The Gibson Solid Guitar (SG)
Since it’s introduction in 1961, the Gibson SG has been the biggest selling guitar in the history of Gibson Guitars.
In 1960, Gibson Les Paul sales were significantly lower than in previous years. The following year, the Les Paul was given a thinner, flat-topped mahogany body, a double cutaway which made the upper frets more accessible, and a contoured body. The neck joint was moved by three frets to further ease access to the upper frets. The simpler body construction significantly reduced production costs, and the new Les Paul, with its slender neck profile and small heel was advertised as having the "fastest neck in the world".
However, the redesign was done without knowledge of Les Paul himself (who had nothing to do with it). Although the new guitar was popular, he strongly disliked it. Problems with the strength of the body and neck made Paul dissatisfied with the new guitar. At the same time, Paul was going through a public divorce from wife and vocalist partner Mary Ford, and his popularity was dwindling as music tastes had changed in the early 1960s. Paul asked friend and former President of Gibson, Ted McCarty, for his $1 royalty per guitar to be withheld. Gibson mutually agreed to end the contract. This is from a 1992 interview with Ted McCarty, who wrote the contract and was a life long friend of Les Paul.
Gibson also honored Les Paul's request to remove his name from the guitar, and the new model was renamed "SG", which stood for "Solid Guitar". Les Paul's name was officially removed in 1963, but the SG continued to feature Les Paul nameplates and truss rod covers until the end of 1963.
In the early-to-mid 1960s Gibson's parent corporation, Chicago Musical Instruments, also revived the Kalamazoo brand name for a short time. Later models of the KG-1 and KG-2 featured a body style similar to the Gibson SG, effectively creating a budget-line model until the brand was dropped in the late 1960s. Gibson currently releases lower-cost, internationally sourced versions of the SG through their subsidiary, Epiphone.
Because of its ease of play, holding comfort, popularity and vintage heritage, the body style of the SG is often copied by other manufacturers, although much less frequently than the Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster.