Brian Ray SG Video Interview

Brian Ray: The Consummate Sideman Gets an Axe of His Own

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The McCartney band guitarist talks about his stellar career and offers a rundown on the signature model Custom ‘63 SG that Gibson is building to his specs.

Just one indicator of Brian Ray’s chops: he’s been a regular in Paul McCartney’s touring band since 2002, and he even plays bass behind Macca on occasion! Brian’s been on the road ever since the tender age of 19 when he became R&B star Etta James’ guitarist and band director.


Brian Ray talks about his career and the need to “do the stuff that scares you.”

In the years that followed, the guitarist and bassist has shared stages with luminaries such as Keith Richards, Peter Frampton and Rita Coolidge. During that musical journey, a Gibson SG has always been a part of Brian’s arsenal. So when the possibility of a collaboration with Gibson arose, it was quickly decided a ‘63 Custom SG would be the target instrument.

Brian’s priorities were: a light, shoulder-friendly instrument; huge tone; versatile sound options and the exquisite playability that a touring pro needs. The resulting Gibson Custom Brian Ray ‘63 SG hits every one of those objectives squarely.

The Bigsby B5 Vibromate tailpiece gives you the best of both worlds. You can swap out the Bigsby that comes mounted to it and replace it with a stop tailpiece in about the same time it takes to put on a new set of strings.


Brian demos his signature SG, which includes one-of-a-kind pickup selection options.

Dual push/pull pots give you immediate access to either series or parallel tonality from the Burstbucker 1 in the neck and Gibson ‘57 Classic pickup in the bridge. Gibson Historic Bumblebee capacitors used in the pickup wiring circuit deliver genuine vintage presence.

As Brian reveals, the inspiration for the eye-popping Silver Fox finish came from an old Casino he owns. The Gibson Custom Shop responded by developing a spray technique to exactly replicate the appearance of that older guitar.

Only 45 of these very special SGs have been earmarked for the North American market, making it a worthy acquisition for demanding collectors. If you’d like to own one, call a Musician’s Friend Private Reserve Guitar Advisor at 866-926-1923 to receive an in-hand tone report on each instrument currently in stock.

Tags: Electric Guitars Private Reserve Guitars

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