1964 Gibson SG Standard

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In the Spring of 1966, George Harrison was photographed in the studio playing a 1964 Gibson SG Standard with Maestro Lyre Vibrola tail piece and finished in a beautiful cherry red color.
In 1902, Orville Gibson founded "The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd." in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make the mandolin-family of instruments. Gibson then invented arch top guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, Gibson was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars. In 1952, Gibson introduced its most popular guitar, a solid body model co-designed and endorsed by celebrated guitarist Les Paul. Today, a late 1950’s “Les Paul” model with humbucking PAF’s (Patent Applied For Pickups) is considered one of the most iconic and desirable electric guitars in the world.
The Gibson SG, a solid-bodied electric guitar, was first introduced in 1961 as a revamped version of Gibson’s Les Paul models. Sales of the original traditional style 1950’s Les Paul models had dropped significantly and Gibson hoped the new modern sleeker style SG (Solid Guitar) would reverse that trend. The Les Paul was given a thinner, flat-topped mahogany body, and a double cutaway, which made the upper frets more accessible. 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". Although Les Paul himself did not officially endorse the SG, he was photographed with one on several occasions.
The 1964 SG Standard specs are: Double pointed cutaways; “Scalloped” mahogany solid body; One-piece mahogany neck; “Long” neck tenon; 24 ¾” scale; 2 humbucking “Patent Number” pickups; ABR-1 bridge with nylon saddles; 3 layer black beveled “small” pick guard with 6 mounting screws; Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with pearloid trapezoid inlays; Gibson logo on peghead with crown inlay; Desirable 1 11/16” wide nut; Double-ring, single-line, Kluson tuners with plastic buttons; Maestro Vibrola with lyre engraving and logo on cover plate and plastic tip handle; Nickel plated parts; and Cherry red finish. The 1963/64 SG Standards (without the sideways vibrato, and slightly larger, more stable necks) are considered the best of the SG Standards.
Harrison would use his SG in 1966 during live appearances in Britain and Germany and as a back up guitar during the Japan tour. He would also continue to use it on studio recordings until 1969. John Lennon also used this SG in the studio, most notably during the “Hey Bulldog” recording sessions in early 1968.
Apparently, sometime in 1969, Harrison gave the SG to the band “Badfinger” and it ended up in the possession of their guitarist Pete Ham. Many years after Ham’s death, his brother put the guitar up for auction and it was purchased by James Isray, owner of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.
The 1964 Gibson SG Standard in our collection is identical to the one played by Harrison and Lennon.
Rare photo of Harrison on stage with his 1964 Gibson SG Standard with Maestro Lyre Vibrola.
George Harrison in the studio with his Gibson SG.
John Lennon using the Gibson SG during the "Hey Bulldog" sessions.

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