The Comprehensive Guide to SG-Style Guitars: Price Points, Builds, Alternatives and Customisations

Imagine holding a piece of rock history. There’s a specific weight to it, all at once familiar and exhilarating. Indeed, many greats have clung to a SG-style guitar, carving out immortal riffs and solos with an instrument as unique as themselves. But how did this iconic guitar find its way into so many legendary hands? The answer, my fellow guitar enthusiasts, is as fascinating as the instrument itself – filled with the twists and turns of innovation, competition, and unyielding passion. This is a journey we’ll embark on together, delving into the world of SG-style guitars.

As someone deeply ingrained in the world of guitar music for over two decades, I’ve nurtured a profound appreciation for the SG-style guitar. I have witnessed and partaken in its evolution, from the crafting process to its sonic capabilities. My years dedicated to writing for Guitar Player magazine affords me a unique, expert perspective, one I’m eager to share with you in this comprehensive guide.

In this article, we’ll explore not just the history, but also the design, build, and the alternatives available to the classic SG. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a casual enthusiast, get ready to unveil the secrets of this iconic guitar, filled with insights that are as compelling as the guitar itself.

Understanding SG-style Guitars: Features and Specifications

Design and Aesthetics of SG-style Guitars

Design and Aesthetics of SG-style Guitars

Having spent a considerable amount of time indulging in the world of SG-style guitars, one characteristic that remains undeniably enchanting is the unique synthesis of aesthetics and functionality. The SG-style guitar design is as much about visual appeal as it is about sound and performance quality.

The design predominance begins with the distinguishably sleek SG guitar shapes that emit an intrinsic aura of boldness and power. The devil’s horn, also known as the ‘open-book’ headstock, combined with its thin, flat-topped, double-cutaway body, grants the SG a remarkable, striking silhouette. It’s enticing at first sight, whispering tales of an age defined by legendary rock icons.

However, the design’s mastery expands beyond the allure of its aesthetics. Each component propels the capabilities of the SG-style guitar, merging form and function harmoniously.

Experience has taught me that the slim taper profile of the SG’s neck offers swift and comfortable fretboard navigation—an asset for fast-paced genres. The body’s lightweight nature and contouring contribute to playability, ensuring a comfortable fit against a musician’s torso. Each of these design elements, subtle yet impactful, work in tandem to deliver an enriching playing experience.

The SG-style guitar’s aesthetics are not mere afterthoughts, but instead form a central part of the instrument’s identity. Its design is a visual metaphor for the powerful and punchy tones it produces—tones that have fueled the raw essence of countless rock ‘n’ roll anthems over the years.

This fusion of design and aesthetics allows the SG-style guitars to stand distinctively amidst other contenders in the realm of electric guitars. A true testament to their legacy, they continue to offer musicians a unique playing experience, coupled with an aesthetic allure that refuses to fade. As we delve deeper into the hardware and specifications of SG-style guitars, we’ll further unravel this synchronicity between design and performance.

Specs and Hardware of SG-style Guitars

Specs and Hardware of SG-style Guitars

Transitioning from the design aesthetics, let’s delve into the specs and hardware of the iconic SG guitars. Being in the trenches with these six-stringed wonders, I’ve developed a fine-tuned understanding of what exactly makes up the SG guitar body and neck. It all starts with the selection of guitar tone woods, perfectly resonant, contributing significantly to the SG’s unique, warm and clear sound. The standard SG body is typically made from mahogany, known for its rich tonal warmth and sustenance.

A vital part of the SG guitar specifications is the neck, traditionally set-in and constructed from durable mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, offering a fast and smooth playing experience. While SGs are known for their slim neck profiles, there’s a variety to choose from, suiting different play styles and comfort preferences.

Now, the SG guitar pickups: the engine under the hood. SGs typically come equipped with dual humbuckers, known for their thick, warm tones and ability to counteract unwanted noise interference. They produce a sound that’s versatile enough for bluesy rhythms or grittier rock leads. The best part about these pickups? They’re adjustable, allowing for a customised sonic experience.

Never to be overlooked, SG guitar hardware such as the tune-o-matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece, both contribute to improved sustain and tuning stability. Combined, these components define the unique voice and feel of SG guitars, customisable to player preference.

Understanding the SG guitar in its entirety, from design aesthetics to crucial hardware, lays a robust foundation for discerning what sets apart affordable and high-end models.

Affordable and High-End SG Guitars: A Buyer’s Guide

Affordable and High-End SG Guitars: A Buyer's Guide

With my decades of experience accumulated at Guitar Player, there is one thing I am absolutely certain of – the quest for the perfect guitar is an admirable endeavour, one that invariably brings us to the question of affordability and quality. Naturally, one might wonder where they could find an SG-style guitar that strikes the perfect balance.

Ever wondered if there’s an SG-style guitar that would suit your pocket without compromising its quality? Dive into this chapter to know more. From my adventures in trying out various SG models, I’ve discovered the magic in both spheres – affordable as well as high-end options, and I am thrilled to share that knowledge with you here.

It is a time-honored practice to begin with the affordable range when trying out new gear. The Epiphone SG models are an excellent starting point in this regard. They offer the classic aesthetic appeal and performance features of the high-end Gibson SG at a fraction of the cost. Due to their outstanding value-for-money proposition, these affordable SG guitars are a hit amongst beginners and intermediate level players alike.

Epiphone SGs, as High quality SG replicas, delivers an impressive sonic performance while preserving the playability and comfort that SG models are renowned for. With a variety of finishes and pick-up configurations to choose from, there’s an Epiphone SG guitar that would suit any player’s taste.

Moving up the price ladder, we have the classic Gibson SG models, the epitome of luxury and sonic perfection. A profound appreciation for the Gibson SG started knocking at my door after the first strum. It wasn’t just the guitar’s premium build quality that had me hooked, but the distinctive tone and sheer playability it offered. These high-end SG guitars are perfect for more experienced players looking for an all-encompassing musical instrument.

Gibson SGs are heritage, a bridge connecting the majestic past with the present and the future. Owning one is like owning a piece of music history. From Rock N’ Roll legends to Indie Pop artists, Gibson SGs have been an integral part of their musical journey, granting these legendary instruments their irreplaceable status within the music industry.

Seeing the dichotomy of affordable and high-end SG guitars leaves one with the realisation – there is an SG guitar for every kind of player, neither lacking in quality nor in performance regardless of where they fall on the affordability scale. The ultimate choice boils down to the individual’s budget, musical needs, and personal aesthetic inclination.

As we continue to explore the fascinating world of SG-style guitars in this guide, remember that finding the perfect SG is a journey, one where the thrill lies in the pursuit. Whether you are a novice entranced by the allure of rock music, or a seasoned professional looking for your next trusted companion on stage, the SG guitar world has something in store for everyone.

Exploring SG Guitar Alternatives

Exploring SG Guitar Alternatives

Entering the realm of SG guitar alternatives, it becomes clear that guitar enthusiasts are open to exploration, seeking instruments that align with their unique play styles and aesthetic preferences. Over the years, my experience as a journalist has placed me square in the middle of these passionate debates about the myriad alternative options available. Lending an ear to every side of the argument, I can see where different musicians are coming from and make a few recommendations of my own.

And now, the question you’ve been waiting for. Have ever wondered if there any credible alternatives to SG guitars? My answer will take us on a journey, exploring some of the most popular alternatives to the classic SG guitar.

When looking for an alternative guitar, it’s essential to consider what specifically you are seeking. Are you on the hunt for a different tonal character, unique aesthetic, or alternative controls and hardware? Each of these considerations might lead you to a different alternative. One of the most common categories guitarists tend to explore is double cut guitars, a style that offers a distinctive look and provides more fret access.

If you’re after something that rivals the SG in terms of tonal range and power, the ESP Ltd Viper might be the perfect candidate. Though this guitar shares the double cutaway design of an SG, it sports a heavier body made of mahogany and a thick, robust tone. In addition, ESP Ltd Viper guitars provide various finishes and hardware options, allowing you to customize it to your liking, creating a truly one-of-a-kind instrument that captures the essence of your individual style.

These SG guitar alternatives are certainly credible in their own right, each offering something unique to the player. What I’ve learned is that these alternatives aren’t necessarily better or worse across the board, but rather, they express different aspects of a guitarist’s personality and performance style. The decision then becomes about understanding and aligning with your personal preferences, a journey I can attest is endlessly fascinating and rewarding.

So have an open mind when exploring these SG guitar alternatives. The power is in your hands to create and shape your distinct sound, and who knows? The alternative that you settle on might become the next big thing in the guitar world. In the end, it’s your passion and creativity that breathe life into these instruments. So, play on.

In the following sections, we’ll delve even deeper, exploring ways you can build your own unique SG guitar – from choosing the right builders to exploring guitar kits. Stay tuned!

Building Your Own: Custom SG Builders and SG Guitar Kits

Building Your Own: Custom SG Builders and SG Guitar Kits

Having spent many years deeply rooted in the DIY culture associated with the guitar scene, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of customization. It’s an opportunity to interact intimately with the very instrument that helps express your creativity. There’s a thrill in the journey of creating your own SG-style guitar – a personal and unique piece that truly embodies your sonic vision. It is this journey laden with opportunities and insights that I want to walk you through.

Much like how a masterpiece is birthed from a blank canvas in the hands of a skilled artist, a custom SG guitar gets its life from the hands of talented SG guitar luthiers. These skilled craftspeople breathe life into every inch of the guitar, carefully shaping and refining the body, carving out the neck, setting the intonation, all with a meticulous focus on creating a guitar that both looks and sounds incredible. Every part of the build comes together to form a spectacular instrument, unique to you in every way.

Want to add a personal touch to your SG guitar? This chapter guides you through building your own custom SG. For those feeling adventurous, an SG-style guitar build can be a fantastic hands-on project. SG guitar kits are available that equip you with all the necessary parts, including high-quality bodies, necks, and hardware. Following the provided instruction, you can assemble the components, add your own personal touches with finishes and detailing, and create a truly one-of-a-kind instrument.

Whether you choose to work with custom SG builders or take a DIY approach with an SG guitar kit, the process is an exploration in craftsmanship, creativity, and personal expression. A custom-built SG truly becomes an extension of you and the music you create. Remember that the journey is as important as the outcome, take your time, explore your options, and above all, have fun in the process.

In the next section, we will delve further into the frequently asked questions about SG-style guitars, covering everything from price points and specs to hardware and alternatives. For now, I leave you with an invitation to dive into the incredible journey of building your very own custom SG.


What is an SG-Style Guitar?

An SG-style guitar is a popular style of solid-body electric guitar that was introduced by Gibson in 1961. Distinguished by its double cutaway, pointed horns and sleek lines, it’s loved by musicians worldwide for its distinctive sound and comfortable playability.

What are the typical price points for SG-Style Guitars?

Prices for SG-Style guitars can vary depending on factors like brand, materials, and customizations. Entry-level versions can start around $300, while high-end models – particularly custom or vintage editions – can cost several thousands of dollars. Always consider your personal needs and budget when making a purchase.

What alternatives are there to SG-Style Guitars?

If the SG style isn’t for you, there are many other guitar styles to explore. The Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Fender Telecaster are all time-honoured alternatives. Each design offers its own unique set of specifications and aesthetic styles, allowing musicians to find the best match for their individual preferences.

Can I customise an SG-Style Guitar?

Absolutely! Many guitarists choose to customise their SG-Style guitars to further suit their play style or aesthetic preferences. Common customizations include changing the pick-ups for a different sound, swapping the tuners for better tuning stability, or even getting a custom paint job for a unique look. Always consult with a professional when considering significant modifications.


Ever wanted to understand and appreciate the SG-style guitar as deeply as an industry insider? Let’s recap on what we learned. From comprehending the unique features and specifications to the aesthetics and designs that make these models stand out, I’ve shared a wealth of knowledge in this guide.

SG-style guitars are distinguished by their characteristics and performance, resonating with players across genres. Be it the classic SG or the hollow body SG-style guitar, delving into this guide promises to discern the best fit for you. I trust the SG guitar reviews further illuminated your purchase decision.

While a stock SG guitar is a treasure in its own right, we also explored alternatives and the exciting world of customization. Remember, understanding the value and artistry of these guitars aids appreciating them on a deeper level.

With the knowledge I’ve shared throughout this guide, my aim is for you to love and understand SG-style guitars as deeply as I do. Whether you’re a player looking to invest in a new guitar or a fan appreciating the artistry of these models, I hope you found the guide insightful.

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