Want to learn jazz?

Have you seen my latest Blues Course - Slow 60 Blues?

Author Topic: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family  (Read 24522 times)

VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« on: December 31, 2012, 10:14:54 AM »
I did mention in passing I'd got this on the thread drawing attention to Thomanns ridiculous cheap price for this model.

If I'd waited a couple of weeks I could have saved 25% buying it from them. But if I'd bought a few months back or bought locally a few weeks earlier when GuitarGuitar had one in Edinburgh I'd have spent 20% more. So - swings and roundabouts I guess.


I've looked hard - can't find a flaw or blemish anywhere.

A real smooth job on the neck join.

My camera doesn't really pick up the Heritage Cherry finish very well. Not great light this time of year either.

I like the looks of the Gibson headstock.

I had a Gibson SG Standard several years ago (bought used), but had to sell it. Always felt that guitar was in charge of me and was playing me rather than me playing it. I've got a lot better at playing since then (though I've got a long way to go before I'm much good) and this time I find I'm in charge in the relationship. I've gone for P90 pickups rather than humbuckers this time as I hadn't realised back then that my favourite SG players from late 60s / early 70s played SG Specials with P90s. Also I hadn't realised back then how good P90s were for sound.

7.5 lbs. Usual all Mahogany. Nitrocellulose finish.

Was set up very well - best I've had out of the box - only adjustment so far has been a half turn to the top string polepiece on the neck pickup - first string notes were just slightly subdued compared to the other strings. The pickups are maybe slightly too near the strings for my tastes in tone and sustain, but it still has the factory strings, so I'll wait till I put on new strings before I think about adjusting the height.

I'll side with Seth Lover on this P90 pickup height question - 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 describing the sort of sound the person is wanting - I like the purity of sound that P90s can bring to the table.

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 an 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

Nice change not to have to play around with getting intonation and setup better.

I'm really liking the sound I'm hearing. I've noticed too that I'm mainly just plugging straight into the amp and not using pedals. Very responsive to changes in playing dynamics and just a pleasure to play.  8)

I'm so very pleased that my better half persauded me to go for this SG instead of my usual lower cost of guitar followed by upgrades.  :)

creekster52

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 675
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 07:27:29 PM »
Very nice!

DetroitBlues

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1804
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 09:51:13 PM »
Very nice.  I'd swap the tuners only because the knobs can be hard to turn.  By far one of my favorite Gibsons...

Vladan

  • http://vladanmovies.blogspot.com
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 664
  • High on own Supply
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 04:52:27 AM »
Congratulations!

bluesguitarr30

  • Blues Guitar
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 05:40:41 AM »
I own an Gibson SG Guitar, Similar to yours and love it.The SG Classic is great guitar for blues and rock players.

DetroitBlues

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1804
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 10:20:14 AM »
It certainly is!

VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 09:05:58 AM »
Thanks fellers.  :)

I'm enjoying this guitar, though I'm not totally 100% sold on how high an output the pickups are. Makes clean sounds a bit trickier without the volume rolled well down which can then affect the tone. But I'm either starting to set up all the controls on guitar, amp etc so that they work better, or I'm getting used to the sound. Anyway - I feel that the "Peace for the Ancient" recording I've recently posted here has some clean tones on it using the SG that are as good as any I've recorded before.  8)

When I sold that SG Standard several years ago (vets fees were going o be high to try to save our dog) I'd sort of promised myself that "One Day .... ". I'm pleased to have got to that day and on the plus side I have a bit more skills now to get something half decent out of such a good guitar.


DetroitBlues

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1804
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 12:21:23 PM »
I've got a lot of those some day thoughts....some day I'll have this guitar or that amp... But it all comes down to owning them and the ability to keep them...

VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 03:25:46 AM »
I've got a lot of those some day thoughts....some day I'll have this guitar or that amp... But it all comes down to owning them and the ability to keep them...
I'd like to get the hang of that keeping them idea - the turnover of guitars I've had ths last half dozen years is ridiculously high. Though I can't currently think of one guitar that I aspire to having ... at any cost level. I like that feeling and it's never happened before - hope it's here to stay!  :)

With that old SG I should have said I did not grudge selling it. I'd have sold my entire collection in the cause of our wee friend. To be honest it was too good a guitar for me back then anyway - so I was able to play something of a much lower quality and not notice much difference.

VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 03:26:39 AM »
Hmmmm .... about 3 weeks ago I posted and said "though I'm not totally 100% sold on how high an output the pickups are".

Been doing a lot of work on setup trying to get a cleaner sound with more clarity and better sustain. With the neck pickup now at a distance of nearly three times the distance of Gibsons recommendation I think I can safely say, despite a noticable improvement, that I still have a problem with the pickups. The lack of natural sustain, the colouration of the sound (a bit like a singer with a cold), and a fairly rapid fall in volume from the initial sounding of the note are really not very good for clean / low gain playing. Which, for better or worse, is what I play.

I was listening again in my DAW to the "Peace for the Ancient" recording I posted here recently. I think a big part of the reason that creekster and robert felt the guitar part was not high enough in the mix was that the shortfalls in the sound I mention above mean the guitar doesn't cut through the mix when played clean. Peak volume (when the string is hit) is where I'd normally have it - raising the guitar tracks volume helps the sustain and makes the guitar more prominent but the initial sound when the string is played becomes too much.

I think I chose a guitar which, with its "stock" parts, is not really geared up for my style of playing - I'm sure it would be great for the more overdriven sounds. In theory I could change pickups etc - but I think I would be likely to get something too similar to my PRS SE Soapbar. I don't think the PRS wood quality or workmanship of build qualities are inferior to the SG. Both are all mahogany, and same weight. The neck of the PRS makes it more playable than the SG for my fingers/hand. The PRS has upgraded pickups (Tonerider Vintage Alnico 2 P90s) which suit my style well and give me sounds I like and let me play more expressively. The PRS upgraded electrics mean it's the SGs equal there too.

So I'm rather inclined towards cutting my losses and selling rather than upgrading.  :-[

I feel I've sort of been fooled by past memories. I mentioned in the last post on this thread about the SG Standard I used to have - that "it was too good a guitar for me back then". I'm a better player than back then and the quality of my guitar collection has improved a lot too. So the new SG isn't giving me that extra quality I was hoping for. I feared that the PRS would be relegated to open tuning for occasional altered tuning rhythm and slide use - show how  wrong I can be.

The trouble with trying out a guitar in a shop is that you don't really get to know it. Things like the cutting through the mix only become apparent when recording or playing with backing tracks. The SG sounded initially good when I played on its through the amp on its own. And back to back comparisons with your other guitars are really useful too. Maybe I should take all my guitars, amps and my laptop along to a guitar shop and spend a week trying a guitar next time!

zagatron1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1522
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 01:08:26 PM »
This may not apply to your situation, but have you ever tried Toneriders' Rebel 90s? Now, I do realize they're supposed to fit in a humbucker route. I was just wondering in general. When I read your posts, it seems you have the same taste for pickups as I. Alnico II, etc. and all that other stuff whatever it may be. But don't strain your brain over compensating. After all, playing is supposed to be fun, and enjoyable, not a chore. You got good tone.

Memory Lane Jr

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 333
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2013, 12:24:28 AM »
Thank the Gods it is not just me that has trouble with P90's.
I recently sold my SG 60's Special because of those pickups & I tried everything to like them, raised the p/up, lowered the pickup......
I even brought some Toneriders hot P90's they made a big improvement over the standard Gibsons which I think are terrible especially in the neck position but still not to my liking..... My take on P90's is they are fantastic when you crank the volume but for low volume playing at home like I do they sound very weak even using overdrive pedals for a boost.
I still think an SG Standard with humbuckers would have been a better choice for me anyway.
I was lucky VikingBlues I actually made a hundred bucks on the guitar when I sold it.
And I am much happier with the EC1000 I brought with the money.


VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2013, 03:38:53 AM »
This may not apply to your situation, but have you ever tried Toneriders' Rebel 90s? Now, I do realize they're supposed to fit in a humbucker route. I was just wondering in general. When I read your posts, it seems you have the same taste for pickups as I. Alnico II, etc. and all that other stuff whatever it may be.
I haven't tried the Rebel 90s but am aware of them - if I was looking to go from a 'bucker routed guitar to P90s I'd be considering them for sure. I have Tonerider Vintage P90s in my PRS SE - they are Alnico 2. The stock P90s on the PRS SE just were plain wrong for me. The Toneriders just give me great sounds for what I like to play - lots of clarity and natural sustain like the early P90s - and with the ability to snarl a bit when asked.

But don't strain your brain over compensating. After all, playing is supposed to be fun, and enjoyable, not a chore. You got good tone.
Managed to do that Monday night - after an age of wrestling with the SG problem it was great just to plug in a guitar (well guitars) and just play. Felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders!

Thank the Gods it is not just me that has trouble with P90's.
I recently sold my SG 60's Special because of those pickups & I tried everything to like them, raised the p/up, lowered the pickup......
I even brought some Toneriders hot P90's they made a big improvement over the standard Gibsons which I think are terrible especially in the neck position but still not to my liking..... My take on P90's is they are fantastic when you crank the volume but for low volume playing at home like I do they sound very weak even using overdrive pedals for a boost.
I still think an SG Standard with humbuckers would have been a better choice for me anyway.
I was lucky VikingBlues I actually made a hundred bucks on the guitar when I sold it.
And I am much happier with the EC1000 I brought with the money.


I'm sorry to hear of those problems you had - I can very easily understand how frustrated and cheesed off you would have got! Glad to hear you got a good solution at the end.

I'm sort of relieved in a selfish way to find someones had such a similar reaction - it's easy to think that the fault is with yourself in these cases. The neck pickup was the worst offender for me too - I was hoping it was going OK when the sound started getting better moving the pickup away from teh strings, but it didn't improve anything like enough! I would agree with your fantastic only when cranking the volume remark - though I'd aim it at just "hot" higher output P90s. I've had 4 sets of P90s so far in guitars - two sets were just no use and they were high output "hot" ones - two sets were fine for me and they were both "vintage" style. There seems to be a fashion these days that pickups have to be high output.
..............................

I mentioned above just having a play of the guitars and enjoying them Monday night. This was the result - the guitar panned right is the PRS SE with those low output vintage P90s - you'll hear how they sing and sustain at low volume. They also let me bring so much more expression into my playing - and compete very well with the way more expensive Duncan Lover SH55s in the Hagstrom panned left on the recording. Toneriders were 42, the SH55s more like 180! Backing tracks is from JamTracks Central.
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12173902


zagatron1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1522
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 12:40:47 PM »
Good balance (in sound)! Enjoyed the tune as well. The clarity and sustain was hittin' on all cylinders. You did yourself proud. Play on bro'. I don't have to play, 'cause there's so much good music to enjoy here. I'm thinkin'  about  lettin' it go (again), and listenin' to you guys. My best days are behind me anyway. We  can still talk shop.

VikingBlues

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 230
  • New Dolphinstreet Member!
    • View Profile
Re: Gibson SG Classic P90 - Latest addition to my family
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 01:35:07 AM »
Thanks Zag! Appreciate the comments.  :)

I opened up the control cavity on the SG. Hello ... that's a bit different I thought ...  :o

Apparently since 2008 the Gibson SGs have their pots and electrics mounted on a PCB. I have seen a number of reports suggesting that ripping out the PCB (possibbly voiding the warranty?) and changing to convential wiring with 500k volume pots instead of 300k cleans up a lot of the muddiness and make sthe instrument totally different tonally.

It's a PCB that is not greatly user friendly for the player upgrading with aftermarket pups and electrics. "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". The words of Henry Juszkiewicz (no less) posted on a Gibson forum in July 2010. I have so far seen no signs or comments to sggest that this happened!

Though there is a small business in the Netherlands that makes replacement PCBs for Les Pauls (don't know if any use for an SG) which ARE user friendly ... non solder capacitor changes, and supplied with replacement moulex connectors for pickup changes, with the little bonus of a few switches for changing the PCB between 50s and modern wiring.

Generally many comments on Gibson and other forums point to the use of the PCB as being purely a way of saving labour in the guitar construction. I don't feel much inclined to investigate the PCB further - I don't have the technical knowledge to know what I'm looking at!