Gibson Faded Series Les Paul and SG review

Some two decades since they first appeared, Gibson’s Faded Series instruments are back in what-you-see-is-what-you-get style: no options, not a lot of finish, either. We find out what’s new with the Les Paul Standard 50s and 60s Faded, and SG Standard ’61 Faded Maestro Vibrola

Gibson SG Standard ’61 faded Maestro Vibrola
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

On the one hand there’s a raw, stripped vibe to the Les Pauls that shouts ‘gig me’, but to be honest there’s a more boutique-like vibe going on here. The SG looks much more normal, of course, with its cherry-over-mahogany shade, and while the LPs are good, it’s this beautifully delicate instrument that stands out.


  • +

    Excellent builds.

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    Vibrant ‘raw’ voicing.

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    50s LP and the SG are a good weight.

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    Slim neck profile on the 60s LP.

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    Very good example of an early SG.


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    No colour options.

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    Fingerboard binding is a little sharp-edged on the SG.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Since coming under new ownership in late 2019, the good ship Gibson is now very much back on track, making some of the best guitars we’ve seen for many a year. 

With a focus on quality and consistency, the uptake on the new-spec models from the standard Gibson USA lines – not to mention the ‘pandemic effect’ – has meant new models have been scarce. Until now, with the release of three new Faded electric guitars you see here, and three acoustic guitars that we’ll review in due course.

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.