The Gibson SG and Explorer are undoubtedly among the most recognizable electric guitars in the music industry. The SG, first introduced in 1961 as a redesigned version of the Les Paul, has a sleek double-cutaway body shape that has become synonymous with the rock genre. The Explorer, on the other hand, is a more modern design that was introduced in 1958 as part of Gibson’s “futuristic” line of guitars. It features a sharp, angular body shape that is instantly recognizable.
However, the two guitars do have some distinct differences that set them apart. The SG has a double cutaway body design that provides easy access to the upper frets, making it a popular choice among lead guitarists. The Explorer, on the other hand, has more limited access to the upper frets due to its pointed shape.
Another key difference between the two guitars is their weight. The SG is generally lighter than the Explorer, with a range of 6.5 to 8.5 pounds depending on the model, while the Explorer typically weighs between 7 and 8.5 pounds. This may not seem like a significant difference, but it can affect comfort during long playing sessions, especially if you prefer a lightweight guitar.
|Body Shape||SG Standard||Explorer body|
|Neck Shape||Slim taper||Slim taper|
|Neck Construction||Set Neck||Set Neck|
|Number Of Frets||22, Medium Jumbo||22, Medium Jumbo|
|Frets Material||Nickel Silver||Nickel Silver|
|Type of Bridge||Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar||Tune-o-matic with stopbar tailpiece|
|Tuning Machines||Grover Rotomatics||Mini Grover|
|Pickups||Dual 490R and 490T Humbuckers||’57 Classic and Burstbucker|
Choosing the correct guitar for yourself is a somewhat daunting task to do. There are many different factors that may play a key role in deciding which guitar is correct for you. The same goes for these two models. In this article, I will do my best to help you decide which one of these models is the one for you.
Construction & Hardware Compared
The Gibson SG and Explorer differ mainly in their construction and hardware. The SG has a double cutaway solid body made of mahogany, a set-in mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard, while the Explorer has a modern solid body made of mahogany, a set-in mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard.
Both guitars feature a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, allowing precise intonation and sustain. The SG usually has vintage deluxe tuning machines with keystone buttons, while the Explorer has mini Grover tuning machines, both of which are high-quality and allow for smooth and precise tuning.
In terms of weight, the SG is generally lighter than the Explorer, with a range of 6.5 to 8.5 pounds depending on the model. The Explorer typically weighs between 7 and 8.5 pounds. While the weight difference may not be noticeable to some players, it can make a difference in comfort during long playing sessions.
When it comes to tone, the Gibson SG and Explorer have their own distinct flavors. The SG is known for its bright and punchy sound, with a strong midrange and plenty of sustain. This makes it a popular choice for rock and blues players who want a guitar that can cut through a mix.
The Explorer, on the other hand, has a thicker and more powerful tone, with plenty of low-end and a strong midrange. This makes it a popular choice for heavy metal and hard rock players who want a guitar that can handle the most aggressive riffing.
Of course, the specific tone of each guitar can vary depending on the pickups and amp settings used. The SG typically comes with a pair of humbucking pickups, such as the ’57 Classic or Burstbucker series, while the Explorer also has humbuckers, such as the Dirty Fingers or 496R/500T pickups. Both types of pickups are known for their high output and clarity and can produce a wide range of tones depending on the player’s style and preferences.
Overall, the Gibson SG and Explorer both have powerful and versatile tones, but with slightly different characteristics. The SG is brighter and punchier, while the Explorer is thicker and more powerful.
Feel & Playability Compared
The feel and playability of the Gibson SG and Explorer are also important factors to consider. Both guitars have slim taper necks that allow for fast and fluid playing, and rosewood fretboards that provide a smooth and comfortable surface for the fingers.
The double cutaway design of the SG allows for easy access to the upper frets, while the Explorer’s asymmetrical design can take a little getting used to. Some players may find the Explorer’s shape a bit awkward to play while sitting down, but it’s well-suited for standing and playing on stage.
In terms of balance, the SG is well-balanced and comfortable playing both sitting down and standing up. The Explorer, with its heavier body, may require some adjustments to find the perfect playing position.
The Gibson SG and Explorer have distinct looks that set them apart from each other. The SG has a classic design that has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in the 1960s. The body has a symmetrical shape with rounded edges, giving it a sleek and elegant look.
The SG is available in a range of finishes, including classic sunburst and solid colors, as well as more unique options like faded finishes and metallic hues. The headstock has a vintage-style design, with a black Gibson logo and a truss rod cover that can be removed for easy adjustments.
The Explorer, on the other hand, has a more modern and aggressive look that sets it apart from other Gibson models. It features a solid body made of mahogany, with sharp angles and an asymmetrical design that gives it a distinct appearance. The neck is also made of mahogany, with a slim taper profile and a rosewood fretboard.
It is available in a range of finishes, including classic sunburst and solid colors, as well as more daring options like metallic finishes and custom graphics. The headstock has a modern design, with a silver Gibson logo and a truss rod cover that can be easily removed for adjustments.
In conclusion, both the Gibson SG and Explorer are iconic guitars with distinct looks and sounds that have been used by many great guitarists across different genres. While the SG offers a more traditional and versatile tone, the Explorer is ideal for heavier genres with its chunky sound and modern design.
If you’re a versatile player who wants a guitar that can handle different genres, the SG might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re into heavier music and want a guitar that looks and sounds the part, the Explorer could be the perfect fit.
Ultimately, both the SG and Explorer are top-quality guitars that are well-built and reliable. No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to get a guitar that will serve you well for years to come.
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