Gibson began making the SG series to replace the Les Paul models which weren’t selling as well as everyone expected. The first SGs actually were called Les Pauls, but Les himself didn’t like the looks of the SGs and asked that they not be called Les Pauls. Gibson complied and got a pleasant surprise: SGs were selling well — even without the Les Paul name. This was just one of the many excellent instruments designed and manufactured while Ted McCarty was president of Gibson. During the ’60s, a small number of SGs were built with three pickups. Today’s Guitar of the Day, the Gibson SG-3, is a great example. For this special guitar, Gibson came up with a cool 6-way “chickenhead” pickup selector switch that allows this particular SG to deliver a much wider tonal palette: bridge, bridge and middle, middle alone, middle and neck, neck alone, and finally bridge and neck together.
This SG has all the characteristics that made it a best seller in the 1960s and into the ’70s. It starts with a premium mahogany body with a dark cherry stain, two ’57 Classic humbuckers in the middle and neck positions along with a ’57 Classic Plus in the bridge position. The 22-fret mahogany neck has a rosewood fingerboard with classic trapezoid position markers and special Antiqued binding, but what almost always blows people away is just how fast that neck plays. What’s more, Gibson came up with a way to join body and neck to allow players unrestricted access to the upper frets — check out the photos and you’ll see what we mean. All the hardware, including the tuners, stop tailpiece and the Tune-o-matic bridge are gold plated and the SG-3 ships to your doorstep (for free, of course) in its black reptile-pattern hardshell case with gray plush interior.