Price paid: $ 1700
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I play many different styles of music, and this guitar excells at all of them. One of the things that I think is essential for a great guitar is a great clean sound. The lower output pickups help grealt with producing pristine clean tones. I once was able to plug into a Mashall JCM 800, the monster amp that powered bands like Slayer and Metallica, and even with the gain set to 11, turning the volume knobs on the pickups down resulted in some truly wonderful clean tones. As with most SG's, this guitar has a very well defined top end to it, and the pickups add much clarity to that sound, whcih is great for diminished chords and finger picked clean passages. As far as gain goes, it is capable of producing some great classic rock and blues tones, courtesy of it's low output pickups, and the cyrstal clear definition they provide, and classic rock was originally played on guitars with lower output picks, and amplifiers turned up all the way. The low output allows you to really hear the steel of the string and the wood of the guitar, whic is great for classic rock. This is after all, the same guitar that Hendrix would sometimes plug into when he felt the need for a Gibson, in addition to his famous Flying V. For metal, the guitar needs a boost to really Shine, and I do it with an Ibanez TS-9, which I heartily advise getting, it's a great cheap pedal. With this boost added on, this guitar can easily achieve some of the greatest tones of heavy metal from the 70's to the 80's. It's an aggressive guitar, and metal sounds great on it. Let us not forget some of the very first metal riffs such as Iron Man and Paranoid were authorrd of a left handed 61 SG. So, if you feel the need to Drive down the Highway to Hell, you'l know what guitar to use.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly metal and shred, and have been playing for about four years, and this guitar is perefect for my style. I really can find almost no flaws with it, except for the fact I wish it had 24 frets, as there is enough room inbetween the 22nd and the neck pickup for two frets. If it were ever stolen, I would first sick bounty hunters after the person that did it, and get wolverines to eat hiim alive. Assuming that could not be done, I would buy it again in a heart beat.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Overall, this is a very solid guitar, I replaced the strap buttons with straplocks, as the stock buttons had a tendency to unhook from the strap, but they were still solidly mounted. The nickel plated hardware is cool looking, but will discolor, although this may not be a bad thing, as it helps give the guitar a Vintage look. The finish itself is fairly soft, and if you aren't carefull, it will ding pretty easily. I gig on a very often basis with this guitar, and rarely use a backup, overall a well made guitar, but it isn't made of stone.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I've mentioned the pickups several times in this review, and they are indeed one of the chief elements of this guitars great sound. The pickups have a lot of midrange frequency to them, which is great for achieving a punchy, yet smooth sound. The treble responce in the bridge pickup helps deliver a very aggressive sound without being peircing, and the neck pickup is great for slower, melodic lead lines. The tone and volume pots have an excellent taper to them, allowing wonderful volume swells, mimicking a synthesizer, similar to the track "Cathedral" by Eddie Van Halen. Also, as I've said before, the neck is very thin, yet round and natural feeling, providing a fast yet solid feel to the guitar. This guitar is expertly crafted, and I feel I play my best on this guitar, as it allows me to play to my fullest.
Features — 10
This guitar is deceptively simple. At first, it appears to be nothing more than the Gibson Standard SG with a different pickguard, but once you pick it up and play it, the differences leap out at you. The first thing that I noticed was that the neck was very thin, in fact the thinnest neck I've ever felt on a Gibson. If you're like me, and prefer a neck that is smooth feeling, then this is a dream come true. Often, thin necked guitars have very flat feeling necks, making them slightly ackward to play chords on. Not so on this guitar. The other chief difference was the famous double cutaway on the SG. On the 61 Reissue, the cutaway is even deeper, providing unparalleled access to all 22 medium frets of the guitar, better even than most "shred guitars" made by companies such as Jackson or Ibanez. It is not only possible, but very easy to fret the 22nd fret of the low E string with your thumb. The pickups also are different on this guitar, they are 57 classics. These differ from the Standard pickups in that they have quite a bit less output, sacrificing some of the gain in return for crystal clear sounding chords, even with loads of distortion. The guitar also has great sustain, as another thing you'll notice is that this guitar is a bit heavier than most SG's, hoever it still weighs quite a bit less than a Les Paul. This added weight contributes to the sustain.