If there’s one word that comes to mind again and again when you think ‘Gibson SG,’ it’s ...well actually, it’s probably Angus. But if there’s a runner-up it’s probably ‘devilish.’ Those pointy horns seem to invite anyone who picks up an SG to play it with a little extra hot sauce. In short, it makes you want to be a badass.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
The 2016 SG Standard is an affordable, USA-made instrument which captures the spirit of a classic 60s SG. One of the ways it does this is with its use of the larger pickguard shape compared to the smaller one of recent models. It extends up above the pickups and it enhances the badassery by adding a few extra points to an already pointy design. The body is made of between one and three pieces of mahogany and the neck is one-piece mahogany with a one-piece rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. The profile is called Rounded SG, which is slightly slim but not cartoonishly so. There are traditional Green Key tuners, a historically-accurate 1 11/16” nut width, TekToid nut, black Top Hat knobs with silver inserts, traditional Trapezoid inlays and a high-gloss nitrocellulose finish. The bridge and tailpiece are the traditional Tune-o-Matic and Stop arrangement. Pickups are Gibson’s 490R and 498T passive humbuckers, with Alnico II magnets, with a relatively hot bridge bucker compared to the tamer neck. Controls are the standard two volumes, two tones, pickup selector array, and the guitar comes with a durable gig bag, truss rod wrench, 2.5mm adjustable wrench and polishing cloth.
GOT THE HORN
The SG Standard is little more complex in its upper midrange frequencies compared to the Les Paul Studio Faded reviewed elsewhere in this issue, and it’s not as deep in the low end. This seems to focus the sound a little more precisely into more of a midrange-and-treble region which is great for power chords and mean blues-rock soloing. It also lets you stack multiple tracks during recording without the low end and low mids becoming muddy and cloudy. One of the keys to this guitar’s sonic success is the choice of pickups: the neck pickup has a certain sweetness and sustain, and it really comes to life when you dig in with the pick, but the bridge pickup is bolder, hotter, brasher and meaner. It’s a great contrast and it means you get plenty of very different tones out of this guitar.
I SEE YOUR POINT
This guitar really captures what it is that makes the Gibson SG so iconic. It has the sound, the look, the attitude and the playability. And although it’s not cheap, it’s worth every cent.
Hits and Misses
Cool bigger-pickguard look
Doesn't come with hard case