Hands down, the SG Special Faded is the best combination of features and value in Gibson's iconic SG line-up. You still get the dynamic, slim mahogany body and hair-trigger quick neck that have made the SG legendary, but without all the non-essentials. The ultra-affordable price tag on this guitar is owed to fewer coats of finish than can be found on the traditional SG Standard and SG Special. This stripped-down finishing process means that not only will you enjoy more resonance but you'll be the proud owner of an SG that looks straight out of the '60s. The SG Special Faded is uncivilized. It's fierce. And it's got to hang in your guitar rack.
The best combination of features and value in the SG line-up.
Faded Finish Process
A thicker, rounder, time-honored neck profile emulates the neck shapes of the iconic late '50s Gibson models.
Industry-standard Tune-O-Matic bridge and 490 pickups.
The SG Special Faded, available in either Worn Brown or Worn Cherry, undergoes a simplified finishing process for increased resonance and the look of a well-loved road-worn guitar. Applied by hand, the Faded finishes mimic the much-desired aged finish that a Gibson from the '50s or '60s might have today. By using stain instead of paint and fewer coats of sealant, our luthiers have cut down on the extremely time-consuming finishing process to bring you our most affordable SG, without skimping on materials.
'50s Rounded Neck Profile
No guitar neck profiles are more distinguishable than the neck profiles employed on the Gibson models of today. The more traditional '50s neck profile on the SG Special is the thicker, rounder profile, emulating the neck shapes found on the iconic 1958 and 1959 Les Paul Standards. The neck is machined in Gibson's rough mill using wood shapers to make the initial cuts. But once the fingerboard gets glued on, the rest--including the final sanding--is done by hand. That means there are no two necks with the exact same dimensions. So while it still has the basic characteristics of its respective profile, each neck will be slightly different, with a distinct but traditional feel.
Over the years, the classic dot inlay has been one of the more traditional features of many Gibson models, including the SG. A figured, swirl acrylic gives these inlays that classic "pearl" look. They are inserted into the fingerboard using a process that eliminates gaps and doesn't require the use of fillers.
Gibson's 490 (R) Rhythm and (T) Treble Pickup
The mid to late 1960s saw the emergence of a very different type of music coming from the clubs of England. It was an interpretation of the blues that hadn't been heard before, and it was much harder, more rocking, and definitely louder than anything else before it. As such, this new genre's players were demanding more powerful amplifiers with increased volume outputs to satisfy their sonic explorations. This led to a call for a more versatile pickup that could split coils through a push/pull knob, and prevent microphonic feedback from occurring when the volumes were turned up to maximum levels. Gibson answered this call with the introduction of the revolutionary 490T and 490R pickups ("T" for treble, and "R" for rhythm). The 490R is a humbucker with the tonal characteristics of an original PAF, with a slight increase in upper mid-range response. The 490T bridge pickup is calibrated to match the 490R, with pole pieces aligned a little further apart to accommodate the spacing of the strings at the bridge, which is different than the spacing of the strings at the neck.
Solid Mahogany Body
Probably the most central of all the SG Special's features is its solid mahogany body--lightweight, strong, with a thick, warm tone. The mahogany goes through the same rigorous selection process as all of Gibson's woods, and is personally inspected and qualified by Gibson's team of skilled wood experts before it enters the Gibson factories. Inside the Gibson factories, humidity is maintained at 45 percent, and the temperature at 70 degrees. This ensures all woods are dried to a level of "equilibrium," where the moisture content does not change during the manufacturing process. This guarantees tight-fitting joints and no expansion, in addition to reducing the weight. It also helps with improving the woods' machinability and finishing properties. Consistent moisture content means that a Gibson guitar will respond evenly to temperature and humidity changes long after it leaves the factory.
Like all classic Gibson guitars, the necks on SG Specials are distinguished by one of the more traditional features that have always set them apart--a glued neck joint. Gluing the neck to the body of the guitar ensures a "wood-to-wood" contact, no air space in the neck cavity, and maximum contact between the neck and body, allowing the neck and body to function as a single unit. The result? Better tone, better sustain, and no loose or misaligned necks.
The Tune-o-matic bridge was the brainchild of legendary Gibson president Ted McCarty in 1954. At the time, it was a true revelation in intonation, and set a standard for simplicity and functionality that has never been bettered. This pioneering piece of hardware provides a firm seating for the strings, allowing the player to adjust and fine-tune the intonation and string height in a matter of minutes. It also yields a great union between the strings and body, which results in excellent tone and sustain. It is combined with a separate "stopbar" tailpiece, essentially a modified version of the earlier wraparound bridge. To this day, the Tune-o-matic remains the industry standard. It is the epitome of form and function in electric guitar bridge design, and is one of the most revered and copied pieces of guitar hardware ever developed.
The Gibson Faded SG Special is an electric guitar that maintains the tradition of looks, functionality, and value for which the SG guitar is known. Under its attractive faded finish, the Faded Special SG is still the traditional SG, with mahogany body and neck, Tune-O-Matic/stopbar bridge, and alnico 490 pickups. The guitar's faded finish gives it the look of an electric that started its rockin' days in the '60s. A Little SG History In 1961, the Les Paul was redesigned with a thinner body and 2 sharp cutaway horns that made the upper frets more accessible while lowering production costs. The new guitar was popular, but Les Paul the guitarist behind the original Les Paul did not like it and asked to have his name removed. Gibson renamed the model the "SG" which was short for "solid guitar". Though Les Paul's name was officially removed from the model in 1961, the plastic Les Paul nameplates (positioned between the rhythm pickup and fingerboard) were in abundance in the Gibson factory and SG models having these nameplates were built and sold by Gibson up to the end of 1963. SGs have been the choice of world-class artists such as Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, Tony Iommi, and Angus Young.