1969 Gibson SG Special

Solid body electric guitar

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A closer look: 1963 SG Standard | 1969 SG Special

1969 Gibson SG special - front
1969 Gibson SG special - control knobs
1969 Gibson SG special - bridge and P90 pickup
1969 Gibson SG special - Maestro Vibrola
1969 Gibson SG special - front
1969 Gibson SG special - front
1969 Gibson SG special - front
1970 Gibson electric solid bodies catalogue

1970 Gibson electric solid bodies catalogue

The image in the 1970 Gibson electric solid bodies catalogue, is of this guitar, but even by 1970, the model was starting to change. For starters, it describes the neck as three-piece mahogany (it is still one-piece in 1969; shown here), and the open gear strip tuners have been replaced by closed-gear individual units.

Model: 1969 SG Special
Body: One-piece mahogany
Neck: One piece mahogany with rosewood fretboard. Dot markers, inlaid mother of pearl Gibson logo
Pickups: Two single-coil P-90s
Hardware: Chrome plated throughout. Maestro vibrola, tailpiece bar and three-on-a-plate tuning keys
Width at nut: 1 9/16"
Width at 12th fret: 1 15/16"
Weight: 2.98kg
Scale: 24 3/4"

This Gibson SG Special is a typical 60s Gibson in many ways. Naturally it has a mahogany body with a set mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard; in true Gibson style. The pickups are typical Gibson single coil P90s, as used by Gibson for many years, and the control layout, too is classic Gibson: two volumes and two tones, with a three-way pickup selector switch: neck, bridge, or both. Chrome-plated metal parts: Gibson TPBR bridge, Maestro Vibrolo and strip machine heads. Note also the inlaid Gibson headstock logo without the dot on the i - again very much a feature of this period Gibson instruments.

1969 price $265 (cf SG Custom, $525; SG Standard, $355; SG JR, $199.50)

The SG series did change over the years (see the Gibson SG timeline, but the Special's Maestro Vibrola and full-body scratchplate are pure late sixties: 1968-1971. Pete Townsend played one exactly the same (although he removed the vibrola) around this time, including for the Who's iconic appearance at Woodstock in 1969, and for the 1970 Who album: Live At Leeds

1969 Gibson SG special - front

And it sounds great, with a wide tonal range - the two clips below are the guitar through a small vintage UK amp, an early 1970s WEM Clubman. There are numerous other clips of this guitar here.

Neck pickup only with the tone control rolled tone a little, amp mic'd with a Shure SM57

Bridge pickup only; again, amp mic'd with a Shure SM57

1969 Pricing sheets list four cases available for SG models at a variety of pricepoints:

  •    0537 faultless case (plush), $73 (as shown)
  •    1237 oblong case, $50
  •    316 archcraft case, $26
  •    116 durabilt case, $17
1969 Gibson SG special and hard case
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