Gibson SG Special Vs Standard [Difference & Which is better]

The Gibson SG is a name that has become synonymous with iconic rock and roll sounds. The Gibson guitar series is known for its distinctive shape, powerful tone and smooth playability. This Gibson SG series remains a perfect choice for musicians of all genres. Sometimes it can be difficult for players to know which model is right for them, because it depends on their many variations.

Gibson SG Special Vs Standard

We will look for the differences between the Gibson SG Special vs Standard, two of the most popular models in the SG line. We will explore the unique features of each guitar, including their hardware, pickups, construction and other things. Their especially difference make affect on their performance and sound system.

We will try to help players make an informed decision about which model is perfect suited to their needs.

Comparison Table:

Features –
Gibson SG SpecialGibson SG Standard
Body MaterialMahogany bodyMahogany body
Top MaterialN/A (Solid body)N/A (Solid body)
Neck MaterialMahogany neckMahogany neck
Fingerboard MaterialRosewoodRosewood
Scale Length24.75 inches24.75 inches
Number of Frets22 frets22 frets
PickupsUsually equipped with P-90 or 490R/490TUsually equipped with 490R/490T or Burstbucker
ElectronicsBasic electronics setupMore versatile electronics setup
Tonal CharacteristicsPunchy and raw toneVersatile tonal options
Finish OptionsVarious finish options availableVarious finish options available
PlayabilityComfortable neck profileComfortable neck profile
Hardware QualityReliable hardware and bridgeReliable hardware and bridge
Visual AppealClassic and straightforward designIconic and classic design
Price RangeMid-range price pointMid to high range price point
VersatilitySuited for rock, punk, and bluesVersatile for various genres
WeightModerate weightModerate weight
Artistic ExpressionClassic and timeless appearanceIconic and iconic appearance
Pickup ConfigurationOften comes with P-90sOften comes with humbuckers
Sound ProjectionOffers good projection and volumePunchy and well-projected sound
Neck JointSet neck jointSet neck joint
BindingSometimes features bindingOften features binding
Inlay DesignSimple dot inlaysTrapezoid or block inlays

Main Difference between the Gibson SG Special Vs Standard:

a) Body material & design:

Body material & design

These types of guitar are known for their outstanding sound quality, tone, control, comfort, and playability. Some difference has on their body material and design. The SG Special has a mahogany body, which gives it a warmer and mellower tone. The Gibson SG Standard has a mahogany body with a maple top, which produces a brighter and more articulate sound.

The SG Special has a thinner body profile and lacks the binding and inlays that the SG Standard has. Both guitars have a comfortable neck that contributes to their playability & durability.

b) Pickups and sound quality variations:


The SG Special features two P-90 pickups, while the Standard model has two ’57 Classic humbuckers. The difference in pickups is a significant factor in the sound quality variation between the two guitars. The P-90s offer a brighter, more single-coil-like tone. While the ’57 Classics offer a warmer, more vintage humbucker tone.

The SG Standard comes with an individual volume and tone controls for each pickup. The SG Special builds a single volume and tone control for both pickups. This difference in control options can impact the range of tones.

c) Neck profile and fingerboard:

Neck profile

One main difference is in the neck profile and fingerboard design. The SG Special features a slim taper neck profile, which is thinner and flatter than the Standard’s rounded profile. This can make it easier for players with smaller hands to navigate the fretboard and reach higher notes.

The SG Special comes with a baked maple fingerboard, which is designed to resist wear and tear over time. The Gibson Standard builds with a rosewood fingerboard, which is known for its warm & rich tone.

d) Hardware and tuning stability variations:

The design of these two models is quite similar, but the Standard comes with higher quality hardware, including Grover tuners and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. That offers greater tuning stability and easier tuning adjustments. The Gibson SG Special built in simpler hardware and that requires a more frequent tuning adjustments.

Both models are offering a distinctive SG sound. But the Standard’s higher quality hardware may result in a slightly better overall sound. The SG Special offers more control over tone with its simpler control layout and fewer pickup options.

e) Availability and color:

Availability and color

Both the Gibson SG Special and Standard have a similar body shape and aesthetic. They differ in terms of availability and color options. The SG Standard comes with a wider range of finishes, including Heritage Cherry, Ebony & the Vintage Burst. The Gibson SG Special is typically only available in a single finish.

f) Intonation and sustain:

The SG Special builds with a wraparound bridge system. That makes the result in slightly less intonation accuracy and sustain than the Standard’s Tune-o-matic bridge system. The Gibson SG Special’s bridge design simplifies the guitar’s overall design. It can provide a more vintage vibe to its sound.

The Gibson Standard’s Tune-o-matic bridge system provides more precise intonation and sustain. That makes it a popular choice among guitarists who prioritize sound quality.

g) Playability and comfort:

The SG Special designs with a thinner, flat-topped mahogany body. That makes it lighter & more comfortable to play for extended periods. Its slim-taper neck profile provides a comfortable grip for players with smaller hands.

The Gibson SG Standard builds a thicker, curved top that adds more weight to the guitar. But it contributes to a more balanced feel when playing standing up.

It also features a wider neck profile that some players may find more challenging to play. But it provides more room for intricate fingerpicking & chord progression.

h) Price:

The Gibson SG Standard is considered to be the more high-end model with a higher price tag. The Gibson SG Special is viewed as a more affordable option with slightly fewer features.

The SG Special is delivering a high-quality playing experience. That’s reason it is very popular choice for musicians.

The Gibson SG Standard offers some features, which are a top-of-the-line option for those willing to invest in a premium instrument.

i) Preferred genres and styles:

One aspect that is often overlooked is the preferred genres and styles of the musician. The Gibson SG Special and Standard are both exceptional guitars. But they have some special differences that may appeal more to certain musicians.

The SG Special has a more stripped-down design. It has no any binding, and features a pair of P-90 pickups. That delivers a raw and gritty sound that’s perfect for blues and rock. The SG Standard has a more polished appearance. It also a binding and a pair of versatile humbuckers that offer a wider range of tones suitable for various genres. Like to including metal and jazz.

To conclude, both the Gibson SG Special vs Standard have their unique features and specifications. That makes them suitable for different styles of playing. The Gibson SG Special is more affordable and it has a thinner body. The SG Standard has a more classic look and better tonal versatility.

Both guitars are of high quality, and their solid build & exceptional sound make them a favorite among guitarists.

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Perry Garner

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *