Instantly recognizable. The backbone of rock and roll. The ultimate conduit between the music in your head and the sound coming out of your amp. Gibson’s best-selling SG Standard shatters all perceptions of what an electric guitar can — and should — be.
The slim, lightweight mahogany body; unmistakable twin cutaways, pointed horns and beveled edges; the fastest neck in the business; a pair of Gibson’s screamin’ humbucker pickups — all irresistible features coveted by some of the greatest guitar players of all-time. Various SG models have been played on-stage by the likes of Pete Townshend, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, Robby Krieger, Chris Robinson, Alex Lifeson, Derek Trucks, Elliot Easton, Jim James, Jeff Tweedy, Moby, Keith Urban, Nick Jonas, Rocco DeLuca. The list is unbelievable. When will you add your name to the list?
Excellence as standard
Solid Mahogany Body
Probably the most central of all SG features is its solid mahogany body. The mahogany goes through the same rigorous selection process as all of Gibson’s woods, and is personally inspected and qualified by Gibson’s team of skilled wood experts before it enters the factories. Inside the Gibson factories, humidity is maintained at 45 percent, and the temperature at 70 degrees. This ensures all woods are dried to a level of “equilibrium,” where the moisture content does not change during the manufacturing process. This guarantees tight-fitting joints and no expansion, and controls the shrinkage and warping of the woods, in addition to reducing the weight. It also improves the woods’ machinability and finishing properties. Consistent moisture content means that the SG will respond evenly to temperature and humidity changes long after it leaves the factory.
Keeping your wood looking as good as it sounds
Applying a nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson guitar—including the Gibson SG—is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process. A properly applied nitro finish requires extensive man hours, several evenly applied coats, and an exorbitant amount of drying time. But this fact has never swayed Gibson into changing this time-tested method, employed ever since the first guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish dries to a much thinner coat than a polyurethane finish, which means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. A nitro finish is also a softer finish, which makes it easily repairable. You can touch up a scratch or ding on a nitro finish, but you can’t do the same on a poly finish. In addition, a nitro finish is very porous in nature, and actually gets thinner over time. It does not “seal” wood in an airtight shell—as a poly finish does—and allows the wood to breathe and age properly.
Neck and Headstock
All the precision craftsmanship you'd expect from a Gibson
Like all classic Gibson guitars, the necks on Les Pauls and SGs are distinguished by one of the more traditional features that have always set them apart—a glued neck joint. Gluing the neck to the body of the guitar ensures a “wood-to-wood” contact, no air space in the neck cavity, and maximum contact between the neck and body, allowing the neck and body to function as a single unit. The result? Better tone, better sustain, and no loose or misaligned necks.
50s Rounded Neck Profile
No guitar neck profiles are more distinguishable than the neck profiles employed on the Gibson models of today. The more traditional ’50s neck profile—found on the SG Standard—is the thicker, rounder, more time-honored profile, emulating the neck shapes of the iconic late ’50s Gibson models. The neck is machined in Gibson’s rough mill using wood shapers to make the initial cuts. But once the fingerboard gets glued on, the rest—including the final sanding—is done by hand. That means there are no two necks with the exact same dimensions. So while it still has the basic characteristics of its respective profile, each neck will be slightly different, with a distinct but traditional feel.
Revolutionary Plek Set Up
The 2008 Les Paul Standard is one of the first models from Gibson USA to utilize the revolutionary Plek machine in setting up the guitar. The Plek is a German-made, computer controlled machine that carefully measures each fret, along with the fingerboard height under each string, and then automatically dresses each fret, virtually eliminating string buzz and greatly improving the overall playability of the guitar. This pioneering process does in minutes what it takes a luthier several hours—sometimes even days—to accomplish. Every fret is accurately aligned, and the guitar is properly intonated, leaving the instrument “Plek’d” and amazingly playable.
A high end rosewood fingerboard, rich, warm and very hard wearing
22-Fret Rosewood Fingerboard
Rosewood has always graced the fingerboards of the world’s finest stringed instruments, including many of today’s Gibsons. The fingerboards on Gibson SGs are constructed from the highest grade rosewood on the planet. The rosewood is personally inspected and qualified by Gibson’s team of skilled wood experts before it enters the factories to be fitted onto the neck of the SG Standard. The resilience of this dense and durable wood makes these fingerboards extremely balanced and stable, and gives each chord and note unparalleled clarity and bite. The 12-inch radius of the fingerboard provides smooth note bending capabilities and eliminates “dead” or “choked out” notes, common occurrences on fingerboards with lesser radiuses.
Nickel and Silver Alloy Fret Wire
The fret wire on the Gibson models is a combination nickel and silver alloy (approximately 80 percent nickel and 20 percent silver) specifically designed for long life and superior wear. Gibson’s traditional “medium/jumbo” fret wire is first shaped by hand, then cut to an exact 12-inch radius. After hand pressing it into the fingerboard, a machine press finishes the job to eliminate the gap between the bottom of the fret wire and the fingerboard.
Corian, it doesn't come much harder.
The nut on the SG Standard is made from Corian, which is mainly composed of acrylic polymer. It’s a very durable material, delivers enhanced sustain, and holds the tolerances of the precision cuts made in the slotting process. It is installed into the top surface of the neck, butting up to the end of the fingerboard to ensure proper tone and sustain transfer.
The width of the nut on the SG Standard is approximately 1.695”.
More rock than you can shake a truss rod at!
Gibson 490R And 498T Pickups
The mid to late 1960s saw the emergence of a very different type of music coming from the clubs of England. This new genre’s players were demanding more powerful amplifiers with increased volume outputs to satisfy their sonic explorations. This led to a call for a more versatile pickup, and Gibson answered the call with the 490T and 490R pickups (“T” for treble, and “R” for rhythm), humbuckers with the tonal characteristics of an original PAF, but with a slight increase in upper mid-range response. The Gibson 498T bridge pickup is the 490’s ideal complement. Taking the 490 one step further, the 498 swaps the Alnico II magnet to an Alnico V, thus making it slightly hotter with emphasis on mid-ranges and highs. The pole pieces on the 498T are also aligned a little further apart to accommodate the spacing of the strings at the bridge, which is different than the spacing of the strings at the neck.
Classic Gibson stylings with a modern edge
TonePros Locking Tune-o-matic Bridge and Locking Stopbar Tailpiece
The Tune-o-matic bridge was the brainchild of legendary Gibson president Ted McCarty in 1954, setting the standard for simplicity and functionality that has never been bettered. The SG Standard features TonePros locking Nashville Tune-o-matic in a chrome finish, which has saddle adjustment screws on the pickup side, and pre-notched saddles for quick installation. The chrome locking stopbar tailpiece is also from TonePros. These parts come with locking studs designed to secure both components firmly to the body so that there is no lean, yielding a great union between the strings and body which results in excellent tone and sustain.
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