RSG-55 '69 review by Burny

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.8 (6 votes)
Burny: RSG-55 '69

Price paid: £ 495

Purchased from: Rikaxxe Music, Bristol, UK

Sound — 10
The sound is the key feature that attracted me to this guitar instead of continuing long and frustrating hunt for a Gibson SG that sounded the way I would want it to. I'm more of a blues, classic rock and alternative/indie guitarist and I found that a lot of modern Gibson SGs sounded very aggressive, and "squealy". I wanted an SG that would sing, rather than squeal, and this one certainly does just that. It has a very pronounced mid-range response which lends itself to a lot of note definition, whereas the bass acts as a solid foundation that you get the effect of more than you really "hear", so the guitar doesn't get muddy or "boomy" sounding unless you really want it to. The treble frequencies can be a bit on the shrill side on some amp settings but the tone control can be rolled back a touch to tame it, and then it's got a nice cutting edge on the bridge pickup without too much of a scratching overtone. I never thought humbuckers could have so much clarity. One thing that stands out is that on some guitars, you get one tone from the bridge pickup, and then another completely different tone from the neck pickup, whereas here, you can still tell it's the same guitar, and the differences between the pickup positions come only from... the different position of the pickups, if that makes sense. This is a good indication that the tone is coming more from the wood than the pickups. Obviously, the pickup positions do not sound "the same" - the bridge is bright and edgy whereas the neck is smooth and creamy with some nice depth in the midrange. I love using this guitar for Revolver/Sgt Pepper era beatles style overdriven tones - with a british voiced amp it really has that pronounced "honk" that you can hear as the middle frequencies are further emphasised by the amp. But it's very versatile - on a clean setting it almost has a little bit of a '60s jangle vibe to it, and into an american voiced amp like a blackface Fender it's very "Robby Krieger" sounding and also quite bluesy through any amp run just on the edge of overdrive - but run it through a hi-gain amp and you've got a nice, thick, edgy hard rock/hair metal type tone. One thing i've noticed about the guitar is that it seems to really bring out the best in an amp, emphasising the distinctive character of that particular amp, while still sounding like.. my SG. At home I'm using it with a Laney VC30 and a wide array of FX (or just straight into the amp sometimes) and a Line 6 Pod Studio UX1 with Pod Farm 2. At BIMM (Bristol Institute of Modern Music) I often run it into an Orange AD30HTC with either Orange or Mesa/Boogie 4x12 cabinets. It really is a stunning sounding guitar.

Overall Impression — 10
I play a lot of styles of music but mostly blues, classic rock, alternative/indie rock, and a little bit of jazz. I think as far as guitars go it's not so much that the guitar is a good match for a particular genre, it's more important that the guitar is a good match for the guitarist - then the guitarist can get that guitar to work well in the genres of music that they want to play on it. I've been playing since about 1997. I have a lot of other guitars and a lot of gear, but of those that i would put in the same category as this are various Epiphone SGs, a Gibson Les Paul Studio faded, an Epiphone sheraton II, Ibanez JTK2 etc. And i'd definitely say this is the best SG I've ever owned. If this guitar was lost or stolen I'd be heartbroken, but I'd definitely look into getting another burny. Or, I'd console myself by going all-out and trying to get my hands on a real '69 Gibson SG. I love the sleek comfortable body and neck of this guitar as well as the very clear, articulated and generally pleasing tone it produces. There's nothing I dislike about it. I don't really have a favourite feature, the whole guitar is my favourite feature. I compared this guitar to vast quantities of varying models of Gibson SGs, and the only reason I looked at this guitar was because I asked to play a Gibson in Rikaxxe music and was told that the Boss would prefer to be in charge of letting people play the more expensive guitars, and he wasn't in that day - which is fair enough. I decided, out of curiosity, to try the Burny. I think it was meant to be - I chose to go with this guitar because it just sounded closer to "that sound" I'd been hearing in my head as what an SG should sound like, than any Gibson SG ever had, except for original '60s SGs of course.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have gigged with this guitar once and I will do again. It is certainly solid enough to withstand gigging. The whole guitar feels very solid and durable - I have played SGs that feel like they might fall apart in your hands and this, despite its very slim, slender profile, is certainly not one of those SGs. The hardware all seems solid apart from the tuners which do feel a little flimsy although as I said this may be the power of suggestion, as I thought the gears were jamming/sticking while tuning when actually it was the strings sticking on the nut. The strap buttons seem solid, although I may need straplocks as the location of the strap button at the back of the neck heel makes it suspect to me accidentally pulling the strap off, which has happened once or twice while playing at home. It's certainly a dependable guitar. I would use it for a gig without a backup were it not for the fact that I just need several guitars for the band that I'm currently playing in. The finish is a bit thin but seems solid and durable, but cosmetic things like that don't really matter too much to me - I'm not the type of person to go delibirately abusing my guitars to get that "relic" look prematurely, but it's not the end of the world if the guitar picks up a few dents and scratches here and there through normal use, or if the finish wears down or fades - it's no big deal.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I can't comment on the factory setup as Rikaxxe music set up every guitar very thoroughly (and I mean VERY thoroughly) before they even consider selling it. I have had a few issues with buzzing on the open strings but this is more down to my inability to explain my setup specifications properly, and is probably because I forgot to inform the shop that I use heavy picks and tend to pluck the strings in such a manner that they really 'twang' hard. The pickups are adjusted a little too close to the strings for my liking but again, this is a subjective thing. All in all the finishing and the overall quality seems flawless apart from a slightly noisy pickup selector (this, I believe, is just the Nature of those 3-way toggle switches and I've yet to come across one that doesn't make a "click" noise through the amp when you select it - you can even hear this sort of clicking noise on I Want You (She's So Heavy) by The Beatles in some places if you listen carefully) and some "pinging" at the nut which I mistook for jamming gears in the tuners. One minor annoyance is that the protective plastic on the pickguard goes under the bridge, and, needless to say, some of it is still there under the bridge which is very close to the body due to the shallow neck angle. But that's just nit-picking ;)

Features — 9
This Fernandez-built SG copy is a very accurate replica of a 1969 spec Gibson SG, with stunning attention to detail - the shallow neck angle, the large heel, the rounded covers on the pickups etc. have all been recreated very accurately. I think mine is a 2009 model, which I believe was made in china alongside the fernandez guitars which have the "FG" serial prefix. Some have told me that stands for "Fuji-Gen" which is a japanese guitar manufacturer responsible for many early lawsuit-era Ibanez guitars, but since many chinese-made Fernandez guitars have a similar serial number format and Burny is owned by fernandez, I guess that it's made in china - that, and the fact there is some residue on the back of the headstock where a label has been peeled off. It has 22 easily accessible frets on a rosewood fretboard, with a thick but not chunky neck profile which is very comfortable. The scale length is the Standard 24.75". The body and neck are made of mahogany - exactly what type of mahogany I'm not sure because I cannot read japanese and I've yet to find any specifications written in english for Burny guitars as they are only listed on the japanese fernandez website. As you'd expect from an SG, mine is the classic cherry red colour, however I think this model is available in black, and Vintage white. The body is a very small, slender SG shape, which is very sleek and comfortable as well as very light. It makes Epiphone SGs as well as modern Gibson SG models feel very cumbersome. the best part, however, is - No Neckdive! Given that it's a classic style SG, it has the usual tune-o-matic/stopbar bridge/tailpiece combo. it is a Vintage style tune-o-matic which has the bridge mounted to 2 narrow posts with no height adjustment on the top, and the height is adjusted by two roller-wheels underneath the bridge. The guitar features 2 passive humbuckers which I think are PAF clones but again, I don't know for sure as I have not checked the specs in a language that I can read. They sound very PAF-like, anyway - moderate output, and very responsive. These are controlled by the Standard 3-position toggle Switch and independant volume and tone controls for each pickup. The volume and tone controls work very well. The tuners seem like generic green-key tuners and are not of the highest quality but they do the job. The nut seems to be a Standard plastic nut as it has a tendency to "ping" very easily. Looks like I'll be applying some graphite shavings shortly. The guitar did not include any accessories but I think asking for more than just the guitar, for the price, would be expecting a little too much considering the level of quality you are getting. The guitar is easily comparable in quality to an average Gibson SG standard, for the same price as a Special Faded model.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nice write up. I'm a Burny Les Paul owner and would recommend them in an instant!