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Aster1

SG vs Les Paul?

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Hi & thanks for reading. Really my question is just how much differences in sound & playing there is between a LP & SG as guitars. I have my 2011 Reissue SG and haven't really warmed up to it totally. Course it could be humbuckers vs me being somewhat partial to S.C. pups too. I may not have the knack with amp & tone controls setup to just love.

 

The big question is, how close can you get an SG to sound like a LP? Maybe a dumb question, but I don't have access right now to go & play both in a store and end up mail ordering my guitars for that reason. Just trying to get those that may have both, or have decided on one vs. the other and hear what they have experienced in sound & playability.

 

Thanks for any feedback, outside "of go try both" type!! [biggrin] [biggrin] [biggrin]

 

Aster

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I think really the main difference is the maple cap that you get on a LP that gives it a slightly more rounded sound than a SG....

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This could be an interesting topic. I do think the SG and Les Paul sounds overlap a bit.

 

You mentioned that you have a preference for single coils. My knee-jerk response would be to try a SG with P90s - single coils on steroids. [thumbup]

 

As for how much an SG sounds like a Les Paul - given a similar set of humbucking pickups I'd say they are that close. Ima go with about 75%. The 25% difference is that the SG is a bit more biting and slightly less dark. So I'd say, yes, you can get LP sounds from an SG.

 

This is based solely on my own guitars. Others may have a different perspective.

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Thanks guys. That's good feedback. I have my Casino Elitist with P90's and love it much. Also, my Strats, Rics, & Duo-Jet too. I like when others play Humbuckers so I can's say I dislike that sound by any means. It must be more of a "Me" issue with ignorance with them.

 

Darker sounding on the LP due to that way the body is thicker? Again, really ignorant on LP's too. I hung one on my neck and the weight was like a boat anchor with my touchy neck/shoulders (injured in past, but not with a guitar [rolleyes]!

 

Thanks again. Really not poking on either guitar as I just love guitars. Trying to develope some songs that others play on LP's (so many) and wanted to maybe not add ANOTHER guitar to the stable.

 

Also, maybe I should be asking what a great sounding amps to combo with SG's & LP's. I have a Vox AC15 & Fender Blues Deluxe at the present. No Marshall's yet.

 

Aster

 

P.S. Been getting some "ratty tast'n peaches" lately. Hope the Georgia ones get better quick!! [biggrin]

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When I first heard Derek Trucks I would have bet money he was playing a big fat LP, but I was fooled. So my opinion is that you can get an SG to sound like a LP. :)

 

But owning both, I definitely prefer the feel of a LP. Especially when playing standing with it strapped on.

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When I first heard Derek Trucks I would have bet money he was playing a big fat LP, but I was fooled. So my opinion is that you can get an SG to sound like a LP. :)

 

But owning both, I definitely prefer the feel of a LP. Especially when playing standing with it strapped on.

 

Not arguing or questioning your preference, but what are the reasons (if you can put into words) why you like the LP better standing/strapped on? I use a wider suede leather strap so I don't have any "diving" issues with any of my guitars. I know the SG can try to do that with a less "sticky" strap however.

 

Thanks

 

Aster

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Need to remedy that situation! [biggrin]

 

 

Dang, a good reason to get shopping I guess!! :rolleyes: Are there any great Marshall's for humbuckers w/o spending a grand on them? Maybe about $600 or so? Don't play really loud or gig outside of for my two groupie Springer Spaniels. [biggrin]

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Dang, a good reason to get shopping I guess!! :rolleyes: Are there any great Marshall's for humbuckers w/o spending a grand on them? Maybe about $600 or so? Don't play really loud or gig outside of for my two groupie Springer Spaniels. [biggrin]

 

The new DSL's are a steal. Check them out. They come in a 15-watt head or combo, 40-watt combo or 100-watt head. All tube, great amps.

 

-Ryan

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This could be an interesting topic. I do think the SG and Les Paul sounds overlap a bit.

 

You mentioned that you have a preference for single coils. My knee-jerk response would be to try a SG with P90s - single coils on steroids. [thumbup]

 

As for how much an SG sounds like a Les Paul - given a similar set of humbucking pickups I'd say they are that close. Ima go with about 75%. The 25% difference is that the SG is a bit more biting and slightly less dark. So I'd say, yes, you can get LP sounds from an SG.

 

This is based solely on my own guitars. Others may have a different perspective.

 

 

I agree with this.

 

One thing, in my opinion that gives SGs more bite is that the bridge pickup is about 1/4" closer to the bridge and the neck pickup distance from the bridge between an SG and an LP is significant like 3/4" that is one of the reasons for the difference in sound. Most people guess it is the wood since the guitars are obviously different but once plugged to me it is the pickups that make the difference.

 

Both my V and my Explorer are all mahogany and yet sound fatter than my SG, both those guitars have the bridge pickup located at the same distance from the bridge as a Les Paul.

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...

The big question is, how close can you get an SG to sound like a LP?

...

Aster

Let me start saying that the following is based mostly on my experiences with the Les Paul and SG guitars of my own, a little on those with some owned by pals of mine and played at dealers. The use of the word Les Paul does not include "Les Paul SG" guitars here, regardless if vintage or reissued.

 

In general, the shorter the notes, the closer you may get to a Les Paul tone when playing an SG. Except for the Norlin era S-Gs from the late 1960's to around 1980 featuring a deeper neck set and a neck pickup position like on Les Paul guitars, this applies in particular to the bridge pickup tones, a little less to both pickups, and least to the neck pickup since it is shifted somewhat towards the bridge.

 

The longer the notes last, the bigger will be the differences. An SG's tone decays faster and will sound thinner compared to that of Les Paul guitars. These provide more sustain and an overall rounder tone than SGs.

 

Again ecxept for the previously mentioned Norlin S-Gs, from a right-hand player's view SG necks are farther left than Les Paul necks which gives a different feel and takes some acclimatization, especially when fretting blindly. As a matter of course, my 1978 S-G comes very close to a Les Paul in this respect. The other SGs of mine feel longer than all of my Fenders despite of having a shorter scale.

 

In general, I prefer Les Paul guitars for playability, but I think this comes since I like their carved top very much. I have to add that I think strap locks are a must on Les Paul guitars for feeling safe and comfortable. I don't miss the upper cutaway which isn't that helpful on SGs due to the upper strap knob location, and I don't care for neck heels. Usually I don't even feel there is none on my Les Paul Axcess guitar... by the way, among guitars with a flat top, I love Explorers the most, for their nice balance as well as their support of the right forearm. Strap locks are a must on these, too, in my opinion.

 

Finally, I don't like P90s on either Les Paul or SG. To my experiences with a Weimann Blues Bird ES guitar of mine equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan P90s and several Gibson guitars owned by pals, they are more prone to hum, buzz, and magnetic feedback than any Fender single coil pickup. However, I like Fender Noiseless pickups, and so I guess the P100s perhaps could have been something for me. They sadly don't make them anymore.

 

Mini humbuckers are a different story, but I think that the very Les Paul and SG tones are provided by humbuckers. I love splitting options but prefer reverse wound/reversed polarity pickups for these, cancelling noise when both pickups are in use.

 

Just my two cents, based on personal experiences, and I hope it helps a bit.

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I am going to second what Surfpop said: To me, nothing beats a SG with P-90s. Why? Because with 'buckers, an SG does sound like a Les Paul, at least too much for my liking. I admit that I have not played a LP with P-90s, and it must be a pretty great thing. But if you want that treble'y, Townsend-y bite, you will find it in spades on an SG with P-90s.

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Yes it does help. The other confusing issue with a LP is "which" LP? So many models withing the model I guess I'd say. All over the place in prices from maybe $1500 to serious $$$.

 

As an all around sounding LP, which gives maybe the most "bang for the buck" in the lineup available. I will look into the Marshall DSL amp too if they are a good match with the Humbuckers.

 

Thanks

 

Aster

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I agree with this.

 

One thing, in my opinion that gives SGs more bite is that the bridge pickup is about 1/4" closer to the bridge and the neck pickup distance from the bridge between an SG and an LP is significant like 3/4" that is one of the reasons for the difference in sound. Most people guess it is the wood since the guitars are obviously different but once plugged to me it is the pickups that make the difference.

 

Both my V and my Explorer are all mahogany and yet sound fatter than my SG, both those guitars have the bridge pickup located at the same distance from the bridge as a Les Paul.

This is interesting, thank you for mentioning. It does not apply to my 1978 S-G, probably due to the long-travel "harmonica" bridge. Their pickup positions match those of a Les Paul.

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Yes it does help. The other confusing issue with a LP is "which" LP? So many models withing the model I guess I'd say. All over the place in prices from maybe $1500 to serious $$$.

 

As an all around sounding LP, which gives maybe the most "bang for the buck" in the lineup available. I will look into the Marshall DSL amp too if they are a good match with the Humbuckers.

 

Thanks

 

Aster

In my opinion, most bang for the buck is offered by the Studio models. There are some providing coil split options, too. The purest LP tone I think may give you the Traditionals, but these cost nearly as much as the Standards.

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Not arguing or questioning your preference, but what are the reasons (if you can put into words) why you like the LP better standing/strapped on? I use a wider suede leather strap so I don't have any "diving" issues with any of my guitars. I know the SG can try to do that with a less "sticky" strap however.

 

Thanks

 

Aster

 

You can question my preference. I won't get offended. [biggrin]

 

I'm probably in the minority, but I actually prefer a slightly heavier guitar. The SG is actually more comfortable and has the easier access to higher frets, but it just feels weird to me with a strap. Maybe it's the neck dive thing? :-k I just know that when I strap on the LP, with it's nicely balanced 9-10lbs, I know it's there and it just feels right.

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I agree with this.

 

One thing, in my opinion that gives SGs more bite is that the bridge pickup is about 1/4" closer to the bridge and the neck pickup distance from the bridge between an SG and an LP is significant like 3/4" that is one of the reasons for the difference in sound. Most people guess it is the wood since the guitars are obviously different but once plugged to me it is the pickups that make the difference.

 

Both my V and my Explorer are all mahogany and yet sound fatter than my SG, both those guitars have the bridge pickup located at the same distance from the bridge as a Les Paul.

 

The thickness of the SG's body probably contributes to the extra bite as well. They're significantly thinner than a traditional LP, Explorer or V.

 

-Ryan

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In my experience, and Humble Opinion:

SG's have more mid-range "bite" given the same pickups, amp, and player!

Les Paul's have more "bass" response=thicker tone all things set equal,

to the SG!

 

ES-335, 345, 355, (basically) have that semi-hollow body (warmth,

and roundness, but very similar tone, beyond that, to the Les Paul.

The SG is still a bit "edgier," or has a more "sharp" (bite), than

either the Les Paul or ES-models with the same electronics. Hope I

didn't confuse you more??? [tongue][unsure]

 

Amps, can make a big difference, toward utilizing the best aspects,

of each. And, EQ'ing, for each guitar, will narrow the differences,

even more, obviously.

 

CB

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I have a Les Paul studio and an SG standard both with the same 490/498 pickup combo. To my truley unprofessional ear, they sound about the same. The LP does have more sustain, but the SG has way better access to the upper frets. In my opinion you can get the les paul sounds out of your SG if you only want one guitar. But who wants just one guitar!!! ":)" And like someone else said already, the studio is your best bang for your buck. Great guitars.

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I agree with this.

 

One thing, in my opinion that gives SGs more bite is that the bridge pickup is about 1/4" closer to the bridge and the neck pickup distance from the bridge between an SG and an LP is significant like 3/4" that is one of the reasons for the difference in sound. Most people guess it is the wood since the guitars are obviously different but once plugged to me it is the pickups that make the difference.

 

Both my V and my Explorer are all mahogany and yet sound fatter than my SG, both those guitars have the bridge pickup located at the same distance from the bridge as a Les Paul.

This is interesting, thank you for mentioning. It does not apply to my 1978 S-G, probably due to the long-travel "harmonica" bridge. Their pickup positions match those of a Les Paul.

After doing additional research, I come back to this point again.

 

There is one Gibson SG with three humbuckers in my arsenal with the bridge pickup closer to the bridge. There is in fact no wasted space between the end of the 24 fret fingerboard and the three pickup rings of this SG Supra. All the three dual-humbucker Gibson SGs of mine have the same distance between bridge pickup and bridge like all of my five dual-humbucker Gibson Les Paul guitars, my dual-humbucker Epiphone Les Paul guitar, three Gibson L6-S respectively L6S guitars of mine, and my Gibson Explorer. It's not just my 1978 Gibson S-G Standard which I mentioned before.

 

I also compared dozens of pictures showing current dual-humbucker Gibson Les Paul and Gibson SG guitars. The differences are inconsistent and rather look like accidental tolerances than intended design, with the possible exception of the brand-new SG 120 model with batwing pickguard. The latter allows for bringing the bridge pickup closer to the bridge. However, the Government Series II SG also featuring a batwing pickguard does not look as if the bridge pickup was closer to the bridge.

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This could be an interesting topic. I do think the SG and Les Paul sounds overlap a bit.

 

You mentioned that you have a preference for single coils. My knee-jerk response would be to try a SG with P90s - single coils on steroids. [thumbup]

 

As for how much an SG sounds like a Les Paul - given a similar set of humbucking pickups I'd say they are that close. Ima go with about 75%. The 25% difference is that the SG is a bit more biting and slightly less dark. So I'd say, yes, you can get LP sounds from an SG.

 

This is based solely on my own guitars. Others may have a different perspective.

 

I'm gonna go with that... It sounds about right to me...

 

To describe it another way, I think the SG sweet-spot is in the bite and scream. While a Les Paul will certainly scream with the best of 'em, I think it has a wider tonal palette and I think the SG does the whole rock & roll screaming guitar more consistently...

 

I've seem SG's with sublime tone too; such as Dickey Betts and Derek Trucks...

 

But when I think of SG's sweet-spot I think of Angus Young of AC-DC...

 


I see Aster1 that you seem to think getting a handle on humbuckers is tougher...

 

I would say single-coils/P90's are more of a handful when trying to achieve a signal stability with their penchant to feedback, hum, and squeal...

 

I think of humbuckers as easier to handle...

 

But I love my "Soap-Bars!"

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snip: In my opinion you can get the les paul sounds out of your SG if you only want one guitar. But who wants just one guitar!!! ":)" And like someone else said already, the studio is your best bang for your buck. Great guitars.

 

I do like multi-guitars, but I'm over 30 now and may just have to cut things back and make due (my wife is counting the cases now as she can't really see the diff. in the guitars except for colors [biggrin]). [rolleyes] Not in any trouble yet but I've found it's best not to poke a wolverine with a stick either!!! Someday I'll par back the inventory greatly, but for now just get a different one/two out and play them that week when I get "me time."

 

Jimi, I think that I don't run into as much trouble with the SC's as other as I don't play very loud. Got to protect my ears ( as I sell/calibrate big dog home theater systems & audio gear and need all my high freq. hearing still). [biggrin] Got some ear ringing now from one of the meds I had to take in the past and just won't go away. But I do know what you mean on the SC's for sure.

 

Thanks for the great info. It does help me gather decision making data and is fun to yap about in the mean time too!!

 

Aster

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The SG is actually more comfortable and has the easier access to higher frets, but it just feels weird to me with a strap. Maybe it's the neck dive thing? :-k I just know that when I strap on the LP, with it's nicely balanced 9-10lbs, I know it's there and it just feels right.

 

To add to this.

 

It is the balance and the fact that guitars "hang" differently regardless of neck dive issues.

 

LPs have the strap buttons wider apart, that "anchors" the guitar to a more steady position, it's similar to the tripod concept, the wider the base the more stable the tripod.

 

An SG can be balanced and the strap you use makes a difference and all that but in the end if you "push it" it'll not balance as well.

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To add to the "strap related" differences between the LP and SG... If you are using strap locks, you will need a different strap for your SG since the strap lock has to go through backwards on the neck attachment point. Since I have two SGs I just keep a strap set up for them and move it between the two.

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