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Right from the introduction of the SG family in 1961, the Special has shared several of the seminal design and construction traits of the Standard—including its lightweight solid-mahogany body, iconic asymmetrical double-cutaway design, superfast neck profile, and dual-pickup sonic assault—although the contemporary Gibson USA SG Special has also been hot-rodded for today’s demanding player.

Itching to rock with no superfluous frills to get in the way? The SG Special is ready to take you there. When the SG replaced the single-cutaway Les Paul in the Gibson catalog in 1961, the change ushered in a new rock icon—even if the world didn’t quite know it yet. Through the course of the coming decade the SG would become a favorite of rock, blues, and fusion players. By the time the single-cutaway Les Paul Standard returned to the fold later in the ’60s to reclaim its own hold on the guitar world, the SG had established itself as an iconic axe for straight-ahead rockers, making a major noise in the hands of Pete Townshend, Robby Krieger, Eric Clapton, and several others. As the stripped-down sibling of the SG Standard, the SG Special has always been a favorite of non-nonsense rock’n’rollers.

Unlike the single coils of the ’60s, the SG Special now carries a pair of hard-rockin’ humbucking pickups, along with the legendary pairing of a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. In short, it has everything you need to rock with the best of ’em, and nothing to get in the way, while retaining the great styling that lets you know it’s a part of one of the most legendary guitar families in the history of rock.

The SG Special has always been distinguished by its simpler headstock adornments and the businesslike dot inlays on its rosewood fingerboard, which is also left un-bound in keeping with its stripped-down ethos. These elements aside, however, today’s Gibson USA SG Special runs neck-and-neck with the flagship of the SG family. Its solid mahogany body packs all the resonance and sustain that has helped to make SGs legendary, and it sports the beveled edge that is such a big part of this model’s distinctive styling, while also enhancing playing comfort.

Two deep cutaways with sharp, slightly asymmetrical horns offer unparalleled access to the top of its 22-fret neck, which you’ll scale at lightning speed thanks to the SG Special’s fast, comfortable, rounded ’50s neck profile. Cranking all this tonewood and superb playability to the max is a pair of Gibson’s most popular humbucking pickups from the Modern Classics series: a 490R in the neck position, and a 490T in the bridge. Made in the style of the hallowed PAF humbucker, with genuine Alnico II magnets, but updated to meet the demands of today’s player, this pairing offers everything from smooth, creamy, vocal warmth in the neck to raunchy rhythm tones and searing leads in the bridge.

It all runs through Gibson’s classic control configuration of independent volume and tone knobs for each pickup, and three-way toggle selector switch. Keeping it all locked and loaded are a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, arguably the most emulated hardware configuration on the planet, and a set of Kluson-style tuners with vintage pearloid buttons.

Body and Finish

A lightweight body made from resonant solid-mahogany, with contoured edge and deep asymmetrical cutaways, distinguishes the SG Special as a rock legend, while making it extremely comfortable to play. The guitar is available in your choice of two great looking nitrocellulose finishes: Heritage Cherry and Ebony Black.

Neck, Headstock and Fingerboard

The SG Special is crafted in classic Gibson style with a glued-in neck made from solid quarter-sawn mahogany and topped with an unbound rosewood fingerboard, minimally adorned with simple dot inlays. It has an angled headstock for superior resonance, and its rounded ’50s profile and 1 11/16” wide Corian nut help to make it supremely playable.

Pickups and Electronics

The SG Special carries two of Gibson’s most popular humbucking pickups, a 490T in the bridge position and a 490R in the neck, left uncovered to reflect the model’s “bare bones” look. Both are updated renditions of Gibson’s famous PAF humbuckers of the late ’50s and early ’60s, modified for improved versatility, and routed through the classic Gibson four-knob and three-way switch control section.


The hardware set on the SG Special echoes that worn by SG Standards of the mid to late ’60s, and includes Gibson’s hallowed Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, along with vintage-style tulip-button tuners and traditional aluminum strap buttons. Bridge and tailpiece are both plated in chrome for a professional and durable finish.



  • Top Mahogany
  • Adhesive Franklin Titebond 50


  • Species Mahogany
  • Profile SG Rounded
  • Truss Rod Traditional Adjustable
  • Joint Angle 4.25° (+/- 15 seconds)
  • Adhesive Franklin Titebond 50

Neck Fit

  • Joint Mortise & Tenon
  • Adhesive Franklin Titebond 50
  • Joint Angle Tolerance +/- .005"


  • Species Rosewood
  • Frets 22
  • Radius 12"
  • Nut/E.O.B 1.695"/2.260"
  • Inlay Acrylic Dot


  • Material Corian
  • Width 1.695
  • Slots Gibson PLEK System


  • Logo Gold Silkscreen "Gibson" Logo
  • Truss Rod Cover Black and White Antique Bell with "SG" Imprint


  • Model Vintage Tuners with Perloid Buttons
  • Plating Nickel
  • Tuning Ratio 14:1


  • Type Nashville Tune-O-Matic
  • Material Zamak
  • Plating Chrome


  • Type Stop Bar
  • Material Zamak
  • Plating Chrome


  • Knobs Black Top Hats with Silver Metal Inserts
  • Toggle Switch Washer Black with Gold Imprint
  • Control Plate Cover Black Acrylic
  • Strap Buttons Aluminum
  • Strings .010 - .046, Genuine Gibson strings


  • Neck Position Uncovered 490R
  • Bridge Position Uncovered 490T
  • Magnet Material Alnico II and Alnico V
  • Covers Uncovered


  • Potentiometers 2 Volume Controls, 2 Tone Controls
  • Type 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone
  • Coil Wiring Machine Wound
  • Toggle Switch Three-way Switchcraft with Cream Plastic Tip
  • Output Jack Traditional 1/4"


  • Sealer Nitrocellulose
  • Process 1-1.5 mils


  • Type Gibson Deluxe Gigbag
  • Case Exterior Black
  • Case Interior Plush Lining


  • Additional Materials Each SG Special comes with adjustment literature, and documentation for the guitar’s Limited Lifetime Warranty, along with Gibson’s 24/7/365 Customer Service.

Reviews on Web

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- Musician’s Friend (en)
- Thomann (de)


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