Gibson SG Standard vs Gibson SG Standard '61?

Kameo

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So I'm just looking for a cool axe to play and record with and I've narrowed what I want down to one of these 2. I can't find too many good sound examples so I thought I would ask, what is the primary tonal difference between these and what is considered the higher quality option?

I like the look of the '61 but really what I would record with it is just drive heavy skate punk stuff (Bad Religion, NOFX, Pennywise, Millencolin, etc.). Not a very tone centric genre, but I would like stock pickups that would sound good out of the gate before I eventually rip the bridge pickup out and put a JB in down the line probably.

The current modern series SG would definitely get the job done, but the '61 from the original series looks better. Although with the different pickups, would it matter at all?

I have no comments on the handwired vs pcb thing so that's not really a factor. Though I do like my wires.

Any general thoughts on these 2 would also be appreciated.

If it's just a matter of aesthetics, I would just go for the '61 (if ebony is ever back in stock).
 

CerebralGasket

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Neither.

P-90’s > Humbuckers
Regular P-90 at neck.
Hum-Cancelling P-90 at bridge.

Neck is most important to me.
Has to be comfortable to play.

Aesthetics:
Have always favored batwings.
They look more menacing on an SG.

My ideal SG:

1, Chunky rounded neck
2. P-90’s
3. Batwing
 

Duane_the_tub

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Yeah, for the type of music you're looking to play I would definitely go with P-90s. The SG Special or Junior, depending how many pickups you want, are absolute classics for punk.
 

Kameo

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Neither.

P-90’s > Humbuckers
Regular P-90 at neck.
Hum-Cancelling P-90 at bridge.

Neck is most important to me.
Has to be comfortable to play.

Aesthetics:
Have always favored batwings.
They look more menacing on an SG.

My ideal SG:

1, Chunky rounded neck
2. P-90’s
3. Batwing
Yeah, for the type of music you're looking to play I would definitely go with P-90s. The SG Special or Junior, depending how many pickups you want, are absolute classics for punk.
If I were to get P90s, I might have to decide between an SG Jr or a LP junior.

Although P90s have always seemed like more of a fit for early/classic punk rather than the faster 90s/00s melodic hardcore stuff.
 
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I play that kind of music, along with some heavier stuff, with one of my SGs. JBs aren't great in SGs, I would highly recommend a Duncan Custom 8 if you can still buy them. If not just make one. Very tight, clear and even EQ. Perfect for palm muting and fast riffing.
 

Kameo

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I play that kind of music, along with some heavier stuff, with one of my SGs. JBs aren't great in SGs, I would highly recommend a Duncan Custom 8 if you can still buy them. If not just make one. Very tight, clear and even EQ. Perfect for palm muting and fast riffing.
Thank you for the reply.

and what are your thoughts on a junior/special/p90 vs something with a bucker for this genre?
 

DaveSG

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I'm in a melodic/skate punk band and have been playing SGs for about 25 years. Most of the other bands we've played alongside have been using pretty standard Gibsons, not high end or high dollar stuff. Mostly Les Paul Studios, SG Standards/Specials. I don't think I've ever seen a LP Standard or a Custom. Nor a '61 SG Standard. Definitely never a custom shop. In some of the videos of Propahandi, their guitars is just using a run-o-the-mill SG Standard.

I think what your hearing in a lot of punk recordings is much less of the guitar, and much more the Marshall amp. Marshalls love to do punk rock!

Any of the above mentioned guitars would get it done. Punk doesn't care too much. I've noticed a lot of batwing SG Standard in punk bands (myself included), which come with the 490R/498T pickup combo. They are not as detailed and a little more high gain than a traditional, lower wind pickup, but do well in a higher gain environment. Honestly I think your amp is going to influence your sound more than the difference between the guitars.

The '61' style has a thinner neck typically, w/ small guard and '61 pickups. The batwing SG has a more 'rounded' neck, big guard, and 490/498 p/u combo. I would encourage you to go try them out if you can, feel the differences, and see which one speaks to you. Find a store that has a few different SGs, and some good Marshalls, and demo all of them together.

I've got a 1999 Gibson SG Standard (490/498s), a '71 SG Standard (batwing/vibrola, T-tops)), a 1992 SG Special (ebony board, unsure of pickups?), a custom-made SG style neck through guitar (PAF replicas), a few Epiphones, and some other stuff. I used to own several different SG Standard over the years, including a 1979, 2003, a 2008, an 07 Historic SG, and a 05/06 SG '62' Reissue. Honestly my fav guitar to record w/ is the Epiphone Korina G-400 w/ 57 classic pickups. It sounds better in a recording than the other guitars. Best SG I've ever played was the '62' Reissue. Worst I've played was the 07 Historic Reissue (wha? I know. ). The '71 is a little 'low output' for punk, but honestly works just fine w/ a twist of the gain knob on the amp. The SG Special sounds great, but has a bit of a brighter/glassy sound that does better live than in a mix.

I could grab just about any one of them and get in punk territory w/ the right amp. Do you have a good amp? If not, I would grab a lowly SGJ or an Epiphone then swap pickups, and put the rest towards a good mid-sized Marshall amp.

With the Epiphone, and a Marshall VS100 (Valvestate) head, I can get a tone that I love and have gotten compliments on the sound at many of the shows we have played. The Valvestate amps are very underrated and also very cheap. The original 10" speaker cabs are not shabby, and right now I've got mine hooked into just a 1x12 Vintage 30 cab. Sounds awesome. I've seen the heads as cheap as $150, and w/ a $200 cab, you've got a killer rig for under $400.



Just all food for thought. Good luck on the journey and let us know what you find!
 
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Kameo

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The '61' style has a thinner neck typically, w/ small guard and '61 pickups. The batwing SG has a more 'rounded' neck, big guard, and 490/498 p/u combo. I would encourage you to go try them out if you can, feel the differences, and see which one speaks to you.
I've held both unplugged before and the neck feel didn't make much of a difference to me, that's what makes this so hard. What I never got to hear is the '61's pickups vs the 490/498 set. I gotta find more good sound clips of both to compare. Of course I'll probably just replace the pickups with something else but eh, I wanna get some mileage out of the stock.

I could grab just about any one of them and get in punk territory w/ the right amp. Do you have a good amp? If not, I would grab a lowly SGJ or an Epiphone then swap pickups, and put the rest towards a good mid-sized Marshall amp.
In studio I use an Axe FX III, looking to buy a jcm800 or a dual rec to play live with later on. For now I'm just bedroom studio building.

Thanks for the reply btw
 
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DaveSG

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No prob man. Honestly I don't have any experience with the '61s (pickups), and that is what would make me hesitant about picking up a '61 Standard. Not that they are bad, but the '61 Reissues (Gibson USA) used to come w/ 57 Classics, and those are just such a great pickup in the SG, and marry perfect w/ a Marshall amp. So to me, that justified the price difference. The '61s I just don't know...it is probably all in my head, but I'd had some guitars w/ some incredible 57 classics, and that is what is in my Epi korina. It just gets a certain sound for me that I can't replicate in other pickups.

It might not be a bad idea to start w/ a good SG Standard (batwing, 490/498 combo) and pick one up used, because they hold their value decently on the used market. They used to be around $800, I've seen them more around $1000 w/ inflation being the way it is. If you can find one in the $800-$900 territory, you could always snag it and put the rest towards something like a Marshall Studio Classic SC20 combo ($1000) and that combo ($1800-ish) is roughly the same price as a new '61 Standard. That would be a ROCKING combo, and the SC20 (which would actually be pretty loud for bedroom play) would have zero problems getting mic'd up at small gigs.

Here is a 2013 SG (similar to the '61 of today, and comes w/ 57 classics) for a great price, comes w/ case, probably is not gonna last long: Gibson SG Standard 2013 Cherry | John's Gear Locker | Reverb

EDIT: Actually that is the cheapest SG I can find online, period. lol prices have really increased!
 

whatshisname

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Ultimately, my decision to go with the '61 came down to the pickgaurd and electronics. (The PCB in my Tribute is fine, but it'll be replaced with an Emerson harness eventually.) I like the 490 set in my Tribute also, so I would have been fine with the Standard in that regard. Honestly, the '61 just gives more of the Clapton vibe that I wanted.
 

DaveSG

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Ultimately, my decision to go with the '61 came down to the pickgaurd and electronics. (The PCB in my Tribute is fine, but it'll be replaced with an Emerson harness eventually.) I like the 490 set in my Tribute also, so I would have been fine with the Standard in that regard. Honestly, the '61 just gives more of the Clapton vibe that I wanted.

@whatshisname

Did you get your SG yet? You know you'll probably end up with 3 or 4 right? They're like rabbits man :rofl:
 

ArchEtech

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There are lots of SG models with the p-90 but for me it has to be the 61 reissue or one of the historic standards which have maybe a bit more wood on body and neck. The 61 have a nicer neck heel. Get a dual humbucker and change the neck out to a p-90 in a HB size. The histories have better necks binding etc in my opinion.

Hrmmmm made to measure TV yellow or Korina with thicker body, no fretboard inlays, and twin P-90 routes and a P-90 sized humbucker at the bridge?
 

whatshisname

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Good shout on the yellow. My next purchase may be a yellow CME with a tortoise pickgaurd and t-type pickups.
 

Kameo

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No prob man. Honestly I don't have any experience with the '61s (pickups), and that is what would make me hesitant about picking up a '61 Standard. Not that they are bad, but the '61 Reissues (Gibson USA) used to come w/ 57 Classics, and those are just such a great pickup in the SG, and marry perfect w/ a Marshall amp. So to me, that justified the price difference. The '61s I just don't know...it is probably all in my head, but I'd had some guitars w/ some incredible 57 classics, and that is what is in my Epi korina. It just gets a certain sound for me that I can't replicate in other pickups.

It might not be a bad idea to start w/ a good SG Standard (batwing, 490/498 combo) and pick one up used, because they hold their value decently on the used market. They used to be around $800, I've seen them more around $1000 w/ inflation being the way it is. If you can find one in the $800-$900 territory, you could always snag it and put the rest towards something like a Marshall Studio Classic SC20 combo ($1000) and that combo ($1800-ish) is roughly the same price as a new '61 Standard. That would be a ROCKING combo, and the SC20 (which would actually be pretty loud for bedroom play) would have zero problems getting mic'd up at small gigs.

Here is a 2013 SG (similar to the '61 of today, and comes w/ 57 classics) for a great price, comes w/ case, probably is not gonna last long: Gibson SG Standard 2013 Cherry | John's Gear Locker | Reverb

EDIT: Actually that is the cheapest SG I can find online, period. lol prices have really increased!
There are lots of SG models with the p-90 but for me it has to be the 61 reissue or one of the historic standards which have maybe a bit more wood on body and neck. The 61 have a nicer neck heel. Get a dual humbucker and change the neck out to a p-90 in a HB size. The histories have better necks binding etc in my opinion.

Hrmmmm made to measure TV yellow or Korina with thicker body, no fretboard inlays, and twin P-90 routes and a P-90 sized humbucker at the bridge?

I came into this wanting an SG, and I came out following prices for LP specials lol. I'm now debating whether getting an SG would be worth it if I already own that 60s LP Standard. Having 2 humbucker guitars that sound slightly different versus having something with p90s for a bit of difference for the money. They'll all get the job done of course but it's a tougher decision than I thought. Been going back and forth, I love the sound of both. Why can't I just have all of the guitars? lol. Maybe meet in the middle and get an SG with P90s? I'll have to stalk youtube for more sound demos of everything this week.

TV Yellow
Hum Cancelling P-90 at bridge.
That sounds familiar.
It seems to be pretty common, tv yellow is just so nice though. My first thought was Billie Joe, but he uses the sunburst one more.
 
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DaveSG

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Whoohoo! We need more pictures. Also, we need to know the next one you'll be getting:laugh2:
 

Shelkonnery

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You should be fine with either one!
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the 490Ts are wax potted while the 61s aren't.

It also wouldn't hurt if the other guitarist you're giging with played a Les Paul (Jr or not).
Many of those Epitaph/Fat Wreck bands use a LP in their two guitar line-up.
No rules to punk rock though :cool2:
 
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Thank you for the reply.

and what are your thoughts on a junior/special/p90 vs something with a bucker for this genre?
Also a great choice for this kind of music, although as has been mentioned previously, amp choice is going to make biggest difference here. If you're playing more metallic punk rock like Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream etc then you're probably going to find P90s a little loose. That's not to say you can't make it work though. That's the great thing about punk rock - there doesn't tend to be a lot of gear snobbery. The most important thing I think is being tight. Get that right hand spot-on and you'll be golden!
 

Kameo

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Also a great choice for this kind of music, although as has been mentioned previously, amp choice is going to make biggest difference here. If you're playing more metallic punk rock like Strung Out, A Wilhelm Scream etc then you're probably going to find P90s a little loose. That's not to say you can't make it work though. That's the great thing about punk rock - there doesn't tend to be a lot of gear snobbery. The most important thing I think is being tight. Get that right hand spot-on and you'll be golden!
I think the sound I would be going for is something closer to The Suicide Machines. So I guess buckers would do me better.
 
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