Despite what people will say about Gibson’s quality and price, the 2014 SGJ is great value and extremely comfortable, light and versatile. Looks are subjective but the plain no-frills finish on this guitar makes it all go and no show. Some will argue it sounds better without the fancy finishes. You may still find these in stores and you should check them out, because USA made Gibsons are certainly not going to be this cost-effective again.
The SGJ started in 2012 as part of a Les Paul celebration, the 2014 has the 120th Anniversary badge on the 12 fret marker. Unfortunately discontinued for 2015. Also it should be said that the J does not stand for “Junior”, an SG Junior was discontinued in 1971 and I believe some reissues in 2003 and 2011. The Junior SG is known for the single soap-bar P90 pickup and large pickup guard. At least, it’s not a Jr. in the traditional sense.
Gibson definitely hit a home-run with these SGJ’s! You won’t have to change the pickups as you would be inclined to do on some Asian models at around this price since the SGJ already comes with good ’61 Humbuckers which are also found on the much more expensive Les Paul Peace and SGM models so the little SGJ has bite and the neck position just sings its heart out. These particular pickups feature Alnico V magnets which provide a higher output at the higher frequencies and greater touch sensitivity. The history behind the Zebra coils started when Gibson’s supplier ran out of black pigment; Gibson installed them anyway as they were hidden. When people started removing the covers, they liked the zebra look and has since become a visual feature. Please note that the 2013 SGJ (with the EMG looking pickup covers) has 490R and 490T humbucking pickups, not the 61 Zebra Alnico V’s.
Simple effective and lightweight guitar, check out the specs:
- Pickups: ’61 Zebra Alnico V’s
- Mahogany body with Franklin Titebond 50 glue
- Maple neck w/ Rosewood fingerboard 12” radius
- Vintage Pearloid Button Kluson Deluxe tuners
- Tune-O-matic bridge
- White TekToid nut (1.695 width)
- Original strings: Gibson .009-.046
- Finishes (all satin): Vintage Sunburst, Cherry, Fireburst, Rubbed Vintage Sunburst, Chocolate
- No pickguard
The SGJ has 24 medium-jumbo frets (scale length remains the same thus not an extension) and extremely fast to play, very comfortable and the gloss-free finish entices movements. The action out-of-box was pretty good. Also the SGJ’s seem more balanced (lighter neck) than their Standard counterparts so not as much effort required to keep the neck up.
The SGJ (and I think all the “J models”) uses a printed circuit board so changing a pot (say you want coil splitting) means you’ll have to redo the entire circuit. Below is a picture of what it looks like behind the cover plate.
Some good reviews
Some of the best review videos (be sure to subscribe to their channel for more), this shows the 2013 model that looks like active pickups (not active, just a different looking cover).
Here’s a review from Wildwood Guitars. This looks like the 2014 model, nicely recorded sound too a must see.
If you’re a fan of the SGJ and can’t stand not having a desktop wallpaper of it
Click on the image below to preview and download the full size 1920×1080 desktop background.