Can you distinguish the sonic/tonal difference between SG and LP?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Crikey, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    AC/DC would not sound the same if Angus played a Les Paul. All mahogany guitars have a forward midrange tone that's distinctive.

    Years back, I made my own LP Standard replica for myself. And not long after that I buiilt another LP Standard type but took some very different choices with it.

    That one is ALL mahogany, neck, body, and top, with an ebony fingerboard. I built it as a birthday gift for my nephew who was turning 13 at the time, and it's a spectacular
    guitar. And even though it has the same pickup complement I put in my own guitar (Duncan 59 neck, JB bridge) it sounds COMPLETELY different.
     
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  2. peterplexi

    peterplexi Active Member

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    The Les Paul just has a heft or girth tonally like no other guitar really and it has to be about the total construction of it. Sum of all the parts type of thing.
     
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  3. DC135er

    DC135er Member

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    Yes, the tonal difference is there. The only way I can describe it is to take a 1" slab of mahogany than take a 2" slab of mahogany. Tap on both at the same time and you can definitely hear a difference. Crude, but I think you understand. But the best thing to do is go into a music store, plug both into a Marshall (or an amp you're familiar with) and compare.
     
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  4. Victory Pete

    Victory Pete New Member

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    Having multiples of both I can say they do sound very similar, except my 2 new recent 2018 Custom Shop ROs, they are in a class by themsleves.
     
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  5. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

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    If Angus played a Les Paul he would've had back surgery already.
     
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  6. Goodguy

    Goodguy New Member

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    Previously thought SG's were the black sheep of the Gibson family (owned a 1972 SG that was a dog).
    LP's were obviously superior in design and tone. UNTIL, I recently got a 2019 SG 61' Reissue with Maestro.
    WOW! Great guitar. Light, well made, 61 pickups sounded awesome, even smelled great :) Now an SG fan.
    Perhaps its more about whether you get a good era/build & pickups of ANY guitar, rather than a model (LP vs SG) being "better".
    I don't think you could tell a tonal difference with similarly outfitted LP's vs SG's.
     
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  7. 10kDA

    10kDA New Member

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    All SGs are not created equal. Over the years the construction has changed considerably, and even reverted to previous types. I have a Special and a Standard, both 64s. The body of the Standard is about 3/32" thicker and it weighs about 2.5 lbs more, and that 3/32" does not account for the difference in weight. I had a bandmate with a Special and a top of the line, 3 humbuckers, large segmented-diamond headstock, gold hardware - both were painted white. His Special was slightly lighter than mine, and his Custom (Which is what the features seemed to make it though I don't remember seeing anything on the guitar ID'ing it as such) was about 3 ounces heavier than my Standard. We had Badasses on the Specials and both of the HB-equipped guitars had vibrolas. Then in 75 or 76 or so he bought a brand new, right off the truck SG Standard. The body was thicker, the neck joint was way different - meaning the neck and body both were shaped totally differently in this area than the mid-60s guitars, and it weighed more than a pound heavier than his Custom. The difference between how that guitar sounded and my SG Standard was more pronounced than the difference between my Standard and any LP I have compared. This is when the pickups were selected either/or bridge/neck. Amost any SG up to the vintage I'm referring to here with both pickups running will be easy to differentiate from a LP with both pickups on from the same time frame. Not sure about these days.
     
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  8. 10kDA

    10kDA New Member

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    Two other solid body guitars that preceded the Les Paul were the Esquire, (Tele), and the Strat, but with low output single coil pickups they were no match for a LP with P90 then humbuckers, in terms of a thick, full tone.[/QUOTE]

    IIRC the Les Paul predated the Strat by a couple of years.
     
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  9. spacerocker

    spacerocker Well-Known Member

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    Yes - there is a very real difference!

    Both guitars sound similar, and both sound great!

    I have both, with the same strings, same pick-ups etc, and the SG sounds more "open" and mid-range focused, whilst the Les Paul, (contrary to popular opinion) sounds brighter but also with more bass! The SG sounds a little more like and acoustic guitar (even with overdrive) whereas the Les Paul sounds tighter and punchier!
     
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  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I have some of each.
    biddlinfive moons.jpg 1asmlcs1.jpg 2smsglp.jpg smlpjsgj.jpg lpmmsm.jpg slvrflk.jpg misslizziesm.jpg asmsd.jpg
    I have a Solid Mahogany (no maple cap) LP Custom that weighs about the same as my modified SG classic with long Maestro and 2 Les Paul Melody Makers that weigh about the same as my SG Specials. My 17 LP Tribute is fairly light, but has a hefty bottom end sound. MY SGJ and LPJ are virtually indistinguishable from one another on recordings. I think my attitude about each one affects my technique so they all sound different and the same depending upon the player and listeners attitude/mood.
     
  11. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Well-Known Member

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    SGs just feel weird to me. A les paul fits me. Never spent enough time on an SG to see if I would like it. I love meledy makers and juniors. Guess its just I prefer single cuts.
     
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  12. spacerocker

    spacerocker Well-Known Member

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    This discussion is abouthow they sound, not what they feel like to play! I hate to say it,, but playability is much better on an SG. A Les Paul balances better, and sounds "better" - but for effortless playing, the SG wins!
     
  13. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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    And a good Esquire/Tele is a PERFECT match for a P90 LP:dude:
     
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  14. Headache

    Headache Well-Known Member

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    I think speaking in generalist terms.... The SG is brighter and thinner than the LP.

    the LP can be bright but it can also be dark.

    Both have big, amazing tones.
     
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  15. jazzdj

    jazzdj Member

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    Duh YEAH! IF you're talking about a LES PAUL Std or Custom and not a LP (long playing record), or one of the many Juniors, Specials or TV models, hell yes! The FACT that the body of the Std or Custom is Mahogany with a Maple carved top vs any SG model that is only 1/2 the thickness in Mahogany only, greatly affects the sustain and richness of the tone; both of which are a "sound quality". A Les Paul Jr. or LP Jr SG obvioisly would sound like a SG Std as the bodies are nearly the same, not withstanding the PuP's are greatly different. Anyone that builds (makes from scratch) Guitars knows that the wood (species), thickness, finish and build quality effects tone ("sound" for layman). It's the reason so many wood species are used, experiments in alternate materials like plastics (Supro's), metals and even Masonite/particle board (Danelectro's in the early days) have been used. Remember that Guitar Pickups are essentially Microphones, and they DO pickup the tonal harmonics of a guitars body/neck combination. If you can't hear the difference, you're tone def.
     
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  16. SlyStrat

    SlyStrat Well-Known Member

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    Ive had a couple SG's that sounded close to a Les Paul.
    But usually the SG is has more bitey tone and not as fat.
    To me Angus has the best SG tone. Especially live.
     
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  17. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

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  18. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

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    Good info. but could you distinguish an SG from LP just by sound?
     
  19. groovenev

    groovenev Member

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    To me the sound of a Gibson SG, has much more upper-mid range bite, EG: listen to Angus Young's sound vs. Warren Haynes. The SG lacks the lower mids roundness/smoothness of a Les Paul Standard if you critically listen you can hear the difference. However the caveat here is if you were to roll the tone knob back on the SG it would get much more difficult to tell from listening... ex. EC durring Cream years.
     
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  20. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Well-Known Member

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    I can hear differences when i play certain guitars or even switching pickups but for some reason i have a harder time when some one else plays.

    When i play a guitar and switch from say a neck to a bridge the tone difference is like night and day. But when some one else plays and they switch for some reason its not as night and day to me as when i play which is weird.

    I havnt had enough real Gibsons to test tone but at one point i had about 10 Epiphones and the tone got better with the model. Like the studio had the mahogany tone but it wasnt as fat and full sounding as the standard. Another thing i noticed was the weight as the model of the guitar got better the less you could feel the strings. The studio had more of a vibration when you held it. The custom pro was the most dense of all the epiphones i had and when you strum the strinigs they almost felt dead like the strings were old. But when you plugged it into an amp it sang the best.

    I also bought an Ibanez with a mahogany body and a Fender, they dont sound like a les paul but imo they sound better then the same guitar in a different wood type. There is just something special about Mahogany that i love I put 57s in both of em too lol
     

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