Gibson’s SG model solidbody electric guitar, first released in 1961, was a continuation of the Les Paul model, which was introduced in 1952, but which had been gradually losing sales to other electric guitars of the era from companies like Fender and Gretsch. The Fenders, in particular, were less expensive to produce, generally constructed of a single slab of tonewood, with a bolt-on neck. The Les Paul, in keeping with Gibson’s long tradition of fine craftsmanship in the manufacture of their acoustic guitars, mandolins and banjos, featured a body of solid mahogany, with a hand-carved maple cap, and a glued-in, or set neck. This produced a solid, well-crafted guitar, but the greater production costs eventually resulted in the need for a redesign. The SG model featured a thinner mahogany body, without the carved maple cap, and with a second cutaway on the upper bout of the guitar, in addition to the lower cutaway, both with more exaggerated “devil’s horn” points. The neck was still glued to the body, which joined the neck at the 19th fret, as opposed to the 16th fret on a Les Paul. This resulted in a lighter-weight guitar with easier access to the upper fretboard, and a sleek, new symmetrical design. The updated model was still called the Les Paul for several years, although the guitar’s namesake co-designer wasn’t pleased with the changes, and asked to have his name removed. The new model was simply called the SG, for Solid Guitar, and has remained in production since its release, becoming a favorite of such players as Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Pete Townshend of The Who, and Robby Krieger of The Doors. Eric Clapton’s psychedelically-painted SG from his Cream days eventually turned up in Todd Rundgren’s hands, Mike Nesmith of The Monkees played an SG in their counter-culture classic movie Head, and, of course, Angus Young from AC/DC and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi are forever linked to their iconic SG’s.
Today, the model continues to gain popularity, and the Epiphone SG continues Gibson’s tradition of well-crafted guitars, but at a much more affordable price. For instance, the Limited Edition 50th Anniversary 1961 SG reissue features a set neck and P-90 single coil pickups, as well as the period-correct TV Yellow finish, originally designed to reduce flare-ups from the tube-based black-and-white television cameras of the time. The G-400 is an SG-based model with set neck, Tune-O-Matic bridge, the familiar 24.75” string length, and a natural worn brown or cherry finish. The G-310 features an alder body with bolt-on mahogany neck, and the Epi SG-Special is loaded with an innovative killswitch in the tone pot, for rapid-fire staccato effects. The Epiphone SG, then, provides all the firepower and killer tone that made the Gibson version famous, but at a fraction of the price. No dilemma here! Grab an SG by the horns - order yours today!