Gibson SG Special Electric Guitar
The Gibson SG actually began life in 1961 as the "new and improved" Les Paul. However, Les was not particularly fond of the design which featured a thinner mahogany body with beveled edges and pointed horns, so the guitar eventually got a new name: The SG, which stood for "Solid Guitar." It was actually a big success for Gibson - obviously the right design for the times. Most SGs were finished in Cherry or Wine Red, which was all the rage in the '60s, however, some were produced in either solid black (Ebony) or an off-white. The original SG Special was a mid-level instrument that delivered all the features most guitarists wanted in terms of playability and sound, but without having to take on a second job to pay for it. Today's SG Special actually has a few of the features of the pricier SG Standard, like the larger pickguard and real humbuckers with no covers instead of the original P-90s.
Gibson SG Special at a Glance:
The 1960s SG is Back in Style
It's hard to believe that by 1961, Gibson decided to discontinue the original Les Paul guitar - or what we now think of as the Les Paul Standard. The motivation is unclear. Weak sales? The urge to try something new? In any case, the first SGs were actually called Les Pauls, but Les himself wasn't in favor of that for a variety of reasons. So, in a bold move, this solid guitar was renamed SG, which stood for, uh, solid guitar. A few years later, Gibson started making the original Les Pauls again, but the SG proved so popular that they kept making them. Though it fell on tough times in later years, there's a renewed interest in SGs today. The reason is easy to understand. It's actually quite a cool looking instrument, delivering the classic humbucker sound for people who don't particularly want or need a Les Paul Standard. Yet it doesn't cut corners. You still get the mahogany body in Ebony finish plus a pair of coverless humbuckers that deliver all the warm, fat tone you could ever want. Dollar-for-dollar, the SG Special just might be the best value in the entire Gibson catalog.
A New Generation of Fast-playing Necks
The early Les Pauls had huge necks, but by 1960 the neck underwent several modifications until it became what's known as the slim-taper design. The SG took it one step farther, making the neck among the fastest ever designed. Hey, Frank Zappa played one and the guy had some wicked chops. If you like the combination of a wide but thin mahogany neck with the warmth of the traditional rosewood fingerboard, you'll love the SG Special.
Two Fat, Smoking Humbuckers
When you really want to cook on a solo or deliver some thunderous power chords, you reach for a guitar that's got a pair of humbuckers, right? Forget all those thin "out-of-phase" guitar sounds that the session players overused in the 1980s and (sad to say) right through much of the '90s. That's not for you. Your sound is all about the warmth, punch and midrange complexity you can only get from a pair of Gibson humbuckers. The SG Special comes with a pair of coverless 'buckers: a 490R in the neck position and a 490T in the bridge position for uncompromising power, whether you're playing rhythm or digging into a solo.
Gibson SG Special Features :
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