Gibson SG Special Solid Body Electric Guitar (1962)

Gibson  SG Special Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1962)
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Item # 11814
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Gibson SG Special Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1962), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 58449, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This lovely cherry-finished SG Special was built in 1962, the second year of Gibson's new uber-sculpted solidbody production. It still seems amazing to this day to think the relatively staid design team at Kalamazoo came up with this dramatic, devilish shape in 1960, a radical development of the late '50s double-cutaway budget Les Pauls. It feels way ahead of its time, and the reaction from some conservative players (Les Paul himself among them) was not enthusiastic. No matter; younger Rock'n'Roll players took to them quickly enough, although it was not until the much louder later '60s that they became enshrined as a true classic.

For Gibson connoisseurs the early 1960s was the greatest period for the SG series; by 1966 Gibson modified the design to speed production with a large "swimming pool" route to the face of the body and pickups mounted directly to the top-spanning pickguard. This 1962 example has all the earlier features: the old-style stepped neck joint, pickups mounted directly to the body with a small pickguard, and nickel plated hardware, all changed by the turn of 1965-66.

An item of note on this guitar is the shallow C-profile neck is slightly slimmer at the nut than generally expected on SG's until 1965, just a hair wider than 1 5/8"'. While the prevailing theory is the older 1 11/16" nut was ubiquitous until 1965 we have seen other earlier Gibsons that sometimes deviate from this. The company was apparently flirting with slimming this area mostly on the "amateur" level guitars at least a few years prior. The neck itself tapers noticeably towards the body with a fairly flat "C" profile and a great solid feel.

The pots all appear original with a visible date to the second week of 1962. The pickups and control cavity have been neatly lined with copper shielding foil but the rig itself shows no alterations. This guitar mounts two very hot plastic covered "soapbar" P-90 pickups, the 60's style capped plastic knobs and an Epiphone style Maestro Vibrola with the "spoon" handle still intact. The neck angle is excellent (especially compared with some later '60s examples) and the vibrato works well, if one chooses to use it. In 1962 this guitar listed for $210, plus $15 for the #116 "Durabilt" chipboard case, which is still in the old '50s style alligator livery. The Maestro Vibrato was an extra-cost option at the time adding $17.50 to the bill.

The SG Special was and remains a very popular guitar, with good reason. This one quiote handy, around average weight for the period at a hair over 7 pounds (the vibrato adds a bit of that) with a very solid feel. Only 959 of these slim cherry beauties were shipped in 1962, and not too many of this fairly fragile instrument will have survived this cleanly. The model has long been regarded as a classic Gibson solidbody; anyone who has seen live footage of the Who or Santana in the late '60s knows what these light and responsive SG Specials are capable of! It is simply one of the classic rock guitars of that or any era, more versatile than many think with a "special" sound unto themselves!
Overall length is 40 in. (101.6 cm.), 13 1/4 in. (33.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) deep. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.)., 7.03 lbs.

This 60+ year old SG is generally quite clean overall with some mostly isolated wear and tear. The original cherry lacquer finish is quite well preserved overall, with some scuffing, dings and dents but much less checking and fade than many, retaining a nice deep red color over the entire instrument. There is a deep chip to the edge of the headstock face beside the high E tuner, with a bit of wood missing with some color touched in. The back edge of the body below the control cavity has a decent amount of finish rubbed away down into the wood; other than these two spots serious wear is really pretty minimal.

There NO cracks or breaks to the instrument, which is always a good thing on older SGs. All the hardware remains original and clean except the trem arm securing bolt, the nickel plating shows some very light wear. As noted someone long ago added copper shielding foil to the interior cavity and around the P-90 coils; we usually find this to be minimally effective but it is a very cleanly done job so we have left it in place; it certainly isn't hurting anything! The original frets have only very light wear and this is a super solid SG and a really fine player, still housed in the original alligator chipboard case which remains serviceable with some typical wear. Overall Excellent - Condition.