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Why I will never own a Gibson SG guitar


I won't own an SG for the same reason I won't own a Fender Duo-Sonic.

Recently, I tried out a Gibson SG Standard in Cherry finish - a totally gorgeous instrument. The guitar shines in all the right places and wow, does it look nice.

Why did I try the guitar out? Two reasons. First, the Guitar Center I went to did not have it locked to the guitar stand (it is typical for GC to lock higher priced guitars to the stand so you have to ask to play it). Second, this is one of Gibson's lower priced guitars. Yes, the SG Standard I played was priced at $1,799, but that's a bargain compared to a '50s or '60s Les Paul Standard that sells for $2,799 at the time of this writing.

Side note: Yes, I know the is $1,299, but if I were going to buy a Gibson Les Paul, it would be a Standard. Not the Tribute, not the Studio. Standard. That's the one that matters...

...which makes the SG Standard all that more attractive, because after all, it is a Standard model.

So what's the problem with the SG Standard? It's a problem all SG's have.

No, it's not neck dive, because that can be easily accommodated for by snaking the strap through the belt.

No, it's not the sound, because the pickups sound great.

It's the lower bout curve position that forces the bridge forward when playing the guitar in the seated position.

Confused? You won't be in a moment.

This is a Les Paul and SG side-by-side:


Whether these guitars are made by Epiphone or Gibson doesn't matter because the shapes are the same, so this is not a "a Gibson thing", it's a shape thing.

Look at the curve beneath the pick guard of the SG and where its position is. Now look at the same place on the Les Paul. Notice how the SG's curve (as in the curve going up towards the pickups) is further back compared to the Les Paul...

...and that's the reason why I can't own an SG.

When playing in the seated position with the guitar rested on the leg, the SG's bridge sits more forward and there's not a thing you can do about it. Every time you sit and play an SG, that bridge will be further forward. I absolutely cannot get used to that. The Les Paul bridge position when playing seated is just fine, but not the SG.

This is literally the exact same problem when comparing the Fender Mustang and Duo-Sonic. One plays great seated (the Mustang) and the other feels terrible (Duo-Sonic) all because of the position of the lower bout curve cut position.

As a playing-when-standing guitar, the SG totally works. It's when you sit down with it that everything is terrible if you play with it resting on the leg such as I do.

It's a darned shame, because said very honestly, I really like the look of the SG. But I can't own a guitar I can't play seated.

Notice how I place the guitar when playing seated in an attempt to get that bridge positioned further back. It helps a little, but not enough:

Published 2023 Feb 21

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