This unearthed 1960 prototype reveals what the Gibson SG Special nearly looked like

Gibson SG Special Prototype
(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

This 1960 SG Special prototype, currently in the possession of New York’s Well Strung Guitars, is notable for having a slab body without the SG’s familiar edge bevel.

Without its familiar edge-bevels this prototype SG Special has a more blocky look that was rejected in favour of continuity with the rest of the Gibson SG range – though the classic P-90 pickup configuration stayed.

“When I first took it out of the case it was like when you haven’t seen a friend in a while and there’s something different about them, like maybe they shaved their beard,” Well Strung’s David Davidson says.

“It’s a ’60 serial number, inked on. I always look at that guitar as kind of like the slab-body Fender Mustangs you saw early on. It was as if the people making the prototype were thinking ‘Well, if we can make it cheaper, let’s try’, before the styling department said, ‘No, you can’t cut that corner.’”

David adds that he’s never seen any SG Standard prototypes without bevelled edges so, possibly, a simpler un-bevelled version was only considered for the cheaper SG Special in much the same way as the Les Paul Special did without the carved top of the LP Standard.

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Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.