Grover has been making machine heads for stringed instruments since the late s. Headstock: the uppermost portion of a guitar neck, where the tuners are mounted. Humbucker: pickup used in most SG guitars. The humbucker pickup has two wound coils next to each other that are wired out of phase. This eliminates or reduces most electrical hum to which single-coil-pickups are prone. See Seth Lover and P Intonation: the ability of a guitar to produce notes that are in tune from fret to fret all the way down the neck.
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Intonation can usually be adjusted from the saddles on the bridge. Jumbo Frets: also called wide frets or super-size, refers to width and height of the fret wire. Preferred by some lead players who do lots of string bending. Higher fret wires give the player a greater range of string bending.
See fret size. Inlays: decorative appointments found in the fingerboard and headstock that are usually made of mother-of-pearl, abalone or acrylic material. SG inlays include block and trapezoid shapes. Kluson tuners: a higher-quality brand of tuner than standard-issue tuners. Has better materials and construction so that they tune more smoothly and hold the strings in tune longer. Lacquer also called nitrocellulose : clear or colored coating that is sprayed onto the guitar body in several coats that produces a hard, durable finish.
Les Paul: legendary guitarist and inventor of multitrack recording. One of the pioneers of the solidbody electric guitar. Limited edition: a guitar with a unique set of features produced in limited quantities. Many times the serial number is hand stamped on the back of the neck to indicate where in the limited series that particular guitar was produced-a feature sought by collectors to enhance the guitar's value.
Long-neck tenon: also called long tenon or deep tenon-the part of the neck that extends into the body for a more solid join when neck and body are glued together. Lyre Vibrola: trapeze-style tremolo tailpiece that allows altering string tension to produce pitch-shifting effects.
This type of string termination swings freely from the tail of the guitar, freeing the top from the leverage of string tension. Maple: a very dense, hard wood used primarily for the top of most Les Paul models and some SG models.
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Mahogany: a very dense, strong, but not extremely hard, hardwood used primarily for the body and the neck of SGs. Emphasizes midrange and bass tones for mellower or darker tone. Midrange: the middle of three ranges of tonal frequencies: low, midrange, and high. The overall sonic character of a guitar is determined by how strongly it produces sound in each of these three ranges.
Generally, a good guitar will be able to provide a mix of all three. The exact mix-how much midrange versus highs, for example-is mostly a matter of individual taste or preference. Some of the features that affect tonal character of an SG include the types of wood used, how the guitar is constructed, the type of pickups, materials used in the bridge and nut, and the gauge and composition of the strings.
Mini-humbuckers: smaller version of standard humbuckers, first used in the Les Paul Deluxe. The sound is described as a sweeter, more "centered" sound with greater emphasis on midrange. Neck-through Neck-thru : design in which the guitar is built around a single column of wood that extends from the tip of the headstock through to the strap button at the tail.
This column can either be a single piece or several pieces laminated together side-by-side. The wings of body wood are glued onto the sides of this central column of wood. Neck-through bodies produce maximum sustain and have the advantage of eliminating the large heel where the neck meets the body, thus providing the freest access to the higher register frets.
Neck-through guitars are more expensive to manufacture than bolt-on necks. Nitrocellulose lacquer finish: a fast-drying synthetic finish used commonly in the s and s, it is now mostly used for reissue guitars from those decades. See thin nitrocellulose finish. Nut: located where the headstock joins the neck, determines the spacing of the string and their height above the neck.
A string nut can be made of bone, graphite, brass, nickel, Corian, or plastic. Nut width: the distance across the top of the fretboard which determines the space between individual strings. Players with bigger hands usually prefer a wider fretboard. Output: the amount of electrical signal produced by a guitar pickup.
Higher output or "gain" means the pickup can more easily overdrive the amplifier and produce hard-edged or distorted guitar tones favored by many rock guitarists. An example of a high output-pickup is the T used in the Les Paul Classic.
P a single-coil pickup that comes in two shapes: dog-ear and soapbar. It produces a warm, soulful, and historic '50s tone. It was the sound of these pickups on the "Sunburst" Les Pauls from through especially when played through a Marshall amp-that produced the creamy sustain and warm distortion featured on many classic blues and rock recordings in the late '60s. In its reissues of vintage guitars, Gibson strives to achieve the historically-accurate "Patent Applied For" tone in its BurstBucker Type 1, 2, and 3 pickups and what Gibson describes as "enhanced Patent Applied For tone with more bite and brilliance" from its BurstBucker Pro pickups.
Pickguard: usually made of plastic celluloid, vinyl, PVC, acrylic or laminated material such as parchment. They can also be made of plexiglas, glass, wood, fabrics, metals, or plywood.
The Three-Arched Bridge
Pickguards may be made of a single layer ply or multiple layers, for example 3-ply or 5-ply. Ply binding: binding that has multiple layers, such as 3-ply or 5-ply binding. Multi-ply binding is more attractive than simple binding and is found on higher-end guitars. Pot: potentiometer-an electrical component used to control volume and tone that usually incorporates an adjustable knob or lever. Quilt top: the pattern of figuring or flame on a maple top that resembles a quilt.
Rosewood: wood used on fingerboards on some SG guitars. Higher-cost guitars typically have ebony fingerboards. Rounded neck: describes the neck profile on some vintage '50sGibson guitars as opposed to the slimmer, flatter shape on '60s SGs. Scale length: the measured distance of the vibrating string length between the nut and the saddle. The shorter scale length of the SG and Les Paul provides less tension making it easier to bend strings.
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Seth Lover: Designer who developed and patented the humbucker pickup first introduced in the Les Paul. Set-in neck: neck that is glued to the body, as opposed to a bolt-on neck. See through neck. Signature guitar: Gibson Custom Shop models built to famous guitarists' personal specifications. Single-coil: a guitar pickup that has only one coil of wrapped around a single magnet.
The sound produced by a single pickup is brighter with less midrange and bottom than a humbucker and is more prone to hum.
See P Slim '60s neck: a slimmer, flatter taper or neck profile, than the rounded '50s neck. Slim-taper neck: flatter and thinner neck preferred by some players over the rounded neck. It is used on many SG models. Sunburst finish: A finish technique in which the color of the guitar is lightest at the center darkening gradually as it approaches a dark rim.
The wood grain is often visible in the lighter areas of a sunburst guitar top. Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish also called a "nitro" finish : ultrathin, ultralight finish treatment that creates the patina of a gently aged vintage guitar. The process is expensive because it takes weeks to apply. A thin nitrocellulose finish allows the wood to breathe and gets thinner over time.
The best finish for tone, many feel.
Three-way switch: found on most guitars that have two pickups, it controls which pickups are active-switching positions are usually 1 bridge pickup, 2 bridge and neck pickups 3 neck pickup.