The Gibson SG Turns 50

02/10/2011
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(Gibson) The Gibson SG guitar is a rock and roll classic. After its introduction in 1961, key guitarists in the rock and roll revolution of the mid '60s, from Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend in England to Jerry Garcia, Frank Zappa and Robby Krieger in America, quickly fell in love with the slinky, new, fast-neck, double-cutaway guitar making it one of the coolest guitars in rock and roll history.

Back in 1958, Gibson started experimenting with cutaway designs for the Gibson Junior, Special and TV models. With sales of the Gibson Les Pauls maturing, the double-cutaway design was introduced in 1961 to give guitarists a different style guitar to the Les Paul. The Les Paul name stayed on the new shape guitars until 1963 when the great man's endorsement deal expired and Gibson called it the SG, or Solid Guitar, which is how it was referred to in the factory. The name was not, sadly, anything to do with Satan's Guitar as has been suggested by some reading too much into cutaway's resemblance to horns.

Rock and rollers everywhere gravitated towards the instrument. Eric Clapton wailed to guitar greatness with his Cream-era SG. Pete Townshend threw plenty of windmills on his trusted SG, smashed more than a few to pieces and even used one as a weapon against stage invader Abie Hoffman at Woodstock. In America, Robby Krieger honed The Doors' revolutionary new sound on his trusted SG and Jerry Garcia used his to summon the gods of acid rock and start a merry, decades-long journey to discovery. more on this story

Gibson.com is an official news provider for the Day in Rock.

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