Short for "solid guitar," it's a sleek, rocking design
SG Custom with Maestro VOS
"Beauty in gleaming white or cherry red that must be seen. Wonderfully clear bell-like tone that must be heard. Fast action that should be tried … soon. By Gibson, of course." — 1961 advertisement for the new Les Paul Custom, renamed the SG Custom in late 1963.
The introduction of the remodeled Les Paul models of the early 1960s sought to bolster Gibson’s reputation as a quality builder of electric solid body guitars, something the Les Pauls of the late 1950s had failed to do. And although those Les Paul models of the late 1950s would eventually become the world’s most iconic six-stringed instruments, the introduction of the redesigned models in 1961 would also signal an important new era in electric solid body design. Characterized by a much thinner body with two cutaways, pointed horns, beveled edges and no body binding, the new Les Paul Custom – as it was called until 1963 – signaled the end of the ¾-size versions of the Les Paul Junior and Les Paul Special, leaving the Melody Maker as the only ¾-size Gibson model. This sleek-looking new design, however, didn’t immediately grab the guitar world’s attention, and sales of the new model continued to hover below 1,000 units per year until the 1970s. Additionally, Les Paul himself did not fully approve of the new design, which lead to the removal of Les Paul’s name in 1963 in favor of its new name, the SG Custom.