Summer NAMM 2011: New SG Specials from Gibson and Epiphone

There have been few more exciting and visceral combinations in rock guitar history than Pete Townshend and a Gibson SG Special. Fans of Townshend's Live At Leeds-era tone in The Who and the original early '60s wrap-over bridge Specials now have two new models to choose from; the Gibson 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG and Epiphone's Limited Edition 50th Anniversary '1961' SG Special.

Full details of the beautiful alpine white 50th Anniversary Pete Townshend SG can be found on, while its US MSRP of $2129 suggests that UK street prices will come in at around £1100.

While no pricing information is available yet for the Epiphone 50th Anniversary SG Special, it will obviously be significantly more affordable. Here's the official line on one of the sexiest guitars to come out of the Epiphone camp in some time:

"The Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary '1961' SG Special Outfit faithfully turns back the clock and gives you an affordable iconic instrument that sounds and plays like you've stepped back in time.

"Like the original, The Epiphone Limited Edition 50th Anniversary '1961' SG Special Outfit features a mahogany body and mahogany neck with a SlimTaper 1960s 'D' profile. And like vintage SGs, the Epiphone '1961' SG Special Outfit has a hand-set 24.75-inch scale neck with a 12-inch radius, a rosewood fingerboard, a 1.68-inch nut width for tuning stability during bends, Wilkinson vintage 14:1 ivory button machine heads, and a classic '60s-era Epiphone logo on the headstock.

"No detail of the Epiphone '1961' SG Special Outfit has been missed. The Alnico P-90R Soapbar neck pickup and the Alnico P-90T Soapbar bridge pickup are perfect for players who want elements of both single and double coil sounds in one pickup.

"The mix of mahogany and Alnico P90s gives the Epiphone '1961' SG Special Outfit a unique sound that is both modern and classic. The vintage style black controls with metal inserts include neck volume and tone and bridge volume and tone, allowing for an infinite variety of tone combinations.

"The all metal three-way toggle switch is designed by Epiphone, and the wrap-around 'Lightning Bar' combination stopbar adjustable bridge provides tuning and intonation stability. The Epiphone '1961' SG Special Outfit is available in classic alpine white, cherry, ebony, and classic '50s style TV yellow."

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Chris Vinnicombe worked with us here on the MusicRadar team from the site's initial launch way back in 2007, and also contributed to Guitarist magazine as Features Editor until 2014, as well as Total Guitar magazine, amongst others. These days he can be found at Gibson Guitars, where he is editor-in-chief.