Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry – Overrated? [REVIEW]

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If you’re wondering if Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry is a good electric guitar or not, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place! In today’s in-depth review, I’m going to take a very close look on that popular model. It’s an absolutely iconic guitar, but is it actually worth the money?

The truth is that Gibson SG Standard ’61 offers a fantastic value for the money. It’s not as expensive as some of the other Gibsons and it definitely looks, sounds and feels great. It’s a perfect guitar for rock music!

Let’s dive deeper with research to find out what exactly makes this axe so good and so popular among the guitarists all around the world. Firstly, we’ll start with a quick overview of specifications of that model. Additionally, we’ll investigate the biggest pros and cons of that axe. Of course, there will be a few sound demos included as well!

Specs & Pricing

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Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry is a high quality electric guitar designed for the most demanding guitarists out there. This is one of the most popular SG models that are currently made by this legendary brand.

What makes it so special? Well, the guitar features a solid mahogany body with a double cutaway and an extremely comfortable mahogany neck with an easy-playing rosewood fingerboard. This is a huge advantage, because it allows you to practice for several hours without getting tired.

What’s important, Gibson equipped this model with a pair of high quality BurstBucker humbuckers (61R & 61T) which offer a lot of versatility when it comes to tone. They give you access to the iconic SG sound with the tight low end, complex midrange and very sweet highs. It plays like a dream!

When it comes to pricing, this isn’t exactly a cheap guitar, but in the end – it’s a Gibson model. In comparison with other Gibsons, it’s actually quite affordable. That being said, it’s definitely worth every cent and it’s overpriced at all.

Here’s the sound demo – feel free to check it out below.

Comfort & Playability

As I mentioned before, Gibson SG Standard ’61 has a very comfortable neck. In my opinion, this is one of the most important features of that guitar. It significantly contributes to the overall success of that axe.

That high level of comfort is a result of the SlimTaper neck carve. It just feels right in your hands and it makes you want to play more and more. On top of that, the rosewood fretboard has a very nice and smooth feel too, so it’s perfect for playing solos.

It is also worth mentioning that Gibson used the Plek Pro machine to ensure that the quality of frets is on a high level too. Most of the time, this technology is used in high-end custom shop guitars, so that’s an another thing that makes the Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry even more amazing.

Stunning Looks

Whether you like the design of SG-style guitars or not, you have to admit that Gibson SG Standard ’61 looks absolutely amazing from the outside.

Unlike other Gibson guitars at this price level, this particular model features a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. This is an another big advantage of that axe that makes it look absolutely fantastic in real life.

For those who are not aware, when you have a nitro finish on the guitar, it means that it can breathe a little bit more. It’s significantly thinner than most of the polyurethane finishes used in the vast majority of other guitars.

Thinner lacquer results with improved tonal qualities and a really cool, vintage look. So as you can see, Gibson really paid a lot of attention to craft this guitar as best as they can!

Who Is It For?

Gibson SG Standard ’61 is suitable for guitarists of all levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an intermediate guitar player, you will definitely notice and appreciate the high quality of that axe.

However, since it’s a pretty expensive guitar, most of the time it’s used by advanced or professional musicians.

Just like any other SG-style guitar, this axe is ideal for rock music. And what’s important, it’s very versatile. Whether you want to play some glassy cleans or a bit more punchy and distorted cleans like AC/DC, you can be sure that this guitar won’t let you down.

Additionally, this axe sounds particularly good during live gigs. It’s also a great choice for studio recording, so if you’re looking for a new guitar to record your next single or album with, this is the way to go.

Overall, Gibson SG Standard ’61 will be ideal for all lovers of rock and roll. This is a truly iconic model and it’s pretty clear that this is one of the best guitars of this type that you can find on the market right now. Well done, Gibson!

Here’s an another sound demo.

Pros & Cons

Just like any other electric guitar, Gibson SG Standard ’61 has its own advantages and disadvantages. That’s totally normal! Still, you don’t have to worry too much about the cons of that axe, because it seems pretty clear that it’s quite difficult to find any major flaws of that model.


  • Great Tone
  • Comfortable Neck
  • High Versatility
  • Lightweight
  • Hardshell Case Included
  • Looks Fantastic


  • High Price

As you can see, there are a lot of things things that can be considered as major advantages of the Standard ’61 model. This axe looks, sounds and feels awesome. On top of that, it’s really versatile and it has that classic style that every guitarist was dreaming of during their teenage years!

The main disadvantage of this guitar is undeniably high price. In a world full of much less expensive electric guitars, it may be really difficult to save up enough money to finally get that Gibson. I think that the price may be the biggest obstacle that you’ll face if you’re thinking about getting it for yourself.

However, despite of the cost, I still think that this guitar exceeds all the expectations. It’s a classic model that never disappoints – and that’s why I love it!

What About Epiphone SG Standard?

A lot of guitar players who are thinking about getting one of the SG-style guitars often can’t decide whether they should choose a high-end Gibson SG or a much cheaper Expensive SG. Which one of them is actually better?

The truth is that choosing between the Epiphone and Gibson SG guitars depends on your own personal preferences and most importantly, on the size of your budget.

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In my opinion, Gibson guitars are always better than Epiphone guitars. You just can’t beat that quality and the fact that they’re made in the United States.

However, today’s Epiphone guitars offer an absolutely amazing tone as well. In many cases, they sound very close to high-end Gibsons. If you’re an amateur, you may actually struggle to spot the sound difference between these guitars.

Summing up, if you’re searching for the best value for the money, choosing the Epiphone SG won’t be a bad idea. But if you’re looking for the best gear on the market and you’re okay with spending a bit more, Gibson SG Standard ’61 will be a good fit for you.

Here’s a quick sound demo of Epiphone SG Standard – feel free to check it out below.

Gibson SG Standard vs ’61 SG Standard

For those who aren’t already aware, Gibson manufactures quite a lot of different versions of the SG guitars. Most often, guitarists can’t decide whether they should choose the SG Standard or ’61 SG Standard version.

The truth is that both of these models – SG Standard and ’61 SG Standard – offer a really good quality. However, they sound and feel a little bit differently.

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The ’61 version is a little bit more expensive, it has nickel-plated hardware and it has a bit different neck (Slim Taper).

At the same time, the regular version is a bit cheaper, it has chrome hardware and it has a round neck. Also, there’s no nitro finish like in the ’61 model and it is equipped with a different set of humbuckers.

As you can see, that’s quite a lot of differences! As a result, both of these guitars sound different. In my opinion, the ’61 model sounds better – it sound brighter and punchier.

However, it’s only my subjective opinion, so you don’t have to agree with me. Here’s a really good demo that compares these two guitars – feel free to check it out below if it sounds interesting!

Cheaper Alternatives

If you’re not satisfied with the quality of Gibson SG Standard ’61 or you simply can’t afford it right now, that’s not a big problem! There’s still quite a lot of other fantastic guitars that also deserve a lot of attention.

Of course, choosing a brand new axe will depend on the size of your budget and your own personal preferences. Still, here’s a few alternative options that you may like.

Alternative Option #1 – Epiphone Flying V

Epiphone Flying V is an excellent alternative option for those who are ready to rock but they can’t afford getting a Gibson. Just like the SG, the Flying V is one of the most iconic guitars of all time.

This axe has everything you need to either improve your skillset as an amateur guitarist or develop your professional music career. It’s very comfortable to play thanks to the Slim Taper neck and it offers a very powerful tone thanks to a pair of high quality humbuckers.

In comparison with Gibson SG Standard ’61, is way more affordable, so it seems like a perfect alternative option for those who love rock and metal music!

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Alternative Option #2 – Squier Contemporary Jaguar HH

Squier Contemporary Jaguar is an another really good sounding and affordable option for those who can’t afford getting a Gibson SG Standard ’61.

In my opinion, this is a really underrated axe. Not many people are aware of how good it actually is! It’s equipped with a pair of powerful humbuckers and it has a 24″ scale, which means that it’s bit more comfortable for players with small hands and shorter fingers.

Overall, finding a better and more versatile electric guitar won’t be that easy at this price level. I’m sure that a lot of you will immediately fall in love with that model!

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Alternative Option #3 – Epiphone Les Paul Special VE

If you’re on a very tight budget, you can also check out one of the most affordable guitars manufactured by Epiphone – the Les Paul Special VE. This is a really cool budget guitar that offers a surprisingly good value for the money.

I had the pleasure to test it out on my own and I was really impressed by the feel of the neck of that guitar. It has a very nice satin finish, so it’s nice and easy on the fingers. Although this axe is mainly designed for beginners, I’m sure that more advanced players will also appreciate its high quality.

Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending this Les Paul guitar to all musicians who are looking for a cheap and reliable instrument suitable for home practice and rehearsals. Finding something better at this price level won’t be that easy!

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Where is Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry made?

Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry is manufactured in the United States.

Is that guitar good for beginners?

Yes, this Gibson axe is perfect for beginners! However, it’s a pretty expensive instrument.

What is the radius of the SG Standard ’61?

The radius of that guitar has 12″.

What is the scale length of the SG Standard ’61?

The scale length of that guitar has 24.75″.

Where can I find out more about Gibson?

If you want to learn more about that legendary manufacturer of electric guitars, make sure visit the official website of Gibson.


As you can see, Gibson SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry is an absolutely unique electric guitar. It’s really difficult not to like that axe! It has everything you need to rock – the looks, the sound and the feel. Undoubtedly, a lot of guitarists will immediately fall in love with that model.

What do you think of that SG guitar? Would you get it for yourself or do you think that it’s overrated? Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think, I’m really interested to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for checking out today’s review, hopefully it was helpful and you enjoyed this article. If you’re searching for more gear recommendations, you may also like: