Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Regular assessment

Any other funds guitar from Epiphone that affords Custom Shop Gibsons a flee for their money.


  • Looks.
  • Attain.
  • Playability.
  • Price and Gibson SG attitude.


  • Some may per chance well battle with balance and the offset neck put.
  • The pickup rings seem barely oversized.

Any other funds guitar from Epiphone that affords Custom Shop Gibsons a flee for their money.


  • +


  • +


  • +


  • +

    Price and Gibson SG attitude.


  • Some may per chance well battle with balance and the offset neck put.

  • The pickup rings seem barely oversized.

The Gibson SG, in all likelihood barely esteem Fender’s Jazzmaster, the Rickenbacker 330 or even Gretsch’s 6120, is a form of guitars that most of us mediate, “I in actuality will maintain to silent ranking a form of.”

But as incessantly than no longer these enticing devices shield languishing on the shelf in favour of another Strat, Tele or Les Paul. Well, if Epiphone’s most standard invent continues with this incarnation of the mummy ticket’s pointy-horned wonder, in all likelihood now may per chance per chance be the time for that to exchange.

The SG’s entry to the market became once considerably controversial, since first and predominant it bore Les Paul’s moniker, however the legendary musician, electronics genius and inventor didn’t esteem the guitar. 

He thought it became once too flimsy and demanded Gibson select away his title. Hence the initiating of the ‘Strong Guitar’ (SG) in 1961. Nonetheless by the time of Les’s count on of masses of ‘SG’ Les Pauls had been shipped and the mannequin’s rarity has made it sought after and collectible. 

Now, the Epiphone-badged remake at excellent $849, including a brown ‘Lifton’ sort case, brings the mannequin’s many charms to the masses at a fraction of the payment of an fashioned, or perchance a Gibson Custom Shop version.

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)

Utilising equal electronics and hardware to the outgoing guitar, the SG-sort Les Paul’s looks to be (we’ll merely call it SG from now on) were so radically assorted that it became once to all intents and applications an totally assorted instrument. Gibson created a striking, heavily chamfered 31mm (1.25-streak) mahogany physique and mated it to a mahogany neck that joined the physique at the final of its 22 frets. 

On the originals, the physique and neck were each and each fraction of Honduran mahogany, now a restricted species, so our Epiphone has a two-fraction physique of unspecified mahogany, while the neck is a single fraction of the equal.

The fingerboard is Indian laurel, a most enticing rosewood different and barely nicer than the indifferent ‘ginger’ stuff so incessantly came upon on devices this cover day.

Les did maintain a level referring to the SG’s sturdiness, or lack of it. Even when the guitar facets a long tenon that runs deep into the physique, the routing for the neck pickup removes mighty of it, leaving the instrument weak at that level – excellent because it is miles at the headstock, that assorted infamous hazard build.

Alternatively, this very lightness of creating made it a stunningly playable guitar, and lent it a assortment of tones barely optimistic from that of its heftier forbear.

The SG Regular also carried over the journey 22-be anxious fingerboard with trapezoid inlays in faux pearl, excellent as we discover right here. Epiphone has retained the beautifully dimensioned medium C-profile neck, and our guitar is also faithful to the new with its limited pickguard – later 60s variations, similar to Angus Young’s, featured the bigger one which lined mighty of the physique and offered more affordable production for the reason that pickups were mounted on it. 

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)

Attributable to the guitar’s pointed top horn it became once no longer ultimate to mount the strap button there, so in its build we discover it on the motivate, by the heel.

This has constantly made the guitar’s balance on a strap something of a compromise and, with the irregular 22nd-be anxious neck be half of, helped to push the fingerboard off to the player’s left (on correct-handed devices). Alternatively, we’ve never heard Angus, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton or any assorted neatly-known SG player complain about it; they merely worked across the assert and got on with playing.

As we’ve viewed with a variety of of the Epiphones we’ve checked out as of late – notably the improbable Joe Bonamassa ‘Lazarus’ Les Paul and BB King ‘Lucille’ fashions – Epiphone has long past to metropolis on the SG’s hardware and electronics.

Our bridge is the very ultimate LockTone tune-o-matic that stays in put with or with out string stress and is talked about to provide better tone transfer to the physique and pickups. Tuners are Epiphone Deluxe, according to the Kluson ‘keystone’ tuners came upon on the originals. 

Pickups are the very ultimate Burstbuckers, a 2 at the neck and the barely beefier 3 in bridge put. These are controlled by CTS tone and volume pots, and Mallory capacitors, while the output jack is by Switchcraft.

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)

The guitar is equipped in two colours: the Outmoded Sixties Cherry you search right here and which roughly typifies the SG; and the rarer Outmoded Classic White, which became all over again incessantly viewed on Custom variations however did execute its capacity onto Standards, too. 

The term ‘extinct’ in actuality excellent map a barely matt watch, and naturally these Chinese-made guitars are carried out in polyester in decision to the feeble nitrocellulose of Gibsons classic and stylish. They each and each watch monumental, despite the indisputable reality that, and at this mark it’d be unfair to ranking choosy – significantly at the same time as you occur to ingredient within the pinnacle class hardware and electronics.

Epiphone has long past to metropolis on the SG’s hardware and electronics

Just a few closing functions. The SG carries the very ultimate 60s ‘limited’ headstock form that’s so mighty more natty than the outdated barely lumpy elaborate. All plastic ware is shaded, and the bell-sort truss rod facets the neatly-known ‘Les Paul’ script.

One shrimp thing, despite the indisputable reality that: the pickup surrounds’ discontinuance pieces (where the mounting and height adjustment screws take a seat) seem a contact wider than on fashioned classic SGs of the technology and almost every assorted guitar fitted with humbuckers. It can perchance well also excellent be a perceived distinction, on the different hand – we’d need to decide a ruler to an fashioned ’61 to make optimistic.

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)

With out a doubt feel & Sounds

As talked about, the SG’s 22nd-be anxious neck be half of offers entire ranking admission to to the fingerboard. The customary 43mm nut width and medium C-fragment profile – with a depth of excellent over 18mm at the 1st be anxious and 20mm at the 12th – is a wonderland for exploration. Perfectly fretted with medium jumbo wire, it’s an totally freeing journey. 

Should always you’ve never conducted an SG, it is seemingly you’ll perchance well presumably secure it barely daunting before every thing for the reason that 15th be anxious appears to be where the 12th feeble to be. Nonetheless give it just a few minutes and its originate and unrestricting nature will maintain you playing dusty-discontinuance licks you’d long since consigned to posterity.

Fortunately, we had two monumental guitars readily available as sonic comparators: a Tom Murphy extinct ’57 Les Paul and a Custom Shop ’63 reissue ES-335. Preconceptions expose us that the SG will maintain to silent take a seat somewhere between the 2, and with our Blues Junior warmed up there’s never been a better time to take a look at the neatly-feeble belief.

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)

Well, with out another two pages available to circulate into specifics, the Epiphone acquits itself remarkably neatly. It’s a itsy-bitsy louder and more mid-focused than the ES-335 however no longer as poised and balanced as the Les Paul, despite the indisputable reality that it does portion similarities. Neither has mighty of the ‘honk’ that some humbucking guitars repeat, however each and each offer prosperous, obvious sounds on any pickup setting – the SG a itsy-bitsy more ‘quacky’ with each and each Burstbuckers on.

While no longer one of many guitars is flabby within the neck put, the Epiphone in all likelihood comes out as the softest. Whether or no longer such comparisons maintain any merit in any respect, who is conscious of? All we are in a position to claim with some certainty is that it may per chance well select a vampire bat or a barn owl (the 2 animals with the most uncomplicated listening to according to Dr Google) to separate them in a recording or stage mix. 

That talked about, things we don’t build at assessment volume can, clearly, materialise when playing at stage levels. Total, despite the indisputable reality that, Epiphone’s most standard solidbody is no longer liable to disappoint.

Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

(Portray credit ranking: Future / Olly Curtis)


On the probability of sounding esteem the yarn’s stuck, Epiphone has nailed it again. No, it’s no longer a nitro discontinuance; optimistic, we’re bemused at those visually awkward pickup surrounds; and, clearly, it displays the playing compromises and advantages of any assorted SG. Nonetheless it absolutely represents exceptional cost, performs extremely neatly and stands up sonically to a pair of Gibsons that collectively outrank it a dozen-fold, mark-wise.

There’s itsy-bitsy more to convey except for, if the belief of an SG has gay your esteem within the past however you’ve resisted for one motive or another, execute an appointment with your local Epiphone seller and audition one. Originate it in a demo room, guarantee you are making an are attempting it on a strap, and if the store has a stout-length posing focus on, take a look at yourself out – that may per chance potentially tick the final field!


  • PRICE: $849 / £749 (inc case)
  • ORIGIN: China
  • TYPE: Double-cutaway, solidbody electric
  • BODY: Strong mahogany (two-fraction) 
  • NECK: Mahogany, ‘medium C’ profile, glued-in
  • SCALE LENGTH: 628mm (24.75”)
  • NUT/WIDTH: Graph Tech Tusq/43mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Hotfoot Indian laurel, pearloid trapezoid inlays, 305mm (12”) radius
  • FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
  • HARDWARE: Epiphone LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and stud tailpiece, Kluson-sort classic tuners – nickel plated
  • ELECTRICS: Gibson Burstbucker 2 (neck) and Burstbucker 3 (bridge), 3-capacity toggle pickup selector, 2x volumes, 2x tones (CTS pots/Mallory capacitors)
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3.61/6.75
  • FINISH: Outmoded Sixties Cherry (as reviewed), Outmoded Classic White – Outmoded Gloss
  • CONTACT: Epiphone

Thanks for reading 5 articles this month

Be half of now for limitless ranking admission to

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month with out a subscription

Be half of now for limitless ranking admission to

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button