Price paid: £ 1200
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features: The Metallic Red SG Diablo was Gibson's Guitar of the Month(GOTM) for January 2008, made it a limited edition run of 1000 models (mine being #746) and in my opinion, one of the sexiest of the GOTM models. The neck and body are made out of mahogany and the body features a carved top, similar to what you'd find on a Les Paul, which gives the Diablo it's distinctive look. The fretboard is made out of rosewood (supposedly the highest grade on the planet) and includes some gorgeous cream binding. The fretboard also features 24-frets, a mark-up from the usual 22 found on most SGs, allowing for full two-octave access. The tuners are Grovers. Further to this it has the usual Gibson features - set-neck, tune-o-matic bridge, adjustable truss rod, silver/nickel fret wire, etc.
The finish is stunning - it features an absolutely superb metallic red nitrocellulose finish; paired with the gold hardware and the carved top it makes for one sexy guitar. The downside of the nitro finish is that it's very easy to scratch and ding, but fortunately it also easier to repair compared with other finishes. The way in which the number of the guitar is painted onto the back of the neck is also very sloppy and I expected better quality - the numbers don't line-up properly and it looks like it's been done over twice. The pick-ups are a pair of the amazing Burstbucker Pros, a Burstbucker Pro 1 at the neck and a Burstbucker Pro 2 at the bridge. These are mounted on cream mounting rings which really set off the look by matching with the binding on the neck. Unfortunately you are only given one volume and one tone pot, but that didn't bother me because I usually never move them off ten for any pick-up configuration. The volume pot is also placed closer to the bridge pick-up which supposedly makes volume swells much easier. I don't know about that, but at least it doesn't get in the way when you're picking due to the way it sits on the carved top.
The Diablo also comes with a special "GOTM" hard case which features white plush lining, a GOTM shroud and a little compartment for spare picks, leads, etc. Along with that comes the usual; an Owner Manual and a set of Allen keys for adjusting the truss rod. It also came strung with a set of.10 Gibson strings. // 9
Sound: It doesn't matter what style of music you play, the Diablo has it covered. I run it through a Vox AD50VT (no effects apart from what's already built-in on the amp) and I can get any type of sound I want, and done well too. Going onto a clean setting and moving to the neck pup (and also the middle configuration) gives a fantastic clean blues sound which really shines when you give it a touch of distortion. With the bridge pup and a clean setting you just get a fantastic crystal clear tone. It is by far one of the greatest cleans I've heard, I love it. Moving into distortion, the neck gives a nice low-down dirty rhythm tone which if used with the right effects can give a great Bellamy-like tone. The bridge however is my favourite on distortion, quite bright and you can get any sort of rock/metal tone you want, and done perfect as well.
These are truly very versatile pick-ups I can get a great Frusciante tone to a Page to a Clapton to an Eddie Hazel to an Angus Young. They really do have such amazing versatility. The only downside to the pups are that they can give off a touch more feedback back than I'm used to, but I still love them. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The set-up was good, not perfect. The action was perfect for noarmal playing, as low as you could possible get with no buzz, but I play a bit of slide so it needed adjusting. The intonation was also way off (I noticed this prior to adjusting the action), which was a bit of a pain. Everything else however was great, absolutely perfect. Of course the finish gave off (and still gives off actually) that gorgeous "new guitar smell" of freshly lacquered wood, one of my favourite smells! // 9
Reliability & Durability: I think it could definitely do the rounds at gigs. Of course, I'm not in a band, but I do play quite regular in front of and with friends, etc. and it seems to have lasted quite well. It usually gets passed around quite a bit and seems to have lasted quite well apart from a ding appearing just below the bridge, but that's expected with a nitro finish. I do have worries about the finish and sometimes I wish it wasn't a nitro because of the fact it's so easy to scratch and the finish stains if you leave it on a rubber stand and use leather straps; which it very annoying. // 8
Overall Impression: I play blues and hard rock with some metal and this really is my perfect match, it's fantastic and so versatile. I've been playing for two years and I own a Cort Z-42, Epi Firebird and an old Hohner acoustic, and this just blows my other electrics out of the water, so much so I've decided to sell them to put towards a single-coil electric. I love the Diablo's sounds, it's looks and the fact it's a limited edition. Every now and again I think about how much I'd like it to have extra volume/tone pots and maybe a whammy bar, but these are features I personally don't require and well, I love this guitar regardless! // 10