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Best Gibson SG for ~$1000?


Silver Supporting Member
You looking for humbuckers or P90s? I just got an Epiphone with P90s. It’s my first real experience with an SG and I’m in love. I was already in love with P90s, but the guitar was a revelation. There are no new Gibson models with P90s under $1000, but there are plenty of used ones...



A friend of mine asked me several years ago to find an SG for his daughter who was gigging in small bars as a band. I found her one and got her going but I became much stronger in evaluating the SG market then. Which lead to me eventually buying both a vintage Gibson SG and a modern MIC Epiphone SG G-400 for myself along with flipping others that came up locally. The Epiphone gets all the play time. I don't need to worry about the fragile Gibson headstock. It's more fun to play and sounds great (it's stock except for a capacitor swap).

So I'd suggest finding an Epiphone SG, the latest 2020 models if buying new, or the G-400 model if buying used.

I tend to favor the real wood tops (some years Epiphone used printed striped mahogany veneer which looks rather fake).

If you are worried about 'the toanze' then buy the Epiphone and find a set of Gibson pickups AND the Gibson controls as those are part of the tone stack. I do see a lot of Gibson buyers on the various forums who are always swapping the Gibson pickups for Seymour Duncan, Lollar, or others -- which reveals they really bought the Gibson guitar for the logo not 'the sound!'. Some need that though.


64 Tele

I'm in the market for a new guitar and I'm really interested in Gibson SGs. I've got about $1000 to spend, and I know there are some really affordable SGs out there. I don't have much experience with them though, having only played one SG in the past. I believe it was a Gibson Faded Special from the mid 2000's.

I know the Standards are well regarded around here. What do you guys recommend at this price point?
Dave's Guitar had a gorgeous used SG Standard 61 RI no vibrato (stop tail) for slightly over $1000.
It sold between last night and tonight. I debated ordering it and I've already got an SG Standard 61 RI (with Maestro vibrato).


You really need to play them. On my opinion. Many SG'S suffer from the "neck warble" or "neck flex". How hard the wood of the neck is will vary from piece to piece. Many can have neck dive too. Mercy on you if you get both in the same guitar.

I've got a 2018 Gibson SG Standard, which seems an awful lot like they were using that as a test bed for the new '61 style versions of the last two years.

regarding neck wobble; The neck on my '18 standard has some wobble if you really yank on it either way forward or back [I don't get anything up and down though], but it's one of the better ones I've played in that regard, and probablythe finest SG in playability I've ever come across (which is why I bought it). I've got to say I've never played an SG that didn't exhibit some neck wobble - even the ones with thicker neck profiles. I suspect it has to do with the extreme double cut away, exacerbated by the shorter tenon - not much support. Some you would only notice if you're trying to force and some feel like they are made of rubber. My standard is pretty good and it has the 60's neck; If you play it with a steady hand it stays in tune just fine. I've played some bad SG's however… and the bad ones are truly awful - like tune the guitar, play an E Maj cowboy chord and its Ok, play an A Maj barre chord at the 5th fret and it sounds "out of tune"... because the neck moved from your hand pressure. By adjusting the angle of your hand and the amount pressure you can get "back in tune"... but as you can imagine it becomes a miserable experience real quick. When testing an SG for purchase I would always play them standing up and on a strap and play all the types of styles of music you would want to play. If there are no issues while doing that it will be fine, just play it calmly. If you having issues with holding tune for chording its a bad neck [some used to call them whippy necks or wobbly necks or spaghetti necks] and you just plain don't want to buy it.

If you can fi d of the SGJ models they had maple necks... that might help some. Again, I'd just to to the store or stores you can and play all of them. One may speak to you.

regarding neck dive - the lighter the SG the more prone they are. Howeve. Even if you have a bit of neck dive, a 2" or wider strap with a rough backing [suede, rough leather, rough cotton, etc] will eliminate this. Even the heaviest SG is nice and light for an all night gig, so as long as you aren't going nuts on it, you can play it all night with no issues and no sore back.

Hope that helps!
I've never experienced that wobble/tuning issue with a SG once I've got used to them and nobody I know who regularly plays a SG complains of a wobble/tuning issue.


Silver Supporting Member
Agree that with sgs playing a few side by side is the best idea..very different some have dead spots and dull tones

Lung plunger

I had a 2010 special that was awesome.

If it were me, I'd be on the lookout for 3 models...

-61 Reissue
-The newer Special with 2 P90s and wrap around tailpiece
-SG Jr

This was mine, I'd still have it if I didn't have to make up some cash when I got the 335. It was truly great.



Grew up playing a Tele, and got the SG bug a few years back. Found a used but mint 2018 "Bankruptcy Special" (with the mini-humbuckers) for about $600 at GC. If you don't need the extra trimmings (bound neck etc) the Specials will save you some cash. Being a Tele player I actually kinda preferred the plainer Special.

Coming from a Tele, which you manhandle for days and never have it go out of tune, the SG required a whole new approach for me to playing. The neck is very sensitive to being pushed around or to fretting pressure. Took me awhile to get used to it, but it's an extremely sweet guitar, and now I appreciate the way I play on it due to the different approach required.
You can find them used for around a grand, yes.

For instance, it took me all of 30 seconds to find this one just now on Ebay...
Used SG standard should run $700-$800. I'd definitely go that route over any of the lesser models because they just are much more premium guitars. I sold mine for like $760 and a Faded SG with moon inlays for like $700. The standard was twice the guitar that the faded was.


Silver Supporting Member
What's the story with SGs in TV Yellow? I know I've seen them in the past, but they seem incredibly hard to find. Something like this:



I played with a guy who had a black standard , large guard. I think it was made in the 90’s . Damn thing was as solid as a les Paul. Not super light and not super heavy.
I’ve got a 1998 standard that is great. I think OP should consider a mid 90s to early 00s standard for sure.


Raconteur Extraordinaire
Silver Supporting Member
You can get a SG Special for $500, every day. I had one with a big neck that absolutely rawked. I also at one time had 61 Reissue SG Standard. I got rid of it because I couldn't get it set up right. It was a $1000 guitar. You should be able to find a SG Standard, which I recommend, for around $700-800, although a SG Special works well, too. Focus on the neck profile. The rest of the guitar is gonna bring it for you.

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