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The Gibson Les Paul was first made in 1952, but when sales were significantly down in 1960, Gibson decided to take on a new approach. They took the Les Paul, thinned out its body, and gave it a flat top, a double-cutaway, and a
The neck joint was also scooted over by three frets and the neck was made a lot thinner than it is on the original Les Paul. The problem with this design, though, was that nobody clued Les Paul himself in on the design change… and he didn’t like it.
In 1963, Les Paul asked Gibson to take his name off the guitar, at which point they had to come up with a new name. They settled on the (somewhat boring) name “SG,” standing for
The SG was advertised as having the “fastest neck in the world” with low frets and super quick action, but due to the thinness of the neck, it was extraordinarily common for the necks to snap clear in half. In ’62, the neck was thickened up a little bit (although it was still thinner than the SG), meaning unsnapped 1961 SG’s are highly valued to this day.
Epiphone, which was purchased by Gibson in 1957, is also allowed to use the trademarked SG design to produce a cheaper version of the SG, angled mostly toward novice and intermediate players. This review is on the Epiphone G-310 SG, which is a budget version of the famous (if somewhat controversial) guitar.
Epiphone began manufacturing the G-310 SG over 15 years ago, due to such high demand for a cheaper alternative to the famous Gibson SG.
The G-310 is modeled after the 1967 version of the Gibson SG, which includes double humbucker pickups, rather than some of the other pickup variations Gibson was using in the early sixties, such a single or double P-90s or triple PAF pickups with gold covers.
Read on to learn more about the specs and sound quality of the Epiphone G-310 SG!
The Epiphone G-310 sounds pretty nice for a budget guitar, but it’s not amazing. The high-output 700T/650R double humbucker pickup arrangement is great for distorted and overdriven tones, such as for rock, metal, and so forth.
However, the guitar definitely lacks in the clean tone department, producing tones that lack harmonic complexity and sound overall quite dull and murky. It seems the pickups and body design require the extra harmonic boosting of distortion to take on more interesting and engaging sonic characteristics.
One major positive side of the guitar is that it produces very little buzz (if any at all), unless playing with extremely high gain, although this is typical of any decent humbucker. The body shape is nice (of course, it’s basically identical to the Gibson SG), and the neck is quick and facilitates speedy solos.
It’s constructed out of quality tonewoods, using mahogany for the body and neck and rosewood for the fingerboard, but the bolt-on neck limits some of the guitar’s potential for warmth, which would probably yield better tone on clean settings.
Overall, for a beginner player who knows they would like to play mostly heavily distorted genres, this guitar will be great. If you don’t know yet what kind of genre you’re interested in playing—or if you like to mix clean and distorted tones frequently—the lack of versatility of the G-310 will not be pleasing to you.
Overall, I give the Epiphone G-310 SG a 3.8 out of 5.
While I love SG’s and playing through H-H pickups, the G-310 is lacking in too many areas for me to fully back it with a high rating. The lack of versatility in clean tone production is a major turn-off that Epiphone may want to reevaluate. Also, the fact that the cheapness of the hardware is so easily visible is a problem.
The G-310 is a decent guitar for a beginner, but there are better, more versatile guitars that can be purchased for a comparable—or even cheaper—price tag, with the Epi G-310 coming in at about $270. Of course, you can always check out the latest prices here.
But don’t take my word for it. If you’re curious, just stop by a music store and check it out yourself!