Gibson SG Standard
Weapon: Electric Guitar
Model: SG standard
Price: Around 1600$/1200€
A little bit of History
The Gibson SG Standard is one of the big names in the history of guitar making, along with Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster / Telecaster. It has been used by many famous guitarists, and it's a rock n' roll icon worldwide.
The SG in the name actually stands for Solid Guitar, and it was introduced in 1961 as a new thinner, lighter Les Paul model, mainly to compete against the great sales of Fender Stratocaster, and to fight the decreasing sales of the classic Les Paul model. But Les Paul didn't like it, and made his name dissapear from the SG's headstock, and ever after that it was to be called "SG".
Fingerboard Species: Rosewood
Scale Length: 243/4"
Number of Frets: 22
Fingerboard Binding: single-ply
Top Species: Mahogany
Back Species: Mahogany
Neck Pickup: 490R Alnico II magnet humbucker
Bridge Pickup: 498T Alnico II magnet humbucker
Controls: Two volume, two tone, three-way switch
Nut Width: 1.695"
Neck Joint Location: 19
Head Inlay: Crest
Plating Finish: Chrome
Knobs: Black Top Hat with silver inserts
Tuners: Green Key
Interior: White Plush
Case Exterior: Black Reptile Pattern Hardshell
Silkscreen: Silver 'Gibson USA' logo
Being a legend no one shall be surprised to hear that it sounds and plays great.
Its contoured body lines stick to the body and its light weight makes it easy to play for hours without even noticing. This guitar is arguably on of the best rock and roll guitars ever made, and it begs for the amp to be cranked to 11 and riff on.
Not only has it been used by rock artists, but it also can deliver some juicy blues, with its stock classic 490R and 498T pickups, which are the same ones built into Les Paul Supreme models. An awesome combination.
This guitar screams with its bridge pickup. Sustain is huge, endless at high gain settings. The bridge pickup is not as hot, and it produces warm, creamy leads or beautiful colourful chords alike. These pickups sure can sing, but they can sometimes get some outside frequencies that may cause some noise, being so sensitive and hot-wound, specially on the bridge position.
Build and finish
This guitar is much lighter than a Les Paul, but heavier than its Epiphone SGs counterparts. Its body & neck are made of high quality mahogany. Some of them have a one piece body, but some are reported to be made out of 2 pieces glued together. Surprising for a guitar with a high price tag.
The neck is one piece, and is so great to play. Many praise the SGs neck as the fastest neck in the world, though it's just an opinion, as this guitar is not really made for shredding. The SG Standard's neck thickness round profile is somewhere in between the 50's LP necks and the 60's necks. Makes it very comfortable to grab. The rosewood fingerboard feels wide and makes it easy to play in the upper frets, and that joined with the double cut-away design makes this beauty so much comfortable than many other models out there. One thing to bear in mind is that Gibson SGs are neck heavy guitars, so a leather strap is quite useful.
The fret wire is medium/jumbo, with a combination of nickel and silver (80%/20%), which usually deliver long life and resistance to wear.
One thing to remember about Gibsons is that they really sound good and are set-up from factory for .010-.46 gauge strings. That is to keep the perfect tension in the neck. Of course any other string gauges can be used as long as the truss rod is adjusted, but .010s really shine in the SG, allowing for an even better sustain.
Nothing comes without a price though, as Gibson SG's necks and headstocks can be damaged more easily than those of one cut-away guitars. The neck joint is between the 19th and 20th fret. But don't worry too much, these cuties sure can last a whole life if you take care of them like you should. Just be careful not to drop them
Being a thinner model its sustain, although huge, is a bit less than that of Les Paul guitars.
The neck has a beautiful and well crafted binding, and the standard trapezoid inlays that most Gibson Standard models carry in their fretboards.
As usual in Gibson guitars, SG Standard features a tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar piece, a system developed by Gibson that has proven to be solid throughout the years. Really easy to set up action and intonation, all that is needed is a small screwdriver and you are ready to rock.
The angled headstock is a classic, with its crown inlay and 3 pairs of Gibson deluxe tuners and green keys, looks good and keeps the strings in tune no matter how much you bend them.
The guitar features tone & volume controls for each pickup and a 3-way switch selector, which does its job without a single noise. It's very loose, and some guitarists abuse it and use it as a killswitch, though it's not meant for that. Some find its location a bit uncomfortable, being down next to the tone knobs.
The pickups are a classic in many Gibson's models: 490R (R stands for rhythm) boosts the upper mids, and 498T (T stands for treble) boosts the mids and highs, and as has been mentioned before provide rich and powerful sounds.
One of the main characteristics of the Gibson SG Standard, along with the neck binding, is its nitrocellulose finish, which is a very time consuming and expensive process. Nitro finish ages nicely, and lets the wood breath, age and resonate better. On the other hand nitro finishes are easily scratched, because they are very thin, and wear out much sooner than poly finishes. They are much easier to repair though, as chips can be touched up, as opposed to poly lacquers. Most people dig the vintage look a guitar gets over time as the nitro finish starts to get thinner though.
After more than 45 years of existence it's still a widely used and sought after model, that is more versatile than just rock and roll. A beautiful shape and a nice lighter alternative to the good old Les Paul, an SG can always find a spot in any guitarist arsenal.
22 frets at your comand, warm and crisp humbuckers, reasonable weight and huge sustain make a mind-blowing combination that is kind of hard to let go. Once you get used to play with an SG it's hard to find a more suitable axe.
This guitar definitely feels good. So good.
- A little bit neck heavy
- 22 frets may be too few for some guitarists.
- No whammy bar.
- Fragile headstock/set neck. Shouldn't be a problem if you take care of your stuff though!
- Nitro finish scratches easily, although it ages really nice!
Famous SG Swingers
Here is a small list of famous guitarists who use, or have used at some point, a Gibson SG:
Pablo Vazquez (GMC Instructor)
Angus Young (Ac/DC)
Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Billy Corrigan (Smashing Pumpkins)
Brian Bell (Weezer)
Brian Molko (Placebo)
Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult)
Chino Moreno (Deftones)
Daron Malakian (System of a down)
Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)
Deryck Whibley (Sum 41)
Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)
Greg Hetson (Bad Religion)
James Iha (Smashing pumpkins)
Jimmi Page (Led Zeppelin)
Matt Bellamy (Muse)
Pete Townsend (The Who)
And too many others to mention!
There are other Gibson models, from the cheaper SG Special and SG Special faded, to the Angus Young signature with a whammy bar or the VOS Custom, there's an SG for every user out there. Differences affect the kind of finish each guitar gets, and the pickups, but all of them are pure style.
There's a well known SG made by Yamaha, which is an excellent guitar to check out too.
And for the ones on budget, Epiphone makes some awesome SGs that are certainly good even when compared to the real Gibsons.
The SG is a guitar to treasure forever, a classic, an icon.
Wether it's rock, blues or heavy the SG won't let you down, no matter if you need to play a cristal clean arpeggio or a high gain shredding solo, this guitar will give it all, and then more.
Comfortable, light and cool, its singing humbuckers shining like lightning and its twin horns pointing towards the sky, this axe will forever live in the memories of all of us who have grown with rock n roll flowing through our veins!
Originally by Fran