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Trying so hard to get into the SGs


Dan SG
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First I bought a Gibson SGJ - a cheaper SG but still made in USA. Serious intonation problems.

Recently I bought a SG Standard P-90 2016 . It looked great but it couldn't stay in tune and the P-90s pickups were muddy and unfocused.

Both of them have been sold meanwhile.

 

I am wondering if they took the time to produce such nice looking guitars why didn't make them stay in tune as well?

I understand this is a more general issue of Gibson guitars but it's ridiculous: my Fenders are solid with their tunings and they never bothered with this aspect.

 

How are you approaching buying your Gibson SGs?

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You must have had some bad luck. Did you do a set up on the p90 Standard? Nearly every guitar I own I have had to adjust the bridge saddles for more accurate intonation in the higher register around 19th fret, but they have been fine once it has been done. Tuning issues seem odd too, most guitars slip on the g string, but usually not a big problem if strung correctly. Sounds like you may have had a couple of bad ones. I've been lucky, every Gibson SG I have has been great with no problems, the only Gibson I have had a few problems with is my LP Junior as the stopbar/bridge I have on a bad angle to achieve better intonation. I'm sure it shouldn't be like this, but at least it's in tune now...oh and my L5CES developed some lacquer checking only a year after I bought it which I wasn't too happy about, but I've decided it adds character to it now.

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I have 15 SGs, all different models/specs. I have a 2016 SG with the P-90s and a 2014 SGJ and I like both of them. I have set up all of my SGs and once that is done, they are all great guitars. If you want to find one you like, I would strongly recommend spending some quality time in a Guitar store trying them. P90 models are an acquired taste and I do like them. I am not sure why yours was all muddy but I don't know your rig. My P90 has a great clean sound and sounds decent with a bit of dirt. I do prefer the humbuckers on these and my current favorite is a 2015 SG Standard. Great guitars with a wide neck.

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How are you approaching buying your Gibson SGs?

 

I see them. Fall in love with them. Try them out. Love them. Buy them.

 

[biggrin]

 

I have three SGs (sold one recently, or I'd have four). No problems with intonation, etc. With the exception of my '91 Standard—which needed new tuning machines—never had issues.

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my Fenders are solid with their tunings and they never bothered with this aspect.

 

Then, stick with Fender...why stray from something that's proven successful? I own one Gibson and it took me forever to find one I liked. I like most of the Fender's I play. Go figure...

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Then, stick with Fender...why stray from something that's proven successful? I own one Gibson and it took me forever to find one I liked. I like most of the Fender's I play. Go figure...

 

Some people are Fender guys, some Gibson, some Gretsch etc. I was always drawn to and prefer the feel and playability of Gibson to any other maker. Fender are ok, but I never fully clicked with them. When I was a kid I thought the Strat and Tele had to much plastic covering the tops and looked tacky! I have learnt to appreciate the look over time and do own a nice Baja Tele and a Mexican Strat. I would like a Jaguar...they look very cool, but not as cool as the Firebird I own [smile]

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First I bought a Gibson SGJ - a cheaper SG but still made in USA. Serious intonation problems.

Recently I bought a SG Standard P-90 2016 . It looked great but it couldn't stay in tune and the P-90s pickups were muddy and unfocused.

Both of them have been sold meanwhile.

 

I am wondering if they took the time to produce such nice looking guitars why didn't make them stay in tune as well?

I understand this is a more general issue of Gibson guitars but it's ridiculous: my Fenders are solid with their tunings and they never bothered with this aspect.

 

How are you approaching buying your Gibson SGs?

 

 

You never mentioned if either guitars were given a proper setup and gone over by someone who knows what they are doing. Fixing an intonation issue could be as simple as putting on some new strings and dialing in the intonation properly because the previous owner didn't, or going from one string gauge to another could cause intonation issues, etc. And "muddy" pickups could be as simple as adjusting pickup heights, pole pieces, etc. What you may think of as muddy may be the holy grail for another player. Tuning issues are usually addressed by proper cut nut slots, which is something Gibson is notorious for not being able to do properly from the factory. Fender and other manufacturers are the same way. They cut corners on the final set up to cut costs and get more guitars out the door. And as a Fender guy, I'll go on the record and say I've had my fair share of even higher end Fenders that have had HORRIBlE setups off the showroom floor, so it's not just Gibson.

 

If I am buying a new or used guitar (regardless of the manufacturer) I take my StewMac String Action Gauge, measure the action, check the relief, see how much room is left to adjust the action if need be, check the neck angle, and get even a little more detailed if it's an acoustic guitar, noting neck angle, height from the guitar's top to the strings at the bridge, the amount of saddle left, etc. Also check for any repairs, damage, etc. If you know what you're looking for and know the red flags you'll be better prepared to weed out the duds and pick a good one.

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OP - you should look for SG Classic P90 from a few years ago. Also, are you buying online? If so, look local. If you are a ways from a good guitar shop, take a road trip. It will be worth it to get something you will like.

 

And as others said, maybe you're just not an SG guy.

 

 

I love SGs... Can't stand Les Paul shapes, and also don't like Fender style guitars.

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OP - you should look for SG Classic P90 from a few years ago. Also, are you buying online? If so, look local. If you are a ways from a good guitar shop, take a road trip. It will be worth it to get something you will like.

 

And as others said, maybe you're just not an SG guy.

 

 

I love SGs... Can't stand Les Paul shapes, and also don't like Fender style guitars.

 

OP said he felt the P90's on a previous SG were "muddy and unfocused". As much as I agree that the SG Classic P90 is probably one of the best SG models ever, the OP may be better suited with an SG with traditional humbuckers.

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OP said he felt the P90's on a previous SG were "muddy and unfocused". As much as I agree that the SG Classic P90 is probably one of the best SG models ever, the OP may be better suited with an SG with traditional humbuckers.

 

yeah you're probably right... 57 Classics might be more to his liking... or he simply isn't SG worthy ;) lol

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Do yourself a favor and try out a Special 2017 T. If you can still get your hands on one, you might just like it. After changing the crappy factory strings on mine, it really came to life! This is one of those guitars that you won't even need effects on, when you play it through any decent tube amp. It does sound cherry going through good effect pedals as well.

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Do yourself a favor and try out a Special 2017 T. If you can still get your hands on one, you might just like it. After changing the crappy factory strings on mine, it really came to life! This is one of those guitars that you won't even need effects on, when you play it through any decent tube amp. It does sound cherry going through good effect pedals as well.

 

Even with the 490R/498T pickups? My 2012 SG Standard came with them and was completely stock when I bought the guitar and for the life of me could not get a sound I liked out of them despite spending a couple weeks tweaking the setup, pickup hinges, etc. They just seemed to be very generic, almost covering up the true sound of the guitar. The bridge was very hot and lacked character. I could make the neck pickup usable to some degree. I replaced them with some SD Seth Lovers and the guitar came to live. Fatter tone, more touch sensitive, articulate, vintage sounding. Maybe the Seths are just better suited for the mild overdrive/edge of breakup type stuff I play, and the 490R/498T would work better for much heavier stuff, I just felt especially when clean they were very unimpressive. I used to play the guitar through some old Fender tube amps that were all serviced and in tip top shape )Twin Reverb, Princeton Reverb and Deluxe Reverb) and those pickups never worked.

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Tuning issues with Gibsons are, IME, more often than not due to badly cut nut-slots. Some look like they've been hacked in with a kitchen knife! They can squeeze and grip the strings, and then suddenly let go. However, reprofile and lube them and they'll work perfectly. I've done this to both my SGs, and they hold tuning better than any guitar I've ever owned. Also tuners, even cheap and nasty ones, are so low geared that they rarely contribute to tuning stability issues provided that you always tune up, not down. Mind you, cheap tuners can make it hard to tune properly in the first place!

 

Wrt the pup 'muddiness', then so much can also be attributed to what amp you're using and the way it's EQ'd. However some pups do just gel with people, and other don't. Just one of those things.

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Never owned an SG, or "Les Paul" SG, that I didn't Love! Otherwise, I wouldn't have bought them, in the first place.

But then, I've purchased all my SG's from my favorite dealer, and got to "Cheery Pick," from all they had in stock.

Never had any more tuning issues, with them, than any other guitar, even Gibson, I own. But, I've had all the nuts

on all my Gibson's replaced, as part of the sale's deal, to bone nuts. Now, I don't even have to ask, they know to

do that, prior to my picking it/them up.

 

As to pickups? All my SG's have Gibson Classic '57's, in them. The only real "swap out," I've done, was to my 2000

Les Paul Classic, which came with the Ceramic "Hot" pickups, as stock. I changed those, to Classic '57 (neck) and a

'57 Plus, for the bridge. Never looked back. But then, I don't really dislike ANY decent pickup, Gibson or otherwise.

The Classic '57's are my favorites, though. [thumbup][biggrin]

 

To each his/her own!

 

CB

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