In 1966 Yamaha introduced their first solid body electric guitar series dubbed the SG for "Solid Guitar". It included some pretty wild body styles with the exception of a couple of models that were similar to a Fender Jazzmaster.
Two of the more eccentric creations have righteously deserved nicknames such as the Flying Banana (SG-3C) and Flying Samurai (SG-2/5/7). Ibanez Iceman?
The first SG series lasted until 1971 and was only distributed in Japan. 1972 brought the first Yamaha electric to American soil and a few years later they tagged Carlos Santana for a custom model, the SG-2000.
In the beginning… before the streets were paved with Santana gold…
Yamaha’s first solid body electric imported in the U.S. were the not-so attractive SG 40/45’s. A year later, the modestly better looking SG-30/35’s arrived. (SG-30 below)
Although neither series was widely successful, the SG-30/35 was important because it was the first iteration of a symmetrical double cutaway that eventually become Yamaha’s flagship U.S. offering.
In fast succession there was a crescendo of the (essentially) same body style with higher-end everything leading up to the SG-2000 in 1976. Those models were the SG-50, 70, 90, and 175. The SG-175 that landed in 1975 was Yamaha’s first domestic higher-end offering (below).
Yamaha approached Carlos Santana about a custom 175 and he wasn’t having it. Among several issues, his main complaint was the guitar would not sustain like he wanted it to.
The resulting improvement, a neck-through SG-2000, integrated a brass Sustain Plate and T-Cross System, both of those components were patented by Yamaha and helped achieve what Santana needed.
• The T-Cross System refers to mahogany wings flanking the maple neck.
• The Sustain Plate is a hunk of brass under the bridge.
The SG-2000 debuted in 1976 (below).
1976 SG 2000 Specs: Carved maple top, Maple/mahogany body, Maple/mahogany neck, Ebony fretboard, Dual Alnico V humbuckers, Gold hardware, Mother of pearl split wing inlays, Two volume and tone controls, 3- way switch