When it comes to branded, high quality solid-body electric guitars, it is a given that people will have preferences based on their desired sound or whether it was used by a guitarist they admire. However, when it is between the Gibson SG and the Gibson Les Paul, it is unfortunate that many guitarists seem to believe that the Les Paul is objectively the better choice. Part of it is because the Les Paul is generally more popular and was used by more iconic axemen, but also because the SG was originally created as a cheaper alternative to the Les Paul (its original model name was the Gibson SG Les Paul.)
However, the truth is that the SG is not a replacement intended for budget-strapped people. While it is indeed true that the price is cheaper, the guitar proves itself capable and different enough from its brother model that they can pretty much occupy the same sonic landscape. As to why you, specifically, should choose the SG over the Les Paul, here a few good reasons:
The SG is Better for People with Back Problems
Most people assume that the Les Paul is more expensive than the SG because it’s a better guitar. This is not true. The price difference is largely because the Les Paul uses a more expensive carved maple top for its body. Maple is very heavy, so guitarists who must play for long periods at a time, especially while standing, might find it easier with the much lighter SG. Notice how spry Angus Young looks in his old age as he struts and jumps on stage while holding an SG? He probably won’t be able to do that anymore if he is a Les Paul user.
More Suitable for Harmonic Feedback Tricks
The SG’s lighter, thinner body makes it much more suitable for harmonic feedback playing techniques. Of course, any guitar player with a certain amount of skill can just as easily use a Les Paul for harmonic feedbacks, but we’re just saying the SG makes it that much easier.
Better Access to Higher Frets
Unlike the Les Paul, which joins the body around the 16 th fret, the SG goes all the way to the 22 nd fret. Perfect for those biting, high frequency licks that look like your fingers are making love to the guitar’s higher frets.
…and of course, the price. An SG is simply cheaper than the Les Paul but still offer the quality and durability expected of a branded solid-body electric guitar. If you really need an electric guitar used by famous rock guitarists but don’t want to apply for a second mortgage, then the SG could be a great pick.