TheMoMI.org -- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   Gibson's first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul, was a big success in the early 1950s, but its sales slacked off by the end of the decade. The proposed solution was to aggressively restyle the design into one that departed from the original's traditional shape. Debuting in 1961, the new model featured a thin, symmetrical body of lightweight mahogany with heavily beveled edges and two barb-like points at the upper end, creating a "bat-wing" effect. With the fingerboard joining the body at the highest fret, the neck takes on an extra-long appearance, while offering players easy access to the highest notes. The automotive-styled chrome hardware, coupled with a deep red finish, gave the instrument a very luxurious look. This was the first Gibson guitar with a vibrato unit as standard equipment, although it was a side-pull system that didn't work especially well. Les Paul's main complaint, however, was the overall body design, so after his endorsement agreement with Gibson ended in 1963, the company renamed this guitar model the SG (for solid guitar). Famous players of he SG include Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Eric Clapton during his years with Cream.



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