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Greta Van Fleet Guitarist Reveals Why He Started Playing SG, Explains What He Loves About ’61 Les Paul SG

“The ’61, this particular model, has defined me as a player and I think I’ve defined it in return.”

The SG has always had a very unique appeal to guitar players. Some of rock’s heaviest – and tastiest – tunes have been written on SGs and Angus Young, Tony Iommi, and Derek Trucks all wielded it as the ax of choice – and let’s be honest, few can resist the double-cutaway’s menacing look and neck accessibility. In fact, it’s been more than sixty years since the first Gibson Les Paul SG was released, and the SG’s appeal is as strong as ever.

As a member of the latest generation of rock trailblazers, Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka is another accomplished guitar player who’s never looked back from his own ’61 Gibson Les Paul SG. Recently, Kiszka talked to Gibson TV in a commemorative video about the instrument’s 60th anniversary and the custom 60th Anniversary ’61 Les Paul SG reissue. Kiszka, who started playing at a *very* young age and whose first guitar was also an SG, said (transcribed by UG):

“I started playing guitar around 3, unconventionally, but that was sort of the household we were raised in. I think what drew me to the instrument since young age was purely the mysticism that surrounded [it] – there is just so many secrets to be unlocked. So it was that curiosity.

“My first electric guitar was an SG with P90s – my father and I went to a guitar center, and I ended up playing this SG the whole time we were there. I went home, and then Christmas came around and that showed up. That was the first time I ever played it and I’ve never gone back on it since.”

Explaining how he chose his particular ’61 Les Paul SG and what that particular instrument means to him, Kiszka said:

“What drew me to the SG in that moment was – I think it was more a sort of a feeling, something that was premeditated – I don’t know why, but this is my instrument.

“The ’61, this particular model, has defined me as a player and I think I’ve defined it in return. It’s such a dynamic instrument, this particular guitar. It’s really something to consider about reissuing something like this. This guitar probably will be with me forever, yeah. It’s like a relationship – I just love it for the sight, love it for the sound.”

Kiszka concluded:

“My first electric guitar was an SG with P90s, and I haven’t gone back on it since. Moving forward with Greta Van Fleet and the SG allows me to be more dynamic and create sounds that are more outside the realm of conventional.”

You can check out Gibson TV’s video here:

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