SG History.

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Stark Naked, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. Stark Naked

    Stark Naked Active Member

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    I was just engaged in a conversation with a person on a YouTube comment thread who insisted that Les Paul designed the Gibson SG. He defended this opinion so fiercely that I tried to do some research. According to Wikipedia, when sales of the original Les Paul fell off in 1960, Gibson redesigned the Les Paul into what is now the SG. And did so without informing Les or any of his input.
    In a "Guitar World" web article "The History of the Gibson SG", by Mark Brakes, 3/27/20, they state, Older Gibson employees credit Larry Allers a wood carver and design engineer with the SG design. As SG enthusiast, most of us know Les refused to endorse the SG design and took his name off of it. I would be interested in seeing any further information about "Who designed the Gibson SG."
     
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  2. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    OK Stark, but put some clothes on.
     
  3. Sootio

    Sootio Well-Known Member

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    Satan
     
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  4. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    Yup. I know it sounds like a made up story, but SG does stand for "Satan's Guitar."

    You really think it stands for 'Spanish Guitar' or 'Solid Guitar' or 'Santana's Guitar'? It doesn't. My SG is from USA not Spain; the SG isn't really solid (there's a chamber for the controls); and Carlos plays a PRS. But Satan really does play an SG. I have proof:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    The SG models were known as Les Paul SGs until the end of 1963 when the “Les Paul” name was dropped. The SG Special underwent a redesign under Ted McCarty andThe SG Special underwent a redesign under Ted McCarty and in 1961, the SG design became available to the public.

    https://www.samash.com/spotlight/a-brief-history-of-the-gibson-sg/


    They made four variations in that first year – The Les Paul SG Custom, which featured 3 humbuckers and was available in white, and a Les Paul SG Standard which was available in a cherry finish and featured two humbuckers. The other two were the Les Paul SG Junior, which usually featured a P90 in the bridge position, and the Les Paul SG Special which featured two P90s. The SG Special was sold up until 1990 and then was brought back in 1995 as the SG Classic. Those models have remained pretty much unchanged through the years. Although Gibson did some experimenting with different tailpieces, heel shape and pickguards through the 60s and early 70’s. Today’s Standard SG models are very much the same as the models we saw in 1967-1969. in 1961, the SG design became available to the public.
     
  6. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Mine is even called a Diablo, so yeah, case closed.
     
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  7. 19sixty3

    19sixty3 Member

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    Ted McCarty designed it..wouldn't be too surprising I guess, since he came up with the concept for the Flying V and the Explorer. Although Ted McCarty had a hand in designing the ES-335 too - at least he claimed it was his idea to „put the solid maple bar down the middle“.

    In 1961, Ted McCarty took the Les Paul back to the drawing board. Still made of mahogany, the instrument was remodeled with a thinner, flat topped, contoured body. A double cutaway was introduced, which made the upper frets more accessible. And, the neck joint was moved by three frets for further ease of access to those upper frets, just like on a Fender Strat. Though it was launched in 1961, the SG only became known as the SG in 1963. Before then, it was known as the Les Paul. It was only after Les Paul’s involvement with the guitar ended that it became the SG – SG standing for ‘Solid Guitar’.

    Ted McCarty left Gibson in 1966.
     
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  8. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Your mistake was wading into the cesspool of the internet that is Youtube comments.

    It was most likely a joint effort headed by McCarty and Allers, but there is little information out there beyond that. Without a shadow of a doubt, Les Paul had ZERO influence. He barely had any influence on the original Les Paul, despite what he claims.
     
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  9. Stark Naked

    Stark Naked Active Member

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    Your absolutely right about the cesspool. I've never read so many unfounded, uniformed, mindless, comments, any where else on the net. They seem like squabbling children.
     
  10. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    its a good thing Les Paul didnt have a hand in designing the SG... :D
     
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  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully the info we posted is closer to the actual details as best as can be derived, 60+ years later.
     
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  12. ezypikins

    ezypikins Member

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    Santana, Woodstock 1969
    santana.JPG
     
  13. SatansGwitar

    SatansGwitar Member

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    I'm confounded you even bother debating such a thing that has been documented, proven and written countless times in reputable sources with some numb minded Youtube commenters. You will never win any argument on Youtube even if you are right, thats fact.
     
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  14. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see his reaction if you told him Les Paul didn't even design the Les Paul... :naughty:

    But it's true: McCarty recalled paying a visit to Les & Mary with two prototype Les Pauls - it was the first time he'd seen one. Les looked at one, and then called out to Mary saying something like 'we should join them on this' (I cant recall the exact quote).

    In the end he contributed a not-very-good tailpiece design that was soon dropped.
     
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  15. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Active Member

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    I think Les Paul would have liked the SG more if it was a neck-thru-body design. The construction is so weak that the guitar breaks at the heal. A Les Paul guitar is more solidly built & better balanced. It's ironic they call it an SG (Solid Guitar)...maybe they should call a Stratocaster an SG because they are built like tanks.;)
     
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  16. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Quite a contrast in those names. 'Stratocaster' is such an everyday word it's easy to forget how original it was. Both 'Telecaster' and "Stratocaster' were really creative product names that caught the excitement of the moment in an age when television, jets, and space travel were all new and exciting. By contrast, Gibson put someone else's name on their first solid body, and when they took it off, they put as much thought into its new name as you'd give to creating a catalogue number. :)
     
  17. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    I consider this essentially a myth. Headstock breaks are far more common, but that still doesn't necessarily mean the design is flawed. Simply put, fine instruments are often delicate and are to be treated with care. You wouldn't call a Stradivarius violin "flimsy". SGs use a porous wood (Mahogany) that is less strong than Maple for tonal reasons. This is a design choice, and every choice has trade-offs in the real world. Generally speaking, SGs were not treated with care until they started gaining vintage status in the 1990s, much later than Les Pauls.

    Also, people seem to assume the early '60s design in particular is weak because of how it looks from the outside, without knowing the design of the mortise and tenon. The design featured a substantial tenon equal to the entire width of the neck, which reached nearly to the back of the neck pickup cavity as well. By contrast, modern Custom/Historic SGs use a functionally identical design and have not gained this reputation for neck breaks. Also, it's not like there aren't late '60s SGs or even Les Pauls with broken necks despite their robust heel design.

    As far as balance, that is purely due to the strap button placement. Again, the designers made a trade-off between form and function. It works better to avoid dive with the button on the horn, but that would interrupt the beautiful shape. I've never had a problem with neck dive anyway. If you're walking around, handling other objects with your guitar strapped on, that's when you're most liable to bash the headstock into something because you're not focusing on the guitar. Maybe this is why so many other people seem to complain as if their headstocks and necks are just breaking themselves off on their own, while I have never had a single break in my life.

    I would only call it a design flaw if the neck snapped from the pressure of the strings, frankly. That a guitar can't take being dropped 5 feet straight on its neck is not a design flaw because that is not what it was designed to do. You wouldn't call an automobile flawed for breaking a tail light when you back into a pole, would you? Or a lamp for breaking when you knock it on the floor?
     
  18. Demon Dave

    Demon Dave Member

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    I totally agree, amen
     
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  19. Todd Westfall

    Todd Westfall New Member

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    Right on. I've never understood the whole "neck dive" thing either. I've owned, over the years a dozen or so SG's and all were well balanced. I've always played with a leather 2.5" strap and never had any problems. The four I own now balance perfectly on my right knee, although I use a strap when playing seated too. To me, the SG is the perfect guitar. Those four were made from early 63 (Les Paul truss rod cover and sideways vibrola) to a 2020 CS 1964 reissue with the meaty neck. All perfectly balanced.
     
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  20. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Active Member

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    The LP only snaps at the headstock ;)
     
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