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Gibson SG Guitar

Updated on June 15, 2011

Ah, the Gibson SG! For many players that is about all that needs to be said. This model is certainly one of the more recognizable guitars in the world, probably in the top 10 or 15 on the list of guitars that are known by sight, very quickly.

1966 Gibson SG Special in Cherry

As with the Gibson Les Paul and many other desirable instruments, the Gibson SG guitar has been the choice of numerous notable guitarists in the rock field and in other musical genres. Among the well-known players who used Gibson SG electric guitars:

  • the late Duane Allman – ’68 cherry SG
  • Dickey Betts of the same band – ’61 SG
  • John Cipollina of 60s iconic band, Quicksilver Messenger Service – customized SGs
  • Elliot Easton of The Cars (Gibson has a signature model SG for this guy)
  • the late Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead – a red SG was often his recording guitar
  • Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd – definitely an SG and Les Paul man
  • Derek Trucks, son of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks – 1961 SG Reissue
  • Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin used a Gibson SG double neck model!!!

What is it that makes the solid-body Gibson SG electric guitar such a favorite? It could be the solid feel of the guitar overall, coupled with the slightly thinner body. It could be the wide neck (compared to many other brands). Maybe it’s the sustain and the full tone of the Gibson SG classic axe.

When first developed the Gibson SG electric came in three versions: the Gibson SG Junior, which had a single pickup, the Standard which had two pickups, and the SG Special version which had either two or three pickups. The Gibson SG Custom with the Les Paul name attached is a re-issue of the famous Les Paul SG standard that was originally introduced in 1960. A new Gibson SG Standard from one of the current retail sources will cost about $1,600. This fine instrument is modeled after the ’62 original.

If you want a black Gibson SG or Epiphone SG, they are available. Some players may want to go with the slightly less costly “Menace” that even has black-chrome hardware. The new Standard in ebony falls into the $1,600 category, while the “Menace” is about half that. The Gibson SG Special, in ebony from a retailer, comes in just above the $1,000 mark. This model has a 490R pickup and a 490T pickup (Alnico), mahogany body and rosewood fingerboard. Some guitarists with a bit more edge to their personality might choose the Gibson SG Gothic, a model that has an unmarked rosewood fingerboard, black hardware and black “top hat” knobs. Some guitarists enjoy customizing their axe by selecting a Gibson SG pick guard, which can be a rather large item on this guitar. The “Jazz” pick guard is popular to offset certain colors.

Two other spin-off models based on the classic SG are the Gibson bass, SG style, and the Gibson SG Faded. Epiphone, once its own company and now under the Gibson umbrella, sports a Gibson “Epiphone” SG as well. Prices range from a couple of hundred dollars to about $700, depending on specific model.

This brief review shows only a handful of the variations in Gibson SG price. But just about all the Gibson SG reviews you’ll come across give high marks to this guitar.

So, what do we have to pay for that mint, used Gibson SG? Go back just a few years, to 2004 for example, and you get a basic, well-used SG for $700 to $1,000, depending on condition. But this isn’t the 1964 SG used by George Harrison of The Beatles. That one sold for more than $500,000 at auction. Somewhere in between those extremes are the early SGs. Good luck.

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    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 8 years ago

      I fellow in my son's band has a 1979 Stratocaster; it is awesome.