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Encyclopedia > Gibson SG
Gibson SG
Manufacturer Gibson
Period 1961 – present
Body type Solid
Neck joint Set
Body Mahogany
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Ebony or Rosewood
Bridge Fixed or Gibson Vibrato
Pickup(s) 1, 2 or 3 Humbuckers; 1 or 2 P-90s; certain entry-level versions had single coil pickups.
Colors available
Mostly cherry but also natural, walnut, white, black and various specialty colors and bursts.

The Gibson SG is a popular model of solid-bodied electric guitar that was introduced in the early 1960s. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 223 × 597 pixelsFull resolution (579 × 1551 pixel, file size: 84 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)[[Media:Example. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Year 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... Traditional humbucker pickup, uncovered A conventional humbucker (or Humbucking pickup) is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils, both generating string signal. ... An electric guitar is a type of guitar that uses pickups to convert the vibration of its steel-cored strings into electrical current, which is then amplified. ...



In 1960, Gibson Les Paul sales were significantly lower than they had been in previous years, so in 1961 the model was given a completely new body style that was thinner and had two sharp cutaway horns that made the upper frets more accessible. The neck was slightly heavy, which made it tilt downwards. The neck joint was also moved up about three frets. It was felt the new design could compete with the popular Fender Stratocaster, another benefit being lower production costs than that of the previous model. The guitar was advertised as having the "fastest neck in the world", due to its slender neck profile and virtually non-existent heel. The newly-designed Les Paul was popular but Les Paul, whose namesake was carried over from the previous version, did not like the new design and asked to have his name removed from it. His reasons were simple: He thought the new neck joint was not as stable as the previous models, and didn't want his name on something that could break. Gibson renamed the model the "SG" which was short for "solid guitar". Even though Les Paul's name was officially removed from the model in 1961, the plastic Les Paul nameplates (positioned between the rhythm pickup and fingerboard) were in abundance in the Gibson factory and SG models having these nameplates were built and sold by Gibson up to the end of 1963. The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable solid-body electric guitar designs in the world. ... “Stratocaster” redirects here. ... This article is about the musician. ...

Models and variations

Since its initial introduction in 1961, there have been numerous models and variants that carry the "SG" name. In addition to a "Standard" and "Jr" model, there was the top of the line "Custom". The 1961-1963 Custom models did not say 'SG', but they did, however, have a Les Paul signature between the neck pickup and the edge of the fingerboard where it joined the body. The "Standard" had a Les Paul engraved designed slightly with a different neck joint, most likely to address problems with cracking at the heel, and a larger, semi-symmetrical "batwing" pickguard appearing on 1967 models. This design held until roughly 1970. In 1971 Gibson released a version with a floating "Les Paul" style pickguard and a front-mounted control plate, no doubt as a cost-cutting measure. "Maestro", "Lyre Vibrola" and Bigsby vibrato (tremolo arm) tailpieces appeared as options and several new models were introduced with this design, such as the low-end SG-100 and SG-200 guitars, and the more luxurious SG Pro and SG Deluxe guitars. In 1973 the design went back to the original style pickguard and rear-mounted controls but with the neck now set further into the body, joining roughly at the 20th fret. By the end of the 1970s, however, the SG models returned to the old design style for the most part, and current versions have returned to the 1967-1969 styling and construction with the large pickguard, which wraps around the pickups on the guitar body (though re-issues and variants of the small pickguard SG are still available). These guitars, unlike those from the 1960s they resemble, come standard with a stop-tailpiece with the exception of some custom shop models and limited production SG models. Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... The Bigsby vibrato tailpiece (or Bigsby for short) is a type of vibrato device for electric guitar designed by its namesake Paul A. Bigsby. ... A tremolo arm, tremolo bar, vibrato bar, whammy bar, or twang bar is a lever attached to the bridge and/or the tailpiece of an electric guitar or archtop guitar to enable the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch...

In 1980, the first SG manufactured with "active" factory pickups was introduced. Gibson experimented with an SG that included the same Moog active electronics that had previously been used in another Gibson model, the RD Artist. The resulting SG had a slightly thicker body to accommodate the extra circuitry, and was dubbed the “Gibson SG-R1.” The Gibson SG-R1 was solid mahogany, sported a gloss black finish, no pick guard, dot neck inlays instead of trapezoid, see-through barrel knobs for treble and bass pots that went from zero to plus or minus five instead of tone pots going from one to ten, and an extra switch to turn on the active boost on the treble pickup. The bridge was fixed and included no tremolo/whammy bar. The Gibson SG-R1 was renamed the “Gibson SG Artist” in 1981, and then manufacture of this model was discontinued. Only about 200 active SG’s were ever produced.

The SG shape was also offered in a Junior model similar to the Les Paul Junior before it. This model had a single "dogear" P-90 pickup and an optional tremolo arm. The SG Special was introduced not long after, which featured two P-90 pickups and the optional tremolo arm; this model has shown up again recently as the SG Classic while the current SG Special now has two uncovered humbucking pickups. Recent models of the Gibson SG Special represent a value oriented model in their product line-up. Typically, it does not include the stylized neck binding of other models, or mother-of-pearl, trapezoid fret inlays. The P-90 is a single coil electric guitar pickup produced by Gibson since 1946. ... A tremolo arm, tremolo bar, vibrato bar, whammy bar, or twang bar is a lever attached to the bridge and/or the tailpiece of an electric guitar or archtop guitar to enable the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch... The P-90 is a single coil electric guitar pickup produced by Gibson since 1946. ... A tremolo arm, tremolo bar, vibrato bar, whammy bar, or twang bar is a lever attached to the bridge and/or the tailpiece of an electric guitar or archtop guitar to enable the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch... A piece of nacre Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic mixture of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of platy crystals of aragonite and conchiolin (a scleroprotein). ...

Gibson now offers many variations and finishes on the basic SG body style, including models such as the Special, Supreme, Angus Young Signature SG, 1961 Re-issue, Menace, and Gothic, as well as the premium-priced VOS replicas of the sixties SG Standard and Custom. Epiphone, a company owned by Gibson, produces a less expensive replica known as the G-400 and also produced an "Elitist" model, a high quality '61 SG reissue made in Japan starting in 2003 up until the end of 2005. Some of these Epiphone models include the Les Paul signature plate featured on original SG's between the rhythm pick-up and the fretboard.

Unique SGs

  • Jimi Hendrix (normally associated with using a Fender Stratocaster) used a cream coloured SG/Les Paul Custom model with three pickups and a Maestro vibrato on his September 9th, 1969, guest appearance on the Dick Cavett Show.
  • Eric Clapton used a Gibson SG starting in 1967 while in Cream. This guitar was known as the "fool" guitar, as it was painted by the Dutch artists, known collectively as The Fool. In spring 1968, he started using a Gibson Firebird and a Gibson ES-335. The SG was lent to Jackie Lomax, a friend of George Harrison. The "fool" was sold to Todd Rundgren for $500 before being sold to a private collector. Clapton's bandmate, Jack Bruce, played a SG-shaped EB-3 bass while with Cream.
  • George Harrison, normally associated with Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Epiphone, and Fender guitars, used a 1964 SG in the music videos for "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" in 1966 and also in the song "Hey Bulldog" in 1968. The SG, which Harrison later gave to Pete Ham of Badfinger, sold for $567,000, in 2004.[1]
  • John Cipollina - used two heavily customized SGs with bat-shaped plastic embellishments cut from pickguard material, extensive bindings, older Les Paul pickups (with the neck pickup mounted in reverse), Grover Imperial tuning machines, and mercury dimes glued to the tops of the volume and tone controls. He also added Bigsby B5 vibrato assemblies to both guitars.
  • John Frusciante owns 2 SGs and a Les Paul Black Beauty. He plays these live. He plays a triple pickup SG in the video for Fortune Faded

Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American guitar virtuoso, singer and songwriter. ... “Stratocaster” redirects here. ... The current version of this article or section is written in an informal style and with a personally invested tone. ... Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born 30 March 1945), nicknamed Slowhand, is an Grammy Award winning English guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. ... Cream were a 1960s British rock band, which consisted of guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. ... The cover of The 5000 spirits or the layers of the onion, designed by The Fool The Fool were a Dutch design collective who were influential in the psychedelic style of art in British popular music at the end of the 1960s. ... The Gibson Firebird is a solid-body guitar marketed by Gibson in the late 60s. ... The Gibson ES-335 was the worlds first commercial semi-hollowbody electric guitar, released by Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1958. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... For other persons named George Harrison, see George Harrison (disambiguation). ... Gretsch is a U.S. musical instrument manufacturer currently being distributed by guitar company Fender and drum craft company Kaman. ... Mod revivalist band The Jams Bruce Foxton (left) on a Rickenbacker bass and Paul Weller on a Rickenbacker guitar Rickenbacker International Corporation, also known as Rickenbacker (IPA pronunciation: ) [1]), is an electric guitar manufacturer, notable for having invented the first electric guitar during the 1930s. ... Epiphone Emperor The Epiphone Company is a guitar manufacturer. ... It has been suggested that Fender Amplifier History be merged into this article or section. ... William Peter Ham (April 24, 1947 - April 23, 1975) was a Welsh singer and songwriter, best known as the leader of the ill-fated group, Badfinger. ... Badfinger were a rock/pop band formed in Swansea, Wales in 1965, and one of the earliest representatives of the power pop genre. ... John Cipollina (August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989) was a lead guitarist best known for his work with the San Francisco rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service. ... John Anthony Frusciante (IPA pronunciation: ) (born March 5, 1970) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer. ... SG or sg or Sg may stand for: Seaborgium (Sg) Singapore, ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code Société Générale bank St. ... For other uses, see Black Beauty (disambiguation). ... Single cover Fortune Faded is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. ...

SG versus the Les Paul

Physically, the SG has a shallower body than the Les Paul, and thus is much lighter; the neck profile is also typically shallower, although this varies from year to year and guitar to guitar. The body is usually made entirely of mahogany (a notable exception is the Swamp Ash SG Special and some walnut bodied 1970's models), and does not have the curved, maple top section of the earlier design; neither does it have the accompanying body binding. Perhaps the most striking visual difference is that the SG is a double-cutaway guitar. The standard SG shares the basic pickup and control layout (twin humbuckers with dedicated tone and volume controls, three position selector switch) with the standard Les Paul. An example of Mahogany The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored wood, originally the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban Mahogany. ... Binomial name Marsh. ... Distribution Species See List of Acer species Maples are trees or shrubs in the genus Acer. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into guitar. ...

Notable SG users

Chet Atkins pictured with his Country Gentlemen model This is an alphabetized list of musicians who have made notable use of Gibson Guitar models in live performances or studio recordings. ...

See also

This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Gibson EDS-1275 is a doubleneck Gibson guitar introduced in 1958. ... Epiphone Emperor The Epiphone Company is a guitar manufacturer. ... The G400 is an epiphone guitar model that is a cheaper version of the Gibson SG. It resembles a 1960s style Gibson sg. ...

External links

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