I think a lot of people will agree with me that SG’s look cool as hell, but sound and play like a bucket full of mud with some strings wrapped around. Well here’s a guitar with the classic looks of an SG but with great rich tone and a beautiful feel.
So lets start by going through the crucial faults with the SG. first of all is the fact that both body and neck are entirely made of mahogany, and the body is a measly 1-5/16″ (33.5mm) thick. Now mahogany is a great sounding wood that gives beautiful warm lows and a very solid sustain, however it doesn’t transmit treble or high-mid frequencies very well and with a body so thin, there just isn’t enough body of wood to take advantage of all the sustain that can be achieved from mahogany.
The other main ‘fault’ with the SG is the neck carve, well some people like a skinny neck, but if you do, you wanna be playing a maple neck as its much denser and can sustain with less depth on the neck. If you’re gonna go with a mahogany neck, you’re gonna need a bit of weight there both for tone and so you can play those big fat riffs without pushing the strings all over the fingerboard.
So how do you go about getting a decent tone out of and SG type guitar? lets start off my looking at the most popular humbucker guitar, the Les Paul. To start the body depth measures 2″(50.8mm) in the center, has a maple cap on the body and a nice chunky neck. Now, I didn’t want to go about putting a thick maple cap on the front of the Super-G cause if i did that it wouldn’t look much like an SG. I had one other trick up my sleeve that was gonna tighten up the muddy bass response, give a great pick attack and make the sustain fat and creamy. Most Gibson guitars have a set-neck construction, which gives great sustain and is relatively cheap to produce. However there is another neck construction commonly used by high-end makers called a through-neck (or thru-neck) where the piece of wood that the neck is made from runs all the way through the body and then ‘wings’ are glued on either side to form the body. This construction gives a similar sound to a set-neck but with even more sustain (who can say no to that?). A popular neck setup that i often use is a 3-piece through-neck made from 2 pieces of mahogany and one piece of maple in the center. This clears up the tone in a very similar way to the maple cap on an LP, but also gives a wonderful creamy sustain and a more stable neck, which means you won’t have to have the truss-rod adjusted as often.
The Super-G was top-coated on Wednesday this week (in nitro, as it should be), so it needs another 3 weeks for the lacquer to cure before i can polish it up to a beautiful sheen, assemble the hardware and have it ready to play.
Neck – 3-piece through-neck, 2x African Mahogany 1x Hard Maple
Body – African Mahogany
Fingerboard – Ebony with MOP block inlays and cream binding
Headstock Veneer – Ebony with MOP Lightning Bolt and JPG inlays
Bridge – TonePros Tunomatic nickle
Tailpiece – Resomax Aluminum stop bar nickle
Pickups – Bare knuckle The Mule nickle covers
Pickguard – Black/white/black PVC – full SG pickguard
Controls – 2x Vol, 2x Tone (CTS) Toggle Switch (Switchcraft)
Machine Heads – TonePros Kluson Deluxe upgrade Tuners nickle with green Keystones
Nut Width – 1-11/16″ (42.8mm)
Finish – Nitro-Cellulose Lacquer (thin)