Gibson SG Classic P90

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VikingBlues
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Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:41 pm

I guess I should introduce my new friend properly. :welcome:

At the moment it will have to just be words and pictures. Music at some point, but I'm not at my creative best while feeling continually nauseous and the weight of a guitar resting on the stomach doesn't help! :cry:

She weighs in at 7.5lb - pretty well identical to the PRS SE. They do have quite a lot in common ... and the PRS is now in open G for a different sound and for slide.

So - Pictures:-
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body
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I can find no flaws or blemishes anywhere :clap:

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headstock
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I do like the Gibson sytle headstock - simple but pleasing to the eye - well my eye anyway

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pups a tad high?
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The P90 pickups are a lot closer to my strings than on the PRS SE which also has P90s - they are also closer by a fair bit on the bass side compared to the treble. Seems wrong to me and I think I'm maybe losing a bit of natural sustain. :icon_whoknows: I think I would rather have the treble side closer if either was closer on a completely mahogany guitar. I'll side with Seth Lover on this - he said he thought the reason P90s never became too popular with players was because they were too often set too close to the strings and this produced poorer tone quality - he felt this was particularly a problem with Alnico V magnets. This contrasts with advice I see all over the net about getting the P90s as close as possible to the strings - though very often there are words like aggressive and dirty when it comes to the sort of sound the person is wanting. :thumbsdown:

100_0406sm.jpg
nice neck join
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Neck join is basically flawless - a work of art! :pray:
It's not quite as floppy as the neck felt on my old Gidson SG Standard several years ago, but you can get that shimmer by pulling back and releasing neck and body.

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pup pole pieces line up well
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Everything lines up nicely and the action works very well - intonation spot on. Slightly better measurements than my PRS SE and self build Strat so I won't have to play around with that thankfully. :phew:

Action (Capo 1st fret, distance from top of 12th fret to string) - Bass 1.4mm, Treble 1.0mm
Nut (distance from top of 1st fret to string) - Bass 0.5mm, Treble 0.3mm. Best I've ever had along with the MIJ Tokai Les Paul Custom.
Relief (Capo 1st fret, hold down string at final fret, largest distance from top of fret to string between 5th & 12th fret) - Bass 0.3mm, Treble 0.25mm

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strings nicely aligned to fretboard
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Not too much danger of pulling the string overthe edge of the fretboard

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attempt to show the grain / finish
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I don't think I have a good enough camera to capture the finish. The light at this time of the year is not too good either.
This was the closest I could get.

...........................................

So - I have had a go at playing a little bit today and a very little bit the day before. I have the nitrocellulose smell on my hands as a result. I'm liking what I'm hearing so far and it's very easy to play, though I suspect i will be tweaking pickup heights before committing sound to a recording.

I'll try not to drag it out too long before I give you a demo! :whistle:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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HalfBlindLefty
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by HalfBlindLefty » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:33 pm

:drool: That's a real beauty VB. :drool:
I happen to be a higher string action addict. Has something to do with feeling the other strings against the right position of my fingertips when I ben a string and of course tone. MY guitars sound better/warmer/richer with the higher action I use.
I'm not a speedy player so I don't have use for lower action.

If you like the low action, that's just perfect, you got your wish :) and a real Gibson :thumbsup: :pray:

Enjoy yourself after you got well pretty damn soon :fingerscrossed:
A long time ago, in the old forum : Registered: Mon, 27 Nov 2006. Wonder were the other old members all went....

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vancouverois
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by vancouverois » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:53 pm

Nice SG VB! :beer: :clap: :thumbsup:
Get better soon and take care.
Jan 15th 2007

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tytlblues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by tytlblues » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:03 am

ooooohhhhh yeahhhhhh.......looks real sweet!! Can't wait to hear a sound demo :)
Tytlblues

" A blues guitarist plays 3 chords in front of thousands of people.......a Jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords in front of 3 people"

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ratfinkdan
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by ratfinkdan » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:09 am

congrats on the new guitar VB, looks very nice and I'm sure plays and sounds great too! I'm such a sucker for gibson guitars and P90s, theres just something about them esspecially if you get a really good one. On my gibsons I found that changing the wireing to the 50s style wireing helped open the tone up some, it was clearer, its a pretty easy mod just moving a couple of wires, lots of info on the my les paul forum. SGs are cool!! Dan

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:58 am

Thanks guys! :thumbsup:
.... and thanks for your wishes about my health. The nauseous feeling is not so bad, but still there pretty well all the time - I'm seeing the senior doctor at the local health centre in a couple of weeks time and I get to see a consultant gall-bladder surgeon in just over a month. Hopefully it'll eventually get sorted. :wall:

I'm continuing to enjoy playing the SG a lot. :D I had an SG Standard with pickups several years ago, but I always felt that guitar owned me rather than the other way round - i feel more in charge this time around - maybe I've got a bit better at playing.
tytlblues wrote:Can't wait to hear a sound demo :)
I hope you don't mind HBL, :fingerscrossed: but I've used the only BT that's been getting me to spark at all the last few days - your Blinded Collab one - everything else just sounds so dull. I will try to get on to the collab idea soon with this BT, but I'm hopeful that when I do I will be in better form than now.
Just the Gibbie into the VibroChamp XD with no pedals - recorded two parts : low gain "hot rod" voicing panned right, and low gain "tweed" voicing panned left - both with some of the amps reverb. Recorded by microphone. No tweaking with the DAW other than panning the two lead parts left and right.
download/file.php?id=2366
I've done nothing to the guitar - still the factory strings on it, and I haven't had the energy to play around with pickup / pole-piece heights.
HalfBlindLefty wrote:I happen to be a higher string action addict. Has something to do with feeling the other strings against the right position of my fingertips when I ben a string and of course tone. MY guitars sound better/warmer/richer with the higher action I use.
I'm not a speedy player so I don't have use for lower action.

If you like the low action, that's just perfect, you got your wish :)
In my case I like low action due to the pains I get in my finger joints if they're doing any more than minimal work. I even get a lot of pain from the dog pulling on his lead if I don't change hands quite often. So I hope if I strain them as little as possible I can keep playing for more years. :sad:
ratfinkdan wrote:I'm such a sucker for gibson guitars and P90s, theres just something about them esspecially if you get a really good one. On my gibsons I found that changing the wireing to the 50s style wireing helped open the tone up some, it was clearer, its a pretty easy mod just moving a couple of wires, lots of info on the my les paul forum. SGs are cool!!
Cool indeed! :cool: I do not understand why there are so many SGs with humbuckers for sale and so few with P90s - I think the P90 sound goes great with the mahogany influenced tones. The one I got was the last one at Andertons. Nowhere in Edinburgh had one. The Edinburgh branch of GuitarGuitar had previously had one but sent it through to their Glasgow branch (by mistake).
Attachments


Testing the SG Classic with HBL Blinded Collab BT
Blinded SG Test.mp3 - (4.09 MiB)

An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Blindboy
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by Blindboy » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:31 am

Nice! :thumbsup:
I like the tones I am hearing, and it sounds like it is encouraging your playing in some different directions already. I am hearing some licks and phrases come together that I haven't heard from you before.
Very cool!
"Throw yo' big leg over me Mama, I might not feel this good again!"

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:15 am

Thanks Blindboy. It does play differently and that changes the way I play a bit. I've now got a collection where all 4 of the electrics have something of that about them.

I'm finding it interesting that I'm usually just plugging the SG straight into the amp and not using any pedals - guess that says something about its quality of sound.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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ElMano
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by ElMano » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:23 pm

It is a real beauty VB And you sound fine on it Hope you don't forget to play the Other brands as well :away: :thumbsup:
You can't bend the rule, Every man is some womans fool

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:59 pm

Thanks ElMano. :D
ElMano wrote:Hope you don't forget to play the Other brands as well :away: :thumbsup:
Funny that - I have played both the Hagstrom and the "Strat" in the last couple of days. It's great - I feel I've managed to acquire / upgrade 4 guitars that all bring something special with them - an individuality.

If I keep to my resolution of a maximum of 4 electric guitars it's difficult to see how I'm going to get another. Would need to be something VERY special .... plus a win on the lottery. :roll:

What will E-Bay and PayPal do without all the fees they get from my selling guitars. :lol:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Blindboy
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by Blindboy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:30 pm

I've been playing my old SG a lot with the band lately. Maybe you inspired me VB. :cool: We've picked up several new slide tunes in the last couple of weeks, and I really like how my nasty old '69 sounds on them.
It is pretty cool to have a stable full of good guitars, each with its own voice. :thumbsup:
"Throw yo' big leg over me Mama, I might not feel this good again!"

MichaelRobinson
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by MichaelRobinson » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:58 pm

Right. It's allways good to expanding the arsenal of guitars. I hope you, VB, find youre SG worth every penny.

Me and my self is in the fase of buying gear to laquer a guitar. I do it some what backwards. I start to buy the paint and painting gears and when I have done that I buy the guitar.
I'm nervous about this because it's my first try and I don't know if I'm able to get the guitar top as I want it. ElMano sent an adress on you tube that's very educationel. I hope I can paint good but I'm nervous to fail because It's the first try.

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:11 pm

Hmmm .... after the honeymoon period things have gone a bit bad with the SG. :sad:

You may have noticed a lack of much recordings from me with the SG since "Peace for the Ancient" a month ago.

In essence ... cut a long story short ... I've had reservations about lack of sustain, difficulty of cutting through in a mix, and colouration of tone. The sustain and cutting through the mix are much less obvious playing teh guitar through an amp on it's own of course. But playing along with backing tracks it becomes more noticable, and with recordings they're even more noticable.

Managed to reduce the problem by lowering pickup heights (and also played around a bit with polepiees).

1) Lowering the pickup height, particularly in regard to the neck pickup has noticably reduced the muddiness in the sound. They are now around 3mm to 3.5mm string height from pickup when fretted at the last fret v the Gibson recommended 1.2mm. If I lower them much more they'll be out of the back of the guitar.
2) After doing that my raising the polepieces doesn't affect the sound / tone too much but does raise up the volume.
3) Sustain on the SG P90s is still significantly worse played clean / low gain than the Tonerider P90s on the PRS SE. Also significantly worse than even the Hagstrom Viking Deluxe which has a Trapeze tailpiece.
4) Colouration of the sound isn't too bad now on the lower part of the fretboard. But when I get to the 15th fret and above the change in sound of the guitar notes singing is a bit like a singer has suddenly developed a cold and their nose is all blocked up.
5) The pickups on the SG do not make the guitar responsive enough to variations in the way I play the strings - the Hagstrom, the PRS SE and the Self Build Strat all have that responsiveness due to their pickups and it makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of playing a guitar and to the quality of music that can be created.

OH DEAR!!! :wall:

I feel there is a problem with these pickups for someone, like me, who plays clean or with low gain. With overdriven there will be enough sustain and bite from the overdrive to fit in the mix fine. I guess this is the market being aimed at by Gibson. I believe these are "hot" pickups and are Alnico 5 though I have no specific data.

To play the sort of clean stuff at slower speeds I need to be able to things like bend a note up a step and then to apply a slowish vibrato and have the sound sustain. Or just have a long sustained note with vibrato moving through a chord change. If I can't do these sort of things I've lost a huge amount of my possibilities for a decent improv.

I think I've basically picked (no pun intended) the wrong guitar for playing my sort of music - well the wrong guitar given its stock pickups. :sad: At least I have comfort in knowing that I would not have picked up this issue had I tried the guitar in a shop (had any shop near here had anything so far from the normal as a solid body P90 guitar :roll:). Still feel like a jackass though. :shy:

.... and more than a little cheesed off.

My memories of the SG Standard from a few years back probably clouded my judgement - I am not the same player (or person) now as I was back then and my musical tastes have changed as much as my skills. I really don't feel like wrestling with upgrading pickups etc. I have a suspiscion that if I did I'd just end up with an SG that sounded too like my PRS SE and the SG would have lost value with the change in pickups.

OH DEAR AGAIN!!! :yikes:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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HalfBlindLefty
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by HalfBlindLefty » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:24 pm

Oh my, I feel a divorce coming up :alright:

I never owned an SG, so I can't agree or disagree with your findings.
I'm easy, if I don't like or use a guitar (anymore) she's got to go :yikes:
Still I get your feelings about this.

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vancouverois
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by vancouverois » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:36 pm

I would try to have the nut replaced by a good one and new light strings to get an idea of the change before slotting the nut too deep.
It has made wonders on the Squier P90 I had, the original pickups weren't that bad and it sounded better after this upgrade.

Otherwise a conversion to mini humbuckers is something I would like to try, actually I have a project oncoming :whistle: ;-)
I like their clarity and articulation, a P90 sounds really different than a mini, a bit bassier.
myNIADE_6pM

There are some mount rings for P90s cavities, no need to rout anything.
I guess GFS (guitarfetish.com) sells the mount rings.

Image


It's even possible to install the firebird PUs too :D

Image
Jan 15th 2007

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:09 pm

HalfBlindLefty wrote:Oh my, I feel a divorce coming up :alright:
I suspect you're right HBL.

Know what you mean about the various things that can be done to hardware to improve things for me VC. But ... I feel that I'm likely to end up with a guitar quite like the PRS SE Soapbar (with the Tonerider Vintage P90s). They are quite similar beasts those two guitars - I didn't realise that before having the two guitars to use one after the other over several weeks.

I think my memories of having that SG Standard all those years ago skewed things - because I was so much worse a player back then the SG seemed incredibly good. In the event - NOW - I don't feel that the workmanship or the playability of the PRS SE is inferior in any way to the SG. The PRS SE electrics and pickups desperatley needed upgrading and the guitar was hugely impoved as a result. I think as it is it competes very well with anything in the £600 to £900 range.

The trouble with modding the SG is that it will likely reduce its value - it's also difficult to know which the best bets might be for a particular guitar. So if it's not a keeper at the end I'll need to pay for the mods to be reversed or take a further financial hit. At this price level I'm not keen on doing any mods myself. I'm not sure I have the enthusiasm there for all the research and the assorted highs and lows of the process either. I really was going for a one off purchase that would be a good enogh guitar as stock. And I chose wrong.
HalfBlindLefty wrote:I never owned an SG, so I can't agree or disagree with your findings.
I got Sandra through last night for an unbiaised pair of ears for an A/B demo Tonerider A2 P90s in the PRS SE and stock P90s in the SG. She immediately picked up on the problem with sustain, particularly one the higher frets - and also the more congested "singers got a cold" sort of voice of the stock SG pups. If it doesn't clean up enough with the string heights to pickups being over 3mm I don't think it ever will.

I'm pretty sure these pups would be great if I was wanting to hit the heavy distortion levels - I suspect that's what they've been designed for. Though when you hear Pete Townshends P90s on his SG Sppecial on Live at Leeds - those P90s back then had great clarity and sustain when not heavily overdriven.
HalfBlindLefty wrote:I'm easy, if I don't like or use a guitar (anymore) she's got to go :yikes:
Exactly that - my feelings exactly. When I lost my love of my Tokai MIJ Les Paul Customs sound I didn't really have a problem with selling it on. And that had been my pride and joy. So with a guitar I've never bonded with it really shouldn't be a problem.

I had a nice improv session this morning - my first for about a fortnight where I haven't been doing A/B comparisons and fretting about the SGs sound. I felt liberated this morning as if a weight had been lifted. And the PRS pups were singing very sweetly and expressivley. There's probably a message in that for me!
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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ratfinkdan
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by ratfinkdan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:54 am

VB sorry to hear your struggling with the sg, I have a couple of P90 guitars, I know P90s can be somewhat bass heavey and thicker in the mids esspecially the neck pickup, and like you I also prefer to play pretty clean or with just a little od. both of my P90 guitars I have swapped the pickups out for Lollars and I am really happy with them. The Les Paul special I had a set of Lollar 50s wind installed it changed the tone of thet guitar a lot, they are low output pickups and are very clear and clean sounding, a lot less bass and probably a bit lower in the mids, they have a very sweet vintage tone to them, they don't overdrive the amp very easily and when you do overdrive them its not grindy its smoother. Some people have described them as being more polite than your standard P90, I'm really likeing them, they sound really good for the style that I play. The godin I have had 2 seymore duncan P90s stock in it, I liked the tone of the bridge pick up but the neck was to high output for me I had to turn the volume on the guiatr so far down to get it to clean up so I had a lollar underwound P90 insalled in it again less bass very clear and clean and lower output it works really well with the duncan bridge pickup it sounds different than the 50s wind set but still very sweet and controlable. I know the stock gibson p90s tend to be on the hotter side and although a lot of people like that a lot of us want more the sweeter side of p90s which are lower output. Don't know if any of this is helpfull or not, and I'm not pushing the lollars, I've just had really good luck with them, they do have sound samples up on their web page also. Dan

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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:07 pm

Thanks Dan. I appreciate your taking the time to give me some details like that. I'm pretty much settled in the view that any upgrade I might do to the SG would at best mean that I would be likely to end up with a guitar a bit too similar to the PRS SE. I really should have seen that the two were in essence too similar to each other.
ratfinkdan wrote:I know P90s can be somewhat bass heavey and thicker in the mids esspecially the neck pickup, and like you I also prefer to play pretty clean or with just a little od. both of my P90 guitars I have swapped the pickups out for Lollars and I am really happy with them.
I've had 3 guitars now with P90s - only one had a sound that suited me with the stock pickups - that was the Vintage VSA590, though unfortunately that had playability issues and limited upper fret access. The fact that the VSA590 was a semi acoustic maybe saved it from having excessively hot pickups as stock - can't see it appealing to headbangers!

The stock pickups with the PRS SE Soapbar did not suit me at all. The Toneriders, then at a bargain £42 for the pair, were a wonderful upgrade. Had all the virtues of clarity, sustain etc that are mentioned when talking about those P90 pickups from the early 50s. They also made the PRS much more playable and expressive - it's that expressive attribute on top of the good tones that I'm really wanting on a guitar these days. Greedy of me! :big_smile:
ratfinkdan wrote:the neck was to high output for me I had to turn the volume on the guiatr so far down to get it to clean up
Yes - that was the case with the SG too - before I moved the pickups away from the strings I was needing the volume down at 4 to be at a similar level to my other 3 guitars at around 9.
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VikingBlues
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by VikingBlues » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:20 pm

So you wonder about pickup changes or tone pot changes and you open up the back of the control cavity.

HELLO .... that's a bit different. :think:
Image

Bit of research at this point.

It's basically a printed circuit board - but one that's designed from a lets make production cheaper point of view (my opinion).

I didn't know / hadn't seen anything previoulsy about this but I believe Gibson wire everything directly to a board (unlike older models) in sg's made since 2008.

Henry Juszkiewicz (no less) posted this on a Gibson forum in July 2010:-
"The main reason for the circuit boards were quality and reliability improvements. We keep statistics on why guitars are returned, even those that come in for a repair or mod, to get a feeling for what we can improve in future designs.
One area that we saw a problem in was related to soldering. You can have solder joints that are marginal and fail after a long period of time, or simply degrade the signal, making the guitar not quite right.
This system eliminates these problems an insures a high quality electrical connection that should last as long as the instrument.
We are now working on making this system more friendly by allowing mods and aftermarket parts. I am hoping to release this in the next few months. It really isn't easy right now and we have to improve it."


I haven't yet seen anything that suggests these hoped for "more friendly" aspects for mods have been enacted. :wall:

There is however a widely held view seen on Gibson forums and other forums that the board is nothing more than a way of saving labour in the guitar construction. It speeds up production by making the electronics a simple, drop in unit. If you don't like the pickups that came in the guitar you need to buy special plugs to allow you to unplug the old pups, and plug in the new ones. There are concerns voiced that if you buy a guitar with the PCB board and you rip it out, the warranty on the guitar is voided.

Here's a good picture of one of these boards (the top left one) from "The Guitar Aging Studio".
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 548&type=1
"I see that the summary that went with the link to the picture said in particular (I've underlined the bit that caught my attention):-
The first thought was to replace the 300k volume pots with regular 500k ones, but viewing at the pcb, it was clear that the flat, narrow signal paths on the board are also a very significant reason for sound degradation, since they obviously kill higher frequencies, compared to a good quality, branched wire, which offers way more surface and supports higher frequencies on the signal."

So there's a possible reason for my concerns.

The text that goes with the picture of the conventionally rejigged cavity says:-
"Wiring the guitar almost from scratch ..... We used the 500k (tone pots) of the board (thus the two holes) and also put two new 500k's for volume. The guitar is now tonally a totally different instrument...!!!"

I eventually managed to find a set of instructions as to how to do a diy pickup install - though I can't say I feel encouraged to have a go:-
"If you look closely at your pcb, you'll read the scripts: 'NECK' and 'BRIDGE' next to each pickups connectors.
That's pretty simple. smile
When you'll have all the parts you need (pickups, molex connectors, soldering iron, solder, pliers, less than 2 inch of wire, 2 hands):
1- Unclip the ground wire (GND script on the PCB): push down the orange lever on the surf green connector and gently pull the wire. (because it surrounds the pickups wires)
2- Unclip the two black connectors
3- Unstring the guitar, unmount the pickguard, unmount the stock pickups, gently pull the pickups wires off the guitar.
4- Prepare your new pickups: put the hot wire (black on Gibson Humbuckers) into in one of the connectors entry, and a piece of wire (the green wire you can see on your picture) in the other entry.* Solder the other extremity of this piece of wire to the ground wire of your new pickup (braided shield on Gibson pickups.)
*Just look at the stock pickups connectors to know which one goes where.
5- Mount your shiny new pickups on the pickguard, pass the prepared wires of each pickups in the hole that leads to the electronics cavity, set your pickguard on the guitar.
6- Plug the new pickups connectors on the PCB. (And THAT is the cool thing with the pcb, if you mess that up, swapping the pickup connections is easy as do ré mi.)
7- Plug the ground wire into its dedicated location (surf-green connector). You can surround the pickups wires with the ground wire just like it is on your picture.
8- Restring your guitar, and voilà.

Phase 4 can be done anytime before.

OR bring it to a qualified professional."

(HMMM ... THIS LAST SUGGESTION WOULD MOST LIKELY BE THE OPTION I'D GO FOR IF I WAS TO UPGRADE)
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Blindboy
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Re: Gibson SG Classic P90

Post by Blindboy » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:43 am

Wow! :yikes:
Doesn't look anything like the cavity in my 1969 SG (which I have been into altogether too many times...)
Gibson has done a number of things lately that I find sketchy... This, the robot tuners on some guitars, etc...
Maybe you should look at a nice jazz box like the Ibanez guitars that Tytleblues and I play, or an Epiphone Emperor or some such...
"Throw yo' big leg over me Mama, I might not feel this good again!"

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