Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Review & Prices

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Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Review
  • From Gibson's 2020 Artist Collection series
  • Kirk Douglas Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood with White binding fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Gibson BurstBucker 3 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 2 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 1 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Aluminum Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Tremolo bridge
  • 3 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Slim Taper Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Keystone tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Gibson's 2020 Artist Collection series
  • Kirk Douglas Signature
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood with White binding fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Gibson BurstBucker 3 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 2 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 1 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Aluminum Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Tremolo bridge
  • 3 volume and 1 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Slim Taper Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Keystone tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Verdict: is The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG a Good Guitar?

Made in a country with top quality control, which means you should get a high-quality instrument made with good materials and excellent attention to detail. It's a guitar with decent playability. It has good pickups but might be lacking in terms of versatility. It's a well-balanced guitar for playing solos and chords. You can find other models with valuable features (locking tuners, stainless steel frets, etc) for a lower price. Overall, a good guitar for the price, especially if you like Hard Rock or similar genres.

Final Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 76
Build quality 74
Value for money 64
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Stainless Steel Frets
  • Locking Tuners
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Weight Relief
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Strap Lock
  • Luminescent Inlay

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Prices

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Is the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $2900, which means that the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG is around 14% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all guitars in our database with 6 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in United States.

Explore All Gibson Guitars >

Is The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Easy to Play?

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Balance
Small hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Scale Length Comparison
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Neck Profile
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's neck thickness is approximately 0.82'' (20.8mm) at the first fret, and 0.92'' (23.4mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Gibson website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

However, Gibson tends to be inconsistent with the shape and thickness of their necks. So two guitars, even if they're the same model, might have necks that feel different. It's been like this for a long time, and other brands don't have this problem.

More guitars for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG has a fingerboard radius of 12". Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Nut Width
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Nut Width

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This size is also known as 1 11/16'' and it's the most common size found in electric guitars. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

Finally, these are nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you'll need to replace the frets after a few years.

More guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Fret Size Comparison
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 80
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

Does the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, we'll take a look at the hardware used—mainly the pickups—to determine what kind of tone you can expect.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gibson. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's configuration is HHH. If you like warm tones, three Humbuckers will give you all the warmness you want, but also tons of output power. The advantage of having three humbucking pickups instead of a combination of single-coils and humbuckers is that you won't hear volume differences when switching to other pickups. And since they're all humbucker pickups, you don't need to adjust the middle pickup so high that it will get in the way of your pick.

More guitars with the same pickups

22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Gibson BurstBucker 3 Bridge Pickup
Gibson Burstbucker 2 Middle Pickup
Gibson Burstbucker 1 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson Burstbucker 2 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Gibson Burstbucker 1 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson BurstBucker 3 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Gibson Burstbucker 2 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gibson BurstBucker 3 Bridge Pickup
Middle Pickup
Gibson Burstbucker 2 Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Coil Split option. It allows you to 'split' or turn off pickup coils to get even more tones in combination with the pickup selector. When used with humbucker pickups, it'll reduce the output and increase their clarity, turning them essentially into single-coil pickups.

More guitars with the same mods:

Diagram

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG's switch options

What music genre is the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HHH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 76

How well is the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Built?

Where is the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Made?

Knowing where the guitar is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

More guitars made in United States

Quality of Wood Used in the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG

As an electric guitar, type of wood won't affect the tone and sustain much. Instead, the hardware will be much more important. However, wood is still important for the look and feel of the guitar in general.

These are the types of wood used in the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG:

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

The body and neck are made of Mahogany. This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Finally, the fretboard material is Rosewood. Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More guitars made with the same wood:

Bridge

The bridge is a Aluminum Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Tremolo. This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, which gives you better versatility. Also, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, the bridge will move as you bend the strings. So you'll have to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge. This allows you to perform smoother bends but will also make you slower. Finally, remember that this type of bridge requires a bit more maintenance than fixed ones, especially when changing strings.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More guitars with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

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Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 66
Features 60
Quality Control 95
Build Quality 74

Most Popular Comparisons With The Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG

Gibson Kirk Douglas Signature SG Specs

General
Brand: Gibson
Year: 2020
Configuration: HHH
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Artist Collection
Colors: Black, Green
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Aluminum Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Tremolo
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Keystone
Fretboard: Rosewood with White binding
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Acrylic Blocks
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Slim Taper
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.82'' (20.8mm) - 12th Fret: 0.92'' (23.4mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Pickup Mods: Coil Split
Volume Controls: 3
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Gibson BurstBucker 3 (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 2 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Gibson Burstbucker 1 (Humbucker / Passive)