Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Private Dealer
Sound — 9
Being a heavy blues-classic rock-early metal player, this guitar suits me beautifully. The Alnico Classic Pro pickups deliver a sound very similar to Gibson Burstbuckers, quite rude when you wish but cleaning up nicely when the volume control is rolled back. When the coil split is engaged, you get a fairly decent recreation of a single coil pickup, certainly good enough for most live applications. Of course there is a slight drop off in volume, but nothing drastic. Does it sound as good as a steaming Vintage Strat pickup? No, of course not! But it is surprisingly effective, especially for rude rhythm tones. My favorite is running both pups, the bridge in single coil mode with the neck in humbucker mode, with the tone rolled off on the bridge just a bit. Just push in the bridge volume pot to switch it to humbucker mode for a sweet lead tone! My rig is fairly simple. I run an early 90's Ampeg VL502 amp with matching 4X12 cab with Celestion V-30's, usually running a light crunch sound on channel 2 or a balanced clean sound on channel 1. My effects board is fairly basic as well, a Line 6 Relay 50 wireless feeding a Vintage Vox V847 wah, into a Visual Sound Jekykl & Hyde OD/Distortion, into a Line 6 M5 modeler, then a DigiTech Digidelay, all on a Gator Pedal Tote board with a Gator power supply. That's it, except for a Lee Jackson Amp Switcher to switch amp channels and turn off/on the reverb. Oh yeah, I use an AKG Perception 220 and a Sennheiser E906 to mic the cab. This SG does an excellent job of covering the bases I need it to, even better in some circumstances than my main (live) axe - an EVH Wolfgang.
Overall Impression — 10
OK, I've been playing rock and roll for 35 years now, and I WISH we'd had guitars this good in the 70's! Fenders and Gibsons were crap, and that was basically all there was until Ibanez came along, thank God! This thing covers all my bases, stays in tune, sounds great, plays great, and looks pretty cool too! I own Vintage Strats and Gibsons, a couple of PRS's, an old Ibanez (my old 80's Rocket Roll Flying V), several Epiphones, (listed earlier) and of course my EVH Wolfgang. I've come to trust my Epi's as my backups, and sometimes my main live guitars. DO NOT be put off by the name or the price! Epiphone does damn good work these days, especially the Limited Edition, Custom Shop stuff! Don't be a snob, play what works! BTW - these SG's are no longer in production. Snap one up while you still can. You won't be sorry, especially at the price they're fetching right now! Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 10
This SG has already done several gigs without complaint or issue. It stays in tune perfectly, despite my tendencies toward rough treatment. I have no doubt that it will handle whatever I throw at it, as long as I'm not throwing it across the room. Strap buttons? I switch those to strap locks. The finish is doing fine. I have depended on it as a backup for a couple months now, and it has yet to let me down. It's actually more dependable than my EVH because there's no Floyd Rose to go wonky, and my PRS's are a tad fussy in the Minnesota winters. No problemo.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Obviously, the finish/body had that small nick that saved me some dough. Other than that, I really can't complaining about the construction. I did need to re-solder the output jack, it had a dried out joint, but that's nothing unusual. The guitar played well out of the box, but after I made a small adjustment to the bridge height, tweaked the intonation, and dressed the nut a bit, it really came to life! Not that it was bad to start with, that's just my fussiness. The pickups were adjusted fine, but I tweak the pole pieces on ALL humbuckers. Again, that's just me. 99% of players wouldn't have messed with it at all, and would have been very happy with it. All hardware was tight. Overall, the construction was solid and well done. Put simply, I have had great success with Epiphone guitars that come with the Limited Edition Custom Shop stamp (1959 Tribute Les Paul, 1960 Tribute Les Paul, Slash Signature Les Paul, Joe Bonamassa Signature Les Paul, and this one) so I have come to trust them, even more so than some Gibson models! (GASP! SHUDDER! The Horror!) But hey, they've been good to me!
Features — 9
This is a 2012 Limited Edition 1966 SG Pro, made in Epiphone's Chinese Custom Shop. Pelham Blue in color, I got it as a factory second which saved me about a hundred bucks. The only flaw is a tiny nick on the upper horn, which is barely visible. Otherwise, the guitar is structurally and functionally flawless. It is a typical SG in form, mahogany body and neck, 22 fret rosewood fretboard with dot markers and no binding. It has what feels like (22) medium to medium jumbo frets, well dressed with no sharp protruding ends. It has a glued in neck. Not sure what type of finish it has, but it is Pelham Blue in color, very even with no apparent over or under spray, and very well polished. It has the usual SG configuration of two humbucking pickups, individual volume and tone pots for each, and a 3 way switch, along with a TOM bridge and stoptail. Specifics - the tuners are Wilkinson 14:1's with greenish, Vintage style tulip buttons. The bridge and tailpiece are Epiphone's Tone-lock models. The pickups are Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro's, a relatively new model with 4 wires which allow for coil splitting via push-pull volume pots.