Types Of Guitars. Part 2: SG

A short description and features of the SG.

Ultimate Guitar

Hi! I´m really glad to see that most of you liked my previews article, and I'd like to thank you all for the nice comments you posted, so let´s get started.

As you requested, this article is about the prestigious guitar known as the SG. All right, we all know what a SG looks like, but do we know what does SG mean? If you don´t I´ll tell you, it means: Solid Guitar.

The SG was firstly built as Gibson´s response to the low quantity of guitars that was being sold, yeah, that´s strange, many of you might be thinking but, what was going on that nobody wanted a les paul guitar." Well you´ve got to remember that when the SG was firstly sold, it was around 1961!, at that times, most guitar players were looking for a different sound from what was offered by a Les Paul, or an ES-335. Maybe Stratocasters or so, well, I think that´s enough history for now, let´s get started.

Gibson Gibson Gibson, everyone loves Gibson for what it did to guitar players like Slash, Jimmy Page, and bla bla bla, but if there´s one guitar player that couldn´t be taken away from his beloved SG, it is Angus Young (Ac/Dc), (I know there are many more but don´t go angry, at the end of this article there is a short list of guitar players that used this model. I know there are much more, but then the article would be named SG users).

Let´s describe shortly this beautiful guitar:

The solid guitar´s body is generally made of rosewood (but it could also be made from solid mahogany and so on), which features two-horned cuts (believe it or not, Mr Young firstly bought his SG because he though that these cuts looked like horns, and found them were very much appealing to his style), 22 frets, two humbucker pickups, two volume controllers, and two tone controllers too, the hardware is very similar to the one in Les Pauls and the bridge is nowadays a tune-o-matic solid bridge, but in its beginnings, the SG had a pretty useful artifact attached to its body: a very big vibrato unit, (many guitars that are not precisely Stratocasters have a tremolo unit, this ones are harder to use, and don´t have as much mobility as the standard tremolo or a floyd rose that you can find in Fenders, Ibanez, Jacksons, etc., but hey! There are other advantages!) Later on, this unit was upgraded and today you can still find lots of Sgs and Les Pauls that have that tremolo. The traditional 3-way switch is located close to the volume and tones regulators, another difference with the les paul, and speaking of differences, the plug-in input is also found near hardware regulators, and not under the guitar as in the other models.

I know you might be anxious to read some kind of pros n cons about this guitar, sadly, I won´t do that, I think that you are old enough to consider what´s a Pro and what´s a CON, and what could be considered as a disadvantage for me could be the reason for you to buy this guitar!, so as always my suggestion is the same, go and try it!, there is no best guitar, as there is no best guitar player, everything depends on what you like, what I will tell you is more or less what you can find in this guitars:

  • Sound

    Have you ever listened to Highway To Hell? Yes! Then have you ever tried to play it? If you don´t own an appropriate guitar for this, you might have noticed that the note kindda spreads out when playing a whole chord with distortion! Well, if you owned a SG, this wouln´t be happening so easily, that´s because this guitars have a more compact sound, which is very useful when playing with a crounchy dist. If you like hard rock with a bit of distortion, but not so heavy that you can´t hear it, maybe you should try SGs, Tommy Iommy from Black Sabbath also liked distortion and compressed riffs, so he choose an SG, what would you like?

  • Comfort

    The double cutaway provides easy reaching to the upper frets, if you have ever tried to reach 21 or 21 frets in a Les Paul, you may have noticed that it is really uncomfortable, well, the SGs neck is still not as comfortable as those in stratos or superstratos, but at least it wont make your fingers ache after a long session of high speed soloing. Relating to switching pick ups positions, you can notice that the fact that the switch is close to your hand, makes it easy to operate it, which I think is an advantage.

    Well, that's all for now, I hope you will forgive my numerous grammar mistakes (please have in mind that I am from Argentina), as I did with the Telecaster, I will strongly recommend this guitar, there are many manufacturers, between we can distinguish Fender (yes, I´ve seen and played with a squire SG). Fernandes, and of course Gibson, this last one is the most appropriate for professional guitars of this type in my opinion, but you never know what you can find out there, for those who have chosen an SG, congratulations, you own a very good guitar, for those who have not, congratulations! I´m sure you play that guitar because you like its sound, and that something really good in a guitar player, would you like to read a list with guitar players who have chosen SGs. Here it comes (please note that many of them as Adrian Smith, have used many types of guitars):

  • Adam McGrath, Cave In
  • Adrian Smith, Iron Maiden
  • Agata, Melt-Banana
  • Alex Newport, Fudgetunnel
  • Angus Young, AC/DC
  • Bernard Sumner, Joy Division
  • Carrie Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney
  • Dave Murray, Iron Maiden
  • David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
  • Elizabeth Elmore, Sarge
  • Glen Buxton, Alice Cooper
  • Ian MacKaye, Fugazi
  • Jamie Frost, the Makers
  • Jenny Möllberg, Misdemeanor
  • Jim Allison, Fuel
  • Johnny Marr, post-Smiths
  • Mike Kirsch, Fuel
  • Paul, Lärm
  • Pete Townshend
  • Rachel Rosen, Indecision/Most Precious Blood/ Wage Of Sin
  • Sara, Doughnuts
  • Sara Fredriksson, Misdemeanor
  • Sarah Utter, the Bangs
  • Tim Sult, Clutch
  • Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath

    Please! Visit this website if you would like to see some nice SG): Everythingsg.com (this is a great site, you have a lot of things to read in order to get more info about this guitar)

    And of course official site: gibson.com

    PS: please stay tuned because right now I´m working in an article about the strangest guitars and believe me, this guitars are weird

  • 111 comments sorted by best / new / date

      It's odd you didn't mention the most famous SG anywhere in your article- Jimmy Paige's double neck SG used to play Stairway to Heaven.
      Good article, not quite as informative as the telecaster one but still good. Definitely do one over the Stratocaster next.
      Very good article. I always thought that the SG had a wider neck than all the other guitars. The feel of an SG are awesome. I played one at New York Music. It was awesome. Great Article on SG's.
      i've even seen footage of Jimi playing the wind cries mary on an SG but i find the neck to be too chunky for me
      and of course dont forget the man himself...Ed Vedder...pearl jam of course. Although he does change his guitars often but hes been playin sg's for a while now. jimmy pages double neck as well...aand...haha...david st.hubbins...does everyone else agree when i say that is one of the greatest movies ever!!
      i think you should have mentioned that every hardcore band has an sg player in it. EVERY hardcore band.
      great article but hendrix played an SG some too how could u forget hendrix? lol doesn't matter though good article
      AndyGray: wow i didnt know adrain smith played an SG, but im almost sure that dave murray's only ever played stratocastors.... hmmm, i dont believe it, but good article man, not just informative, u should write for total guitar [POSTED: 19 March 2005 - 11:45]|
      If you look at the booklet of the "Killers" album (Enhanced CD version), you can see VERY rare pictures of both Smith and Murray playing SGs... a heavily modded one in Murray's case. But in fact they have played a wide variety of guitars, for example Hammersmith 1982--> both played Ibanez Destroyers.
      Great article, SGs are cool. Do a Les Paul next. Gibson is awesome
      its true the original SG's were called les paul specials this is an excelletn artical though..
      Niiice, pls do Les Paul next... i'm planning on buying one soon, and some info' would be great + Les Pauls rule!
      PianoBlackSP: You forgot Robby(sp?)Kreiger (The Doors) [POSTED: 19 March 2005 - 08:48]
      damn right he did... good article though.
      Greetings from Argentina!! Great and interesting article. I live in the province of Crdoba and would like to stay in touch with you cause I have some questions. I own a Gibson Epiphone Sheraton II. Can ya make an article about it??
      Gibson Sg history: (Excuse my bad english) Around 1960. The Gibson Les Paul was selling bad, so Ted McCarthy (Factorydirector at the time) re-designed it. 1960 there was a new Les Paul-model. It started shipping. But there was just one problem, nobody had looked with Les Paul himself if he liked it. He dint! So Gibson guitars had to change the name. What should they call this solid guitar? Ahh, Solid Guitar (SG) !!! So from the very beginning it was an Les Paul...
      My SG was definately the greatest investment i've ever made. i suggest bringing an extra pair of underwear if you decide to let loose on one
      Telecasters are the ugliest? The explorer/ exploder and Thunderbirds are the ugliest guitars, and have some cruddy quality on them, even that star guitar that ABBA had was better
      In my oppinion, SG are horrible. There is way too much distortion and you cant controll it. I can't immagine how Robby Kreiger got a clean sound out of that thing. I do like the double cutaways. What I have found out is that the best guitars are Strats, Les Pauls and Telecasters. And yes I have tried a couple SGs and I hate them.
      Personally, i hate the SG. I think that there is too much distortion and you cant controll it. I have no idea how some SG players get a clean sound out of it. I have tried some SG and I hated it. I still like my Strat and Les Paul.
      Very GOOD article on the Gibson SG. Don't forget that Gibson in the early 80's made a SG with the great Kahler tremolo, I bought one in 83 & stil have it. I don't think there's better metal rhythem/muting tones from another guitar.
      can you do a article about the gibson les paul i really need the info
      nice mate that was good, very helpful. DO AN ICEMAN! I have an epiphone LP and its nice, but i would like to have an SG by the sound of it. Cheers 5 stars
      Awesome article...You've certainly done your research...For weird guitars...Do BC RICHES...they may not be the weirdest guitar...or the nicest sounding...but they are one of the most famous...And plus i own an NJ BEAST and an WARLOCK PLATINUM...Rock on, dude!
      good article, dont get me wrong,but I'll rather buy a schecter than an sg just beacause they are like half the price ,same or better quality, and a kick as sound.all in all if i had the money i would buy an sg to.
      chuck mitchell
      Hey, nice article. You should do an Ibanez next. Those are nice to play. I give the article 4 stars.
      bryan j
      my sg is weird its an sg but it says les paul custom on it i love it it confuses people when i tell them i have an sg les paul
      awesome article, and good spelling for being an Argentinian. whatever you do though, don't ever do an article about telecastors, 'cos those are the ugliest guitars ever.
      I love my sg, the body starts too far up the neck on a les paul, they're hard to play. I find it difficult to shred or solo on my sg unless i use a compressor or threshold, and then I get feedback, if you want to shred get a superstrat
      ya mna, this is siic. i have a custom epiphone SG and i play heavey metal, and this is awsome. 5 stars most definitly
      Little blood
      Do they do the G400 customs in alpine white? coz i dont like the ivory colour. Are the epiphones better or the gibsons? And finally, u forgot to mention Kelly Jones from The Stereophonics. He sometimes uses an SG.
      My dream guitar is an Alpine White Gibson Les Paul SG Custom (beautiful white guitar with three pickups and gold hardware...*drool*) Maybe the next time I have a spare $3300, I'll buy one