Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1961 SG Special
Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1961 SG Special

50th Anniversary 1961 SG Special, SG-Shaped Guitar from Epiphone in the SG series.

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tjon901 12/15/2011

Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1961 SG Special : tjon901's user review

« Epiphones tribute to the original SG »

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In the early 60s Gibson felt that their Les Paul design was getting a bit long in the tooth. To help compete with Fenders Gibson decided to modernize the design to make it play better and cheaper to produce. In 1961 the new Les Paul came out with the design we now know as the SG. For 7 years if you went to a store and asked for a Les Paul this is what you would have gotten. Lots of people like the original SG design to the newer ones with the larger pickguard. This is Epiphones tribute to the early SG guitars. This is the 61 SG Special in a very vintage color of TV Yellow. It is called TV Yellow because it would stand out better on black and white TV's. This guitar has the early SG bodystyle with the sharper horns and the small pickguard. The neck on this is the 60s slim profile and it is made of mahogany with set neck construction. The fretboard is rosewood with 22 frets. Up top you get some standard tuners. The bridge is a locking Epiphone wraparound bridge. The electronics are a set of P90s for that 60s crunch. The controls are typical Gibson with a volume and tone for each pickup with a 3 way toggle.


The SG was originally designed to play better than the Les Paul and it does for the most part. The upper fret access is much better. The necks are traditionally thinner and more playable. This all falls into place on this guitar as well. This guitar has the 60s profile neck which is thinner than what you get on most Les Pauls. The only major playability problem with this guitar is the wraparound bridge. They used an old obsolete style wrap around bridge. There are wraparound bridges with fine tuners for intonation that they could have used but they used an older design straight from the 60s. This means that the guitar is impossible to intonate if you plan on using alternate tunings or different string gauges.


With the P90 pickups in this guitar you get a classic sound that give you more crunch and edge that a set of vintage style humbuckers would give. The P90 being a single coil has more top end twang and clarity than a humbucker but still has some of the humbucker fullness and body unlike other kinds of single coils. In the neck you get a edgey tone that is when wide open isnt very smooth but is very agressive. When you roll off some tone you can smooth up the tone a bit. The bridge is rough and ready for all sorts of music. With the single coil top end it retains it clarity but you can get a nice drive sound from it.


If you are looking for a good SG with P90s you should check this out before you go spending big bucks on a Gibson. A guitar like this has 90 percent of the features you would get on a Gibson but at a fraction of the price. The only problem I find on this guitar is the bridge and you can easily replace it with a fine tuner wrap around unit and then the guitar is essentially perfect for what it is.