The legendary SG resulted from Gibson’s bold move in 1960 to initiate a thorough redesign of the iconic Les Paul Standards of the late 1950s. The idea behind the effort was an attempt to jump start the model’s lagging sales, and it worked perfectly. The new SG – still called the Les Paul Standard until 1963 – set a precedent for style, function and design, and the market responded positively. The guitar sold 1,662 units during its first full year of sales in 1961, and continued to increase in both popularity and sales figures for the next several years. Today, the SG stands as one of the most popular and best-selling of all Gibson guitars.
The SG Elegant Quilt Top from Gibson Custom, however, takes the popular model one step further while still maintaining the essence of the most inspired guitar design of the past century. Like Gibson’s iconic Les Paul Standard, the SG Elegant’s mahogany body is fitted with a maple top … though not just any maple top. It is given a high-grade maple cap selected exclusively by the gifted craftsmen of Gibson Custom for its beautiful wood grain pattern.
Over the years, these exceptional tops have become synonymous with Gibson guitars, adding a unique cosmetic element that became a trademark of the brand without any fanfare following the introduction of the Les Paul Standards of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The tops of those early Gibson guitars resulted from the “bookmatching” of two pieces of maple, which occurs when a maple board is cut and opened to show a symmetrical pattern of the grain. The two cut pieces are then “bookmatched” and glued together, with the seam serving as the center of the guitar’s body. These patterns, which are sometimes referred to as “flame” or “figured,” went largely unnoticed until years later, but they added a striking three-dimensional aesthetic appearance that had never before been seen on any solid body electric guitar.
Today’s SG Elegant Quilt Top from Gibson Custom celebrates the natural beauty of the most distinct maple top pattern of all – the quilt top. Each one is handpicked for the beauty and magnificence of its “quilt” grain pattern, with special attention paid to the wood’s exceptionally wild three-dimensional qualities, and its ability to change in appearance to the human eye at the slightest change in the angle of the view. And while the quilt maple top sets the SG Elegant clearly apart from other SGs, it still bares the traditional twin cutaways, pointed horns and beveled edges of the classic SG model, assuring that it still retains the functionality and effectiveness of the guitar’s traditional design. The back of the streamlined body is made from a solid, lightweight piece of mahogany, with exceptional resonance to insure superior tone and greater sustain. Its traditional, 24¾-inch scale length, 22-fret mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and 1960 slim-taper profile has long been championed as the fastest guitar neck in the world, and the twin cutaways offer easier access to the higher frets.
The SG Elegant is completed sans the SG’s traditional pickguard, simply to allow anyone the chance to behold the natural beauty of its top. The guitar is adorned with the usual appointments, including an ABR-1 bridge with stopbar and tailpiece in gold finish, single-ply crème binding on the neck, vintage tulip tuners, and magnificent abalone trapezoid inlays along the fretboard. The pickups are a pair of Gibson’s ’57 Classic humbuckers, with Alnico II magnets and balanced coils to deliver unmistakable vintage tone. The SG Elegant Quilt Top comes in a gloss finish, with the standard Gibson Custom case and certificate of authenticity. They are available in Blue Burst, Firemist and Iguana Burst finishes.