Today’s Guitar of the Day is the Gibson Limited Edition SG Special 3 in Ebony with three single-coil pickups, 6-way pickup switching, and much more. The SG was originally supposed to be the “new and improved” Les Paul. Why? Because sales of the maple-top, single-cutaway Les Paul were dropping fast. Gibson tried giving the model a boost by changing over from a gold-painted carved maple top to a 2-piece sunburst carved maple top, some of which sported amazingly flamed or figured maple, while others were plain. These lasted three years, from 1958 to 1960, before the company pulled the plug on them. To take that model’s place, Gibson designed one of its most enduring body styles, the SG, although for 1961, the newly designed double cutaway was called the Les Paul model. When Les saw one for the first time, he (to put it mildly) was not happy. “I didn’t like the shape,” Les wrote in American Guitars. “A guy could kill himself on those two sharp horns.” Okay, Les exaggerates a bit. But Gibson went ahead and removed all mention of Les Paul and named the guitar the SG (for “solid guitar”). It sold quite well through the 1960s and for the most part, it remained part of the Gibson line right up to today!
The SG Special 3 is, as you might guess, a 3-pickup version of the original SG, which had either two P-90s or a pair of humbuckers. Like the original, this SG has a solid mahogany body and a lightning-fast, 22-fret mahogany neck that joins the body at the 19th fret (it was the sleek neck profile as much as anything that attracted players to the SG). However, while the 1960s SGs had two pickups, the SG-3 has three single-coil blade pickups, offering up tones no SG had ever produced before. A 6-way “chicken head” rotary pickup selector gives players access to a wide range of vintage and modern sounds. And since it’s a Gibson, it has the tried-and-true combination of a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. The rosewood fingerboard has simple, yet elegant “dot” inlays (like the ES-335 “Dot Neck”) and all the hardware is chrome-plated. If you like that classic single-coil sound, but prefer the looks and playability of a Gibson, this is your guitar! It’s capable of delivering all the pickup combinations of that other three-pickup guitar plus one that’s not typically offered on any other triple pickup model from any manufacturer.