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A Rock Legend Reaches its Golden Anniversary 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG
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50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG
When Gibson replaced the original single-cutaway Les Paul Standard in 1961 with the new streamlined, double-cutaway design that would eventually be known simply as the SG, it revamped the entire range at the same time. Along came the "student model" SG Junior, too, and the SG Special with two P-90 pickups and dot fingerboard inlays. The SG Standard would become the choice of countless legendary rock, blues-rock and metal players over the years, but its P-90-loaded-peer, the Special, would land in the hands of the player at the helm of a quartet that The Guinness Book of World Records listed as "The Loudest Band in the World." From the late '60s into the '70s, Pete Townshend of The Who made the SG Special his own, and set new standards for rock power and energy in the process. To celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the instrument behind the Live at Leeds-era Who performances and recordings, Gibson USA releases the 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG. Rendered with all the period-correct details of an early '60s Les Paul/SG Special, with Townshend's preferred hardware complement, this model represents the early '60s SG Special with a smaller pre-'65 pickguard (5-ply B/W/B/W/B) that Townshend used for the first British Quadrophenia shows in late 1972 and early '73, before switching to a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe for the remainder of the '70s.

The cornerstone of this legendary guitar is its subtly asymmetrical two-horned double-cutaway body, a radical design when it hit the scene 50 years ago, and still instantly recognizable on stage and screen. The 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG remains true to its heritage, with a body made from solid mahogany, which is not only richly resonant, but light enough to keep you playing for hours on end, with a comfort that is enhanced by its gently beveled body edges. To ensure that it all looks as great as it sounds, this guitar's Alpine White nitrocellulose finish captures a rare custom color from its day (often referred to as "Polaris White" in the early '60s), and tops off the celebration with a gold 50th Anniversary headstock banner. The glued-in neck is made from solid quarter-sawn mahogany, set at the traditional 4-degree pitch, with a 17-degree back angled headstock for optimum string pressure in the slots of the PLEK-cut Corian nut. A rosewood fingerboard carries 22 medium-jumbo frets and, with its 12" radius and 1-11/16" width at the nut—atop a fast but rounded neck profile that measures .800" at the 1st fret and .875" at the 12th—offers superb playability and easy bending.

The heart of the 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG's tone lies, of course, in its two P-90 single-coil pickups, which are recreated in accurate detail here by Gibson USA. Made with genuine Alnico V magnets and 42-AWG wire, they produce the punchy midrange, thumping lows and sweetly musical highs that countless musicians have loved since the first P-90s of the late 1940s. With its strings wrapped solidly through a wraparound bridge with compensated "lightning bar" saddle ridge, a set up Townshend preferred to the Maestro Vibrato units that came on many SG Specials of this era (and which Pete Townshend habitually removed from his own guitars), it's an enormously resonant guitar that rings like a bell when you hit it, perfect for anything from crunchy power-chord rhythm to gritty, singing lead tones. With its Grover kidney button tuners for optimum tuning precision (another Townshend-preferred upgrade), and protected in a genuine Gibson USA hardshell case with silver block-letter WHO stencil, the 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG brings you the whole package in grand style.
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Pricing & Finish
  • Alpine White
    $2,129msrp
Product Features
  • Solid Mahogany body with Alpine White nitrocellulose finish
  • Slim, fast 60's style neck profile
  • Two Gibson USA P-90 single-coil pickups
  • Wraparound bridge with compensated “lightning bar” saddle ridge
  • High-quality Mini Grover™ kidney button tuners
  • Gibson USA hardshell case with silver block-letter WHO stencil
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