The Gibson SG is a bona fide classic in its own right. It replaced the (inexplicably) ailing sales of the Les Paul Standard in 1960 with a radical super-slim body and neck and horned body. Some thought it was a “temporary” diversion from the classic Les Paul. Not so. Light, fast and fulsome, the SG soon became its own legend. Even when single-cut Gibson Les Pauls returned.

And recent years have seen it more popular than ever. Rock and roll icon AC/DC's diminutive Angus Young is synonymous with Gibson SGs. He says, “I tried the (single-cutaway) Les Paul, it was too heavy. Hip displacement!”

Slide maestro Derek Trucks relies on his Gibson SGs. Trucks says, “When I first started playing at nine or 10 years old I wanted the sound on Allman Brothers records like Live at the Fillmore. That Gibson tone is exactly what I wanted. Originally I wanted a Les Paul, but I only weighed about 80 pounds at the time, and I had a picture of Duane with an SG.


“So the SG had the tone I wanted and weighed quite a bit less. Now it’s years later and anything else I try to play feels foreign to me. When I pick up the SG it is second nature.”

Gary Clark Jr , an aficionado of Epiphone and Gibson ES-style guitars, has now also started playing SGs for more biting tone. Dave Grohl loves his 3-pickup SG Customs alongside his Gibson DG-335s and Gibson Explorers.

And there's the rock veterans. Pete Townshend loved his SGs with The Who. And, of course, there's Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, 2015 recipient of the Q magazine/Gibson Les Paul Award for his incredible contribution to guitar. Tony says, “You could get to the top frets easily on an SG, and it was light. The SG was just ideal for me. Once I’d recorded the Black Sabbath début album, I never went back.” (Maybe it could have been switched to the Gibson SG Award that night?)

Guitar expert Tony Bacon, author of the new Gibson SG Book, lauds the guitar's versatility. “That’s one of its supreme virtues,” Bacon tells Gibson.com. “Of course, if you’re a decent player you ought to be able to make any guitar do more or less what you want. But if you look at some of the players, it’s a reminder of the SG's versatility: everyone from Duane Allman to Frank Zappa, and along the way Eric Clapton, Ollie Halsall, Robbie Krieger, John Cipollina, Glenn Tipton, and more – a right mixed bag, for sure.”

So the Gibson SG legend continues... with some new and improved very special High Performance models for 2016.

2016 High Performance Gibson SGs

SG Standard 2016 HP

If you like your glossy SGs like they were originally in '61 – but better – go here. You get a historic original 1 11/16" nut width, but with the soloist neck it widens to 2.310" the end of the ' board. With an even slimmer-fit Fast Access Heel, these 2016 High Performance SGs are a soloist's dream.

The nut itself is Gibson's adjustable Zero Fret Nut, made of Titanium. The bridge saddles are also Titanium. Add Gibson's G FORCE™ tuning system and it's also ready, at the push of a button, for alt tunings. With many slide players favoring SGs, this is a great addition meaning you're ready to go Open E, Open A – whatever you choose – between songs without having to change guitars.

You also get Supreme grip speed knobs, and trapezoid inlays (inherited from the Les Paul Standard) to proudly show the SG's legendary lineage.

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SG Standard P-90 HP

If you crave classic Gibson single-coil P-90 pickups, there's an SG for you. It's a beauty with its mother of pearl inlays, but with those spiky P-90 tones that so many players love. Same High Perfomance specs, so it's win/win.

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SG Faded 2016 HP

Some players like a guitar that looks more vintage. So here's the SG Faded with Gibson's hand-applied satin nitro finish, for a played-in look and feel. Simple dot fingerboard inlays on this one. Gibson's Alnico 490R in the neck and 490T in the bridge offer numerous tones and the body's tonewoods are the same as of 50 years ago. Let's go and rock! Add your own “dings”, no worries.

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SG Special 2016 HP

And some like an SG raw. The SG Special has the same tonewoods, two Alnico mini humbuckers and great playability. The “no-nonsense” choice, but with the same High Performance add-ons and improvements. As with all 2016 Gibson SGs, it's crafted in the U.S.A, yet at a remarkably good price.

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Add various colors and these High Performance (HP) models show that the SG is flying higher than ever.

What do you love about Gibson SGs? Please add your comments...