How to Set Up a Gibson SG

electric guitar body image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Originally designed as a new style for the Gibson Les Paul line in 1961, the guitar was renamed as the SG in 1963. Setting up your SG is easy. Simply adjust various features to suit your style of playing. Change the strings, pickup height, tuning keys and truss rod as well as the pickup selector and volume and tone controls before connecting your SG to an amp and playing it. Once you have set up your Gibson SG you can begin to follow in the footsteps of famous SG guitarists such as Pete Townshend, Angus Young and Tony Iommi.

Restring your Gibson SG according to your playing conditions. If you prefer a particular type of string then you may have to replace the standard factory strings that come with the guitar.

Adjust the truss rod to improve neck alignment if needed. Look along the neck of the guitar and under the strings. If the neck is either curving away or curving towards the strings, you will need to adjust the truss rod. Locate the truss rod under the truss rod cover on the headstock before tightening or loosening the nut to pull the rod closer or further away from the strings, respectively.

Tune your Gibson SG by tightening or loosening the tuning keys on the guitar headstock. Each key corresponds to a string on the guitar. Play each string against the harmonic note and if it is out of tune then adjust the tuning keys accordingly.

Adjust the height of the pickup to improve the tone of your SG.

Experiment with the 3-way pickup selector, volume and tone controls to prepare your guitar to be played.

Connect your Gibson SG to an amp by inserting the amp lead into the insert jack at the base of your guitar.


About the Author

A professional journalist since 2008, Joe Turner has written for the Manchester Evening News and CityLife online, and is currently writing for alternative music website as well as Alternative Magazine Online. Turner is a journalism student at the University of Salford.

Photo Credits

  • electric guitar body image by Jeffrey Zalesny from