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An early SG in the popular custom color Pelham Blue Poly

By 1960, poor sales of the original, single-cutaway Les Paul caused Gibson to design a new, more modern model to compete with Fender’s popular double-cutaway solidbody with the contours. The result was what is today called the SG (ostensibly for “solid guitar”). This new version of the Les Paul had a slim, lightweight mahogany body contoured with comfortable beveled edges and two cutaways that enabled full, easy use of all 22 frets. By 1961, the entire Les Paul line had adopted the new shape.

Les Paul’s endorsement deal ended in 1963, so by the time this month’s pictured guitar was made in 1965, the entire line had become officially known as SGs. This SG Standard has features common to this transitional year, including a narrow 1 9/16" nut, chrome-covered pickups and Vibrola, nickel ABR-1 bridge, and a small pickguard.

This SG is painted in the popular Pelham Blue Poly (“Poly” indicates a metallic finish, not polyurethane), which was introduced along with nine other custom colors when Gibson’s Firebird series debuted in 1963. Pelham Blue Poly was originally a lighter version of Fender’s Lake Placid Blue, but it tended to turn a greenish color with age.

More detailed information on Gibson SGs can be found in Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir, and in The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy, 1915-1963 by Robb Lawrence. The website provides detailed information on both Fender and Gibson custom colors.

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