Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Sweetwater
Sound — 9
I play a pretty good mix of styles, from late 60's blues rock to modern alternative/metal type stuff and pretty much everything in between. This guitar does a good job with all the styles I play, but really shines with anything requiring a good low to medium gain tone, like bluesy stuff to classic rock tones. The PAF style pickups aren't quite what I would want if I were solely a metal player, but they get the job done for someone like me who just wants to dabble in higher gain stuff. The pickups sound full and warm, but are capable of plenty of bite if you know how to tweak the controls. The middle pickup is always on, so in the bridge position the bridge and middle pickups are activated, and so on for the other positions. To isolate the bridge pickup for example, you just turn the middle volume to zero. The independent volume controls are an awesome feature. You can get pretty much any humbucker tone you can possibly think of with all the blending possibilities. My favorite setting for crunchy rhythm stuff is the bridge position, bridge volume and tone wide open, middle volume at about 3 just to warm up the sound and give the low end a little more oomph. Obviously no single coil sounds, but this is as versatile as pure humbuckers can get. I play through an Egnater Tweaker head/cab, and some pretty Standard effects (808 clone, distortion, crybaby wah, analog delay, maybe some chorus or flange here and there) and with the versatility of the amp combined with the tonal possibilities of the guitar, I could spend days playing around with pretty much any tone I could ever want.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this guitar is about as perfect a match to my playing style as a guitar can be. I've been playing for about 2ish years, and this was my first decent guitar after my initial piece of junk I started on. I couldn't be happier with my choice. I love the independent volume knobs and the overall playability, the tone is great, and who doesn't love the way the SG looks? Such a badass looking guitar. My biggest complaint would be with the nut, but for a 500 dollar guitar, I would typically expect to complain about much more than that. Great buy for the money. I was going back and forth between this guitar, an Epi les paul, and a PRS SE Custom 24. I ended up choosing this for the versatility and playability. The PRS had a slightly more comfortable neck, but the slim 60s profile on this is very nice and also this blows the PRS out of the water tonally for me. The Les Paul just felt a little to chunky and heavy for my taste. If i could add any feature, it would be coil taps. That would just send the versatility through the roof. To sum it up, this is an amazing guitar for the money, and a very good guitar overall. Overall I'd say an 8.5 or 9 out of 10.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have no problems believeing this guitar would hold up superbly in a live setitng. All the hardware feels very solid. The only issue with the strap buttons is the position of the one on the back of the guitar, as I could potentially see a strap slipping off if put in an awkward position, but strap locks clear up that problem entirely. I wouldn't hesitate to use this guitar live at all, backup or not. The finish isn't going anywhere anytime soon either.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
My only issue with the factory setup was the intonation, but other than that it played like a dream right out of the box. Some people may have wanted to lower the action ever so slightly, but I tend to play pretty heavy handedly so it was a perfect setup for me. The factory pickup height was a good starting point, but every guitar will have a different sweet spot that will need to be found through some tweaking, but not much at all. The only flaw in the way the guitar plays is the nut; particularly with the G string binding relatively easily. I'll be replacing the nut soon, but some graphite does the trick decently enough for now. As with all SG's, this guitar is pretty neck heavy. However, the SG body style is generally pretty lightweight so I don't really find this to be that big of a deal. Not nearly enough of a drawback to make me want a different guitar. Because of the few slight flaws and for the sake of the official review, I'll give it an 8, but its more like an 8 1/2.
Features — 9
2010 made in Korea. Solid SG style mahogany body, 22 fret set mahogany neck w/ rosewood fingerboard, block inlays. Tune-o-matic bridge w/ stopbar tailpiece. 3 humbuckers, alnico classics I believe. A three way toggle, 3 independent volume controls and one master tone. Non locking grover tuners. "Antique Ivory" is what the finish is called.