Like the landmark Les Paul before it, the introduction of Gibson’s SG line in 1961 shattered all perceptions of what a guitar could be. The name “SG Special” actually first surfaced on a Gibson guitar in late 1959, when the name was applied to the double cutaway Special with rounded horns that had previously been listed as a Les Paul since 1955. In early 1961, however, the SG Special underwent the same radical redesign as the iconic Les Paul Standards did that same year.
Body and Hardware
Short for “solid guitar,” Gibson’s SGs featured a much thinner body made from solid mahogany, with pointed horns, beveled edges, no body binding and distinctive twin cutaways that offered easier access to the guitar’s higher frets. The SG Special model was also fitted with a new style five-ply black pickguard, and a bar bridge made from aluminum with pre-set compensating ridges that allowed for better intonation. Additionally, the SG Special’s 22-fret mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and slim-taper profile was quickly recognized as one of the fastest guitar necks in the world.
Another significant aspect of the SG Special were its two P-90 single coil pickups from Gibson, which delivered all the punch and raw power that made the SG Special the guitar of choice for many early electric blues and rock and roll guitarists.
Unlike the modifications made to the Les Pauls during the late 1950s, the redesigns of the 1961 models made a significant and immediate impact on Gibson’s market share. On average, about 1,450 SG Specials shipped per year during the early 1960s, a trend that ended when the model was discontinued in 1966 in favor of the SG Pro.
Today, Gibson’s SG line remains as one of the most popular and best-selling of all Gibson guitars, and the SG Special Reissue from Gibson Custom is no exception. Its distinct features and legendary tone are meticulously recreated with all the precision and accuracy expected from Gibson Custom, including its solid mahogany body with twin cutaways, pointed horns and beveled edges, nickel hardware, lightweight aluminum bridge and vintage white button tuners.
Other standard appointments include period-correct pearloid dot inlays, single-ply crème binding along the fingerboard, a 1960 slim-taper neck profile, and two of Gibson’s legendary P-90 single coil pickups. Each SG Special Reissue comes with a Gibson Custom case and certificate of authenticity. They are available in a V.O.S. finish, in either Fade Cherry, Classic White or TV Yellow.