Guitar Wiki

The Gibson SG is a popular guitar manufactured by the Gibson Corporation. It was originally designed in 1961 as the next version of the Les Paul, but after Les Paul expressed reluctance to have his name associated with the new design, it was renamed the "SG" for "Solid Guitar". Very early examples bear the Les Paul name, and these are extremely rare.


The Gibson SG is a double cutaway model, and most of them are very much the same, with very few variations.

The body has two nearly equal cutaways with sharp points, giving it its famous "devil horns" look. Although it appears symmetrical, looking at a left-handed example confirms that it is not. The body itself is very thin compared to other popular models, at about 3/4 the depth of a Fender Stratocaster. Unlike the Les Paul the body is usually made from a single flat-topped piece of mahogany with bevelled edges along the sides and the cutaways. The body is constructed at an angle, so the neck, the pickups, and the bridge are all on the same plane, but the body is slanted in comparison. The classic SG is most commonly seen in cherry red or "walnut", though white, black and sunburst finishes are available.

Classic SG models[]

  • SG Junior - Single P-90 pickup with one tone and one volume control. Unbound fingerboard and headstock; dot inlays. Combination stop tailpiece/bridge
  • SG Special - Twin-pickup version of Junior; two tone and two volume controls plus 3-way switch. Main guitar of the Doors' Robbie Krieger.
  • SG Standard - Two humbuckers, bound fingerboard with trapezium inlays and headstock with small crown inlay, tune-o-matic bridge and either Gibson Vibrola or stop tailpiece.
  • SG Custom - As Standard but gold-plated fittings, three humbuckers, multi-bound fingerboard large block inlays and headstock with large split-diamond inlay. Usual color is white. Famously played by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
  • SG 1961 Reissue - had the smaller pickguard associated with the original 1961. It has classic 1957 PAF pickups, a thinner 60's style neck, and a holly inlay on the headstock. Famously played by Derek Trucks.


There are two types of pickguards. The original 1961 model used a smaller kind that only covers the right side of the body. Today, the pickguard covers most of the top half of the body. Most SG models feature pickguards, but some, like the Select or the GT do not have one at all. Unlike the Les Paul that it was based off of, the pickguard is screwed directly onto the body.

The SG uses two tone knobs and two volume knobs, one set for each humbucker. The jack ferrule is located next to these knobs. The pickup selector is three way, like

The neck of the SG is placed relatively distant from the body of the guitar. Where as other guitar on the market like the Les Paul or Telecaster have their necks set deep into the body, the 23rd and 24th frets of the SG are the only ones to join at the heel. This gave the SG unprecedented acces to the highest frets. The headstock is the same style used on the Les Paul, and it is also "bent".