SG's are underrated for clean tones...

Snake Plissken

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Been playing more clean-ish guitar lately. In the past it's usually been a Tele for the cleaner stuff and for the country stuff, pedal steel licks, etc., but after only playing a Tele for the last few years after especially selling of my other guitars a couple years ago I wanted something differnt to mix things up. Picked up a '61 Standard with the Maestro Vibrola and absolutely loving the clean and "clean-ish" sounds coming out of this thing. Edge of break-up stuff is just killer, and although it's obviously not the same as a Tele, playing country stuff on an SG sounds great. If I'm being honest, I've had this SG coming up on a week now and II haven't even played it through any pedals. Just straight into an amp which is set up for a bit of hair/edge of break up if I decide to dig in and just use the dynamics of my playing and the volume knobs to get some really great sounds.

I wasn't sure about the 61R/T pickups at first, but I'm slowly coming around to them. Had some Seth Lovers in an SG Standard I used to own and some 57 Classics in a 2013 Standard that I bought new years ago and later on sold, and sort of used them as the benchmark of what I liked for SG pickups. Of course I'm comparing these 61's to how I think I remember those Seth Lovers and 57 Classics in my head, but the 61's seem a bit more dynamic. They're forcing me to play differently and they are very responsive to touch and very articulate. I find myself switching it up more between light and heavy picking, using my fingers much more, etc., because you can really feel and hear the differences in your tone with these pickups when you play differently, which is really inspiring.

I've owned a bunch of different Fender silverface amps in the past from real Vibro Chamos to Twins, but these days I live in a small spot. Previously had a Tome Master deluxe, thinking it would be my "Swiss Army knife" of amps, but it was a bit of a disappointment and got rid of it and ended up with a new '68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb. It's been a killer pair with the SG. Not sure what most of the peopel play around these parts, but I'd guess it tends to be more heavier stuff, but I ahve to say I've been REALLY happy with the cleaner sounds I've been getting out of this combo with the '61 Standard and the Vibro Champ Reverb!
 
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Col Mustard

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My SG sounds great through just about any amp.
I never crank mine up too hard any more, although I finally have
my own house again. I think of the SG as the Swiss Army Knife
of guitars, playing anything I'm capable of with no problems.
>I lived in apartments for a few years and
played clean a lot, or used my Blues Driver for a little crunch
without attracting the musician police.
>Guys I know who play at ear crushing levels and stand in a band
in front of an insane drummer can also get the tones they need out of an
SG, especially if it's had its pickups wax potted. IMHO all of the p'ups
you mention are accurate. So are the SD's and the Lollars and the Bare Knuckles
and the Rio Grandes.
>My personal preference for SG p'ups are the '57 Classic and '57 Classic plus.
They sound excellent at any level of decibels. I actually have cranked those
up to create pedal-free breakup in my Vox VT-30 (on its Fender Deluxe model)
and also with my Orange Micro Terror (which is a killer amp) played through a
home made 8 Ohm cab with 1/10 and 1/12. That gives a very interesting and
useful sound.
Orange tall rig@100.jpg
>My 2012 SG special with Mini Hums also gives excellent tone through the
Orange Tall Rig. SG with the new-design mini humbuckers (played through
a good amp) gives what I consider a totally unique tone, which I love.
It doesn't sound like anyone else's guitar. And for low decibel cool sounds
it's hard to beat an SG with mini hums and a Blackheart Little Giant. *grins
April tall rig@100.jpg
 

Maguchi

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Been playing more clean-ish guitar lately. In the past it's usually been a Tele for the cleaner stuff and for the country stuff, pedal steel licks, etc., but after only playing a Tele for the last few years after especially selling of my other guitars a couple years ago I wanted something differnt to mix things up. Picked up a '61 Standard with the Maestro Vibrola and absolutely loving the clean and "clean-ish" sounds coming out of this thing. Edge of break-up stuff is just killer, and although it's obviously not the same as a Tele, playing country stuff on an SG sounds great. If I'm being honest, I've had this SG coming up on a week now and II haven't even played it through any pedals. Just straight into an amp which is set up for a bit of hair/edge of break up if I decide to dig in and just use the dynamics of my playing and the volume knobs to get some really great sounds.

I wasn't sure about the 61R/T pickups at first, but I'm slowly coming around to them. Had some Seth Lovers in an SG Standard I used to own and some 57 Classics in a 2013 Standard that I bought new years ago and later on sold, and sort of used them as the benchmark of what I liked for SG pickups. Of course I'm comparing these 61's to how I think I remember those Seth Lovers and 57 Classics in my head, but the 61's seem a bit more dynamic. They're forcing me to play differently and they are very responsive to touch and very articulate. I find myself switching it up more between light and heavy picking, using my fingers much more, etc., because you can really feel and hear the differences in your tone with these pickups when you play differently, which is really inspiring.

I've owned a bunch of different Fender silverface amps in the past from real Vibro Chamos to Twins, but these days I live in a small spot. Previously had a Tome Master deluxe, thinking it would be my "Swiss Army knife" of amps, but it was a bit of a disappointment and got rid of it and ended up with a new '68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb. It's been a killer pair with the SG. Not sure what most of the peopel play around these parts, but I'd guess it tends to be more heavier stuff, but I ahve to say I've been REALLY happy with the cleaner sounds I've been getting out of this combo with the '61 Standard and the Vibro Champ Reverb!
Yep SGs can do very nice cleans, from funk, to jazz and all points in between. I also play a Gibson SG '61 reissue and a Fender Vibrochamp Reverb reissue. It's a great combination.

61SG.jpg FndrVbroChmp.jpg
 

Snake Plissken

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Yep SGs can do very nice cleans, from funk, to jazz and all points in between. I also play a Gibson SG '61 reissue and a Fender Vibrochamp Reverb reissue. It's a great combination.

View attachment 49672 View attachment 49673
SG and Vibro Champ Reverb an awesome combination!

I absolutely love the Vibro Champ Reverb, but am finding the stock speaker a little harsh though. Part of me says to jsut keep playing through it and see if it mellows out after being broken in. At first I thought it was the 61R/T pickups, but after playing a few other guitars through it that I've had for years I've come to the conclusion that they speaker in the VCR is just a bright speaker.
 

TheDixiePig

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Came to the same conclusion as yourself. I have a CME spec SG with the new T-top pups that Gibson is selling now. I've mentioned my surprise at the clean tones it gets here several times. Not what I expected. I does the wild rock and roll high gain stuff beautifully. (lately I've been running it into a Superfuzz clone I built) But clean with a little reverb has the most warm acoustic like tone. This led to me writing a few songs in styles I don't usually play. Right now it's running into a Spark amp with the Fender Deluxe sim and sounds beautiful. This has also led to a project where I'm gonna build a Deluxe of my own I like the sound so much.
 

Snake Plissken

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Came to the same conclusion as yourself. I have a CME spec SG with the new T-top pups that Gibson is selling now. I've mentioned my surprise at the clean tones it gets here several times. Not what I expected. I does the wild rock and roll high gain stuff beautifully. (lately I've been running it into a Superfuzz clone I built) But clean with a little reverb has the most warm acoustic like tone. This led to me writing a few songs in styles I don't usually play. Right now it's running into a Spark amp with the Fender Deluxe sim and sounds beautiful. This has also led to a project where I'm gonna build a Deluxe of my own I like the sound so much.
My experience as well. Led me to start working on ideas that I would not have come up with on my other three guitars, with are single coil Teles and a Strat.
 

smitty_p

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Yep SGs can do very nice cleans, from funk, to jazz and all points in between. I also play a Gibson SG '61 reissue and a Fender Vibrochamp Reverb reissue. It's a great combination.

That brings up a thought I had recently. In the band I'm in, we do a lot of funk and old R&B. Usually, I use my Stratocaster for that. But, I recently had the idea of using my 2014 SG for those songs, just to see what would happen!
 

Maguchi

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SG and Vibro Champ Reverb an awesome combination!

I absolutely love the Vibro Champ Reverb, but am finding the stock speaker a little harsh though. Part of me says to jsut keep playing through it and see if it mellows out after being broken in. At first I thought it was the 61R/T pickups, but after playing a few other guitars through it that I've had for years I've come to the conclusion that they speaker in the VCR is just a bright speaker.
Yes I had the same experience. It took a little longer than usual for the speaker to break in. But now I love it and it's one of my favorite amps.
 

Go Nigel Go

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That brings up a thought I had recently. In the band I'm in, we do a lot of funk and old R&B. Usually, I use my Stratocaster for that. But, I recently had the idea of using my 2014 SG for those songs, just to see what would happen!
I highly recommend doing that. On electrics I was a "Gibson only" guy for about 10 years, but when I finally started trying other guitars I found that it expanded my palette of techniques and sounds, and my playing only got better. Switching guitars on songs you know well sometimes doesn't work, but just as often it can give you a fresh perspective that leads you to new ways of playing the same thing. Even if you go back to the guitar you used before you can still get a benefit from changing it up from time to time just to see how it turns out.
 

Juan Tumani

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I use my 61 reissue for anything from country to metal. Likely the most versatile guitar I own (that doesn't have coil taps, phase switches & a Varitone).

All my other guitars need tricks to help cover more territory, my SG (with 57s) just does it.
 

SGBreadfan

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SG’s are just fine with cleans, but 335’s are better (in fact the best) in that realm when it comes to Gibsons IMO.
 

Siamese

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I don't know if they are "underrated", but I certainly like to play them clean. My tone philosophy for my style of playing is to always have as little overdrive/dirt as possible and let the sound and character of the guitar come through. Which isn't to say I don't end up with something aggressively overdriven to fit into the mix/style of a song, I just don't have heavy distortion as my default tone.
 

Vall

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I love this topic!

The SG is a killer Jazz guitar!
I especially appreciate the neck-position and even more since i soldered my 57 classic and transformed it to a splitable 4 pole singlecoil pickup. WOW! I never switch back to humbucker-mode!
 

Col Mustard

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personally I think SGs are under rated only by people who
have never played one. ...or who don't know how to EQ their signal.
or people who pay too much attention to internet "wisdom..."

Or maybe they played one through some dumb amp and blamed Gibson...
Or maybe they played somebody else's SG that wasn't set up properly.
Who knows? For me it was instant love. 14 years later I haven't changed
my mind.

other guys might take longer to catch on. *grins
 

jdto

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My 64 Reissue definitely gets some sweet cleans going. I agree that there is somewhat of a perception that SGs are for dirt, but mine really can do a lot of things very well. If I could only have one electric guitar, it would be that one.
 

duane v

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Funny never heard that claim before. I think it's just the look of an SG that begs for a pegged Marshall. To me it sounds like a Les Paul.

I like the SG for the reach.
 


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