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Your Guide to Buying a Gibson SG

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Your Guide to Buying a Gibson SG
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Your Guide to Buying a Gibson SG

The acronym SG means solid guitar. The iconic Gibson SG electric guitars are immediately recognised for their distinctive body shape that features asymmetrical double horns and double cutaways. Majority of SG models are built of a solid mahogany body, which is known for sound clarity, deeply rich tonal quality and greater sustain.

Choosing Among Gibson SG Models

The fact that a guitarist prefers a solid guitar already speaks volumes about his playing style and music genre. The choice also reveals an appreciation for the enhanced sustain and high volume amplification of solid guitars without the haunting feedback. Guitarists who dig classic rock such as punk, metal, or hard rock genres know the worth of a Gibson SG in their hands. Ultimately, the choice of model is about the feel of the guitar and the sound that it makes.

Comparison between Gibson SG Standard and Gibson SG Special

The Standard and Special models of Gibson SG are essentially similar in their construction, hardware, and tone woods. Both are equally lightweight yet deliver powerful, nuanced performance. They are equipped with the same Tune-O-Matic bridge, stop bar tailpiece and updated pickups to suit modern rock. The two models have individual volume and tone controls. Both also wear the same high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer in several colour options.
They have several hardware differences, but the most notable distinction lies in some details of their external appearance. Gibson SG Standard features more decorative embellishments compared with the SG Special’s simpler, basic look. Even more devoid of trimmings is the SG Special Faded, which sports a deliberately worn look in brown or cherry stain with a thin layer of nitrocellulose finish.
The following table lists hardware and aesthetic differences between the two models.

Gibson SG Standard

Gibson SG Special

490R in neck, 498T in bridge position, pickup with modified coil windings for extra punch

490R in neck, 490T in bridge, calibrated for balance

Chrome covered pickups

Uncovered pickups

Bound rosewood fingerboard with acrylic trapezoid inlays

Unbound rosewood neck with acrylic dot inlays

Mother-of-pearl logo on headstock and holly inlay

Silk-screened Gibson logo on headstock. Engraved SG model name on truss rod cover

Popular Gibson SG Standard Models

Classic and contemporary SG models are all crafted from solid mahogany and basically share similar characteristics with their guitar family.
Here are some top-rated variants of the SG Standard and their identifying features.

Model

Description

Gibson SG Standard

Lightweight mahogany body and slim neck. Bound rosewood fingerboard. Pair of '57 classic humbucking pickups

Gibson SG Standard with Mini-ETune

Same features and tone as classic SG. Mini-ETune System for automatic tuning

SG Standard Limited

Same features and tone as classic SG. Solid mahogany body in high-gloss finish with 4 colour options: antique cherry, natural burst, cream or vintage sunburst. Mahogany neck with rounded profile. Baked maple fingerboard

SG Standard P-90

Same features as Standard model. Two P-90 single-coil pickups in neck and bridge produce thick, clear yet edgy tones

SGJ

Simpler look at an affordable price. Solid mahogany body in 4 worn-look, grain-textured finish options: cherry, chocolate, hand-rubbed vintage burst, or hand-rubbed transparent white. Maple neck with rounded profile. Rosewood fingerboard. 490R and 490T humbucking pickups in neck and bridge positions

SG Standard Exclusive

Same features and tone as classic SG. Sam Ash Exclusive finish in 2 options: Bullion gold with gold hardware and Pelham blue with chrome hardware

Popular Gibson SG Special Models

Gibson launched the SG Special as an affordable alternative to the Standard without sacrificing the flagship’s bestselling features. Rock and punk musicians as well as blues and fusion instrumentalists are equally amazed at the guitars’ versatility for a broad range of genres. Here are several SG Special favourites.

Model

Description

SG Special

‘50s style rounded neck profile. Solid mahogany body with nitrocellulose finish in heritage cherry or ebony. Uncovered Gibson 490R and 490T pickups. 22 Fret Granadillo fingerboard

SG Special ‘60s Tribute

Solid mahogany body with rosewood fingerboard. 4 worn-look finishes. Slim, fast '60s neck profile. Pair of P-90 pickups

SG Special ‘70s Tribute

Mahogany body in 4 grain-textured satin finish options: vintage sunburst, cherry, ebony, or silver burst. Maple neck with '70s style thin-to-thick carving. 2 mini humbuckers in neck and bridge

SG Special Limited

Mahogany body in 3 high-gloss nitro lacquer choices: alpine white, Renault blue or radiant red. Mahogany neck with '50s rounded profile. Baked maple fingerboard. Gibson Dirty Fingers pickups in neck and bridge

Gibson SG Custom and Artist Models

Gibson SG’s flight to fame took its sweet time to take off. Its way to the halls of fame was led by musicians whose innovative sounds turned them into celebrities. Gibson Artist models are the new incarnation of the classics played by these music legends of rock ‘n’ roll. Rendering tribute to the artistic genius of these dynamic musicians has earned the Gibson signature models their pedigree.
The following table shows the popular Gibson Custom models. They recreate the classic features of the originals and capture their vintage look along with a few tweaks to honour the preferences of each featured personality.

Gibson SG Artist Models

Star and Status Symbol

Features

Derek Trucks Signature SG

Played vintage ’61 SG models: Accomplished musician of Tedeschi Trucks Band, Derek Trucks Band and Allman Brothers Band. Acclaimed for his fusion of musical genres and sublime slide style.

1961 SG classics modified to Truck’s preferred specs. Stopbar tailpiece with Lyre vibrato cover. Original “no wire” ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic tailpiece, no pickguard. Grade-A mahogany body and neck with high-gloss lacquer in heritage cherry. Pair of PAF-style humbucking pickups

Angus Young SG

Played ’68 SG model. Classic rock guitarist of AC/DC. Inspired generations of rockers with his sizzling, crunching, incendiary style

Crafted to Young’s favoured specs. Embodies stand-out qualities of original. Slim mahogany body and neck. Pair of humbucking pickups

Jeff Tweedy Signature SG

Identified with ’61 SG model. Co-founder of alternative country band Uncle Tupelo and leader of Wilco band. Alternative artist whose repertoire extends to experimental contemporary rock

Rendered to ‘60s SG specs. Grade-A mahogany body and neck. Nitro lacquer in Blue Mist finish. Slim rounded neck. Rosewood fingerboard. Tune-o-Matic bridge with Maestro-style vibrato tailpiece and lyre cover. 2 BurstBucker 1 pickups

50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG

Played ‘60s SG Special (later switched to Gibson Les Paul Deluxe). Rock legend of the ‘60s and ‘70s, band member of The Who. Famous for raw energy and rock power

True to specs of early '60s Les Paul/SG Special, complemented by Townshend's favoured hardware. Mahogany body with Alpine white lacquer. Slim, fast neck profile. Smaller pickguard of pre-’65 era. Pair of P-90 single-coil pickups. Gold 50th Anniversary headstock banner

50th Anniversary Robby Krieger SG

Played a ‘67 Gibson SG Standard. Creative guitarist of The Doors band. Rock musician known for jazz and flamenco-inspired solos

Classic features of original. 2 PAF-style humbucking pickups. Maestro Vibrola with vintage-style lyre tailpiece for retro look. Grade-A tonewood finished in heritage cherry. Back plate shows Krieger's artwork. 50th anniversary graphic on headstock

The Gibson Custom models on the upscale end of the range are Dickey Betts SG, Angus Young SG Standard and Don Felder "Hotel California" EDS-1275 (Double-Neck).

Gibson SG on a Budget

Gibson offers entry-level models for beginners, students, or even pro guitarists on a modest budget. These dressed down versions come minus the superfluous extras, but do not compromise on quality, tone and playability.

SG Model

Basic Features

Melody Maker

Solid maple body in three satin finishes. Unique neck profile. Baked maple fingerboard. Updated 491T ceramic humbucker with volume control

SG Special Humbucker

Stripped down but fired up version. Mahogany body in dark cherry or dark walnut nitro satin finish. Mahogany neck with slim, rounded profile. Baked maple fingerboard. Popular humbucker pickups, 490R in neck and 490T in bridge

SGJ

Simpler look at an affordable price. Solid mahogany body in 4 worn-look, grain-textured finish options: cherry, chocolate, hand-rubbed vintage burst or hand-rubbed transparent white. Maple neck with rounded profile. Rosewood fingerboard. 490R and 490T humbucking pickups in neck and bridge

Find Gibson SG on eBay

For a quick survey of eBay listings, type 'Gibson SG guitar' on the search field of the eBay home page. Under the Musical Instruments category, click Guitars and select Electric. Under guitar subtype, check SG and choose Gibson. Narrow the search according to preferences such as condition, dexterity, buying format, shipping method, or location. Enter the price range within the budget. Alternatively, click All Categories, select Musical Instruments, choose Guitars and refine the search to focus on Gibson SG items.

Conclusion

Serious guitarists consider a Gibson SG purchase a worthwhile investment and a personal choice. Their selection is defined by a particular model’s touch, tone, and look as well as budgetary considerations. The bottom line can be summed up in the intimate vibe that bonds instrument and player.

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