Sigma wasn’t given its legendary status, it crafted it for itself.
For just under half a century, this guitar company has produced some of the finest acoustics available on the market at a reasonable price. Simply put, its guitars will break your heart and not your bank account - music to our ears.
Proudly established back in 1970, Sigma was the answer to the woes of guitar manufacturers across the US during what was a rather worrying time. Companies across America were hit hard by Japanese competitors who saturated the market with guitars that had all the hallmarks of American design, only to be sold at a fraction of the cost.
The gauntlet had been thrown down and on the vanguard stood Sigma. Originally created by Pennsylvanian natives CF Martin & Co, Sigma embraced Japanese craftsmanship instead of turning their noses up to their rivals. There was no corner cutting here, Sigma set out to create guitars of an exceptional standard that were then shipped to the US for inspection to guarantee quality.
Over the next four decades, Sigma remained modest in its success, letting its guitars speak for themselves. And in 2011 the German music company AMI bought the Sigma name after the line discontinued in 2007.
This month we have the JM-SGE guitar. Beautiful doesn’t cut it - this is a truly exquisite acoustic.
This little fellow isn’t a huge leap away from its travel sized cousins in the Sigma range. Available with a really handy, comfortable and secure SB-C gig bag, it’s clear that this guitar doesn’t want to be tied down.
The Indian rosewood fingerboard and mahogany neck feels and plays fantastically. With a width at the neck of 42.9mm, getting around the fretboard can be more of a workout than you first realise. When picking on this guitar you’ll notice the difference a few millimetres will have on your style of playing. With the strings closely huddled, advanced techniques like string jumping are easier to pull off with your fingering hand, while simultaneously improving your accuracy with your picking hand.
This guitar shares many characteristics with the others in the SG range, however there are a few features that set this guitar apart. For starters, it features an onboard tuner, and also includes a Fishman preamp, a three-band EQ and a Sigma CE 304 pickup to boot. Boasting a solid sitka top and mahogany back and sides, the SGE provides the heavy mid toned sound that is to be expected by now. Being a round shouldered dreadnought, it still retains the warm strumming tone that has helped to define the SG series.
At times, the SGE definitely seems to be punching above its weight. The chrome diecast tuners for example are sturdy and will keep your strings in tune even after the hardest session. Putting the electronics to the test, your sound palette is greatly diversified as the Fishman gives your sound a good boost. The three-band EQ pushes the guitar to its limits and transforms this mighty micro into a roaring lion.
Taking into account the size and weight of the SGE, the access for a quick noodle or a jam makes a huge difference to the overall enjoyment of the instrument, wherever you are.
Granted it doesn’t have the same powerful resonance as its counterparts, but the practicality this guitar offers makes up for anything lost. One thing’s for sure, once this acoustic is nestled comfortably in your hands its charm and charisma is infectious enough to keep its place for a long time. If you are a well-versed maestro, Friday night pub player or a casual jammer, we guarantee you’ll get a kick out of the SGE. Considering the price tag, there isn’t much this guitar won’t do for you.