Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2003 Gibson SG Standard Guitar


Holy cow, a Gibson with a decent neck! I’ve seen (and bought) a seemingly endless procession of Gibson guitars with crappy fretwork and bum necks, so finding this SG is a treat.

It is a crying shame that people continue to buy Gibsons for thousands of dollars that need fret jobs or fretboard planning right out of the box. I can only figure that most of them never get played very much.

Anyway, the Gibson SG is a classic guitar that was introduced in 1961 as a cheaper version of the Les Paul. It has not really changed much over the years, and to be honest I think they play a bit better (easier) than the Les Paul models.

This unmodified example is an SG Standard that was built in July of 2003, and is finished in glossy black over its mahogany body and neck. It has chrome hardware, including Gibson Deluxe tuners and a Tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar tailpiece.

The humbucker pickups are a 490R at the neck and a 498T at the bridge. They are wired in the typical Les Paul fashion: two volume and two tone pots with a 3-way selector switch.

As I said before, the neck is what makes this SG so good. It is a standard scale (24.75-inch) neck, with a bound rosewood fretboard and trapezoidal inlays. BTW, the only time I ever use the word “trapezoidal” is when I talk about Gibson guitars. Anyway, they got this one right. The fretboard is true, and the frets are dead nuts level. The fret edges are smooth as silk, and the action is low and buzz free.

And lastly, this one comes in at around 7 pounds. This is a real blessing for any of you out there that have grown used to 11 pound Les Pauls. It almost feels like a toy in comparison.

The moral of this story is that there are still some good Gibsons out there, but they are few and far between -- always try before you buy.



  1. I played a 1976 SG Standard for 26 years. I do miss that one, sometimes.
    (it had a stable but very thin neck- too thin for my tastes after age 35 or so.)

    Properly done, they are a fabulous, if delicate guitar. As you say, all too often they are not done well at all.

    Corey K

  2. I bought this guitar second hand at a reduced price because there was a repaired crack on the headstock that was fine when I got it. 400 bucks and a guarantee on the repair. But what a guitar. I grabbed it not thinking resale or anything else it was just an awesome sounding guitar. Over 8 months the repair seperated and now i have to decide to have t repaired by the seller or get a refund and buy that Tribute Les Paul that was put out limited just called the LP Tribute,but with P90 pick ups. The other is a double set of 2,worn type with only brown and cherry available, no special name, just LPT1 also with the same price and reduced availability but with PAFs and the Burst Busters as Pick ups, so I'm trying to gather opinions from those who know any of these as to what they would do, especially, once you have a crack that has come apart once will it continue to. The crack is U shaped and runs outside the tuners from the center peg on eachside. Any opinions!!!
    Thanks guys!. I have been writing about music 25 years, if i can return the favour with some questions, would be glad too. This one is too close to home to make a real call on it.