I've been playing for 7 years, and I've been playing every day, learning theory, messing with tone and pedals, etc. for the past year, and trying to learn about this wonderful equipment I use each day. Tonight I decided to dig out my dad's old 197X Gibson SG and restring it.

It sounds great, but it produces this high-pitched, static-y, hissing overtone when I play it with distortion on the amp itself. I've noticed a similar sound with any guitar using my Proco Rat II distortion pedal with the "Filter" knob turned all the way down and "Distortion" fairly high. It sounds kind of like cheap stock iPod headphones when they're turned all the way up.

I'm thinking it's probably a normal thing, I'd just like to confirm it and maybe learn what it's called. I'm not very familiar with vintage guitars. Thanks guys.
Last edited by Exhumed91 at Jun 29, 2011,
It seems like its the pedal not the guitar. Try not using the pedal.
For your sake I hope heaven & hell are really there, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Guitar & skateboarding. Do what you want.
The pickups are stock Gibson pickups, whatever came with the guitar. EDIT: Yes, they're P90s, I should have googled.

Sorry for not being clear Alexi; I'm getting the issue from the amp's distortion settings. I was saying I get a similar overtone with the pedal plugged in. The hissing overtone is more noticeable with certain amp model settings on my Valvetronix, when it's turned up loud.

Like I said, I think it's normal; it's not a grating, displeasing sound, it just adds a certain rawness to the tone. It's a hissy, staticy overtone, but it's still just an overtone. The guy who works on my guitars gave it a tune-up a few months ago and thought it sounded great, so yeah, it's probably not an issue.

I just wanted to make sure it's normal, perhaps learn what causes it, or if it has a name besides "rawness" or "that hissy staticy overtone you get with a Rat and/or a vintage Gibson SG".
My gear:
Fender Showmaster FMT HH
BC Rich Avenge
1971 Gibson SG Pro
Vox Valvetronix VT100
1980 Martin D-18 (message me if you're in the market for one; my tiny fingers would prefer a Taylor)
Celebrity Ovation
Last edited by Exhumed91 at Jun 29, 2011,
if you're running any amp at high volumes with a lot of distortion the hissing sound is likely to be coming from the amp, not the guitar.

btw, are you sure it's got P-90s? there weren't many SGs in the '70s that had P-90s. most of the SG specials had mini-humbuckers with black covers that are often mistaken for P-90s.. so unless yours has been modded or is one of those funny looking SG Pro models with the weird pickguard, it's probably mini-humbuckers, which shouldn't be making too much noise - although plastic covers as opposed to metal covers does make them a bit more susceptible to interference.
Live Rig January 2018

Fender Baja Telecaster/Danelectro DC-12
Boss TU-3, Ibanez TS9, Fulltone OCD 1.7, Boss CS-3, EHX Small Clone, MXR Carbon Copy
1964 Vox AC30TB with '69 Rola G12M "blackbacks"
Elixir Nanoweb 10-52 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks