Gibson SG Standard Limited review

  • £999
  • $1899
It might be in its fifties but the classic twin-devil-horned SG is still a fabulous-looking guitar.

MusicRadar Verdict

Once you go fat there's every chance that you might not want to go back.


  • +

    Ace tone and feel from new/old neck; great sounding humbuckers.


  • -

    Won't please some purists.

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There's nothing unusual about folk piling on the beef a bit when they reach their fifties, but this is the first time we've seen it happen to a guitar.

Let us explain. Just about all the SGs you'll find on your travels will have what the expert chisellers at Gibson describe as a 60s 'slim-taper' neck profile. While most of you will cope brilliantly with this neck shape, no matter how big or small your digits are, it would be nice to have an alternative. Get this. Not all original 60s SGs have slim necks.

"The increased girth gives this SG a more robust vibe."

Some vintage SG Standard, Special and Junior models possess necks that couldn't be more beefy if you dressed 'em up with a slice of cheese and a gherkin.

That's what separates the new SG Standard Limited from the rest of the twin-horned pack. The guitar's mahogany neck, described as 'rounded' by Gibson, starts out chunky at the top nut end then bloats ever more magnificently until you reach the 12th fret.


The increased girth gives this SG a more robust vibe than its slimmer necked brethren. Natural sustain is excellent, too, another benefit of that extra wood.

Aside from the neck profile the only departure from the classic 51-year-old mahogany-based SG template is the fingerboard material. In place of the usual rosewood under your fingertips, Gibson has laid on a bed of something called 'baked maple'.

It's not just a clever name. This is basically maple that is exposed to heat until it turns brown and looks a bit like rosewood. Some Gibson geeks are annoyed that their favoured brand has messed with the tried-and-tested SG formula.

We say, don't be so hasty. The baked maple has properties that make the SG Standard Limited a bit of a tone monster.

Plugging in unleashes a textbook bright and punchy humbucker-fuelled sound that you'd expect from a great SG. We like the fact that the tough maple 'board adds some harmonic zing to sustain notes.

All the classic SG tones are on tap from Angus Young to Paul Weller. Don't be afraid of the beefy neck. Like an early 50s baseball bat-necked Tele, a fat-necked SG is much easier and faster to play than you'd think.

The SG Standard Limited is a fantastic piece of kit. The build quality and finish prove Gibson can still cut the mustard when it wants to. The guitar is available in four classic finishes, including Cream, and comes supplied with a proper shaped hard case and an asking price that's actually lower than we expected.

The 'limited' tag suggests that this model might not be around for long, although Gibson was no more specific than that. You should probably get a wriggle on, then, especially if you're intrigued by the prospect of a bigger neck profile.