Epiphone SG Standard Vs Epiphone SG Custom: What’s The Difference?

The Gibson SG is an iconic rock guitar. But what is the difference between the Epiphone SG Custom and the Epiphone SG Standard? Let’s take a look and find out!


The Epiphone SG: A Short History

We have already taken a look at the difference between the famous Les Paul Models, earlier this month. But the Epiphone SG is a completely different animal in the echelon of Gibson-inspired guitars. The SG had pretty humble roots, though.

Originally The SG was designed to be “the next Les Paul” way back in 1961. The SG was designed to be thinner, and lighter than Les Paul’s other guitars. The neck heel was shaved down. The neck itself, was slim and wide making it very fast and easy to play. “SG” stands for “Solid Guitar”.


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This was at a time when solid-body guitars were just really starting to take off. The SG originally bared Les Paul’s name, but he never endorsed the product, so the name “Solid Guitar” stuck.

What could have been a disaster for Gibson, became a blessing. The SG took off with Gibson fans everywhere, and everyone from Jimmy Page, to Eric Clapton picked one up to try it out.

epiphone sg
Original “Cherry” SG

Gibson acquired Epiphone in a merger and began making Epiphone the “affordable Gibson” brand. Even better, Epiphone started making the Inspired By Gibson Series in 2020, and these guitars have been blowing our minds!

But there are slight differences between the myriad of different models, and today we are going to check out the difference between the Epiphone SG Standard, and the Epiphone SG Custom.

SG Standard and SG Custom Design Differences

As you will see below, the SG Custom looks suspiciously like the SG Standard…but don’t let your eyes fool you! There are quite a few design differences, and they mostly aesthetic choices.

Epiphone SG Standard Vs Epiphone SG Custom: What's The Difference?
SG Custom (Left) and SG Standard (Right)

Starting out, the SG Custom is definitely a little more expensive. This is because of the parts used that make the SG Custom stand out. But we are going to check out all of the features and specs!

The first aesthetic design choice you will notice between the Standard and Custom models, is the headstock design, and neck binding. Take a look below:

Epiphone SG Standard Vs Epiphone SG Custom: What's The Difference?
SG Custom (Left) and SG Standard (Right)

You’ll notice that the Epiphone SG Custom on the left is definitely more ornate in design. You can also see that the SG Custom uses vintage style tuning machines that have an “aged” look to them. The SG Standard has more modern style tuning machines.

The other big difference is the cream binding that comes on the SG Custom. This binding goes around the whole headstock, and down the length of the neck. This gives the SG Custom a beautiful “Tuxedo” look.

Finally, you will also notice that the Epiphone SG Custom has all gold hardware. This includes:

  • Tuning Machines
  • Screws
  • Bridge
  • Pickup Covers

The SG Standard almost always comes exclusively with chrome hardware. Some people prefer the chrome over the gold hardware. This is totally a personal preference kind of thing. The gold is supposed to make the SG Custom more “refined” and it certainly looks fancy!

Epiphone SG Custom and SG Standard Specs

This is where the guitars have a lot in common! You would think that maybe the SG Custom has some more higher-end components. But that is not really the case. Let’s take a look at what these two guitars have in common:

  • Mahogany Body
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Graph Tech Nut
  • 22 Frets
  • 24.75” Scale length/628.65mm
  • Lock Tone Bridge by Epiphone
  • Alnico Classic PRO Pickups
  • Slim Taper Neck

It would seem on paper, that these two guitars are very similar, and they are! The main differences are almost all visual design. But there are a couple of small details that might sway you towards one or the other.

Epiphone SG Standard Vs Epiphone SG Custom: What's The Difference?
SG Custom Neck profile

While both guitars have the “Slim Taper” neck profile, and the carve on both is very much similar, the SG Custom is slightly different. The SG Custom has the classic cream binding, and that certainly changes the feel of the neck just a little. The SG Custom has always felt like a chunkier neck in my hands.

If you read up on my personal preferences, you’ll know that I actually prefer a slightly chunkier neck. I feel like a slightly wider and fatter neck is easier for me to play. But your experience may differ, and maybe you like the slimmest neck possible.

The other big difference that is a “love it or hate it” kind of issue is the tuners. Some people dislike the Kluson Style Vintage Tuners that the SG Custom comes with. Tuners are easy to change out usually, but not when they are vintage styled. These tuners have a 4 hole setup, and they are not usually a direct fit for modern replacement tuners.

Which Epiphone SG Model Should I buy?

Since we have gone over just how similar these two models are, I think your choice is going to come down to two things:

The Aesthetics: Do you like the showy, more decked-out look of the SG Custom? Technically the SG Custom is closer to being a vintage SG like they made in the 1960’s. The gold hardware and beautiful cream binding make this a real looker.

But maybe these details really don’t mean anything to you, and a more modern design is what appeals to you. If this is the case, then I think you are better suited to the SG Standard.

The Neck Feel: While the necks both technically have the Slim Taper profile and carved neck heel, in my experience, the SG Custom is just a little chunkier. This will be down to your personal preference entirely. There is no good or bad between the two necks. They are just different.

Epiphone SG Standard Vs Epiphone SG Custom: What's The Difference?

If you like the slimmest, easiest to shred neck that you can find…then the SG Standard is going to be more your speed.

The best thing you can do, is check out both of the Epiphone SG Models: View Models And Latest Prices.

Everything about both Epiphone SG models is going to come down to what you like, in a very specific manner. These small differences might not mean anything to some people, while others may think differently. There is also the slight price difference, but only about $120.

But between you and I, you cannot go wrong with either one of these great guitars! The SG has become a staple of Doom Metal and many other rock genres. It has an iconic look, feel, and sound. I think either model will be a great addition to your arsenal!

Me personally? I would most likely get this one.

Christoper Horton

Christopher started playing guitar in 1994 at 14 years old. He has been a part of the Metal community for the last 25 years and has 11 solo albums under his belt. Christopher started his career in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 90's, later securing a major label record deal in the early 2000s under the name IAMSOUND. He worked briefly as a hired gun in Los Angeles before he opened his own studio in 2010 in Savannah, Georgia. Chris has worked with some big names over the years like Tripping Daisy, Kylesa, Baroness, and the legendary Reflux.

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