Price paid: $ 675
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 10
2013 model. I'm really impressed by the features of this SG. The difference between this guitar and the "SG '60s Special Tribute" is that this has two humbuckers instead of 2 P90s. It has Gibson Burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups in the neck and bridge positions respectively (both of them potted). The pickups have chrome covers, whereas the cheaper models tend to have uncovered pickups. Mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard, trapezoid inlays (they look like pearloid but they are probably plastic), 24 frets. Usually the lower end models have dot inlays, so I'm really pleased that it has full trapezoids and 24 frets to boot! Came with a super-padded Gibson gig bag. It has Grover tuners with chrome buttons. Most models come with Kluson-style tuners with ivory-looking buttons. So this won't look the same as a "classic" Gibson, but I do think Grover tuners hold their tune better than the standard Gibson Kluson style ones.
Standard 2-volume 2-tone pots with a Gibson circuit board, which makes it so you have to change all the electronics if you want to change any of the pots (though you could change the pickups by just leaving some wire on the quick-connector ends and splicing in the new pickup). It has a thin matte nitro finish, which is to be expected on a lower end model. It's still nitro though, and so it has that buttery smooth nitro feel. It has no pickguard, which makes it look really nice. It also gives the option of adding either the side or batwing pickguard depending on player preference. The only thing it lacks is a bound fretboard and coil tapping (however, the pickups are 4 conductor, so you could still add coil tapping by swapping the pots out or adding a switch). It has a '60s slim taper neck, which is why I bought it; I can't find a slim neck on any other SG under $1,000.00 Usually they only come on the Standard and more expensive Reissue models.
Sound — 10
It sounds fantastic! It is up to par with the standard Gibson quality. I play mostly modern rock (think pop punk and alternative). I fell in love with the Burstbucker 2 in the bridge, but found the Burstbucker 1 in the neck to be a bit dull. I replaced it with a Gibson 490R which is brighter and has more output. The 490R is perfect for leads, whereas the Burstbucker 2 gives a slightly pushed, full tone for chords and rhythm playing.
The Burstbuckers were designed to re-create the sound of the PAF/Serial Number pickups of the late '50s. There was no set number of winds for these pickups, so they varied in output. The Burstbucker 2 is supposed to re-create the sound of a pickup with a medium number of winds. The Burstbucker 1 is slightly underwound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action was perfect when I got it, although it was used. I couldn't get buzz anywhere on the fretboard. It came with 10's. I changed the strings to Ernie Ball 10's and then it started buzzing (for some reason, Ernie Ball strings just buzz a lot, but I still use them on all my guitars). The buzzing doesn't come through the amp, so it doesn't bother me. There were quite a few scratches and dents on mine from the previous owner, which I painted over. You can't tell anymore.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Everything on this guitar seems solid.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for 12 years. I plug it into my Marshall JCM 2000 DSL combo. This guitar quickly became my number 1. I bought it because of the slim neck, which feels fantastic. Despite being so recent, it is hard to find this guitar being sold. I don't know if that means that Gibson wasn't able to sell many, or because the people who bought them are holding onto them. If I lost it, I would buy another one.