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Gibson SG Standard Review

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Gibson SG Standard Review

I remember when I first started to play the guitar, walking into a guitar store in Poole and seeing a Gibson SG (not sure what model) hanging on the wall. It was love at first sight. It just looked so good. It is a simple yet mean looking instrument. I loved the fact it literally looked like a lump of wood with strings on it.

Around 2 years ago I finally discovered the joys of Black Sabbath (yeah, I know a bit late) and very quickly got really into Tony Iommi’s riffs. They sounded so huge! And so, my love affair with the SG was ignited.

Actually purchasing the SG Standard was quite a painful process. For some reason it took around 6 weeks for Music Ground to have one delivered. Some kind of politics with Gibson and the UK distributor or something like that, but it was well worth the wait.

Features:

Very simple guitar – twin humbuckers with associated controls, mounted on a lovely slab of mahogany. I was expecting the guitar to be so much heavier than it is. It’s actually surprisingly light.

I went for the classic Heritage Cherry finish and it simply looks awesome. I promptly put a set of 11’s on it, and had it recently serviced by Robin at Absolute Music Solutions in Poole and he did an amazing job.

For a full breakdown of specs visit the Gibson SG web page.

Ease of use:

Traditionally I am a Strat player and I initially found (and sometimes still find) the SG a challenge to play. It’s nothing to do with the action or anything like that though, just moving from a Strat to an SG just threw me. This was purely down to where the neck of the SG meets the body. It’s something like 2 or 3 frets different to a Stratocaster.  I found myself going to play an A barre chord but I was actually playing a B barre chord purely down to the fact my brain couldn’t adjust that easily to where I naturally placed my hands.

That was so weird and as a result it meant I hardly played the SG. That was until about 8 months ago when I took it to a band practice where I knew I would be out of my comfort zone. The whole aspect of using twin humbuckers was new to me as well after being used to a 5 way selector. Sometimes I’d flick to the lead humbucker for a solo and there would be no sound as I didn’t have the volume up! But after a few weeks of regular playing I soon realised what a fantastic guitar this is.

Sound quality:

Unplugged this guitar sings. That’s always a good sign. I absolutely love the variety of tones available from this guitar. The twin humbuckers and individual volume and tone controls means that this guitar can go from jazzy cleans to full-on metal very easily (providing you got a decent amp!).

It has a very earthy tone on the neck pickup. Really sweet and is very versatile. You can really dig into the strings or back right off. The same goes for the bridge pickup. I mainly use the bridge for lead breaks, and roll the tone back to around 6 just to fatten the sound up somewhat. It’s an awesome sound.

Reliability:

So far so good, except my neck tone control has come loose and can be pulled off easily. That’s a bit annoying.

Overall rating:

After not really playing this guitar for the first few months I owned it, it is now my #1 workhorse mainly due to the fact it is so versatile. It also has such a good sound from the pickups IMHO.

I still sometimes struggle where the neck joins the body and sometimes when I break into a solo I’m accidentally playing a semi-tone out! Ouch! But it’s getting easier to play all the time. In fact, it feels like it’s got a personality. Does that sound weird!?!

If you’re a Strat player, you may find it a bit odd but don’t be put off. Playing this guitar is helping me improve all the time, as my style is evolving the more I use it.

The last thing is I love the look of it. I just stare it at. It’s cool to love the look of the guitar too. A bit like your woman, except the guitar doesn’t whinge if you’ve been playing for too long.

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About the author:

Sam is passionate about talking all things guitar related and started GuitarJar.co.uk to help encourage all guitarists in their guitar playing journey.

4 Comments

  • i always liked the look and sound of the junior SG (with a single p90) as used by Mike Einziger of incubus. Really bitey! I’ll always be a tele man though. I’ll put a review of mine up soon.
    Great site Sam!

    • Yeah I know what you mean about the P90′s. I’m a huge fan of P90′s, especially in an SG. I was turned onto that configuration after watching footage of The Who at Woodstock, and Pete Townshend’s SG sounded amazing through his Hiwatt rig. The Who’s “Live at Leeds” album is a must if you’re a P90 & SG fan…

  • Interesting about Toni Iommi’s sound. I heard that he used banjo strings because they were even lighter than the 9′s at the time- don’t know if that’s true but no wonder he can trill like that on the first 2 albums, and from Masters Of Reality the whole band detuned a step and a half, mainly due to Iommi’s concern about his finger tips. That’s why parts of MOR sound like a giant stumbling across the land in some kind of Sam Peckinpah slow motion–Into The Void.

  • I have to say, I love the SG. It’s a no nonsense rock guitar. I have played a 1967 std for about 9 years and it still blows my mind! The tone you can dial up is amazing and through a marshall 100w stack, you can’t beat it… well… i say that… I have to say that it does rank #2, where my Gibson 1960 Classic Goldtop is #1. For me it has everything. Looks, a nice rich warm tone and fat sustain! But, I would never part with either as I chop and change between them! A nice contrast!
    Right – that’s my 5 eggs!
    :-)

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