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The SG Buying Guide

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How to Choose the Gibson or Epiphone SG that's right for you and your budget

Table of Contents

The SG Pedigree
The Gibson SG-a Brief History
Epiphone vs. Gibson USA vs Custom Shop SGs-What's the Difference?
SG Model Quick Reference Chart
Epiphone SG Models
Gibson USA SG Models
Gibson Custom Shop SG Models
Glossary of SG Terms

Radical in 1961, the SG Still Sets the Bar for Hard Rock Today

How to Choose the Gibson or Epiphone SG that's right for you and your budget

To this day, the streamlined looks and sharply defined double-cut body of the SG has maintained its position as a thoroughly modern-looking axe. While sharing much of the warmth of the LP's sound, the SG is appreciated by many rock guitarists for its more articulate "snap." and a little more jangle on the top end. Because of the way the neck meets the body, the SG offers excellent access to the entire fretboard, making it great for soloing and upper-register chord work. And SGs are typically lighter than Les Pauls making them easier to sling during lengthy gigs or recording sessions. Their lighter weight makes SGs very resonant and responsive to what's coming from your amplifier. The thinner, beveled SG body makes it comfortable to hold and play. With its back nestled against your ribcage, you can feel the instrument resonate more fully than with other guitars.

Since its introduction in 1961, the Gibson SG has been adopted as the weapon of choice by countless guitarists. The fast and comfortable neck, throaty pickups, shoulder-friendly weight, and a lower price tag than its stablemate, the Les Paul, all contributed to its ready acceptance. Over the years, Gibson and its value-oriented Epiphone subsidiary have created many variations and models. In this guide we'll help you sort out all the specs and features of the current SG model lineup. You'll also learn a little about the history and lore of this iconic electric guitar along the way.

The SG Pedigree

A short list of the players and songs that involved the SG easily establishes its pedigree as a rocker's mainline axe. To name four classic SG-fueled songs, "Crossroads," "Soul Sacrifice," "Dark Star," and "Iron Man" instantly spring to mind. Renowned SG players include Eric Clapton during his Cream days, Angus Young of AC/DC, Pete Townshend (Live at Leeds' sonic mayhem was created entirely with an SG), Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Revolver-era George Harrison, The Cars' Elliot Easton, Rush's Alex Lifeson, Carlos Santana, and Frank Zappa. Among more contemporary players, the list is equally impressive with the inclusion of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Dave Grohl, Thom Yorke, Derek Trucks, and Daron Malakian of System of a Down.

The Gibson SG-a Brief History

By 1960, Gibson's Les Paul sales were faltering. Aside from a growing perception that the LP was a bit old-fashioned, its heft as well as a hefty price tag were seen as reasons for its decline. To address this, Gibson set out to radically rethink the Les Paul.

The former carved maple arched top was replaced with a thinner, flat-topped solid mahogany body without binding, greatly reducing construction costs. The neck was given a more slender and comfortable profile and repositioned to join the body at the 19th fret versus the former 16th-fret neck joint. Combined with double cutaways on the body and a reduced neck heel, this produced much better access to the upper frets with enhanced speed and comfort. Bevels on the body also contributed to the new guitar's playing comfort.

Originally introduced as the new Les Paul, it's said that Paul himself was not fond of the new design and asked that his name be removed There is some debate about this. One story has it that Les Paul was in the midst of a divorce at the time and didn't want his wife to claim a share of the royalties Whatever the case, Gibson honored his request, renaming the new guitar the SG, standing for "Solid Guitar." However, it wasn't until 1963 that Les Paul's name was removed from the nameplate and truss rod cover.

Gibson offered four variations of the SG upon its debut: the no-frills SG Junior equipped with a single P-90 pickup, the SG Special with dual P-90s and optional tremolo, the SG Standard with dual PAF humbuckers and tremolo, and the flagship SG Custom with three PAFs, tremolo with Maestro Vibrola tailpiece, and elaborate fretboard and headstock inlays.

Since then, Gibson and Epiphone have produced many SG variants with dozens of pickup and electronics configurations, finishes, and hardware choices, including many different bridge and tailpiece options.

Epiphone vs. Gibson USA vs. Custom Shop SGs-What's the Difference?

Superficially, the specs and features of most SGs seem similar. But there are important differences that account for their very different pricing. Here's a quick rundown on each:

Epiphone SG Models

Produced in Asian plants, Epiphone SGs involve less hand work and less costly woods, hardware, electronics, and finishes than their U.S.-made counterparts.They offer excellent value for budget-conscious guitarists. Some models have U.S.-made pickups and electronics. Durable polyurethane finishes are typical.

Gibson USA SG Models

Built in Nashville, Tennessee, these SGs reflect great attention to detail, and are made with premium-quality woods, electronics, hardware, finishes, and extensive handwork. All USA models have nitrocellulose lacquer finishes that allow the wood to age gracefully and season over time, imparting a more mature, musical tonality.

Gibson Custom Shop SG Models

Handcrafted in Gibson's Nashville Custom Shop, these highly collectible instruments incorporate the finest woods, electronics, hardware, and embellishments available. They typically have single-piece mahogany bodies and nitrocellulose lacquer finishes with full gloss, vintage original patina, or lightly to heavily aged treatments. Many instruments are meticulous recreations of vintage models or guitars associated with renowned SG players.

SG Model Quick Reference Chart

Epiphone SG Gibson USA SG Gibson Custom Shop

SG Special
650R/700T humbuckers
Killswitch on tone knob
SlimTaper neck

2014 SGJ14
New Zebra humbuckers
SG Slim Profile neck
120th Anniversary upgrades

SG Standard w/ Maestro VOS
Gently aged VOS treatment
Burstbucker 1 & 2 pickups
ABR-1 bridge/ Maestro tailpiece

G-310 SG
Alder body
Dual open-coil humbuckers
LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge

2014 SG Special
490R/T humbuckers
120th Anniversary cosmetics/ upgrades

SG Standard Historic Reissue
Custom Bucker pickups
VOS Faded Cherry finish
Historically accurate specs

Vintage G-400
Aged appearance
Alnico V humbuckers
LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge

2014 SGM
New '61 Zebra humbuckers
2014 cosmetics/ upgrades
Min-ETune auto tuning

SG Standard Historic w/Maestro
Custom Bucker pickups
VOS Faded Cherry finish
Maestro Vibrola tailpiece

Vintage G-400 PRO
Alnico Classic Pro/Pro Plus humbuckers with coil splitting
LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar

2014 SG Futura

P90H/BB3 with coil tap
15dB boost circuit
Min-ETune auto tuning

SG Standard Reissue VOS

Lightly aged finish/ hardware
Burstbucker 1 & 2 pickups
Set neck with long tenon

Ltd. Edition '66 G-400 PRO
SlimTaper "D" glued-in neck
Alnico Classic/Classic Plus pickups
Nickel hardware

2014 SG Standard
'57 Classic pickups with coil splitting
120th Anniversary upgrades
Min-ETune auto tuning

Custom SG with Gold Hardware
Short-run model
Special gold 1 & 2 Burstbuckers
Matching gold hardware

Ltd. Edition 1961 SG
Limited run
Alnico P-90 pickups
Original '61 SlimTaper neck

SG Baritone
Oversize mahogany body
27" scale
496R/500T with coil taps

Dickey Betts SG VOS
Exact replica of gift to Duane
Alnico III Custom Buckers
Vintage red VOS nitrocellulose

Ltd. Edition Custom w/Maestro
Improved Vibrola tailpiece
ProBucker 2 & 3 pickups with coil tapping
Grover Rotomatic machines

1961 "Les Paul" Tribute
Lightweight Grade-A mahogany body
'57 Classic humbuckers
Improved "sideways" trem

 

SG Performance Pack
SG Special II Guitar
Electar-10 Amp
Tuner, strap, gig bag, etc.

2013 SG Supra
AAA maple top/AA body
3 '57 Classic humbuckers
Fishman Power Bridge

 

EB-3 Bass Guitar
SlimTaper "D" neck
Sidewinder/ NYT mini pickups
Nickel hardware

2014 SG Special Bass
T-Bird Plus/Mini pickups
Solid mahogany body
Grover shamrock tuners

 
 

2014 SG Standard Bass
T-Bird Plus/Mini pickups
Trapezoid inlays
Gloss nitrocellulose fisnish

 

Epiphone SG Models

In 1957 Gibson acquired Epiphone, a long-standing rival in the guitar market. After the buyout Epiphone instruments were built in Gibson's factories and shared many of the same woods and components used in Gibson's product line. Epiphone guitars were usually pretty much identical to their Gibson counterparts apart from their insignia.

Beginning in the 1970s, most Epiphone instruments were built in Japan and later in Korea. Continuing today, Epiphone guitars are built in Asian plants to Gibson's exacting specifications. Having less hand work and less costly woods, hardware, and finishes than their U.S.-made counterparts, Epiphone versions of Gibson SG models offer excellent value for budget-conscious guitarists.

Let's look at the current lineup of Epiphone SG models:

Epiphone SG Special

A terrific starter guitar, the SG Special has the traditional SG slim-profile neck and a pair of open-coil humbuckers with an integrated killswitch that's activated by pushing in the tone knob. The LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar helps generate plenty of sustain and facilitates easy string changes.

  • Mahogany body
  • Hard maple neck
  • SlimTaper "D" neck profile
  • Bolt-on neck with tapered heel
  • Scale length: 24.75"
  • Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays
  • Nut width: 1.68
  • Fingerboard radius: 12"
  • Neck Pickup: 650R humbucker
  • Bridge Pickup: 700T humbucker
  • 2-layer, black/white
  • Controls: 1-master volume, 1 master-tone with KillPot
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic
  • Stopbar tailpiece
  • Nickel hardware
  • Premium 14:1 tuners

Epiphone SG Special

The Epiphone SG Special has hefty humbucker tone, a unique kill switch, and a price to suit cash-strapped beginners.

Epiphone G-310 SG

Built to Gibson's strict quality standards, the G-310 offers awesome bang for the buck. Bolt-on neck construction is bulletproof and helps keep the price affordable for the budget-strapped player. Dual open-coil humbuckers and a Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece serve up authentic SG tone and sustain.

  • Alder body
  • Bolt-on mahogany neck
  • 22-fret rosewood fingerboard
  • 2 open-coil humbuckers
  • LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece
  • Chrome hardware
  • Dot inlays

Epiphone G-310 SG

With the Epiphone G-310 SG you get authentic SG tone and sustain without the much steeper price tag of Gibson editions.

Epiphone Vintage G-400

The worn satin finish and aged fretboard inlays give it the look of a well-preserved vintage SG. A smaller pickguard reveals more of the mahogany body's attractive grain. Alnico V 'buckers and the LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece serve up thick, slabs of rock-ready tone and excellent tuning stability. An awesome deal.

  • Worn satin finish and aged fretboard inlays
  • Chrome hardware
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany single-piece set neck with rosewood fretboard
  • LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece for more sustain and easier string changing
  • 2 Alnico V humbuckers
  • 1.6 nut width
  • 24.75 scale

Epiphone Vintage G-400

The Epi G-400's worn satin finish and aged fretboard inlays suggest a lovingly cared for vintage SG that only its tiny price tag belies.

Epiphone G-400 PRO

Based on the 1962 SG, it generates all the searing sustain of the original, and goes its predecessor one better with coil-splitting on the dual Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers for punchy single-coil sounds.

  • Mahogany double-cutaway body
  • 24.75 scale set-in mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • 22 medium-jumbo frets
  • Trapezoid fretboard inlays
  • Alnico Classic Pro neck humbucker with coil-split
  • Alnico Classic Pro Plus bridge humbucker with coil-split
  • LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • LockTone stopbar tailpiece
  • Wilkinson Vintage Classics 14:1 ratio tuners

Epiphone G-400 PRO

The Epiphone G-400 PRO is modeled on a '62 SG with upgraded coil-split pickups that add single-coil versatility to its traditionally fat humbucker tone and resounding sustain.

Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO

Original '66 G-400s were enthusiastically received by heavy rockers of the day, and it has gone on to be a much sought-after edition. The Epi update is built using the same dimensions and techniques originally used in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant. It has the fast, slim-taper neck long revered by shredders, and high-output 'buckers that churn out thick, throaty tone.

  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany, glued-in neck
  • 24.75" scale
  • SlimTaper "D" neck profile
  • 1.68 nut width
  • Rosewood fingerboard, 22 fret
  • Fingerboard radius: 12"
  • Neck pickup: Alnico Classic humbucker
  • Bridge pickup: Alnico Classic Plus humbucker
  • Tune-o-Matic LockTone bridge
  • Stopbar tailpiece
  • Controls: Neck pickup: 1-Volume, 1-Tone/ Bridge pickup: 1-Volume, 1-Tone w/full-size 500K-ohm potentiometers
  • Nickel hardware
  • 14:1 ratio Grover tuners

Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO

Epiphone builds the Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO to original Gibson specs then ups the ante with high-output Alnico Classic pickups for even more snarl.

Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary 1961 SG

Just like the original Gibson SG Special, it's equipped with a pair of soulful-sounding Alnico P90s that generate vintage tone. Every historical detail is accounted for including vintage control knobs and the wraparound tailpiece that enhances sustain. A sweet deal for the vintage SG shopper on a tight budget.

  • Limited run
  • Alnico P-90 pickups
  • Mahogany body and neck
  • Glued in mortise and tenon neck/body joint
  • Original sustain-enhancing Wraparound Lightning Bar tailpiece
  • Original 1961 SlimTaper "D" neck profile
  • Wilkinson Vintage 14:1 tuning machines

Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary 1961 SG

P-90 soapbar pickups on the Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary 1961 SG deliver the authentic sound of an original introductory-year SG.

 

Epiphone Limited Edition SG Custom with Maestro Tailpiece

Sporting a redesigned Maestro vibrato that looks like the original but generates more tone and accuracy, the SG Custom is drenched in vintage vibe. Epi designed the Alnico Classic humbuckers referencing '50s-era vintage pickups. The SlimTaper neck and Rotomatic machines deliver superb playability and tuning stability.

  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck with '60 SlimTaper profile
  • Truss Rod Cover: 2-Layer (Black/White) with Les Paul Custom in White
  • Scale Length: 24.75
  • Rosewood fingerboard with pearloid block inlays
  • Clipped-Ear Dovewing headstock with split diamond inlay
  • Bridge Pickup: Epiphone ProBucker-3
  • Neck Pickup: Epiphone ProBucker-2
  • Controls: Bridge Volume with push/pull coil-tapping, Neck Volume with push/pull coil-tapping, Bridge Tone, Neck Tone, 3-Way Toggle
  • Binding: Fingerboard - 1-Layer, Headstock - 5-Layer
  • Knobs: Black top hats with Silver Inserts
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12
  • Frets: 22, Medium-Jumbo
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-o-matic
  • Tailpiece: Maestro Vibrato
  • Nut Width: 1-11/16
  • Hardware: Nickel
  • Grover Rotomatic, 18:1 ratio machine heads

Epiphone Limited Edition SG Custom with Maestro Tailpiece

ProBucker pickups with coil tapping, a super-accurate redesigned vibrola tailpiece, and lots of old-school vibe make the Limited Edition SG Custom with Maestro Tailpiece one sweet axe.

Epiphone SG Performance Pack

Epi puts this package together with the beginning guitarist in mind. It comes with everything the aspiring player needs to get going: an SG Special II Ltd. electric guitar, amp, tuner, strap, gig bag, cable, and picks. The guitar is armed with dual open-coil pickups and a tone knob that includes a KillPot kill switch. The Electar-10 amp is great for practice with 15W output, an 8" speaker, reverb, 3-band EQ, and a headphone output to keep peace in the family. You also get access to downloadable eMedia guitar lessons, making this one phenomenal deal.

SG Special-II LTD specs

  • Solid wood body
  • Hard maple bolt-on neck
  • Scale: 24.75
  • Nut width: 1.68
  • Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays
  • Neck Pickup: 650T humbucker, open coils
  • Bridge Pickup: 700T humbucker; open-coils
  • Controls:Master Volume
  • Tone/ KillPot™ combination knob
  • Three position toggle switch
  • Bridge: tune-o-matic
  • Tailpiece: Stopbar
  • Precision 14:1 ratio black machine heads

Epiphone Electar-10 Amplifier specs

  • Watts: 15
  • Speaker: 8
  • Cabinet: open back
  • Controls: Overdrive (with Drive and Volume control)
  • Clean (with Volume control)
  • Overdrive and Clean Selection Button
  • Equalizer: treble, middle, bass controls
  • Reverb
  • Headphone out

Epiphone SG Performance Pack

Epiphone's SG Electric Guitar Performance Pack contains everything the aspiring guitarist needs to get started having fun and learning to play.

 

Epiphone EB-3 Bass

When Gibson ceased production of the Les Paul (temporarily as it turned out) in favor of the SG, the company's bass was also radically revamped to emulate the guitar's design. Bassists such as Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones, John Entwistle of The Who, and Cream's Jack Bruce all took to the new "SG" bass, creating some of their bands' most memorable work with it. Epi's recreation mirrors the tone and feel of the original at a fraction of the price of the Gibson version or a vintage EB-3. The pairing of a Sidewinder and mini humbucker generate authentic vintage tone while the SlimTaper "D" neck shape offers all the playability of the original.

  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany glued-in neck
  • SlimTaper "D" neck profile
  • 34" scale
  • Rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlays
  • 1.65" nut width
  • Sidewinder humbucker neck pickup
  • NYT Bass mini humbucker
  • Nickel hardware

Epiphone EB-3 Bass

The Epiphone EB-3 Bass is a recreation of the Gibson model that was introduced along with the SG, and was snapped up by premiere bassists of the day including Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, and Bill Wyman.

Gibson USA SG Models

Built in the USA, these SGs reflect meticulous attention to detail, premium-quality woods, electronics, hardware, lavish finishes, and extensive handwork.

2014 marks Gibson's 120th anniversary and the company has commemorated the milestone with some very cool upgrades and new features including:

  • Anniversary banner inlays on all instruments at the 12th fret
  • Max Grip speed knobs
  • New extra large strap buttons
  • Cleartone coated strings
  • Graph Tech nut
  • Cryogenic treated fret wire for longer life and corrosion resistance
  • Undercut frets over the binding on models with bound necks for more playing surface
  • Min-ETune auto tuning system on select models
  • Commemorative brown case with pink interior included with select models

See the full story on Gibson's 120th Anniversary.

Gibson 2014 SGJ14

The SGJ takes a no-frills approach to cosmetics; the excitement comes from its newly designed high-output '61 Zebra humbuckers that generate more spank and touch sensitivity. It also has the special 12th fret anniversary inlay, new speed knobs, and improved fret wire for extended life.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple, SG Slim Profile
  • Fingerboard: 24-Fret Rosewood, Dot Inlays with 120th Anniversary Banner
  • Hardware: Satin Chrome Tune-o-matic, vintage-style tuners
  • New '61 Zebra Humbuckers
  • New Black Max Grip speed knobs
  • Premium Gig Bag

Gibson 2014 SGJ14

A pair of new Zebra humbuckers with reversed coils serves up '60s humbucker sonics with enhanced output and spank, making the 2014 SGJ a hard-rocking tone machine.

 

Gibson 2014 SG Special

The classic combo of 490R and 490T pickups and a '60s slim-profile neck are a proven formula for thick, rock-friendly tone and fast fretting action. You also get a full complement of 120th Anniversary upgrades including Max Grip speed knobs, a Graph Tech nut, and the special commemorative inlay at the 12th fret.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple, '60s Slim Profile
  • Fingerboard: 24-Fret Rosewood, Trapezoid Inlays with 120th Anniversary Banner
  • Hardware: Chrome Tune-o-matic, Vintage-style tuners
  • Electronics: 490R and 490T with chrome covers
  • New Max Grip speed knobs
  • Dark cream mounting rings "2014 Model" on back of headstock, "Special" Truss Rod Cover
  • Premium Gig Bag

Gibson 2014 SG Special

A full slate of 2014 upgrades combined with classic humbucker firepower makes the SG Special a tremendous value in a U.S. built guitar.

 

Gibson 2014 SGM

This is the most affordable SG in the Gibson lineup that incorporates the revolutionary new Min-ETune auto tuning system. The newly designed '61 Zebra humbuckers are much hotter than the originals, providing clarity and spank galore. It's got all the other 120th Anniversary goodies too.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple, SG Slim Profile
  • Fingerboard: 24-Fret Rosewood, Dot Inlays with 120th Anniversary Banner
  • Hardware: Min-ETune system, Satin chrome tune-o-matic bridge
  • Electronics: New '61 Zebra Humbuckers
  • New Black Max Grip speed knobs
  • Premium Gig Bag

Gibson 2014 SGM

With the onboard Min-ETune auto tuning system and fire-breathing Zebra humbuckers you'll spend more time rockin' out instead of twisting the machines on the 2014 SGM.

 

Gibson 2014 SG Futura

The Futura's P-90H Sidewinder and BB3 pickups have push-pull coil splitting for a range of hum-free single-coil sounds, and when its time to play lead a mini-toggle engages the 15dB boost circuit. Couple the hot electronics with a selection of luscious modern finishes and the the amazing Min-ETune system, and you've got one future-proof SG!

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple, '60s Slim Profile
  • Fingerboard: 24-Fret Rosewood, Trapezoid Inlays
  • Hardware: Chrome tune-o-matic bridge, Min-ETune system
  • Electronics: P-90H Sidewinder and BB3 with Push/Pull for coil split and mini toggle for 15dB boost
  • Max Grip black speed knobs
  • Premium Gig Bag

Gibson 2014 SG Futura

Modern pickups with coil splitting plus a 15dB boost circuit and MinE-Tune auto tuning system are merged with traditional SG playability in the 2014 SG Futura.

 

Gibson 2014 SG Standard

57 Classic pickups with coil-splitting give the Standard plenty of tonal dexterity while the revolutionary Min-ETune system offers you perfect tuning at the touch of a button in any one of 12 tunings including six you can customize. Undercut frets over the neck binding provide an expanded playing surface. The Standard has all the other 120th Anniversary upgrades and comes in a deluxe historic case.

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany, SG slim profile
  • Fingerboard: Undercut frets over binding; bound rosewood with trapezoid inlays and 120th anniversary banner
  • Hardware: Min-ETune system, Chrome tune-o-matic bridge
  • Electronics: 57 Classic pickups with coil splitting
  • Black graph tech nut
  • Small pickguard
  • Vintage brown hardshell case

Gibson 2014 SG Standard

The SG Standard has coil-splitting 57 Classic pickups for tonal versatility and comes with the awesome Min-ETune auto tuning system for any one of 12 tunings at the touch of a button.

 

Gibson SG Baritone

The 27" scale lets you tune down as much as a fifth below standard tuning while the oversized mahogany body adds extra resonance to all those deep tones. Deluxe appointments include a sleek Richlite fretboard and chrome Grover Keystone tuners.

The 496R and 500T pickups have coil tapping to expand your tonal range.

  • Oversize mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • 27" scale
  • 24-fret Richlite fretboard
  • 496R and 500T pickups with coil taps
  • Grover keystone tuners
  • Chrome tune-­o-­matic bridge

Gibson SG Baritone

Everything you love about the SG-only deeper, the Baritone SG lets you tune a fifth down to reach those sonorous notes that resonate fully thanks to the oversized mahogany body.

Gibson 1961 "Les Paul" SG Tribute

This is a period-correct recreation of the original SG-only better. The original "sideways vibrato" (named for its side to side action) didn't function very smoothly or accurately. The newly engineered trem solves both problems while retaining the look of the original. The lightweight Grade A mahogany body is finished in high-gloss Heritage Cherry nitrocellulose. Gibson USA selects dark one-piece, Grade-A rosewood to give the fingerboard a traditional look and feel, then loads the guitar with vintage-correct hardware, two PAF-style '57 Classic humbucking pickups, and historically accurate plastics.

  • Solid lightweight Grade-A mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck with slim, rounded profile
  • Bound Grade-A rosewood fingerboard with acrylic trapezoid inlays
  • '57 Classic humbucking pickups in the neck and bridge positions
  • Tune-o-matic bridge with reengineered "sideways vibrato"
  • Vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons and 14:1 ratio
  • Includes case

Gibson 1961 Les Paul SG Tribute

Gibson's "Les Paul" SG Tribute emulates the first SG Standard in every respect, including the original "sideways vibrato" bridge that has been redesigned to function far better than the original.

Gibson 2013 SG Supra

When it comes to lavish appointments and materials, Les Pauls usually get all the attention. That's not the case with the SG Supra however. The AAA maple top and AA maple back look amazing below Antique Natural or Trans Black nitrocellulose finishes. A trio of '57 Classic humbuckers are augmented by a Fishman Power Bridge with piezo pickup-equipped saddles for convincing acoustic tones. A "TogPot" permits blending of the middle Classic pickup for a wide range of sounds. A "smart switch" lets you blend in the piezo acoustic tones and send separate stereo output of magnetic and piezo sounds to individual channels. For tonal options, nothing else in the SG family comes close.

  • Solid Grade-AAA maple body with Grade-AA maple top

  • Mahogany neck with comfortable, rounded profile
  • Bound 24-fret Richlite fingerboard with classic split-block inlays
  • Three '57 Classic humbucking pickups
  • Fishman Power Bridge with piezo-pickup saddles
  • "TogPot" middle pickup blend control
  • "Smart switch" for spitting acoustic and electric tones to separate stereo channels
  • Grover locking tuners with 18:1 gear ratio
  • Includes Gibson hardshell case

Gibson 2013 SG Supra

Gorgeously figured maple, deluxe appointments, and a triple humbucker plus piezo bridge pickup array with sophisticated switching options make the Supra SG the most luxurious and dexterous Gibson USA SG ever.

Gibson SG Special 2014 Bass

When Gibson radically transformed the Les Paul into what was to become the SG, the company also gave its only electric bass of the time-the EBO- the same treatment. With its double cutaway solid mahogany body and batwing pickguard the EBO visually resembled its guitar cousin. The 2014 edition boasts many of Gibson's 120th Anniversary upgrades including a fretboard banner inlay and comes in a special commemorative case. It's equipped with a modern T-Bird Plus and vintage T-Bird Mini pickup that generate a wide range of sounds including the same trademark EBO tone that won over countless '60s-era bassists such as Jack Bruce and John Entwistle.

  • Angled headstock
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • 30" Scale
  • 20-fret unbound rosewood fingerboard with 120th anniversary banner and dot inlays
  • Nickel and Silver alloy fret wire
  • Trapezoid inlays
  • Set-neck construction
  • Solid mahogany body
  • T-Bird Plus and Vintage-style T-Bird Mini pickups
  • 3-point adjustable bridge
  • Satin finish
  • 2 Volume and 1 Tone control
  • Grover shamrock style tuners
  • Vintage brown hardshell case

Gibson SG Special 2014 Bass

Its 30" scale and T-Bird Plus/T-Bird Mini pickups give the SG Special 2014 Bass the sound that won over golden-era rock bassists of the 1960s.

Gibson SG Standard 2014 Bass

The best Gibson USA bass is distinguished by a gorgeous nitrocellulose lacquer finish that's applied in eight painstaking steps. The thin lacquer ages gracefully and reveals subtle figuring in the solid mahogany body. Other distinguishing features are the mother-of-pearl Gibson logo plus holly headstock and trapezoid fretboard inlays.

  • Angled headstock
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • 30" Scale
  • 20-Fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Unbound Rosewood fingerboard with 120th anniversary banner
  • Nickel and Silver alloy fret wire
  • Trapezoid inlays
  • Set-neck construction
  • Solid mahogany body
  • T-Bird Plus and Vintage-style T-bird mini pickups
  • 3-Way adjustable bridge
  • Gloss lacquer
  • 2 Volume and 1 Tone control
  • Grover shamrock style tuners
  • Vintage brown hardshell case

Gibson SG Standard 2014 Bass

The Gibson SG Standard 2014 Bass embodies all the performance and that made it a favorite with premiere '60 rock bassists; the finish and appointments are all top-drawer.

Gibson Custom SG Models

The SG guitars handcrafted in Gibson's Nashville-based Custom Shop are extraordinary in every respect. Each is crafted by a master luthier with the utmost attention to detail, and embellished with high-end appointments such as multi-ply binding and gorgeous inlay work. Many Gibson Custom instruments are meticulous recreations of vintage models or instruments associated with renowned SG players. Only the finest components and woods are hand-selected for each Custom Shop creation, making them worthy of the most demanding collectors and musicians.

You'll find our current selection of Custom Shop SGs together with other investment-grade instruments from Gibson in our Private Reserve Guitars Collection. Our Guitar Advisors are available by telephone at (866) 926-1923 or via Skype to assist you with in-hand descriptions of individual instruments and detailed photos. Our professional setup service ensures a perfectly intonated guitar, ready to play upon arrival.

Gibson Custom SG Standard with Maestro VOS

This exacting reproduction of a vintage Standard has been given the full VOS (Vintage Original Spec) treatment: a special nitrocellulose finish treatment creates the patina of a gently-aged vintage guitar while handcrafting enhances comfort and playability. Each VOS model has a historically accurate long-neck tenon for strength and sustain; and period-correct neck profile, hardware, and electronics.

  • Solid mahogany body
  • Historically correct features
  • Slightly aged nickel hardware
  • Slightly aged finish
  • ABR-1 bridge and Maestro tailpiece
  • Set one-piece mahogany neck with long tenon
  • 22-fret rosewood fretboard
  • Acrylic trapezoid inlays
  • Single-ply cream binding
  • 1960 slim-taper neck profile
  • Burstbucker 1 & 2 pickups
  • Holly veneer headstock
  • Vintage tulip tuners
  • 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way selector
  • Includes Custom Shop case and certificate of authenticity

Gibson Custom SG Standard with Maestro VOS

Every aspect of this Custom SG Standard is historically accurate, including the Maestro Vibrola tailpiece with lyre engraving; subtle VOS treatment adds the patina of a well-preserved vintage guitar.

Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic Reissue VOS Faded Cherry

The SG Standard Reissue replicates the specs of the iconic original. Its distinct features and legendary tone are meticulously reproduced with all the precision and accuracy expected from Gibson Custom, including its solid mahogany body with twin cutaways, pointed horns, beveled edges, and nickel-plated hardware. This version has a lightweight aluminum stopbar tailpiece.

  • One-piece rosewood fingerboard
  • Kluson Deluxe machine heads
  • Hot Hide Glue Neck Fit
  • Custom Buckers
  • Historic Truss Rod Assembly (no tubing)
  • Accurate body and fingerboard binding color
  • Includes hardshell case

Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic Reissue VOS Faded Cherry

The Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic has a VOS-treated Faded Cherry finish and lightly aged hardware, giving it the look and feel of an original selling for several times its price.

Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic Reissue VOS Faded Cherry with Maestro

This is essentially the same as the preceding Custom SG VOS model described above. It is fitted with a Maestro tailpiece as opposed to the stopbar.

Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic Reissue VOS Faded Cherry with Maestro

This version of the Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic also has been given the VOS treatment, but has a lyre-inscribed Maestro Vibrola tailpiece for old-school whammy action.

Gibson Custom SG Standard Reissue VOS

This Custom Shop creation has been given a subtle VOS treatment suggesting an instrument that has been lovingly cared for over the decades. Its Classic White finish is lightly aged as are all the metal and plastic components. The Standard Reissue offers all the playability of a modern guitar with the timeless comfort of the slim-profile neck.

  • Mahogany body
  • Set one-piece mahogany neck with long tenon
  • 22-fret rosewood fretboard
  • Burstbucker 1 & 2 humbucking pickups
  • Stop bar tailpiece
  • 24-3/4 scale length
  • 1-11/16 nut width

Gibson Custom SG Standard Historic Reissue VOS Faded Cherry with Maestro

Only a close-up, expert inspection will reveal that this Gibson Custom SG Standard Reissue VOS is a replica, and not a carefully preserved original SG.

Gibson Custom SG with Gold Hardware

This lavishly detailed limited-run Custom is crafted in Gibson's Nashville Custom Shop. Equipped with the classic configuration of Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups, it generates the fat-toned roar that vintage SGs are renowned for. The gold pickups, bridge, and Grover tuners match the finish, giving it rich visual distinction. The rosewood fretboard is detailed with block inlays while the headstock is inlaid with a split-diamond and Gibson logo.

  • Mahogany body
  • Set one-piece mahogany neck with long tenon
  • 22-fret rosewood fretboard with block inlays
  • Special gold Burstbucker 1 & 2 humbucking pickups
  • Gold stop bar tailpiece
  • 24-3/4 scale length
  • 1-11/16 nut width
  • Gold Grover tuners
  • Custom shop case

Gibson Custom SG with Gold Hardware

This short-run custom shop Gibson Custom SG with Gold Hardware and a matching finish is the epitome in luxury where SGs are concerned.

Gibson Custom Dickey Betts SG VOS

This legendary SG is a precise recreation of the 1961/1962 SG given to Duane Allman by his fellow lead guitarist Dickey Betts-ostensibly to eliminate the delays caused by Duane retuning his LP. Known as the "From One Brother to Another" SG, just 250 of these reproductions were built by Gibson Custom and given VOS appointments and treatment. The superior mahogany quartersawn neck carries a rosewood fingerboard with "banjo frets" just like the original. SGs from this era were fitted with some of the most revered humbuckers Gibson ever produced during the transition from the "Patent Applied For" to "Patent Number" period. This model has Custom Buckers with aged nickel covers, rare Alnico III magnets, wound and are constructed to precise PAF specs. Slightly mismatched, unpotted coils give them the renowned articulate and slightly edgy tone for which great PAF and Patent No. pickups are famous.

  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Dickey Betts neck profile
  • 22-fret rosewood fingerboard
  • 12 radius
  • Banjo fret wire
  • Aged acrylic trapezoid inlays
  • Custom Bucker (Alnico III) neck humbucker
  • Custom Bucker (Alnico III) bridge humbucker
  • ABR-1 bridge with plastic saddles
  • Add-on wraparound tailpiece
  • Classic style tuners
  • 2 volume, 2 tone controls
  • 3-way Switchcraft pickup toggle switch with Gretsch toggle cap
  • Vintage red VOS Nitrocellulose finish

Gibson Custom Dickey Betts SG VOS

The Gibson Custom replication of the storied "From One Brother to Another" SG Dickey Betts gave bandmate Duane Allman meticulously mirrors the original with fierce rock tone and sweet playability.

Shop Musician's Friend's selection of Gibson Custom SG models at Private Reserve Guitars. Our Guitar Advisors are available by telephone at (866) 926-1923 or via Skype to assist you with in-hand descriptions of individual instruments and detailed photos.

After reading this guide, if you're still not sure which Gibson or Epiphone SG is right for you, we invite you to call one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gear Heads at (800) 449-9128.

Glossary of SG Terms

'60s neck: the flatter, slimmer neck profile introduced when the SG debuted. Also called the slim-taper neck.

490R: neck (or R for rhythm) pickup fromGibson's lineup of Modern pickups that use Alnico 2 magnets providing traditional humbucker tone with enhanced highs. Usually paired with a 490T bridge pickup.

490T: bridge position (or T for treble) pickup from Gibson's lineup of Modern pickups that use Alnico 2 magnets providing traditional humbucker tone with enhanced highs. Usually paired with a 490R pickup.

496R: from Gibson's lineup of Modern pickups, it features a ceramic magnet for hotter output. The 496R is used in the neck position. The R stands for "Rhythm"-which is how the neck position is labeled on the pickup selector switch on an SG. The 496R is usually paired with the 500T pickup used in the bridge position ("T" for "Treble" pickup switch setting).

498T: bridge position pickup from Gibson's Modern line of pickups that uses ceramic ringed magnets for higher output, enhanced mids, and more highs (and less bottom than the alnico magnet BurstBucker).

500T: Gibson bridge position pickup from its Modern line uses ceramic ringed magnets for higher output and more highs, increased sustain and definition (and less bottom than the alnico magnet BurstBucker). Usually paired with 496R neck position pickup.

'57 Classic: from Gibson's line of Historic Humbuckers. Uses Alnico 2 magnet material and balanced coil windings to produce vintage sound with rich, warmer tones.

'57 Classic Plus: from Gibson's line of Historic Humbuckers. Uses Alnico 2 magnet material and slightly overwound coils for increased output.

A maple: single A rating for maple means the wood is perfectly clear with no mineral streaks or other defects. Has little or no figuring or "flame."

AA maple: predominantly figured, or what many call "flamed"-contains a fair amount of figuring (more than half).

AAA maple: significantly figured or flamed

AAAA maple: very heavily figured or flamed

ABR-1 bridge: same as Tune-O-Matic bridge. This was the part designation of Gibson's first fully adjustable bridge. Used in conjunction with a separate stop tailpiece. See Tune-O-Matic.

Abalone: an ear-shaped shell lined with mother-of-pearl found in a sea mollusk-used for guitar inlays.

Aged plastic parts: treated to make them look as if they have seen extensive use. For example, numbers on knobs may be discolored and faded.

Alnico magnet: made with an alloy of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt, from which its name is derived. Used for magnets in pickups. Alnico 2 produces a sweet, traditional humbucker tone, while Alnico 5 (also designated Alnico V) is a little stronger, and produces a brighter, hotter tone.

Appointments: the visual aspects of a guitar's body, neck, and headstock that enhance the guitar's look and value. Appointments include binding, inlays, and hardware.

Auto trim tuners: Tuning machines with built-in cutters that trim excess string left hanging out of the tuning post.

Beveled: square edges on a guitar body, pickup or other surface that have been reduced to sloping edges. Bevels help the guitar to nestle more comfortably against the guitarist's rib cage.

Bigsby vibrato: a tailpiece with a bar that lets guitarists raise or lower the tension-and the pitch-of the strings. Also called "tremolo bar" or "whammy bar." The Bigsby vibrato tailpiece was used by guitarists such as John Cippolina of Quicksilver Messenger Service on his customized SG.

Binding: decorative appointment that covers the join of the body and the top or the join of the fretboard and the neck. Also used to cover the join of the fretboard to the neck. Ply refers to the number of layers in the binding, e.g. 3-ply or 7-ply.

Bolt-on neck: a neck that is attached into a fitted slot in the body by means of three or four wood screws running through the back of the body and into the back of the neck. This method of attaching necks was critical in the development of the electric guitar because it reduced production costs, making electric guitars more affordable. A bolt-on neck can be replaced, adjusted, or repaired with far less skilled labor than is required for other neck types. Bolt-on necks are used on some low-cost Epiphone SG models.

Burst: abbreviation of the word sunburst. See Sunburst finish.

BurstBucker: the name for Gibson pickups from its Historic Humbucker lineup.

BurstBucker Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 feature Alnico 2 magnets and are replicas of "Patent Applied For" humbucker pickups found on early Les Pauls. All three types feature an airy tone. Type 1 pickups have unbalanced coils that are slightly underwound. Type 2 has coils that are wound to specification. Type 3 has unbalanced coils that are slightly overwound. They are used on some SG models.

BurstBucker Pro: pickups feature Alnico 5 magnets and wax potting and have an enhanced "Patent Applied For" tone with more bite and brilliance.

Carved maple top: a 3/8 piece of maple carved into a curved shape and laminated to the back section of the guitar body (the back is usually made of mahogany).

Carved non-figured maple top: maple top that does not have wood with figuring or "flame."

Ceramic magnet: used in pickups such as Gibson's 500T to produce a "hotter" output. See Output and Alnico magnet.

Chambered: a guitar body with carefully selected cavities, or dynamic sound chambers routed into the body. Not to be confused with "weight relief" holes that are drilled. Seen in Les Paul models.

Double-cut: a guitar that has two cutaways.

Double-potted: a pickup that has been dipped into wax twice for a tighter seal to ward off unwanted vibrations that can cause microphonic feedback.

Ebony: very hard, dense wood used in fretboards of higher-quality guitars, such as the Gibson SG Custom.

Fingerboard: See fretboard.

Finish: protective and decorative coating applied to the wood body, neck, and headstock of the guitar

Fretboard: also called fingerboard; made of rosewood or ebony on SGs and laminated on top of another piece of wood, usually mahogany. Metal frets are carefully hammered into the fretboard.

Fretboard Radius: The measure of the curvature of the top of the fretboard from edge to edge is often incorrectly referred to as the "neck radius". Actually, the correct terminology would be either fretboard or fingerboard radius and the actual neck shape and size should be called the "neck profile."

The fretboard radius can be found by first drawing a circle with a corresponding radius (the radius is the distance from the center of a circle to its outer edge), and then cutting out a portion of that circle corresponding to the width of the fretboard. For example, if you have a 7-1/4-radius fretboard, you could tie a piece of string to a pencil, measure out a length of string to 7-1/4, and put a thumbtack on the other end of the string. Secure the tack, stretch the string, and draw a circle. By cutting out a piece of that circle the width of your fretboard, you will have an example of an arc with the same curvature as that of your fretboard radius.

Fret size: determined by the height and width of the fret wire. Low frets, while easy on the fingers, can make it hard to bend string. High frets result in a higher action. Narrow frets tend to wear faster; wider frets tend to be more durable. Frets that are high and narrow are very popular. See jumbo frets.

Gold hardware: an appointment found on higher-value SGs such as the Custom. Gold resists rust and corrosion.

Green tuning keys: also called "green vintage tuning keys," this is a patina applied to tuning keys to make them look aged.

Grover tuners: a higher quality brand of tuner than the standard-issue tuners. They have enclosed, permanently lubricated machine heads so they tune more smoothly and hold the strings in tune longer. Grover has been making machine heads for stringed instruments since the late 1800s.

Headstock: the uppermost portion of a guitar neck, where the tuners are mounted.

Humbucker: pickup used in most SG guitars. The humbucker pickup has two wound coils next to each other that are wired out of phase. This eliminates or reduces most electrical hum to which single-coil-pickups are prone. See Seth Lover and P-90.

Intonation: the ability of a guitar to produce notes that are in tune from fret to fret all the way down the neck. Intonation can usually be adjusted from the saddles on the bridge.

Jumbo Frets: also called wide frets or super-size, refers to width and height of the fret wire. Preferred by some lead players who do lots of string bending. Higher fret wires give the player a greater range of string bending. See fret size.

Inlays: decorative appointments found in the fingerboard and headstock that are usually made of mother-of-pearl, abalone or acrylic material. SG inlays include block and trapezoid shapes.

Kill switch: a switch that completely cuts off signal from all pickups.

Kluson tuners: a higher-quality brand of tuner than standard-issue tuners. Has better materials and construction so that they tune more smoothly and hold the strings in tune longer.

Lacquer (also called nitrocellulose): clear or colored coating that is sprayed onto the guitar body in several coats that produces a hard, durable finish.

Les Paul: legendary guitarist and inventor of multitrack recording. One of the pioneers of the solidbody electric guitar.

Limited edition: a guitar with a unique set of features produced in limited quantities. Many times the serial number is hand stamped on the back of the neck to indicate where in the limited series that particular guitar was produced-a feature sought by collectors to enhance the guitar's value.

Long-neck tenon: also called long tenon or deep tenon-the part of the neck that extends into the body for a more solid join when neck and body are glued together.

Lyre Vibrola: trapeze-style tremolo tailpiece that allows altering string tension to produce pitch-shifting effects. This type of string termination swings freely from the tail of the guitar, freeing the top from the leverage of string tension.

Maple: a very dense, hard wood used primarily for the top of most Les Paul models and some SG models. The maple is carved into a 3/8-thick top that is laminated to the back (which is usually made of mahogany).

Mahogany: a very dense, strong, but not extremely hard, hardwood used primarily for the body and the neck of SGs. Emphasizes midrange and bass tones for mellower or darker tone.

Midrange: the middle of three ranges of tonal frequencies: low, midrange, and high. The overall sonic character of a guitar is determined by how strongly it produces sound in each of these three ranges. Generally, a good guitar will be able to provide a mix of all three. The exact mix-how much midrange versus highs, for example-is mostly a matter of individual taste or preference. Some of the features that affect tonal character of an SG include the types of wood used, how the guitar is constructed, the type of pickups, materials used in the bridge and nut, and the gauge and composition of the strings.

Mini-humbuckers: smaller version of standard humbuckers, first used in the 1968 Les Paul Deluxe. The sound is described as a sweeter, more "centered" sound with greater emphasis on midrange.

Neck-through (Neck-thru): design in which the guitar is built around a single column of wood that extends from the tip of the headstock through to the strap button at the tail. This column can either be a single piece or several pieces laminated together side-by-side. The wings of body wood are glued onto the sides of this central column of wood. Neck-through bodies produce maximum sustain and have the advantage of eliminating the large heel where the neck meets the body, thus providing the freest access to the higher register frets. Neck-through guitars are more expensive to manufacture than bolt-on necks.

Nitrocellulose lacquer finish: a fast-drying synthetic finish used commonly in the 1950s and 1960s, it is now mostly used for reissue guitars from those decades. See thin nitrocellulose finish.

Nut: located where the headstock joins the neck, determines the spacing of the string and their height above the neck. A string nut can be made of bone, graphite, brass, nickel, Corian, or plastic.

Nut width: the distance across the top of the fretboard which determines the space between individual strings. Players with bigger hands usually prefer a wider fretboard.

Output: the amount of electrical signal produced by a guitar pickup. Higher output (or "gain") means the pickup can more easily overdrive the amplifier and produce hard-edged or distorted guitar tones favored by many rock guitarists. An example of a high output-pickup is the 500T used in the Les Paul Classic.

P-90: a single-coil pickup that comes in two shapes: dog-ear and soapbar. The SG Special had dog-ear P-90s, and the P-90 is found on some Gibson USA and Custom Shop SGs. It produces a warm, soulful, and historic '50s tone.

"Patent Applied For": this legend was stamped on early versions of the Gibson humbucker. It was the sound of these pickups on the "Sunburst" Les Pauls from 1958 through 1960- especially when played through a Marshall amp-that produced the creamy sustain and warm distortion featured on many classic blues and rock recordings in the late '60s. In its reissues of vintage guitars, Gibson strives to achieve the historically-accurate "Patent Applied For" tone in its BurstBucker Type 1, 2, and 3 pickups and what Gibson describes as "enhanced Patent Applied For tone with more bite and brilliance" from its BurstBucker Pro pickups.

Pickguard: usually made of plastic (celluloid, vinyl, PVC, acrylic) or laminated material such as parchment. They can also be made of plexiglas, glass, wood, fabrics, metals, or plywood. Pickguards may be made of a single layer (ply) or multiple layers, for example 3-ply or 5-ply. Pickguards are usually located below and/or around the strings to prevent damage to the finish caused by the guitarist's strumming or picking.

Ply binding: binding that has multiple layers, such as 3-ply or 5-ply binding. Multi-ply binding is more attractive than simple binding and is found on higher-end guitars.

Pot: potentiometer-an electrical component used to control volume and tone that usually incorporates an adjustable knob or lever.

Quilt top: the pattern of figuring or flame on a maple top that resembles a quilt.

Radius: See neck radius.

Rosewood: wood used on fingerboards on some SG guitars. Higher-cost guitars typically have ebony fingerboards.

Rounded neck: describes the neck profile on some vintage '50sGibson guitars as opposed to the slimmer, flatter shape on '60s SGs.

Scale length: the measured distance of the vibrating string length between the nut and the saddle. The 24-3/4 scale length of the SG is shorter than the 25-1/2 scale length on the Fender Stratocaster (and Telecaster) which was taken originally from the standard scale length for steel-string acoustic guitars. The shorter scale length of the SG (and Les Paul) provides less tension making it easier to bend strings.

Seth Lover: Designer who developed and patented the humbucker pickup first introduced in the 1957 Les Paul.

Set-in neck: neck that is glued to the body, as opposed to a bolt-on neck. See through neck.

Signature guitar: Gibson Custom Shop models built to famous guitarists' personal specifications.

Single-coil: a guitar pickup that has only one coil of wrapped around a single magnet. The sound produced by a single pickup is brighter with less midrange and bottom than a humbucker and is more prone to hum. See P-90.

Slim '60s neck: a slimmer, flatter taper or neck profile, than the rounded '50s neck.

Slim-taper neck: flatter and thinner neck preferred by some players over the rounded neck.

Stopbar tailpiece: combination bridge/tailpiece introduced on the Les Paul in 1954, replacing the trapeze tailpiece. It is used on many SG models.

Strap Lock: prevents guitar strap from slipping off the guitar's strap button.

Sunburst finish: A finish technique in which the color of the guitar is lightest at the center darkening gradually as it approaches a dark rim. The wood grain is often visible in the lighter areas of a sunburst guitar top.

Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish (also called a "nitro" finish): ultrathin, ultralight finish treatment that creates the patina of a gently aged vintage guitar. The process is expensive because it takes weeks to apply. A thin nitrocellulose finish allows the wood to breathe and gets thinner over time. The best finish for tone, many feel.

Three-way switch: found on most guitars that have two pickups, it controls which pickups are active-switching positions are usually 1) bridge pickup, 2) bridge and neck pickups 3) neck pickup.

Through neck (also known as neck-through or neck-through-body): the wood used for the neck runs the entire length of the body. The rest of the body is composed of "wings" glued or laminated to the neck. A through neck results in improved tone and sustain. Because a through neck is more complex to construct it is more costly and so is mostly found on high-end guitars. See also Neck-through.

Top hat knobs: Type of volume and tone knobs that resemble a top hat. Found on vintage SGs and their reproductions. They come in either black or gold. Vintage top hat knobs age to an amber color.

Transparent colors: a thin lacquer finish that lets the natural wood grain of the guitar's top show through.

Tune-O-Matic (also abbreviated TOM): Gibson's name for its adjustable bridge that was introduced in the 1954 Les Paul Custom. The length and height of individual strings can be adjusted for better intonation. It is used on many SG models.

Tuners: tuning pegs (also called tuning keys or machine heads) used to raise or lower the tension and therefore pitch of individual guitar strings. See Grover and Kluson.

VOS - Vintage Original Spec: Series of reissue guitars produced by the Gibson Custom Shop to the exact specifications of original vintage guitars. VOS treatment may include aging of the guitar's finish, hardware, and plastic parts.

Waxed pickups: during construction the pickup is dipped (or "potted") in wax to eliminate microphonic feedback which is caused by unwanted vibrations passing from the guitar body to the pickup. Used on all Gibson pickups except BurstBucker Type 1 and Type 2, which are historically-accurate replicas of "Patent Applied For" pickups found in vintage Les Paul and SG models. "Patent Applied For" pickups were not wax potted.

Wide frets: Until 1959, most Gibson electric guitars had shorter, narrow frets. Some players prefer wide frets that they feel are more comfortable as their fingers move along the strings. Some guitarists prefer short wide frets, finding it makes the guitar easier to play.

Zebra pickups: resulting from mismatched colors of pickup bobbins. Originally found in late 1950s Sunburst Les Pauls, the bobbins became visible when players removed pickup covers to supposedly enhance the sound. Zebra pickups are prized by collectors because they are a further indication of a vintage guitar's authenticity. Some modern Gibson SG models are equipped with them.

Tags: Electric Guitars Gibson Epiphone

Comments  

# Colin 2014-06-19 12:40
Are any SGs through-body construction? The customs have the long tenons, but I didn't know if any had neck-through.
Reply
# Mark 2014-05-04 06:30
How could they leave Robby Krieger off the players' list? For shame.
Reply
# Richard 2014-02-14 06:04
You have omitted the Epiphone EB-0 Bass and in your specs on the Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO, you include the wrong humbuckers (they are in fact Alnico Classic Pros).
Reply
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