Purchased from: Kennys Music
Features — 8
22 Jumbo Frets, Mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard. Epiphone standard pickups and nickel hardware and a Tune-O-Matic bridge to complete the very "standard" fit and finish to this guitar. 3-way selector and a coil tap, two volume and two tone knobs (the volumes being the coil taps). Overall its a very comfortable double cutaway SG and for the price it is amazing well constructed. With a glossy finish on the cherry red paint it does become a huge fingerprint magnet and with a glossy neck can become quite slippery (especially due to the fact that I am not the driest of performers, perspiration happens to the best of us.) A matte finish would have been preferred but I will live and learn. The neck is a set-glued in neck which can sometimes be daunting especially for someone who has never used one before but has proven itself to be a solid neck choice keeping with that Gibson standard for necks.
Sound — 8
Playing predominantly metal and rock the SG's rich sound gives me a lot of kick for rhythm whilst delivering a solid bright tone for lead and solo aspects of my playing. I have used a plethora of different amps while gigging and I'm still to purchase my own "gig-rig." The guitar (even without pedals) can purvey a solid array of tones from blues style thick sounds to bright and clean tones on the bridge pickup (especially when tapped). This gives the SG a wide array of use cases. When partnered with pedals however (using a Blackstar HT DistX valve pedal) it spits out some of the most fat and full sounding distortion tones I've ever heard. Using the neck pickups gives some of the nicest blues style tones I've ever heard, very Slash-esque. This is the setting I use for solos and high lead parts, other than that I use the neck pickup for my sharper and brighter tone giving me very nice clarity and tight sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Having it off a guitar shop wall maybe had a bit to do with the fact that the guitar was essentially plug and play from the unboxing but I'm assuming due to it being an Epiphone and the merit that comes with a company with that name (disregarding the price)the guitar would have been near enough ready to go. Pickups are something that I have no knowledge on and I'm not ready to experiment on my main guitar just yet but for the handful of gigs I have played so far are anything to go by the the pickups are solid. The guitar is tightly constructed and I couldn't find any flaw in it, the only flaws now are wear and tear dents from having it for a couple years.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar. Oh my God can this guitar stay in tune! I have had to use it as a stand alone guitar at a gig and it has done my very well every gig so far, I am yet to save up for a back-up guitar as well (student budget). I have had one instance where the strap button completely fell out of the body however, I have resorted to duct taping my strap to my guitar now, that is seriously the only flaw of the whole guitar in the last 2 years. I say this again, Oh my God can this thing stay in tune. I have managed to get through 40 min + sets without needing to tune this under hot lights and whilst playing solos, the only time it pops out of tune is in transit in my gig bag where it may take a knock but this is rare, even with new strings on it, it holds tuning after maybe a day or two of being re-strung.
Overall Impression — 8
With my style of music I'd much rather be playing a Les Paul. That's the truth but at the time I could only afford this SG (plus it was the only one in the shop in my price range, I know there are similarly priced Les Pauls) Just with a fatter sound, however. I was completely blown away with how much versatility is in this SG, I'd go as far to say as this is one of the (if not THE) best guitar for rock and metal sub £300. With the coil tap and the insane tuning ability it is a very reliable and quirky guitar and I would definitely recommend to any beginner to intermediate guitarist looking for solid tone and reliability.