Gibson SG

This guitar was initially launched by Gibson in 1961 as a Les Paul model but, legend has it, Les Paul asked for his name to be removed from the original and the SG (standing for Solid Guitar) was born. There will inevitably be comparisons with the Les Paul itself but this instrument has it’s own character and very much stands on it’s own merits.

On first examination this guitar has much in common with other Gibson guitars – twin humbucking pickups, each with individual tone and volume controls, classic headstock but the neck is much slimmer and features 24 low profile frets rather than the more conventional 22, traditionally favoured by Gibson. The construction is ‘neck through body’ meaning that there are no screws where the neck meets the body and no large ‘heel’ to get in the way of the excellent access to the upper frets. Gibson’s guitar making heritage is well represented with the flawless high gloss deep finish bringing out the beautiful wood grain.

The Gibson SG standard is well balanced and has a much slimmer body than the Les Paul, making it lighter and easier to play for long periods. This reduced body mass does have an effect on the guitar’s sustain but the dense mahogany body ensures that there is still a very acceptable decay on notes. The SG has a very low action, more reminscent of the Les Paul Custom. The thin neck means it is very comfortable to play and, if you like speed, this guitar makes it easier.

This guitar has been made famous by players such as Eric Clapton during his early days with Cream, Pete Townsend of the Who and Angus Young of AC/DC. It is a shame that it’s most often associated with it’s ability to drive valve amp distortion because there’s much more on offer with tones ranging from jazz to country available. Check out Paul Weller or the work done by Michael Landau with James Taylor for more idea of what is possible. With street prices around £1,200 this is not a cheap guitar but its construction and playability make it a very desirable item with much to offer. If you’re on a budget, take a look at the Epiphone SG range which starts at around £300 and, being a Gibson company, offers tremendous value for money without sacrificing quality.

Body Mahogany
Neck Mahogany
Fingerboard Rosewood
Frets 24
Pickups 2 Humbucking
Controls 2 Volume 2 Tone Three way pickup selector switch
Machine Heads Kluson tulip style
Hardware Chrome
Scale Length 24.75” (628 mm)
Width at Nut 1.6895” (42.86 mm)

More information: Gibson