You see some certain guitars, and visually they mean something. They either apply to a certain era or a certain style of music. And, some guitars crossed the borders between styles and genres being played in different situations.
Not so the SG series.
It has and always will mean one thing. Rock, Loud Rock.
We can’t remember who we saw use it first. It may have been Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, but he was followed by some excellent company.
ACDC’s Angus Young, of course, Frank Zappa, Robbie Krieger from The Doors, Allman Brothers, and Judas Priest’s Glenn Tipton. And we are sure Chicago’s Terry Kath used one at the Isle of Wight in ‘69.
Pete Townshend had one at the time of the Who’s Live at Leeds album but discarded it because he couldn’t smash it up easily.
Introduced at first in 1961, and believe it or not, over the years more SG’s have been sold than Les Paul’s.
So What Was It About The SG?
Well, its shape and design were different, somehow hovering between aggressive and downright nasty. Very rock n roll. It was much lighter than it’s stablemate, the Les Paul, much thinner in body size and generally easier to handle.
Then there was the sound. The SG is a little brighter in tone but really not a great deal of difference unless the SG was fitted with P90’s. Then it will bite your hand off for fun.
The SG has cemented its place as a favorite rock guitar. There are a few versions around at the moment, so let’s have a look at one of them…
The Epiphone SG Special VE
Epiphone manufacture this guitar in a few colors, perhaps that iconic cherry red being the most prominent but we are going to look at the ebony version.
At first viewing it is impressive. It has the shape, the style, and the feel and the dark color adds to the mystique. We like it.
Epiphone has always been as a guitar manufacturer an interesting competitor for Gibson.
In the 60s they were owned by the same people but had separate offices, sales teams, and production lines. The products were remarkably similar and in some ways almost clones of each other.
Gibson fans will say they were always superior, but the answer to that is they weren’t.
On at least one occasion Epiphone was producing the better instruments as the 60s rivalry between the Epiphone Casino and the Gibson 330 demonstrated. The Casino being far superior.
Today though, Epiphone is considered as the premium range of Gibson guitars in much the same way as Squier is to Fender. But just like Squier, Epiphone is able to produce guitars that approach the quality of their more revered partner.
This is one of those guitars.
Epiphone have gone with an Okoume wood neck on the SG Special VE. A ‘D’ shape profile but with its slim 60s taper it feels good, and it plays fast. The neck is bolt-on with its 24.75-inch length and has a single truss rod.
It has a satin finish to the neck and a Rosewood fretboard with 22 accessible frets. The traditional look is completed by the pearloid dot inlays.
The machine heads are chrome die-cast, and there is a LockTone Tune-o-Matic bridge. The tail end is completed with a stop bar tailpiece.
Simple and basic is all they need to be and all they ever used to be and with this guitar all you ever need. There is a master volume and a master tone and a three-way pickup selector switch. The two control knobs are traditional speed knobs.