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The SG Elite was introduced in 1987 and produced until early 1989. It slotted between the SG-62 and SG Custom. Its design is based on the SG-62, but the headstock is the narrower style used on the SG Special, with the crown inlay positioned lower, as it was from 1966-1980 and on the redesigned 1991 SG Standard.

As a result of a factory mistake, 32 SG Elites were accidentally routed for three pickups in February 1987. Those instruments were then fitted with SG Custom hardware and sold as Customs. Most were sold as factory seconds, with only 8 not being marked as such. The main differences from a regular SG Custom are the crown headstock inlay, lack of headstock binding and Elite finish options.

Elite

88 elite.jpg
  • 1987:
    • $1,049 MSRP
    • $1,229 MSRP (w/ Kahler vibrola)
  • 1988: $1,250 MSRP

Body:

  • Beveled, solid Honduran Mahogany body
  • Angled heel
  • Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish

Neck:

  • 1-pc quartersawn Honduran Mahogany
  • Set-in construction
    • 3 degree angle
    • Titebond glue
    • Joins body at 22nd fret
  • 1961 Slim Taper D profile (.800/.875")
  • Ebony fretboard
    • Mother of Pearl block inlays
    • 12" radius
  • Narrow Open Book headstock
    • Resin impregnated fiberboard veneer
    • Inlaid Mother of Pearl Gibson logo
      • Squared font w/ closed "B" & "O"
    • Inlaid Mother of Pearl crown
    • "Made in U.S.A." stamp
    • 17o headstock pitch
  • 22 frets
  • 24 9/16" scale
  • 1 11/16" nut width

Binding:

  • Neck, single-ply
  • Fret-edge binding
87 elite.jpg

Electronics:

  • Three "Spotlight" humbuckers (1987)
    • Two AlNiCo V magnets
    • ~7.5 - 8.5k Ohms D.C. resistance
    • Designed by Tim Shaw
  • Two "The Original" Humbuckers (1988-1989)
    • AlNiCo V magnets
    • 7-9k (neck), 13-15k (bridge) Ohms D.C. resistance
    • AKA "HB-R/L" & "Circuit Board" pickups
    • Designed by Bill Lawrence
  • 3-way switch
  • 2 Vol, 1 Tone
  • 1 coil tap mini-switch

Hardware:

  • Gold hardware
  • Grover Rotomatic tuning machines
    • 14:1 ratio
    • Manufactured by Ping
  • Schaller M-6 Pin tuning machines
    • 14:1 ratio
    • Pin-mounted
  • 5-ply "Angel Wing" pickguard
  • Bell shaped truss rod cover
    • 2-ply black/white
    • Blank
  • Black single-ply tenon cover
  • Black/Gold Reflector knobs
  • Kahler Deluxe locking nut
  • Zamak ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • TP-6 fine-tuning tailpiece
  • Optional Kahler SuperTune vibrola
    • Locking nut
    • "Gibson" branded

Finishes:

  • Metallic Sunset 
  • Pearl White 

Elite / Custom

87 elite cst.jpg

Body:

  • Beveled, solid Honduran Mahogany body
  • Angled heel
  • Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish

Neck:

  • 1-pc quartersawn Honduran Mahogany
  • Set-in construction
    • 3 degree angle
    • Titebond glue
    • Joins body at 22nd fret
  • 1961 Slim Taper D profile (.800/.875")
  • Ebony fretboard
    • Mother of Pearl block inlays
    • 12" radius
  • Narrow Open Book headstock
    • Resin impregnated fiberboard veneer
    • Inlaid Mother of Pearl Gibson logo
      • Squared font w/ closed "B" & "O"
        87 elite cst white.jpg
    • Inlaid Mother of Pearl crown
    • "Made in U.S.A." stamp
    • 17o pitch
  • 22 frets
  • 24 9/16" scale
  • 1 11/16" nut width

Binding:

  • Neck, single-ply
  • Fret-edge binding

Electronics:

  • Three "Spotlight" humbuckers
    • Two AlNiCo V magnets
    • ~7.5-8.5k Ohms D.C. resistance
    • Designed by Tim Shaw

3-way switch

  • 2 Vol, 2 Tone
87 elite custom.jpg

Hardware:

  • Gold hardware
  • Grover Rotomatic tuning machines
    • 14:1 ratio
    • Manufactured by Ping
  • Pickguard delete
  • Bell shaped truss rod cover
    • 2-ply black/white
    • Blank
  • Black single-ply tenon cover
  • Black/Gold Reflector knobs
  • Zamak ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Zamak stopbar tailpiece

Finishes:

  • Metallic Sunset (26 units) 
  • Pearl White (6 units) 
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