In lieu of writing about a band for the greatest American band debate on SeedSing, I'm going to write about an instrument today.
It's an instrument that I play, I'm very average, but I love. This instrument is the guitar. Now, I know, that's a very open ended thing to write about. To make it more interesting though, I'm going to specifically talk about a brand of guitar, that I and a lot of pros prefer. I'm a big fan of Gibson guitars.
A Gibson SG was the first real electric guitar that I bought. This guitar was my baby before I had real babies. The sound was so clean and smooth. Even when I put distortion on heavy on my pedal board, it still sounded clean. The feel of my SG was phenomenal. It was heavy, but not too heavy. It felt good when I rested it on my lap. I liked the feel when I stood and played it. The colors are beautiful. There's hints of dark brown, black, white and even soft red colors. It looks like it was cut from a humongous redwood tree. I was, and still am, a bit obsessed with this guitar. It was the first thing I bought when I got my first paycheck from my first real adult job. I had been at the dental lab I first worked in, waited two weeks, got my paycheck, cashed it in and went straight to Guitar Center. I brought my dad and two of my brothers with me. I had tested this particular SG prior to this day, but I wanted to weigh all of my options. I tried Squires, Epiphones, Alvarez and Fenders, just to name a few. They all sounded decent and were within my price range, but I kept going back to the SG. I even tried different styles. I tried semi and full hollow bodies, 12 string, electric/acoustic combo guitars, but none of them sounded and felt the same as the SG. After about two hours, my dad and brothers agreed that it was time for me to just pick a guitar already. I went with the SG because I could not shake it. I thought about it the whole week leading up to the purchase, and kept saying about the other guitars I tried, "it sounds fine, but that SG, that's a great sounding guitar".
So, I bought the SG, on sale, with cash. That's how much I wanted this guitar. I brought it home that night and played it for what seemed to be 10 hours. I just couldn't put it down, it was the coolest thing I ever owned, and it was truly mine because I bought it with my own hard earned money. I had an acoustic, and I still have it, prior to this purchase. It's a Washburn that my folks bought me for the holidays about 12 years ago. It's a fantastic guitar and still sounds excellent, but it's not my SG. I have a dobro that I play slide and rhythm guitar on, but it's not my SG. I have a lap steel that I strictly use for slide guitar, but it's not my SG.
Do you see what I'm getting at? My SG is a wonderful and beautiful guitar. I know this sounds like a love letter to a guitar. It sounds like that because it is a love letter to my guitar. This is the best inanimate object that I own. I have a full size Michigan football helmet, I have a signed Charles Woodson football, I have a lot of Michigan memorabilia, and as much as I love these things, they don't compare to my SG. I've heard people, mostly older people, tell me that Gibson is inferior to Fender, but I vehemently disagree. They all tell me that when I'm older, I'll understand, but my love for Gibson guitars will not waver. I'm 32 now, been playing guitar since I was 20, and I still prefer Gibson over Fender. I'll take Gibson 10 out of 10 times if you ask me.
I know that a lot of the older blues musicians, blues is my favorite style of music, play Fenders, but nothing compares to Gibson guitars, and most importantly, their SG brand. I mean, look at some of the famous musicians that played Gibson brand guitars throughout their entire career. First of all, the man who invented Gibson, Les Paul. He was a genius guitar player and created the whole Gibson brand. He is one of, if not the, greatest guitar players that ever lived. Go back and listen to him playing guitar, it's masterful, and he did it all on his Les Paul brand Gibson guitar. Slash, from Guns and Roses and many other side projects, plays Gibson guitars. I may not like the genre of music he plays, but he is an incredible guitar player that only plays Gibson guitars. No way he gets that same sound out of a Fender, not in a million years. Jimmy Page, maybe the second greatest guitar player, behind Les Paul, plays primarily Gibson guitars. He is the master of blues/rock and it sounds so fantastic coming from his enormous collection of Gibson's. Do you think that "Stairway to Heaven" or "Whole Lotta Love" would've sounded the same if he played on any other brand of guitar? No way. Randy Rhoades has played only Gibson's his entire career. You may not know who he is, so I'll tell you. He's been Ozzy Osbourne's lead guitar player his entire career. He played on songs like "Crazy Train" and "War Pigs". Both songs, Gibson guitars. Zakk Wylde, widely considered one of the best heavy metal guitarist of all time, has played all those dizzyingly fast riffs on only Gibson guitars. Ace Freehly, KISS leading guitarist, has played only Gibson Les Paul's his whole career. I don't like KISS, but Freehly is a pretty damn good guitar player. Duane Allman, probably the greatest rock and roll slide player of all time played all of those hits from the Allman Brothers on Gibson guitars. Eric Clapton, arguably considered the best guitar player of all time, played every hit song and every fantastic solo on Gibson guitars. When he was with Cream, Gibson guitars, with Traffic, Gibson guitars, the lead on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", Gibson. Enough said. Bob Marley, the king of reggae music, played Gibson guitars. That steady beat and groove that almost everyone has come to love was played and made famous on Gibson guitars. I'll get crushed by my brother Seth if I don't mention that Jerry Garcia played a Gibson, an SG at that. I don't like his music, but it's hard to ignore their influence on music, and he was playing a Gibson. Even newer musicians, like Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, plays pretty much only Gibson guitars. Gibson's are the best.
I think I made that point pretty clear today. But, tell me why I'm wrong or why Fenders are better, or any other brand for that matter, than Gibson in the comment section. Anyone who's played a guitar, or still plays guitar has a favorite brand and mine are Gibson guitars. Specifically, a Gibson SG.
They're the greatest.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. He neglected to tell us that all great wannabe guitarists play Gibson, it was the original Guitar Hero controller. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.