Gibson Showdown: Les Paul vs SG - Which Iconic Guitar is Right for You?

Ever wondered which iconic Gibson guitar is perfect for you? You're in luck!

In this showdown, we'll dive into the legendary Gibson Les Paul and SG, comparing their construction, sound, and unique features.

Keep reading as we reveal the top reasons to choose one over the other, explore their weaknesses, and help you discover the ideal guitar for your style. Don't miss out; your dream guitar awaits.

FeatureGibson Les PaulGibson SG
ConstructionMahogany body with a maple capThinner mahogany body
Weight8.5 - 11 pounds6.5 pounds
Neck Options50s profile, 60s slim taperMostly 60s slim taper
Upper Fret AccessLimitedEasy access with Florentine horns
Body OptionsChambering, maple cap, solid/flamedMahogany slab body
SoundFull-bodied grit, low end, biting highsBrighter, more balanced
Signature PlayersBroad range of associationsAngus Young, Tony Iommi
Vibrola OptionsBigsbySideways vibrola, top mounted vibrola
PriceGenerally more expensiveMore affordable
Known WeaknessesWeight, upper fret access, priceLimited neck options, balance issues, vibrola tuning stability

Top 5 Reasons to Choose the SG

1. Comfort and Weight

Let me tell you, as a professional guitar player, the SG's lighter weight makes a world of difference when you're playing for hours on end. Thanks to its thinner slab mahogany body and mahogany neck, the SG typically weighs around 6.5 pounds, compared to the 8.5 to 11 pounds of a Les Paul. This difference in weight can save your back during long gigs or practice sessions.

2. Access to the Upper Fret Register

The SG's design is a game changer for those who love shredding in the upper fret register. Its Florentine horns (or devil horns, as some call them) give you unparalleled access to those high notes. Trust me, once you've experienced the ease of playing those soaring solos on an SG, you'll never want to go back!

3. SG Sound

Now, this might be a matter of personal preference, but I find the SG's sound to be brighter and more balanced than the Les Paul. The tighter spacing of the humbuckers on the SG contributes to its brighter sound. Its resonant lightweight body and the combination of components work together to create a balanced, singing voice that cuts through the mix in any band setting.

4. Vibrola Options

Are you a fan of vibrato systems? Well, the SG has got you covered! With options like the sideways vibrola and the top-mounted vibrola configuration, you can add a new level of expressiveness to your playing. While you can also put a Bigsby on a Les Paul, the SG offers a few more options that look quite sweet, in my opinion.

5. Signature Players

As a guitar enthusiast, I can't help but admire the legendary players who have chosen the SG as their weapon of choice. From Angus Young to Tony Iommi, these incredibly influential guitarists have left their mark on music history with the SG. If you're a fan of these iconic players, or if you already have a Les Paul, why not give the SG a try? Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Top 5 Reasons to Choose the Les Paul

1. Neck Options

The Les Paul has a longer history, which means more neck options for you to choose from. From the fatter 50s profile neck to the slim taper or 60s profile neck, there's something for everyone. Personally, I love the feel of a 50s profile neck, as it provides a solid grip that just feels "right" in my hands.

2. Body Options

When it comes to body options, the Les Paul takes the cake. With its mahogany body and maple cap, you have a variety of configurations to choose from. You can opt for a completely chambered Les Paul, like the Les Paul Supreme, or even a semi-hollow body, like the ES Les Paul. Not to mention, the maple cap allows for stunning flamed maple tops that you won't find on the purely mahogany slab body of an SG.

3. Cosmetic Appeal

As a professional guitarist, I know that looks can play a big part in our choice of instrument. The Les Paul offers a plethora of cosmetic options, from the gorgeous flame maple top to the elegant binding and various finishes. It's hard not to fall in love with the classic look of a Les Paul.

4. Les Paul Sound

The sound of the Les Paul is hard to deny, with its full-bodied grit, low end, and biting highs. It's a combination that has been favored by countless famous guitar players and enthusiasts alike. Personally, as a professional guitarist, I can attest to Les Paul's distinct sound, which is rich and powerful and works well in various musical contexts.

5. Stand Out From the Crowd

If you're tired of being constantly associated with Angus Young when playing an SG, the Les Paul is your ticket to standing out. While both guitars have their share of famous users, the Les Paul has a broader range of associations, allowing you to carve out your own unique identity as a guitarist.

Weaknesses of the Les Paul and SG

Every guitar has its pros and cons, and it's essential to know these before making a decision. Let's take a look at some of the weaknesses of both the Les Paul and SG.

Les Paul Weaknesses

  1. Weight: As mentioned earlier, the Les Paul is significantly heavier than the SG, which can be a concern for some players, especially during long performances.
  2. Upper Fret Access: The Les Paul's design doesn't offer as easy access to the upper fret register as the SG does.
  3. Price: Generally, Les Pauls are more expensive than SGs, so if budget is a concern, you might lean towards the SG.

SG Weaknesses

  1. Limited Neck Options: The SG typically comes with a 60s slim neck, which may not be ideal for those who prefer a thicker neck. However, the Tony Iommi SG does offer a thicker neck option.
  2. Balance Issues: Some players feel that the SG's shape causes the headstock to pull down. While I haven't experienced this issue as much, it's still something to consider.
  3. Vibrola Tuning Stability: While the SG offers vibrola options, they aren't as stable as a Strat tremolo or a Bigsby on a Les Paul.


In conclusion, as a guitarist, I've found that both the Gibson Les Paul and SG have their unique strengths and weaknesses. It really comes down to your personal preferences, playing style, and what you value most in a guitar. I hope this article has provided you with some helpful insights into the legendary Les Paul and SG, making your decision a little bit easier.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this comparison, and which guitar you'd choose. So, go ahead and leave a comment below, sharing your experiences or opinions on these iconic instruments. Let's keep the conversation going and help each other make the best choice.

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