SG '61 Reissue review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (98 votes)
Gibson: SG '61 Reissue

Price paid: £ 1200

Purchased from: Guitar Village

Sound — 9
The sound is based around the classic humbuckers. Where pickups on a PRS Custom 24 are clean with clear intonation the SG is a growler. Where the Fender Strat sings the SG growls. It is a beefy sound with plenty of low end. Play it through a Fender valve amp and you get clear articulation of every note, and a fantastic crunchy valve overdrive at every pick. When I put it through a Mesa Boogie it really rocks. It is great for "brit rock" of the '70s and for indy music from the '90s. My favourite combo is when I use it with a valve delay (Blackstar) adding both chorus and compression. Awesome gritty sound. Not as versatile as many Les Pauls, or the PRS's of this world but who cares - what it was designed to do it does with ass kicking verve.

Overall Impression — 9
This was my dream guitar when I was growing up, I was lent one to learn on and I wanted another ever since. So when I picked it up it was like going home. It's not as versatile as many other guitars, but it is light - so stage friendly, robust and has a classic look. For growly sound you can't beat it - and I love that sound for rhythm parts. I can't say I'd buy another if it was stolen, not because it's not great, but because it's a big world out there and I'd probably buy something else for the change. Don't get me wrong it's great, but it's no longer the God of guitars I thought it was when I was 16.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The finish is as good now as when I first picked the guitar up. There is a little pattern rust developing on the pointers by the pots, and the scratchplate is less hardy than I might have expected. But the tuners hold themselves well, the body is solid, and even though there are horror stories about the neck joint (because it is so shallow into the body) mine is looking good after quite a bit of use. No point in a back-up, but for most sets I wouldn't just use this guitar, because of the sound.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The finish was perfect in every way. Fantastic workmanship from Gibson on this guitar. The set up was also spot on and in three years all I've had to do is change the strings - no other adjustment necessary. Occasionally I catch my fingers on the pointers by the pots (because it's the only guitar I have with anything like them), and if I detune it then I get a bit of buzz. Overall though it looks exactly like I expected and was finished to a great standard. And believe me I checked very thoroughly when I picked it up.

Features — 9
A design classic. Double cutaway Cherry red, 22 frets, Grover style tuners, Gibson tune-o-matic bridge and stop-tail and twin humbuckers. A three way switch with a rhythm / lead indicator for the neck and bridge positions. Two tone and two volume controls. One piece mahogany body and mahogany neck. Rosewood fretboard, trapezoid inlays and a three ply black and white scratchplate. It came with the classic Gibson case. It is "the SG" we've all seen countless times on the TV. Beautiful transparent finish showing off the mahogany to it's best - as I said a design classic. 'Nuf said?

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