When it comes to classic rock guitars, the Gibson SG has a history that is hard to beat. Any guitar that has been played by Jimmy Page in the Led Zeppelin era will carry a mystique about it and the Gibson SG is one of the most-loved instruments in rock. Alongside Led Zeppelin, some of the greatest riffs in rock music from ACDC, Eric Clapton and Black Sabbath have flowed from a Gibson SG.
It is therefore no surprise to learn that Noel Gallagher, no stranger to walking down the memory lane of music, is a big fan of the instrument. The Gibson SG features extensively on the Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds album and in his live shows. However, the instrument is also freely available to buy and if you are looking for a guitar that will allow you to live out your rock n roll dreams, the Gibson SG provides everything you could need.
The Devils Horn design of the Gibson SG immediately gives it an edge and it is easy to see why so many guitarists who flirt with the occult and the darker side of life have been drawn to the instrument. If you believe that image and presentation is an important factor in making music, this is one guitar that will add something to any performance.
With respect to the basic features of the Gibson SG, you are looking at:
- 22 frets
- A mahogany neck and body
- Three way switch
- Two volume dials
- Two tone dials
Sound / Tones
While the sound or tone of any guitar can be heavily influenced by effects pedals, most guitarists find that the Gibson SG provides plenty of self-contained tonal options. The versatility provided by the three-way switch and the tone dials should ensure you can get the sound you want, which is why you will see many reviews stating that the Gibson SG is ideal for clean sounds and heavy sounds. It is not too often you get a guitar that is ideal for almost opposite musical genres but whether you are looking to play power chord riffs, melodious solos, finger-picking or punky thrashalong numbers, this is an instrument that lets you obtain a good sound straight from the off.
Playability / Action / Ease of Use:
The Gibson SG comes with a fairly wide neck, which can be a blessing or a hindrance depending on your hand size and comfort in playing guitar. Many guitarists like the size of the neck and fret, finding it provides ample scope for soloing with ease. It has to be said that the Gibson SG is an easy guitar to just pick up and play with the switches and dials providing a simple way to take control of your sound very quickly. The fact that there is no need for an array of effects pedals to conjure up a range of sounds from the Gibson SG makes it a very attractive guitar for many guitarists.
It may be a guitar that is found in the hands of some of the most talented guitarists of all time but there is no reason why a newcomer cannot pick up a Gibson SG and create some great sounds in no time at all.
Build / Reliability
The Gibson brand is one of the most respected in the guitar playing community and this reputation is very much deserved. The Gibson SG, like many other Gibson instruments, is a guitar that can last you for a great number of years, as long as you look after it. It is perfectly suited to playing live and as long as you have a sturdy travel case to protect it, there is no real reason for the instrument to let you down, which makes it a perfect number one instrument in your collection. There also appears to be widespread agreement that the tuners on the Gibson SG do a great job with regards to staying in tune. The finish is sturdy while looking great and the dials and switches can take a fair amount of abuse when playing hard and fast too. Unless you are planning on doing something stupid, the Gibson SG is a guitar that you can bank on.
Price / Value
The standard Gibson SG may carry a factory price of around $2,500 but there is no need to pay anywhere near this price for the instrument. There are a number of online retailers who have the same model that Noel Gallagher uses on sale for around $1,199 but there are a number of different SG’s to choose from. Even allowing for exchange rates, it seems that the Gibson Melody Maker SG can be found for around $600, which makes it a lot more palatable for players.
If you are a budding guitarist keen to get the Noel Gallagher sound, this could be a better entry level guitar but if you are a serious guitarist who intends to use the instrument extensively, the higher end of the market is likely to provide value. At all prices, Gibson guitars have a reputation to be trusted so you are buying with confidence, it all depends on how much you can justify paying.
The Verdict / Impression
With so many great guitarists over the years opting for the Gibson SG, this is always going to be an instrument that appeals to budding guitarists. The great thing is though, the Gibson SG doesn’t have to rely on image or who has played it, it is a guitar that stands up for itself. In fact, the real reason why so many guitarists over the years have opted for this guitar is down to the reliability and great range of sounds that can be conjured up on the instrument.
It is fair to say that there are cheaper guitars available than the Gibson SG but when it comes to variety, reliability and being a rock n roll guitar that everyone wants to get their hands on, it is easy to see why the Gibson SG is one of the most popular instruments around. If you can justify the price, you will not be let down by the Gibson SG.