Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Private owner
Sound — 9
I've had very little time on P90 guitars, which is part of the reason I made the purchase. Those big single coils are on a ton of great rock songs, but are often replaced live with less noisy humbuckers by many acts. Their sound in my guitar is right between my modded G&L Fullerton (think Strat) and my good ol' Les Paul: gutsier and warmer than the G&L but brighter than the 'Paul...and P90s have a snarl all their own. For my music-which is across most "rock" genres-it's very useful, though I have to get used to the considerable pickup noise and the tendency toward feedback.
Overall Impression — 9
As I stated earlier, I play across much of the "rock" spectrum with anything from the Allman Brothers to Alice in Chains possible at any given time. This guitar actually cleans up very nicely and snarls wonderfully with gain added, so it's getting a lot of use across the board. I love the versatility and the feel, and it's working its way into becoming an axe that I grab naturally. I'd definitely replace it if it were lost/stolen...though I might get a Les Paul Studio Gem (used, they're long out of production) as that's another inexpensive P90 Gibby. The only things I'd consider changing on this guitar from here on out would be the possibly addition of a Bigsby tremolo, and possibly some high-end P90s (Lollars, Rio Grandes, etc) with an RS wiring kit for the true Vintage tone.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar seems extremely solid and has been perfect in the jams/auditions its seen with me so far. The strap buttons were puny, so I bought it a set of Schaller strap locks immediately; I do that for all my guitars. Away from the buttons, though, the guitar has been played hard and performed very well indeed.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar came to me essentially perfect minus some normal scratches on the pickguard. The finish is flawless, the binding is perfect, and I wouldn't be surprised to see new examples that looked and played worse. I can't vouch for the factory setup, but it was fantastic when I got it. The jack and the Switch are fine, and everything works as it should-sorta. The tuners that come stock with these guitars aren't all that great, so a set of Grovers is likely in the future.
Features — 9
My example is a USA-made Gibson SG Classic from 2004. The instrument is classic Gibson: mahogany body and neck, 22 frets on a 24 3/4 scale, P90 single-coil pickups, 3-way pickup toggle, volume and tone knobs for each pickup, and the classic Tune-O-Matic with the Stop Bar bridge setup. The axe is the transparent Heritage Cherry, and came with a non-original gig bag.