Classic Guitars, part 4: Gibson SG

At the moment the Gibson SG is extremely popular – the trendiest model on the block.

Unbelievable as it may seem with hindsight, the SG was designed in 1961 as the Les Paul’s replacement. Ted McCarty and his team were eager to come out with a sexier, lighter and more practical electric guitar, in place of the then somewhat unpopular Les Paul.

Les Paul himself wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the new model, so he decided not to renew his endorsement deal in 1963. From that moment on the ”new and improved Les Paul Standard” became the Gibson SG Standard (SG = solid guitar). By the way, Gibson brought back the original Les Paul in 1969.

The main new feature of the SG was its sleek and curvy body, crafted entirely from mahogany. The glued neck joint was moved so that all of the guitar’s frets were easy to access.

Due to the new neck joint the front humbucker had to be moved a little towards the bridge for added stability, which in turn slightly thins out the pickup’s sound.

The SG’s thin and light body results in a fresher, more resonant and transparent tone, when compared to a Les Paul.

Thanks to its thin body, light weight and (normally) fixed bridge the SG is a fine choice for a first guitar. Only its very slight tendency towards neck heaviness can sometimes mar the nigh-on perfect picture.

As with all Gibson models, I’d advise anybody to purchase a quality gig bag or case with an SG-style guitar, to protect it against neck or headstock breakage.

Gibson’s Faded-series offers amazing value for money. These USA-made models offer less bling by doing away with the fingerboard binding, the large crown inlays and the regular gloss finish. But apart from the more modest visuals, the Faded-instruments are thoroughbred Gibsons.


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