" issues w/ dat setup.

    from what i gather the issue is w/ sustain.... if this is the case you need a new guitar.... sg's just won't give you the sustain (i think) you need
     
  6. 60HzShuffle

    60HzShuffle Member

    Messages:
    535
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA area
    I did both at the same time along with Fralin pickups and a RS Guitarworks wiring kit (new pots and cap). If you plan on keeping the guitar, I would have a bone nut put on first, but that is me...

    It sounds like heavier strings may help you with what you are looking for. If you can handle heavier strings on your SG, I would suggest trying 11's (if 11-50 feel to stiff, try 11-48). If you have a newer SG (mine is a 2005) the neck should have no problems handling 11's). You don't necessarily need the rest of the stuff I did (it all contributes to a really nice sounding guitar with a great set-up), but my SG is awesome now!:dude I liked the guitar when I got it and picked it over a few others including the 61 reissue (not historic) because I like the bigger necks on the newer SG Standards.

    I prefer 11's on Gibsons and 10's on my Fenders. My SG will never replace my strat or R9, but it sits somewhere in between with its own cool voice.
     
  7. jcs

    jcs Member

    Messages:
    7,440
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Location:
    on a hill
    what year is your sg?

    as far as someone mentioning sg's not having sustain?

    i've gotta respectfully disagree, though like all guitars some sg's are better than others but there are many factors going on here with regards to sustain-punch.....

    i would definitely try another set of strings and make certain the set up is correct and pickup height is right...

    with all due respect i went thru a few lesser sg's and now have a 65 sg special which has loads of sustain and punch,it has been slightly modded in the bridge for a humbucker....

    i have always contended that sg's like 50-100 watt amps thru 4x12s best....
     
  8. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    881
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Location:
    NS Beach, Fl.
    Have you tried 10" spkrs? A 2 or 4 x 10" cab might give you the kind of piano wire taught, punchy sound you are looking for. Changing spkrs will have a pretty dramatic impact but won't affect the sustain. I never noticed that SG models in general lacked sustain.

    Are you saying that the guitar does or does not sustain well unamplified?
     
  9. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    I have two tips:

    1) experiment with the bridge and tailpiece (angel, height) untill it gets better.

    2) adjust the polescrews!:
    After reading on the Lindy Fralin webpage, I've found a nice way to get a clearer, brighter and punchier sound from Humbuckers with adjustable polepieces (esp. PAFs):
    Adjust the polepieces on the wound strings (real) high, especially on the neck PU. Keep the polepieces a bit lower on the plain string and adjust the pickup so it's lower on the bass side than the treble side.

    This works very well on Gibsons and it also helps a little on Gretschs or Filtertrons.
    If you look at SGs and Firebirds you'll find that the PUs are not in the same angel as the strings. This means that you'll have a thiner sound because one half of the humbucker pick up more sound than the other.

    It works almost as Gibsons Burstbuckers or Fralins Unbuckers. The difference is that you keep the full hum-cancelling and that you get more of the singel coil sound on the wound strings than on the plain strings.

    This set up dosen't change PAFs or Gibsons to something different. The fact is that a lot of the PAF PUs had more windings on one coil than on the other. This is why Gibson makes Burstbuckers and Fralin makes Unbuckers. (I've also found out that the Antiquity PAFs have more windings on one coil than the other. this should contribute to a clearer and thiner sound.)

    To my ears this thiner and clearer sound does work very well on the bass strings. (On the plain strings a fatter and creamier sound ala Gibsons PAFs or Fralins Humbuckers is nice.) The plain strings, especially the G-string, is alot louder and sharper than the wound string. Therefore I raise the polescrews more on the wound strings than on the plain strings.

    The idea is to get a more balanced sound than what most PU have (with exeption of Seymour Duncans Alnico 5/2 and newer Kinman PUs).

    The idea is not to sound like a banjocaster. If your SG, Les Paul or 335 sound clearer and punchier, you can, for instance, use more bass or distortion on you amp.

    I've found that this setup works very well with (pure) nickel or flatwound strings. This strings actually get more usable this way. (Try Pyramid strings - not Gibson strings.)

    If you adjust the polescrews like this on a Filtertron, the bass will sound a little more like a Hilotron. A Hilotron Singel Coil PU is almost the same as a half Filtertron Humbucker.
     
  10. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    First, try my two tips. If it dosen't work very well, buy a voodoo 60's PU or good paf with alnico 3 (esp neck pos) or alnico 5. try highorder - they're cheap AND good plus you'll have a lot of option.

    You can also buy a new bridge and tailpiece. I'd recommend tonepros - perhap plus titanum K-T-S saddles (PR-02 for Vintage ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic Bridge
    6 pcs. 4/40 thread Width=8.8m/m Height=6.5m/m Thickness=3.0m/m OR PR-05 for Gotoh® Tune-O-Matic Bridge
    6pcs. M2.6 x 0.45 thread Width=8.8m/m Height=8.0m/m Thickness=3.0m/m OR PR-06 for Nashville Tune-O-Matic Bridge
    6pcs. M3 x 0.5 thread Width=8.8m/m Hight=10.0m/m Thickness=2.55m/m - se http://www.k-t-s.com/bridge.html)

    the tonepros isn't as loose as the gibson parts. However you can adjust the original gibson tailpiece so that it's higher on the one side than the other. This way it won't be loose, because the big screws is holding it. The tailpiece should be low, and not high above the body. However it should not be so low that the string touches the bridge other places than the saddles. This is usual a problem with the way gibsons are set up.

    You can also turn the tailpiece 180 degrees around like zakk wylde, and many others do. this way you'll get a thiner,more cutting tone with more high mids.
     
  11. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    881
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Location:
    NS Beach, Fl.
    Lotta good info about the finer point of setup. If I understand what you are saying here, the coils of the pickup are not parallel to the strings because of the angle of the pickup ring. This can be fixed by buying new bezels (rings) and shaping the angle till you achieve parallel. I had this condition on a new CS356 in the neck position. Custom Shop sent me a new set and I was able to bring the coils into parallel.
     
  12. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    to get a punchy, bright and clear bass tone, the best is if one one half of the humbucker picks up more sound (signal) than the other part.
     
  13. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    881
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Location:
    NS Beach, Fl.
    I wonder why this isn't done across all humbucker models models? Aren't you then compensating for the angle by adjusting the pole pieces?
     
  14. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    yes, but I like a brighter and thiner sound on the wound strings than on the plain string. Because of this it is not enough to adjust the angel, i.e. you'll also need to adjust the polescrews.
     
  15. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    try using 10-52 strings for a punchier bass.

    Some tips on eq: don't use much of the bass below 120-150hz. Minimize the muddy 250 hz frequenzy. Try to add some 6-7khz.

    Be very carefull with the attack on compressers. try a long attack time.
     
  16. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Alright, call me stupid, how can you do this without a locking tailpiece? Is the tailpiece simply held by the string angle pulling up against the studs?
     
  17. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    The bridge PU, or the polescrews, should be 1,5 mm from the string. Find out what is the highest position you use on the fretboard on the e and h string and on the A and E string. (for me this is something like fret 21 on the thin strings and fret 12 or 14 on the bass strings. This mean that I can put the pickup a little bit closer to the E string (bass) than the e string.)
     
  18. Roe

    Roe Member

    Messages:
    6,938
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Location:
    tromsoe, norway
    You're not stupid - se if you can find a pic of zack, bill gib or someone else who does it.

    My english is a little bit rotten, but I'll try to explain: First, turn around the tailpiece 180 degree so that the part that used to point toward the head now points in the opposite direction.
    Then put in the strings, but NOT like you used to do. Put the strings in the same place of the tailpiece as earlier, so the the string now will point in the other direction. When the string comes trough the tailpiece, bend it upwards and towards the bridge.

    This way you can se the strings going over the tailpiece. It almost like a wraparound bridge.
     
  19. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Ah, alright, I get it now. So it's a wraparound, but flip the tailpiece around. That makes altogether too much sense :) I'll have to try it the next time I change strings.
     
  20. Reeek

    Reeek Member

    Messages:
    1,208
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    I owned a standard once. My perspective is that it was the muddiest guitar I have ever heard. I even installed Seth Lovers in it trying to get something out of hrer and no change. I sold it.

    No sparkle or articlulation at all. It was a good guitar for darker high gain but I play clean a great deal and I had to let her go.
     

Share This Page