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January 14, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Choose Your SG

By Dayton from SLN More Blogs by This Author

Who here likes Gibson SG's? Everyone should be raising there hands right now! EVERYONE! Seriously who doesn't like a good ol' Gibson SG? The scale on an SG, though the same as a Les Paul, feels much different! The Les Paul feels much shorter because the neck goes further into the body. The neck feel on an SG is more natural than a Les Paul to me, and although the Les Paul has a creamier tone, I think the SG strikes a better balance.

There is somewhat of a catch though. Gibson produces multiple versions of the SG...and they all look freaking identical. Here is a guide to the different models of the elegantly simple SG:

The "Special"

Gibson SG Special


I'm pretty sure they just called this guitar the "special" because they didn't want the guitar to sound bad. Ironically, this SG is the least special of all. The Special is the base model for the Gibson SG, but it does retain features that still make it a solid guitar. Like all SG guitars, it has a mahogany neck body that give it excellent resonance and punchy bass tones. The scale is consistent through all SG's at 24 3/4", and visually, it has the same shape and basic construction.

What makes it different: The SG Special is lacking a few things compared to its higher priced brethren. The most notable difference is the 490R/490T pickups; although these aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, bad pickups, they are a little lackluster. When in a clean tone, they sound domesticated, like they are afraid to do anything too extreme.

The other obvious difference is the fret markers. Instead of the signature Gibson pearl blocks inlayed in the fretboard, the Special receeves standard dots, and it lacks the same binding on the neck.  The Special has a natural "waxy" finish, although that doesn't affect playing (much), the finish hints that significantly less time was spent building this guitar. 

The Throwback

Gibson SG Classic


This is the middle SG. It's not the best you can get, but it has a few improvements over the Special. Everything is basically the same as the Special in terms of dimensions and construction, so why is it more expensive?

What makes it different: The Classic was named because it tries to be a 60's guitar while maintaining a reasonable price. The upgrades that the Classic has include different tuners and a glossy body. The biggest difference is the P90 pickups. P90's are great for a super vintage sound, the only drawback is that they have a lot of feedback, so much that a lot of artists won't play live with P90's because of the noise.

The Pro

Gibson SG Standard


The SG standard is not the absolute best, but this is pretty much the go-to, pro SG. Again, as  an SG there is nothing super fancy about it, but if playing one of these compared to the Special you will notice it is more refined.

What makes it different: The Standard offers a higher standard guitar than the other SG's. This visible in just the craftsmanship, but it still has more to offer. Cosmetically, the SG Standard has a smaller pick guard, a binding on the neck, square block inlays, and a glossy Gibson finish. The most important difference with this guitar, I feel, is the feel on the neck and the sound of the Gibson 57 humbuckers. The neck doesn't feel cheap or stiff on this guitar, which is an absolute must for me. The 57's are excellent pickups for a classic rock tone, but at the same time, they aren't nearly as noisy as the P90's.

When it's all said and done, what really sets this guitar apart is the $1300 price-tag...I feel like I can waste my money better elsewhere.

Guys, all these guitars look the same! AH! *runs away and cries*

More from Dayton from SLN Others Are Reading


  • So how many years have you been playing the guitar? Which guitar do you have, the "Special", the Throwback or the Pro? And who taught you how to play?

    I saw on Shark Tank a while back that I guy came up with the perfect way to teach someone how to play the guitar. It's called the Chord Buddy - check it out!

  • I have (D) none of the above...mostly because I am poor and can't afford a massive guitar collection...BUT IF I DID HAVE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY! I would probably have an SG custom (which isn't in the blog) and the classic because of it's super obnoxious old school pickups :D

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