SG Special '60s Tribute Review

manufacturer: Gibson date: 06/06/2013 category: Electric Guitars
Gibson: SG Special '60s Tribute
This guitar is definitely up there with the higher end Gibsons at least in playability and reliability! This guitar matches my musical style perfectly.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.3
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.5 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.8 
 Users rating:
 8.2 
 Votes:
 31 
reviews (3) pictures (10) 13 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.2
SG Special '60s Tribute Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 749

Purchased from: Keskusmusiikki Lahti

Features: This lovely piece of musical equipment was made in the USA this year (2011). 22 frets, 60s slim taper neck profile. Rosewood fingerboard. Mahogany is used for both body and neck. It has a worn finish, mine is cherry coloured. Tune-O-Matic bridge. 2 volume and 2 tone controls, 3-way selector. 2 P90 pickups. Grover green key tuners. Chrome hardware. Came with a Gibson deluxe gigbag. // 9

Sound: Suits my style just perfect! I play a lot of older prog rock (Pink Floyd, Rush, Marillion) and some indie/alternative rock too (for example Circa Survive). I have a Vox VT50 valvetronix amp which I use with either a BOSS DS-1 or a EHX Big Muff Pi depending on the music I play. I also use a Vox V847 wah pedal. The P90s sound really shimmering and clear on the clean channel (especially when using both pickups), but they can also get VERY dirty when used with a Big Muff for example. They GROWL. Fantastic pickups, no need to change those. The only thing that bugs me a little is the noise they produce, but you can get rid of it with a pedal designed for hum cancelling. This is a true workhorse of a guitar, as it can be used for almost every type of music (I said almost because it doesn't do anything REALLY heavy too well. Which is okay with me as I don't play such stuff). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory set-up was okay, but the guys at the music shop set it up perfect for me (low action, light strings, perfect for bending and soloing). The pickups are P90s so they cannot be adjusted that high because of the plastic covers. The finish looks great, but not as great as an SG standard, since this one has no lacquer on it. But as I said, it's a workhorse so it's not meant to look fabulous. But I still think it's a beautiful guitar. And the satin neck is really fast and feels amazingly good! No flaws in the finish or fit what'soever. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will most definitely withstand live playing! It's built like a tank, and hey, it's a Gibson. Hardware is top notch, very likely to last decades, and strap buttons seem really solid. I also gig with a backup just in case (string breaks etc) but I'm sure this guitar will not let me down. The finish seems like it will wear off with lots of playing, but I don't really mind; it's a workhorse, not a decoration. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar matches my musical style perfectly. I've been playing for about 7 years by now, so I'm not a complete guitar noob anymore I think. I absolutely adore this guitar. I own an Ibanez AR300 which I use as a backup. I think this SG beats it in every way, but it's still a good backup guitar. I hope it never gets stolen or lost, but if it did, I would most definitely buy it again!!! I don't really hate anything about it, the most annoying thing is the hum but you can deal with it. This guitar is definitely up there with the higher end Gibsons at least in playability and reliability! For 749 euros this is a great deal. I recommend it for everyone! // 9

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overall: 9.4
SG Special '60s Tribute Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 570

Purchased from: Merula

Features: Mahogany body and neck, Rosewood fingerboard, 22 medium-jumbo frets and a (supposedly) PLEK cut Corian nut. No bindings, no bells, no whistles. Four different finishes, (worn white, worn black, worn cherry and worn natural), none of them laquered, no sunburst or multicolor options. And you can have the small (can you say 60s?) pickguard any color you want, as long as it's black. Again, no frills. Two Alnico V P90 pickups, with the usual Gibson controls, instead of the more iconic humbuckers people usually think about when you say 'Gibson'. // 10

Sound: The main distinctive feature of this SG is indeed the PU configuration. The P90 give a unique sound, but a very enjoyable one. They are a bit noisier than I would want them, and they are non reverse-wound, so middle position (both PUs activated) does not have any humbucking ability. On the other hand the sound is GORGEOUS. The neck PU is wonderful for crystal clear clean tones. The birdge one is perfect for distorted leads. Each one is great for slightly overdriven rhythm parts, with different characters. The neck pickup also works like a charm with massive gain to achieve dirty sounds (think early Black Sabbath, as an idea). The only combo I use less is with both PUs, beacuse I find the sound "too full", and it seems to leave less room for other instruments in the mix. But it's only my taste. I play this guitar with my JCM2000 valve amp, but this Gibson-Marshall combo also "accepts" pedals easily. I also tried it with a 15 W Laney valve combo, albeit with less gain it gives a more "crunchy" tone, but still a very good one. To make a long story short, most people associate Gibson with humbuckers, but these singlecoils sound really great. What impressed me most is that you don't need to "hunt" for a good sound. They simply come out from this guitar. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Mixed news on this topic. The finish is peculiar. I have a worn white one, and it looks very nice. It's a sort of matte white that has the same gross surface of unfinished wood, so to speak. This finish also covers the back of the neck and head, while the front of the head is painted black. Other finishes are worn black (same as white, but err..... black!), worn cherry and worn natural. These two finishes (worn cherry and worn natural) show the wood grain underneath. Beware, this is to be considered a sort of "cheap" Gibson, so the body is made with two or three pieces, and each of these guitars is a different body. Gibson seems not to pay too much attention on grain matching the pieces, and natural or cherry finishes don't cover these inconsistencies. White and black don't suffer from this problem. I don't know how durable this finish will be with years of use. For sure, this matte finish on the neck renders it very fast and very confortable to play with. My guitar was not set up too well from the factory. The action was very high, and this may be a matter of personal taste. But the intonation was WAY off. The nut lacked proper lubrication, so some of the strings "sticked" when tuning. Moreover, some of the frets were not perfectly filed, so that it could slightly hurt on your hand if you slided it on the side of the neck. Nothing that you can't set up fine yourself, but be prepared to spend some time setting it properly, or consider the added cost should you have someone do it for you. However the important things were all ok, and the guitar had no real flaws. I've seen some reports on the internet of people who got some defective guitars, one way or another (mainly finish blemishes, or dings, or scratches). The usual suggestion is needed here, don't buy a guitar you have not seen and played. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I think it will be durable. The hardware is premium quality, and it might die well after me. The only thing that might not be as durable is the finish. I'll have to wait and see. So far, after ~4 months it shows no sign of wear, but who knows? However, this is a guitar that asks to be played, not to be put on a display stand. So, should the finish wear off somehow after years, I suppose it's not going to be a fatal flaw. // 9

Overall Impression: When Gibson decided to give us empty-pockets a guitar, they had to decide HOW to let us save our hard earned money. And they decided to strip those things that were not absolutely necessary, but still give you good quality where it really counts. And it's a wise decision, in my humble opinion. This is to be considered a cheap guitar. When I bought it, I had entered the shop thinking I was going to buy and Epiphone. An Epiphone would have been cheaper, but the difference in cost was not so big. The difference of quality, sound, and feel was HUGE. So, to put things into perspective: can you buy a better guitar than this? Yes, you probably can. Can you buy a better guitar at this price point? I highly doubt it. It's worth every penny and a lot more. For me, I'm in love with this baby. // 10

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overall: 7.8
SG Special '60s Tribute Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 06, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 1149

Purchased from: Better Music

Features: See the specs here. Specs include mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard. The pickups are the real draw for me. P-90s in both neck and bridge. Some might say P-90s in an SG are tits on a bull, but I say they're awesome. This guitar is based on a model that was good enough for Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Carlos Santana. It's got tone and volume knobs for both pickups. I don't usually use those, but it's good to know I have the option. Mine's the natural finish. // 8

Sound: I play whatever I feel like playing at any given moment. This includes various styles of rock, punk, blues and folk. The guitar does most of it, but especially anything rock oriented but shy of metal territory. This is definitely a bright sounding guitar. The bridge pickup in particular really screams. Turn the bass up a bit and it'll happily take on a fuller sound, but anything sludgy is not ideal. Select both pickups and you get a mellower sound. Basically, P-90s have the twang of single coils with the bite of humbuckers. P-90s are high output single coil pickups and while they sound great, they are very noisy. I think I'm going to have to invest in a noise suppressor for when I use distortion. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I'm no expert here, but as far as I could tell the guitar was pretty much ideally set up already. The bridge pickup is set pretty close to the strings, but that seems to be standard for this guitar. The only change I have made to the guitar is changing to a lighter gauge of string. The strings (the new ones) initially went out of tune if I so much as brushed against the guitar, but they settled into place after a few days of constant retuning. It's a natural finish, so any flaws would have been readily apparent. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had the guitar long, so durability hasn't really crossed my mind yet. It's a very light guitar, so while it's very comfortable to play, I wouldn't want to drop it. I don't have any plans to play live in the foreseeable future, but I wouldn't be too timid to take this guitar along if I did. Only time will tell if Gibson sacrificed durability to make this guitar as cheap as it is. As much as I like some Epiphones, they're guilty of that. I had one of those snap in half. This being a Gibson, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until such time as that happens. // 7

Overall Impression: Like I said, this guitar is pretty versatile, but really excels at brightly toned rock. It's great if you play a lot of lead, which I don't, but I'm trying to rectify that just so I can get even more out of the guitar than I already do. Use both pickups for a mellower sound that you can use for laid back blues or pop. Folk would be a stretch, but it'll do it if it has to. The biggest drawback, as I mentioned, is the loudness of the pickups. If you haven't played with P-90s, don't assume you know what you're in for just because you've played with other single coils. Another thing to the guitar's detriment, though not a major issue, is that it's pretty neck heavy. // 8

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