10 Facts About The Gibson SG Guitar

You know this six-string as the horned weapon of choice of such legends as Tony Iommi, Angus Young and similar esteemed gents. Now, them neat facts…

It was designed by Ted McCarty

While names like Leo Fender and Les Paul are very well known among the guitar crowd, Ted McCarty isn’t exactly a household name, and it damn well should be. This is the man who not only designed the SG, but contributed to the world of guitars with a whole string of innovations. He was the president of the company between 1950 and 1966, and he’s the man responsible for the development of the Tune-o-matic bridge system, the humbucking pickup, and these guitars: Explorer, Flying V, ES-335, Moderne, SG and Firebird. Under his guidance, Gibson went from selling 5,000 guitars a year to over 100,000. Ted died in April 2001 at the age of 91.

SG stands for ‘Solid Guitar,’ but Gibson SG wasn’t the initial name

The initial idea was that this guitar was to replace the iconic single-cutaway Les Paul guitar altogether. Back in 1961, LP sales were on a sharp decline, and the company decided to reinvent the guitar by transforming it into the SG.

Les Paul didn’t like it

Continuing the story from the previous bit, Les Paul did not like the new instrument. And seeing that he wasn’t involved with the development of the guitar at all, he demanded that his name is taken away from the six-sting. The company honored the man’s request and renamed the model to “SG,” ultimately fully removing Les Paul’s name from it by 1963.

It is the best-selling Gibson of all time

During its first three years on the market, the SG sold 6,000 units, dwarfing the 1,700 figure that Les Paul Standard reached during its first 36 months. These days, Gibson have proudly named this guitar their best-selling model ever.

It was never discontinued

It might seem odd these days, but many Gibson models were discontinued at one point after the original release – the majority of the iconic models, in fact. Les Paul – discontinued in 1961, returned in 1968; Explorer – discontinued in 1963, returned only in 1976; Flying V – discontinued in 1959, briefly returned in 1963, and then fully returned in 1967. This leaves the SG in the smaller group of popular models that were not discontinued, a group in which we can also find the Firebird (introduced in 1963) and ES-335 (introduced in 1958).

It was announced as the ‘fastest guitar in the world,’ and usually ended up with a broken neck

The company wanted to point out that this is one playable guitar by giving it a slim neck. They went too far with the early models, resulting in many broken necks.

Tony Iommi was kinda forced to use it on Black Sabbath’s debut album

We all know Mr. Iommi as the man wielding an SG. However, he started recording Sabbath’s debut album on his white Fender Stratocaster, the one he used during a brief pre-Sabbath Jethro Tull stint. However, a malfunctioning pickup forced him to make a change during the recording sessions, and that’s where he grabbed the SG, his backup guitar that he “never really played.” That SG was a right-handed model, and Tony was playing it upside down since he was left-handed. Funnily enough, soon after the album was done Mr. Iommi met a fellow guitarist who played a left-handed SG upside down because he was right-handed. They did the logical thing – guitar swap.

The most valuable guitar in the world is an SG

It’s called the Eden of Coronet, it’s a Gibson SG packed with 400 quality diamonds embedded in 1.6 kg (that would be 3.5 lbs) of 18 K gold. It’s valued at $2,000,000 and it looks a bit fruity.

One of the rarest SGs is called the SG-R1

Introduced in 1980, only around 200 models of the SG-R1 were ever made. The guitar utilizes Moog active electronics and a tad thicker body to accommodate the circuitry. It was discontinued within around a year.

The original price of an SG was $310

That’s around $2,500 when adjusted for inflation.

How My Love For Pizza Began!

Before the age of 14 I knew about pizza but I had little access to it. When we lived in Kuwait the only fast food my family usually had was KFC chicken and we used to get Hungry Bunny burgers and once in a while I think we did go to McDonalds a few times. I vaguely remember getting some pizza, maybe Pizza Hut or Dominos but it wasn’t something that my family really went for.

But until the age of 14 I didn’t consider pizza as my favourite food. What changed? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! The 1990 movie on the fab 4 in which we see that the turtles have their obsession with pizza. And in the movie you see them ordering Dominos and I was tempted to try more pizza but we had a dearth of them. The only cafes & restaurants that offered pizzas did a piss poor job of making them. And it was mostly bland. Until the early 2000s when a couple of places popped up that offered better versions. Finally Dominos arrived in the city.

Pizza Hut soon followed and that began a revolution of sorts and we started getting a lot more pizza places. I can get so many different kinds of pizza now and I love it. But I always think back to those days back in 1990 and my love for this awesome, or should I say radical, movie that began my love for pizza. Cowabunga dude!