Gibson Les Paul and SG Guitar Model Guide
This Gibson Quick Guide is not intended to be an exhaustive and complete guide, but simply to help you understand the family of models from the famous American company.
Gibson Les paul Models
Gibson studio guitar, released in 1959, very basic, fine-bodied, although originally all mahogany, some models (modern ones) are made with woods that are not traditional Gibson Tonewoods.
Mahogany body with maple top, maple neck. Super fine finish, which with a couple of months of use begins to fade. This is the 2013 version, with a more metal look (the one in the photo), it brings a 490R / 498T set, the 2014 version, with a more classic look, comes with a Zebra ’61 set.
There is a wide variety of models, some have a maple neck, others mahogany, some chambered (hollowed) and other classic Weight Relief, they come with Humbucker, mini HB or P90s. The finish is also fine and they come off very easily.
Junior and Special
It is another historical viola, released in 1954 as a cheap alternative to the Gibson Les Paul, made of mahogany without a maple top or carved, that is, with a flat top. The Gibson Les Paul Junior comes with a single P90, while the Special comes with two P90s. There is also the double-cut version.
It is already a guitar with a medium to high quality in all respects, the traditional one is Gloss (Gibson’s traditional gloss finish), generally with smooth maple tops. Although there was a Faded version that the body was completely mahogany, the faded finish is not fine and does not fade as it happens in the lower-end models. It usually comes with 490R / 498T PIckups that are more midsize and power than a classic PAF. The only significant difference with a “True” Les Paul is the thickness of the body, which is a few millimiters thinner. Also the Weight Relief vary according to the year and the model.
This is where the pure and tough Gibson Les Pauls begin. In this case, they come with Slim Taper 60s shank, ABR-1 bridge and generally come with smooth tops and with ceramic pickups: 496R and 500T, although there are versions that come with flamed tops and with PAF-type pickups.
Gibson Les Paul Traditional come with Rounded 50’s shank, and generally come with flamed tops. They are an excellent option along with the Gibson Les Paul Classic for those who do not have a Gibson Les Paul Standard in their budget.
It is the most emblematic Gibson Les Paul, based on the 59 that was the first with a showy flamed top but with the variations that the Les Paul had over the years.
Known as the “Black beauty”, released in 1954, then with P90s instead of the not yet invented Humbuckers, as “superior” models, the big difference is that it has an ebony fretboard. Ebony nourishes the guitar with greater definition and attack due to its more Scooped tone (marked treble and bass), it is widely used for heavy styles for this reason. Due to sourcing issues, more contemporary models come with a material called richline instead of ebony. Richlite is an artificial material made from paper. It comes with rectangular inlays, including one on the 1st fret, and with double binding and gold hardware. There is also the white Custom that takes an ivory color with the aging of nitro lacquer.
They are editions with the same specifications as the originals. The models are identified by the letter R and a number, in which that number represents the year of the 1950s with the exception of zero which means 60, thus an R9 is a reissue of 59, and an R7 a reissue of 57. The most iconic model is the Gibson Les Paul R9 which was the first Les Paul with a flamed top.
Gibson SG Models
Gibson SG studio guitar, some models (modern ones) are made with woods that are not traditional Gibson Tonewoods.
Mahogany body, maple neck. Super fine finish, which with a couple of months of use begins to fade. This is the 2013 version, with a more metal look (the one in the photo), it brings a 490R / 498T set, the 2014 version, with a more classic look, comes with a Zebra ’61 set.
There is a wide variety of models, some have a maple neck, others a mahogany neck, they come with a Humbucker or P90s. The finish is also fine and they come off very easily.
Released as a studio guitar, it comes with a P90.
Similar to the Gibson SG Standard but the differences lie especially in aesthetics. It has dots inlays instead of the classic Gibson Trapezoids, it comes without a binding, there are models that come in a Gloss finish and others Faded, and with a cover instead of a case. It usually brings 490R and 490T mics.
The classic Gibson SG, with binding, trapezoid inlays, hard case.
They are editions with the same specifications as the originals, the most emblematic model is the Gibson SG 61 RI.
There are other guitars in the Gibson offering. But the two models included in this guide are Gibson’s best sellers. The rest of the models do not present such a wide range of versions. The explanations detailed above can serve as a reference for most other Gibson instruments.
For more information, head over to Gibson.
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