Tonal differences between an SG and a Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by scottcw, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. scottcw

    scottcw Low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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  2. taylorooney

    taylorooney Active Member

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    i reckon an SG is more versatile, while an LP is more distinctive. the maple cap and PAF's on a paul just have "thing" to them. like a strat is a strat, a les paul standard w/ maple top and PAF's is a recognizable tone. obviously playing one through a blackface fender is different than playing one through a screaming marshall rig, but the signature burst tone is always there. SG's don't get enough credit for being versatile. most folks associate them with metal (a la iommi). however, a really good SG (like a historic LP/SG or an original) with LOW TO MEDIUM OUTPUT PAF'S, can be used for ANYTHING. seriously. from hard rock to metal to blues to country. they are a great platform for pedals, and speak differently through different types of amps. i'd say that a good Les Paul is the most powerful rock guitar on the planet....also a real "guitar hero" guitar. gotta love that signature les paul sound. but an SG (especially one without super hi-gain pickups) can cover a sh*tload of territory. i use my historic LP/SG w/ voodoo 59's for my cleanest and dirtiest tones, just using different pedals. i use my pauls for my in between tones.
     
  3. bobgoblin

    bobgoblin Supporting Member

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    SG's, to me, have always had a more 'raspy' sound, lighter in the bass/mids than a paul, lighter overall, too. I just got a LP, & going from a Yamaha AES620 (very SG-like, sculpted, thin body, mostly mahogany), it's a massive difference. Everything about the LP is just HUGE-ER, haha, really, just massive. But I play a lot of jazz, & even clean, its got a great sound, it really sings, good mid-heavy sound, but tons of clarity, too. SG's sound like a fantastic, just not as massive as LP's, but that's just me...
     
  4. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine Member

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    My first real guitar was a Les Paul SG with the 3 pickups and the folded metal trem with the lyre engraved on the front. It was a beautiful guitar, but the neck just never fit right in my hand. I eventually traded it for an ES-335 that needed some work, but was immediately "faster" and more comfortable.

    I actually switched the neck and middle pickups and really liked the tones I got. I thin m I'd eventually like to have one again.

    Brett
     
  5. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree witht the notion of an SG being more versatile. To me, it has a more balanced tone, and allows the player to shine through more.

    A Les Paul sounds like a Les Paul. As someone quite accurately pointed out in the thread re Musicman basses, they do what they do rather than what you want them to do.

    /rick
     
  6. Marty s Horne

    Marty s Horne Member

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    The Les Pauls I've owned were to my ears fatter and warmer than the SGs. I don't think one is more versatile than the other in that the electronics and switching options are the same on both guitars. Both are great axes but I do prefer the Les Paul; it just seems to have more tonal personality to my ears.
     
  7. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    SGs are great for Skynyrd'esq feedback because of the thin body. After you get used to the SG's oddball balance with the neck, they're a lot more fun to play, and they don't crush your spine like a Les Paul.

    But I really don't like the tight cluster of knobs, switch, and jack on an SG. I can get used to it, but the layout of the Les Paul is much better IMO.
     
  8. MCG

    MCG Member

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    Both guitars sound over all similar. The LP has more pronounced highs and a much deeper bass responce. The mid range in both Gibsons is similar. I will say that to my ears a good SG sounds more open than a LP, and perhaps clearer than a LP for rhythm.

    MCG
     
  9. sgguitarzz

    sgguitarzz Supporting Member

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    I love my 69 SG. I have used it for all styles of music from classic rock, blues, country, oldies, southern rock - you name it. The most versatile and comfortable guitar I have ever played.
     
  10. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    WHOO-HOO!!! Something I posted actually made sense to someone!!! :p
     
  11. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    :BEER
     
  12. scottcw

    scottcw Low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    What got me thinking about this was listening to the Doors. Robbie got an amazing variety of tones from an SG. The only LP player I have heard get that variety of tones was Page, but he had some different wiring than a standard LP.
     
  13. Giraffecaster

    Giraffecaster Member

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    les paul has more sustain, is heavier, but feels more solid

    sg, to me at least, feels like playing an acoustic with amazing fret access. it just resonates but the sustain dies off earlier than a lp.

    lp would make a "chug" type noise and sg would be more "ching"
     
  14. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    I find that the character of the tone of a Les Paul and SG are very similar, but I notice that SGs tend to have a more pronounced initial attack to notes, while Les Pauls are smoother. In terms of overall tone, the SG seems to lack some of the low mids and blunt midrange that gives a Les Paul such a fat, thick sound. That is actually why I dislike the sound of SGs in most cases. After about a day of using an SG, nasty harmonics in the sound really start to stick out and drive me nuts. The same goes for listening to people who play SGs. There is a bit of a harshness to the sound of an SG that I can almost always pick out now, because it drives me nuts.
     
  15. T. Caster

    T. Caster Member

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    Lots of the early San Francisco bands used SG's, back in the late 60's, Garcia, Cipollina (Quicksilver), Big Brother, etc.

    My brother has one, and it seems a little livelier to me than a Paul, more open sounding, but then I'm a single coilian The neck doesn't seem to balance very well with the body for me. I remember that about his older one too.

    Dan
     
  16. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    Not until around 75 or so when he got #2. The #1 was stock until relatively recently.
     
  17. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    Here comes the fly in the ointment . . .

    I always felt SG's were muddy.
     
  18. MCG

    MCG Member

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    To Hell with it, get an Explorer:AOK

    MCG
     
  19. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    :) :D
     
  20. lukeness

    lukeness Member

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