#2
It's better than an Epiphone SG, but you really need to get a better guitar than an SGJ if you want a proper Gibson imo. They're made as cheaply as possible to still be american made guitars at that price. And it's very, very noticeable in the guitar itself.

In other words, get something else.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jun 13, 2014,
#3
In that range if you want to stick with Gibson I'd take a look at older (with the non shitty finishes) SG Special Faded models. Think the years for them are like 2001-2010. Ballpark range. Not very sure on that. You can get them around 500-575 and they are killer SGs.

Old Faded Finish


New Faded Finish
Last edited by cheesefries at Jun 13, 2014,
#4
Quote by cheesefries
In that range if you want to stick with Gibson I'd take a look at older (with the non shitty finishes) SG Special Faded models. Think the years for them are like 2001-2010. Ballpark range. Not very sure on that. You can get them around 500-575 and they are killer SGs.

Have you seen anyplace to buy them new? I looked and cant come up with anything.
#5
Nope. They stopped doing quality finishes a few years ago on their lower end guitars. The SGJ's can sometimes be very rough. Cracks on the side of the fret boards are acceptable on these.

I probably would go with a Epi G400 pro over an SGJ if those were my 2 choices.
Last edited by cheesefries at Jun 13, 2014,
#6
i got an sgj last summer and don't have any complaints. as soon as it came in i put 13's on it, tuned it to A standard and was off to the races. the fret ends were a little sharp but not enough to bother me.

only thing is i use it for doom stuff so i don't need a lot of those sought after SG traits, i just run it through a fuzz and a couple stacks and it roars
#7
If you don't mind the quality of the finish, it's rubbed so it's not glossy. Quality wise the finish is really nice, and I like the rubbed look and not having a pickguard, and hte 24th fret is invaluable. Consturction wise I've never seen any problems. They are fantastic, I play one everytime I go in guitar center. I plan on getting one eventually, and popping a Kahler in it, and some lace pickups, putting it in C standard and sludging away on it.
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#8
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
It's better than an Epiphone SG, but you really need to get a better guitar than an SGJ if you want a proper Gibson imo. They're made as cheaply as possible to still be american made guitars at that price. And it's very, very noticeable in the guitar itself.

In other words, get something else.


pretty much agree. played one again yesterday at GC and wasn't impressed at all.
#9
The SGJ is perhaps the cheapest guitar Gibson could make and still paste a Gibson logo on it with a straight face. They've simply eliminated anything that would require labor. Their marketing copy sells it as a "stripped-down rock and roll machine," and there are those who buy into that aesthetic. Mostly the same folks who think painting their '95 Civics flat black is cool.

My personal view is that it's a junque guitar, and that almost any of the cheaper Korean, etc., contingent are better quality. If this thing had a Shun Fat logo and was dumped into the CostCo bargain bin as a Christmas Special, we'd shy away. But since it has the Gibson logo, the folks who can't afford a "real Gibson" any other way are glomming onto it and convincing themselves it's a good guitar.

If you want the Gibson logo, buy the SGJ. If you want a better guitar, spend the same amount on an offshore guitar.
#11
Quote by Hanoj99
So it isnt that great of a guitar?

TBH, you'll only find out by playing one.

While dspellman isn't wrong with his comment, he isn't altogether right either. He believes that Gibsons are only worth having if you buy one of the expensive models, but I know from experience that sometimes the cheaper models can be just as good, if not better. He often uses the phrase "cut-corners" to describe Gibson's cheaper models, which makes them sound poor. That is often incorrect. It is more accurate to say they just don't have the 'extra' corners you get on the more expensive models - i.e. all the components are the same, but less time is spent adding a pretty finish.

I have 2 Les Paul Studios, both are fantastic guitars. Both times I was shopping, it was with a budget of up to £2k. I tried 100s of guitars (mostly Gibson but other makes as well), including Les Paul Standards and Customs which cost 3 or 4 times as much as my Studios. None of them caught my attention, and some were just awful.

My Studios however, I fell in love with instantly. Both play excellently and were set up to perfection. One cost £600 new (a worn brown satin model, probably the equivalent to the SGJ you asked about), the other £500 used (the swamp ash model, I believe they are £1100 new).

That isn't going to be the case for all of Gibsons cheaper guitars, but the only way to know for sure which is the right guitar for you is to get out there and try them. Ordering Gibsons online is a lottery - you're just as likely to get a crap expensive guitar as you are to get a crap cheaper model. You have to play the ACTUAL guitar you will be purchasing.
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#12
Quote by GaryBillington
TBH, you'll only find out by playing one.

That is my. I dont live anywhere near to a guitar store that has the guitars in my price range. All of their guitars are too expensive. My budget is up to $600.
#13
Quote by GaryBillington
TBH, you'll only find out by playing one.

While dspellman isn't wrong with his comment, he isn't altogether right either. He believes that Gibsons are only worth having if you buy one of the expensive models, but I know from experience that sometimes the cheaper models can be just as good, if not better. He often uses the phrase "cut-corners" to describe Gibson's cheaper models, which makes them sound poor. That is often incorrect. It is more accurate to say they just don't have the 'extra' corners you get on the more expensive models - i.e. all the components are the same, but less time is spent adding a pretty finish.


This is an interesting perspective, and one I've heard before. I'm not saying it's wrong.

Gibson's reputation has been built on the high-end guitars, and if you want a Gibson that really reflects what the Gibson name stands for, you're going to pay $3500 and up, and these days you'll want that guitar to be other than a standard production item. The things that have made a Gibson special have been the time and work that goes into the fit and finish.

And "cut-corners" is right on the money -- Gibson leaves out the steps that made Gibson special to get the price down; they badly need to get some entry-level buyers to generate brand loyalty among newb guitar players, many of whom are just fine NOT buying a Gibson guitar because they didn't grow up with their guitar heroes playing them.

The J series guitars have also shown up with NOT the same hardware (people don't look very carefully at this stuff, I guess) as the expensive spread. Gibson has a problem here; if you get the same hardware on a $600 guitar as you do on a $6000 guitar, do you suppose someone might finally get wise and ask where the other $5400 is on that guitar? And if you can get equivalent electronics, same-or better hardware, multi-layer binding and ebony fretboards and real MOP inlays and non-spiky fretwork and a gorgeous glossy finish on a $400 guitar from another company, why are you forced to spend more money and justify the cheaper lack-of finish and materials from Gibson?

We've seen this before: the US automotive industry put out some stripped-down world class junk when it tried to compete in the econobox territory during the late-70's gas crunch. Honda and Toyota ate them alive, established their brands in the US and developed a perception of quality that persists today. A generation that had little allegiance to Detroit iron grew from entry-level consumers into buyers of luxury cars from Acura and Lexus from the same manufacturers.
#14
^^^ Gibson has cut so many corners on the lower end guitars. You can look at the hardware and see it's not the same as the standard models. They used to finish them properly a few years ago compared to now where they just make sure it's red and put on a almost non existent finish coat. Baked Maple instead of rosewood fretboard. The Gibson headstock logo is silkscreened instead of an inlay.

How many other Gibson SGs have a bridge with holes to adjust it with a screwdriver/allen wrench?

Answer: None. The faded SG is the only model that has it. It's obvious Gibson sourced cheaper hardware for it so they didn't have to use their standard equipment. Epiphones and asian copies are known for the adjustment top holes.

You would be hard pressed to find any other way to cut corners on this guitar.
#15
Quote by dspellman
This is an interesting perspective, and one I've heard before. I'm not saying it's wrong.

...and we've had this discussion before

All I can say is, of the 100s of guitars I tried, the best were both Gibson LP Studios. I did used to own a couple of Standard LPs, they were good but not great. I bought them thinking I'd grow to love them, but never did. They just weren't as good as some of my other (much cheaper) guitars. I've played a number of Customs, none of them grabbed my attention.

Cut corners is wrong. Less trimmings? Yes. Lower quality? No.

All Gibsons (even those of the same model) are different. Because of that, you can find crap guitars throughout their range just as easily as you can find great guitars throughout their range. When you find the right one you realise what it is that makes Gibson great, not just buying the expensive one because you think it will be better.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Jun 13, 2014,
#16
All of this boils down to what you consider "quality" in a guitar, I guess.

That, and "what makes a Gibson a Gibson?"

And when you say that the Gibson LP Studios were "the best," what parameters exactly are you referring to? Other than setup and neck profile (which are adjustable and completely preferential, respectively), that is.
#17
I'd rather have some other brand's best than Gibson's worst, thats how I look at it. Older Studios were an excellent buy, excellent guitar. The newer Studios and Specials are pretty meh Imo. I've played a few really nice Studios but I can easily mistake a newer one for an Epi. And the LPJ is just silly imo. Dare I say it's for newbs bedazzled by the letters g-I-b-s-o-n?
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#18
The J series guitars are comparable to cheap Chinese guitars. You can do much better for the money with a Asian made guitar, especially if you buy used.
#19
Alright FIRST OFF the SGJ isn't low end, shitty, poorly put together, or substandard. I own a 2014 model in the fireburst finish and it's an amazing guitar, especially for the price. I also owned an Epi G-400 and the SGJ is a much better instrument. The fit and finish are honestly flawless on mine. Yes, they've brought the cost down on the cosmetics. Gibson hasn't cut any corners that matter to me as a player. The '61 pickups are ****ing awesome, the fretwork is flawless, it sounds incredible, the whole thing sings/reverberates unplugged unlike any of my other electics, it looks awesome, and it was only $544 from Sweetwater.com. And it has a maple neck! It's a nice combination of bright and warm, AND it's rock solid as far as tuning stability. WAY better than my G400 ever was. Find one to try out and make up your own mind. If you get your hands on one I'll bet you like it.

As far as comments like "gaps in the fretboard are acceptable on an SGJ" ect, you hear the same things about SG and Les Paul standards these days. I don't doubt that sometimes Gibson's QC lets something through that they shouldn't. These days, what manufacturer doesn't? But as far as Gibson's policy being "kind of shitty is OK for an SGJ", that's nonsense. What I CAN say is MY SGJ is a hell of a guitar all-around with absolutely no issues. There's nothing inherently wrong or sub-par about the "formula" of the SGJ. Really, you're paying for the essentials of what makes an SG such a kickass guitar, and nothing else.

I can't stress enough that you find one and try it out, or at least order one from someplace like sweetwater where you see pictures of the actual one you'll be getting, they do an inspection and setup, and if you dont like it theres a good return policy.

Here's mine. I've had a lot of guitars, but I think this one might be my favorite so far.

#20
Have you ever tried an Agile? I've been guitar shopping recently and tried the lpj and sgj and thought Gibson should be ashamed. Don't they already have Studios, Classics, Specials, Juniors? Now a J.
Hell, thats what made me pick up a frickin' Epiphone, (note sig...***k Gibson). (jk, I've played some stupendously magical guitars made by Gibson)
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Last edited by lucky1978 at Jun 14, 2014,
#21
Quote by dspellman
All of this boils down to what you consider "quality" in a guitar, I guess.

That, and "what makes a Gibson a Gibson?"

And when you say that the Gibson LP Studios were "the best," what parameters exactly are you referring to? Other than setup and neck profile (which are adjustable and completely preferential, respectively), that is.

Aside from those you mentioned (which like you said are somewhat subjective but were spot on without needing adjustment), those were the guitars which just felt and sounded right.

Others I tried all had something I didn't like (which was usually just a preference thing) or were poorly made - and that included some of the more expensive Gibsons having manufacturing flaws like sharp fret edges and visibly flawed binding, often things that admittedly could be fixed and which may be acceptable on a cheaper guitar but certainly shouldn't be present on a premium range model.

If you're spending significant amounts of money on a top end guitar, it should be perfect. However, it is more important to find the perfect guitar than it is to spend significant amounts of money.

That's why you have to try the exact guitar you will be buying. If that means you start with a £2k budget and buy a £500 guitar, fine. If it means you start with a £500 budget and end up saving to afford the £2k guitar, that's OK too.

But saying all cheap Gibsons are bad and all expensive Gibsons are good is very wrong.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Jun 14, 2014,
#22
Quote by GaryBillington
Aside from those you mentioned (which like you said are somewhat subjective but were spot on without needing adjustment), those were the guitars which just felt and sounded right.

Others I tried all had something I didn't like (which was usually just a preference thing) or were poorly made - and that included some of the more expensive Gibsons having manufacturing flaws like sharp fret edges and visibly flawed binding, often things that admittedly could be fixed and which may be acceptable on a cheaper guitar but certainly shouldn't be present on a premium range model.

If you're spending significant amounts of money on a top end guitar, it should be perfect. However, it is more important to find the perfect guitar than it is to spend significant amounts of money.

That's why you have to try the exact guitar you will be buying. If that means you start with a £2k budget and buy a £500 guitar, fine. If it means you start with a £500 budget and end up saving to afford the £2k guitar, that's OK too.

But saying all cheap Gibsons are bad and all expensive Gibsons are good is very wrong.


What I said was that these days you really don't start seeing the Gibson quality that made their reputation until you start edging over about $3500. And mostly, you have to get into the Custom shop stuff. I think if you look at the Gibsons that I have that predate 1980 (back to 1949) and then look at the R8/R9 type guitars, you'll see the same care. Your experience of seeing relatively expensive Gibsons with crappy paint jobs, binding glitches, nasty fret ends, etc., mirrors mine. When you get over $3500 or so, those things tend to disappear.

Do I think those guitars (approaching $6K) cost way more than they need to? You betcha. But if I didn't have Gibsons already, and absolutely had to have one, that's where I'd be heading to get a good one. And when I was told by a project leader that I needed to have a GIBSON Les Paul ("none of that cheap sh!t"), I ponied up the >$4K for an Axcess Custom.


And at the other end of things, I didn't say all cheap Gibsons are bad. What I did say was that they don't compete in the under-$1000 category. You have to give up SO much in fit, finishing, hardware, features, materials *and* price that they simply don't make sense.

Could I personally make do with a Studio? Sure. But given the options out there at the Studio price range, I'd never buy one.

I've been playing LPs with Floyds. I was in need of a bar guitar at one point. I looked at the Gibson Studio Shred (price was around $1500 at GC at the time). Available in black only, with a Richlite fretboard, medium frets, 12" radius thick-ish neck profile, big clunky neck heel, plastic inlays, Korean Floyd. Nothing really "shred" about it. But in my local GC, that was pretty much it (this one was a bit hashed by customers, I'd have had to order a new-in-box one).

Options at that price included a highly customizable Carvin with ebony f/b (standard), real shell inlays, better Floyd, jumbo frets (stainless, too), choice of radii, smooth neck heel, lots of finish options.

But well below that price was a very similar (to the Gibson) guitar (Agile AL-3100 Floyd) with the same Floyd, jumbo hand-filed frets, 14" radius, slimmer neck profile, ebony f/b, real MOP inlays, good AlnicoV pickups. If I ordered new, it was $479 with a 24-fret neck. A pristine used one with 22 frets showed up for $200. At those prices, a run on Gary Brawer's PLEK and a fret superglue weren't out of the question. It's not a question of "bling" -- it was just an all-round better guitar.

The "J" series Gibsons just have absolutely nothing to recommend them (IMHO), other than the headstock logo. If I've got $600 to spend, I can get a LOT more guitar for that money.
Last edited by dspellman at Jun 14, 2014,
#23
But still, a key question you asked there is "could I make do with a studio?". It's NOT a question of making do. Sometimes they are the better guitars.

You talk about the $3.5k guitars, like I said I compared my studio to £2k guitars. Google tells me £2k = $3.4k. I chose my Studio despite being able to afford one of the guitars you're talking about because it was simply better.

That isn't always the case, but it also isn't always the case that the more expensive guitars are better either.

The fact is, when buying guitars you have to play the exact guitar you will be buying to decide if it's the right one for you or not. This is especially true of Gibson.

And as for getting more guitar for the money - I'm not going to argue against that. Like you said that is true of ALL Gibsons, not just the cheaper models.

And if your project leader is telling you things like that about your guitar - either tell him to **** off or tell him to pay for it. The only reason to spend that sort of money is because it's the guitar YOU want, not because it's the guitar someone else thinks you should have.
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#24
You have to play one to find out if the guitar's right. Don't buy a Gibson, especially a lower-end one, without playing the actual guitar.

It's a matter of luck. My current guitar is a lower-end SG Menace, which I bought after selling my Carvin CS6. I was planning a downgrade, but the much cheaper Gibson is actually in some ways better than my previous CS6.

Super-loud acoustically (louder than any American- or Japanese-made guitars including EBMMs, Fenders, Carvins and Ibanezes I have ever had), beautiful 1-piece body (that doesn't matter but it's great to know), plays like a dream and sounds nice. Doesn't have the best tuning stability, though, because of the worn-down bridge and tailpiece, which are made from not-so-great materials.

So your best bet is to play one and decide for yourself.
#25
I hate to admit that Gibson's QC has gone way down, but sadly it's true, so the advice to play one in person is solid. On another forum I frequent, a member posted pictures of their brand new SG Standard that had binding peeling from the neck and a chip in the fretboard that had been glued back down. (he ended up returning it and getting one that was perfect) The standard runs what, like $1600 now? It's obvious that Gibson's QC is hit and miss when my $544 SGJ is perfect and his Standard that cost 3x the price had big issues.

Before I bought mine I had a few criteria. I wanted a guitar that was natural feeling, light and comfortable to play, simple cosmetics, 24 3/4" scale, humbuckers, and not much over $500. I ALSO really wanted an SG since I regretted selling my G400 like 10 years ago. I played a new Epi G400 pro, brought back good memories, but it didn't compel me to Drop the $350 or so. That's when I began poking around the Gibson website, spotted the SGJ in fireburst and had a "Wayne's world, looking at the strat in the window" kind of moment. Gibson made exactly the guitar I was looking for. What I'm getting at is sometimes it's about "scratching that itch." A guitar is such a personal, emotional kind of thing (for me) that ultimately the price and features breakdown aren't the final deciding factor. You gotta buy what moves you. It feels, plays, looks, and sounds exactly like what I was looking for. And YES I like the fact that it says Gibson on the headstock.

That being said, objectively I think that on its own merits (forget the brand name) the SGJ stands up against other guitars in the sub-$600 price range very well...IF you get one that Gibson hasn't half-assed. The ratio of good one to bad? Who knows. Probably mostly good. It just depends on what you're looking for. I didn't want ultra fancy this time around. My LTD EC-1000 fits that bill just fine. Quilted maple top, multi-ply abalone binding, locking tuners, graphite nut, big ol' frets, abalone inlays, tone-pros tune-o-matic bridge setup, and EMG active pickups. They're going for a bit under $900 these days, and I think they were more like 750-800 when I bought mine. I love it, it's a rock solid metal machine, a LOT of guitar for the money.

tl;dr:
-Gibson's QC is spotty
-Try before you buy
-My SGJ is awesome
-I also like my EC-1000
#26
Thanks for all your help. I decided to buy a washburn Idol series guitar. I am extremely happy with my purchase and glad that i chose the guitar i did instead of the SGJ.
#27
nice
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#28
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#29
Oops- too late!

Congrats on the Washburn!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!