Gibson''s short-lived, larger bodied SG made an appearance in the early ''70s
This odd Gibson guitar was purchased sometime in the 1970s and, as far as I can tell, is all original. I think it is an SG because of the body style, but I have never seen another one like it with these pickups. I have the original case, but the bridge cover appears to be missing. The serial number is 972190 and it has “Made In USA” and a “2” stamped under the number. I’m not planning on selling this guitar, but I would like to know what it is and what it is worth.
Silver Spring, Maryland
You’re right, this is an SG. And there’s a reason you don’t see many of these guitars: the SG-100, SG-200, and SG-250 were only produced for a little over a year in the early 1970s! Many Gibson enthusiasts agree that the 1970s were a dark period for Gibson guitar production, and most players and collectors don’t seek out these guitars. However, the SG continues to be a successful guitar for Gibson, and many performers have used them, including Tony Iommi, Pete Townshend, and, most notably, Angus Young of AC/DC.
The SG body style goes back to 1958, when Gibson redesigned the Les Paul Junior with its first-ever double-cutaway solidbody. At the time, the single-cutaway Les Paul wasn’t selling as well as Gibson had hoped, so the company planned to apply this new rounded double-cutaway style to the entire line. By 1960, the Junior and Special were renamed as SGs, which stood for “solid guitar.” According to folklore, SG was a temporary term for the body style, but Gibson never came up with another name and SG stuck.
In late 1961, Gibson introduced a different double- cutaway with pointed, beveled bouts that became the SG body style we know today. This new body style was applied to all Les Paul models available at the time, and they were labeled Les Pauls until 1963, when Gibson and Les Paul temporarily parted ways. Paul was never too crazy about the new design of the Les Paul model, and he didn’t renew the contract to use his name on three of Gibson’s guitars. In 1968, the Les Paul was reintroduced with the traditional single-cutaway design, but Gibson continued production of the SG as well. Ted McCarty left Gibson in 1966, which is widely known as the start of a downhill slide in Gibson’s production quality. By the 1970s, Gibson was beginning to experiment in research and development, and your guitar is a product of this experimentation.
Gibson discontinued the Melody Maker series in 1970 and replaced it in late 1971 with three new SG models, all sharing the same body and features: the SG-100, SG-200, and SG-250. Gibson steered away from traditional designs in these guitars, using a slightly larger body shape, no neck pitch, and single-coil pickups. Looking back, all these new features were essentially downgrades. While the body became more durable with maple construction, it was heavier and bulkier to play. The fingerboard, strings, and top of the body became parallel with each other, resulting in a high action over the body. The single-coil pickups sounded thin and tinny compared to humbuckers and P-90s. This new series wasn’t very well received and was quickly replaced in late 1972 with the SG-I, SG-II, and SG-III.
The SG-100, SG-200, and SG-250 all share these common features: maple body (mahogany has also been observed), set maple neck, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, black headstock overlay with gold Gibson logo, three-per-side Kluson tuners with small buttons, Tune-o-matic bridge with an odd connected base plate and bridge cover, single-coil Melody Maker-style pickups with black covers inscribed with “Gibson,” and an angled control plate with Volume and Tone knobs. The SG-100 has a single pickup and was available in cherry or walnut finish. The SG-200 has two pickups with two slide switches and was available in black, cherry, or walnut finish. The SG-250 is identical to the SG-200 in electronics and construction, but features a cherry sunburst finish.
According to Gibson’s shipping records, just over 5,000 SG-100, SG-200, and SG-250s were shipped during their short production in 1971 and 1972. Serialization is not a very useful dating tool from this era, but it is likely that your guitar was made in 1971. A total of 2,448 SG-200s were produced in walnut finish, but only 23 were shipped in 1972. The “2” under the serial number indicates that the guitar was a factory second, meaning there was a flaw in the wood or finish. Instead of discarding the guitar, Gibson sold it at a discounted price with a full factory warranty. Today, your guitar is worth between $800 and $1000, as it appears to be in excellent condition. The SG-200 is not valued nearly what some of Gibson’s classics are today, but it is a Gibson nonetheless and an important part of their heritage and history. Perhaps more collectors and players will take notice of this guitar as the ’50s and ’60s models become more rare and expensive.
Zachary R. Fjestad
Zachary is the author of the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, Blue Book of Electric Guitars, and the Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers. Questions can be submitted to: Blue Book Publications Attn: Guitar Trash or Treasure 8009 34th Ave. S. Ste #175 Minneapolis, MN 55425
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The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
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As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.