Price paid: $ 610
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 10
The sound is amazing on these things. The P-90's combine with the naturally dark guitar (it's 100% mahogany, btw) to create a thrashy monster of pure Rock. They buzz when highly distorted, yes, but the effect this has on your sound has been greatly over-stated in recent years. I play heavy metal with this thing, and it sounds incredible. I run it through a Randall MTS series 100 watt combo 2X12 amp. My particular modules are a Plexi, a JTM, a Recto (Dual Rectifier), a Brown (Eddie Van Halen's hot-rodded plexi-esque sound) and an Ultra (Randall's trade-mark High gain sound). I can max the volume and gain on all of these, and it will sound incredible (better than my humbucker guitars, honestly). The cleans shimmer; I love the top-end I get with P-90s. They make for better cleans than Humbuckers do, for sure. What this guitar does REALLY well is rock, though. With my plexi in, I can get THE AC/DC sound with virtually no hum (it has little hum until you hit heavy metal, and even then, it's ignorable). I can't get enough of the bridge vs. neck either; The neck really does a deep, brooding bluesy sound very well, while I can switch to the Bridge and blast out a searing guitar solo. These pickups clean up very well, meaning that I can do entire shows without hitting a single button except my pick-up switcher, and turning my volume/tone knobs on the guitar. No foot pedal. No amp-fidgeting. No channel changes. Nothing! And what's so great is that this can work for ANY channel I set it to before the show; I don't need to have a particular one for this to work, as EVERYTHING sounds good! I'm giving sound a 10. I have NEVER heard this guitar sound bad, no matter what I plug it into (and I've had this a solid 6 months with heavy duty gigging; this isn't some "Ooh I just got it!" orgasm fest. This may have seriously turned me off to Humbuckers or normal single coils.
Overall Impression — 10
I play everything, so I need a guitar that can do everything. This SG Classic can provide! It can clean up better than a humbucker, it sounds BETTER when distorted than a humbucker, and it gives more of a response to me than a humbucker can! It was perfect.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will and has survived Live play. I've played this everywhere; clubs, indoors, outdoors, stadiums, and it will provide! I HAVE gigged without back-up (It was for a festival in the summer) and it endures being outside for on-and-off playing over 7 hours! And I live in Texas, so it was pretty damn hot! The finish has not changed since the day I got it, and nothing seems to have differed at all. I compared it to a photo of when I got it to confirm (and boy did it confirm well!).
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar used, so I can't comment on factory set up, but it came to me with the same original set of Gibson 10's it was originally strung with (like I said, near pristine. Only a few tiny scratches which I had to hunt for). The finish still stuns me; I have always loved Heritage cherry, and this particular shade is very odd. It is blood red/dark (Not the Orange abomination on most SG's today; I got lucky), and yet it seems to change color. The lighting of the room really does a number on this thing; It can go from Angus walnut-redish to an almost Robot-y metallic-red shade, depending on the room. The pickups came in flawless condition (as described in the sound category). As far as the finish quality goes, there was a single, tiny finish flaw on the back, where the finish was almost... swirled I guess? It's on the back, and it's smaller than a penny, so it's not something that effects me at all. However, it IS there, so I ought to mention it. I give this a 9. It ought to be a 10 (The neck feels perfect, and has better access than anything I've played in years), but I simply can't ignore the swirl. It's nothing I care about, but 10 means that everything is perfect, and, well, it's technically not :\ Consider it a 9.5
Features — 8
This guitar was a near-pristine condition 'Heritage Cherry' SG Classic from Gibson. It has dot inlays (like the lower-end SG Special), and Gibson-Standard binding (like the upper end models such as the Standard and the 61 reissue). In many ways, this is something of an intermediate level SG, with a couple of mild differences between lower end faded series or the higher quality Standard series. What changes all of that are the pickups. The SG Classic has 2 P-90 picked, which give this model it's edge and secret weapon. These are the reason you get this over a Standard, people. If you've ever considered trying a P-90, here is one of the best chances around. I give features an 8 for a few reasons: It's a great guitar, but if I were to name specific features, it's technically not the best. No tremolo, no ABR-1 bridge, and the tuners (white key classics, apparently) aren't very good (They were picked for their Vintage looks, not their perfect pitch keeping). If the tuners were better, this would be a 9. However, the rest of the package is basically an SG Standard without the trapezoid inlays and with a differet type of pick-up.