#1
Anyone have any recommendations on the best SG's out there?

I've heard things like pre-2000's models are better, and that the 61' reissue is pretty good
#2
according to Gibson it's always the 'current' year 2017

next year the 2018 line will be the best ever....

that's how it was for years
#3
what I would suggest is this:

ALWAYS try before you buy, when looking for a Gibson, and don't be too concerned about what year it was made - just pay attention to whether or not you like the individual guitar that you happen to be playing. Gibsons are weird like that, you'll likely find that you hate most of them, think the rest are pretty mediocre and uninspiring for the asking price, and then, every now and then, you might find one that really speaks to you and you just cannot leave the shop without taking it with you! And there's no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#4
^ Agreed.

Whether or not it's the 'best model year' is academic if it's a bogus guitar. And bogus Gibsons are quite commonplace.

Always try before you buy with Gibsons. There's a lot of used Gibsons out there, but with the QC that Gibson has, you must always be aware that they could be selling it because it has a problem that might not be immediately obvious just from pictures and they're trying to make it someone else's problem.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend