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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks, I'm looking for a quick education on the venerable Gibson SG.

Is there much difference between an SG Standard, '61 Reissue or other variations?

Looking back over the last 10 or 15 years is there a Golden era noted as more desirable than others?

Do USA SGs with hum buckers always have 57 Classics or do newer ones have Burstbuckers or something else?

Do neck sizes vary from model to model and year to year? (I like hefty neck versus slim).

Thanks - any help is appreciated!
 

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Hey folks, I'm looking for a quick education on the venerable Gibson SG.

Is there much difference between an SG Standard, '61 Reissue or other variations?

Looking back over the last 10 or 15 years is there a Golden era noted as more desirable than others?

Do USA SGs with hum buckers always have 57 Classics or do newer ones have Burstbuckers or something else?

Do neck sizes vary from model to model and year to year? (I like hefty neck versus slim).

Thanks - any help is appreciated!
I own two SGs, (Standard and Classic(P-90s)). I am no expert. But I know a bit. The main difference between the two models imo is the neck joint and the pickups. The pick guard as well if that is a concern. The '61 has 57 pickups the Standard has 490R and 498T (same as the LP Custom). The neck joint on the '61 is at the 22nd fret on the Standard it is at the 20th. You can see it easiest from the back(below). I read that the '61 original design was deemed too 'unstable' and that is why it was changed.

I think there is a difference in the neck tenons too, but I am not 100% sure on that.

The '61s all come with a 60s neck obviously, but the Standards can come with a 50s neck(like mine) or 60s neck. Although I think the new Standards all have 60s necks. There I am tapped. ;-)

For me all guitars are different, even guitars of the same make and model made on the same day. If I were looking I would try as many as I could of both. Some are dogs and some are great, like most brands.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks, that's good info. I think I had the 490/498 pickups in an ES333 a few years ago and didn't love them. Pickups can be changed of course but the cost needs to be factored in.
Thanks again!
 
G

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I have a '85 Standard with Tim Shaw PAF's that I ordered new.
Great guitars.
I don't like the bat wing PG's though.

Like Rozz states, you have to try them to find the one you like.
 

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Yeah, for sure you have to try them. I’ve gone to stores and tried guitars that I thought I would like and they were pigs. I’ve also tried and bought guitars that I never thought I’d own but they turned out great.
 

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I have a 2012 Standard, not sure if the neck is the same but they have pretty much the same specs as the 61 RI? They have the 60’s style half pickguard and 57’s. I had an older model 2008 (I think?) with the batwing and 490R/498t....didn’t like as much though and eventually got rid of it.
 

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I have a 2012 Standard, not sure if the neck is the same but they have pretty much the same specs as the 61 RI? They have the 60’s style half pickguard and 57’s. I had an older model 2008 (I think?) with the batwing and 490R/498t....didn’t like as much though and eventually got rid of it.
Small guard + fat neck was nearly impossible to find until a few years ago. I went through ~10 SGs until I found an ‘06 Custom Shop 62 RI, which is not to be confused with the late 80s USA 62 RI model that had a very slim neck.

Also not a fan of the 498/490 combo, notably the bridge 498 - - A5 mag is too harsh in that guitar - - but the 490 is very similar in spec to a 57 (A2 mag, ~8k).
 

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If you want a fat neck & can deal with the batwing guard, one of the best values is an early-mid 2000s Standard Faded. They were essentially the Hwy 1 of SGs, with a satin finish & dot vs. trapezoid inlays. They used uncovered 490s in both positions, so they sounded surprisingly close to a 61 RI at 1/2 the price.
 

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For a few years starting in the mid 90s, the Specials had ebony boards, gloss finishes & HBs. Still kick myself for passing up a really good deal on a new one back in the day. D’Oh! Stupid bills.
 

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2018 seems to have trimmed the fat a little from the line. Kudos to Gibson for choosing specs on the Std. & Jr. that are relatively faithful to the original run from 61-65 (small guard, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard).

No idea how the 61R/T pups compare to the Classic 57s used in previous years, however I’ve heard good things about the Jr.

The Faded seems like decent value, however watch out for bodies made from multiple strips of mahogany. Also not sure how I feel about the maple neck, it could make that guitar overly bright. If I was considering this model, I’d be very choosy & play as many as possible before deciding.

Gibson SG Guitars
 

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I ordered one of those 'Best Buy' 50s Tribute SG's. A very pleasant fat neck (unbound though, not my preference). For the money, it's a great guitar and, not being a big fan of that style myself, all the SG I need. And it scratches my P90 itch just fine.

Funny enough, I just noticed a couple of months ago (after probably 2 or 3 years of ownership) that it has 24 frets and not 22. Shows how much I get up there with my fat, stubby little fingers. Just as well. As they say: "There's no money above the 5th fret." :D There ain't much below it anymore, either.
 
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Is there much difference between an SG Standard, '61 Reissue or other variations?
Yes.



Looking back over the last 10 or 15 years is there a Golden era noted as more desirable than others?
No, and the belief that there is (or could be) is a myth. There are good guitars and bad guitars made every day of every year.



Do USA SGs with hum buckers always have 57 Classics or do newer ones have Burstbuckers or something else?
It will vary. And if you are talking Gibsons, there is no such thing as a non USA SG.


Do neck sizes vary from model to model and year to year? (I like hefty neck versus slim).
Yes.
 

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Pickups are all over the place but the most common are 57 Classics or 490/498 but you will also see burstbuckers, 490r/490t, and probably more. Then there are the P90 and P100 versions. The 490/498/490r/490t pickups vary a lot so you really need to try before you buy. Necks are also all over the place even amongst the same year and model. Again, you need to play before you buy. I really like the late 80’s to mid 90’s Specials with the ebony boards. They just seem to be raw and raunchy like an SG should be and they feel right. They usually have some combination of the 490 series pickups.
 

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I picked up this oddball 2004 SG Special with gloss finish and factory 490/498 covered pickups for a friend of mine who was starting an AC/DC tribute band. Completely fell in love with it (fat neck and all) and reluctantly sold it to him. Traded it back against a SG Standard I later found for him a few months later. I used to have a 1991 SG Standard that couldn't stay in tune and quite frankly, found this Special to be far superior. I don't know what it is with SG's, but they are all over the place and what you pay does not necessarily line up with what you get...

 
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