Price paid: $ 599
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I'm no virtuoso. I like Black Sabbath and relatively simple guitar heavy rock (AC/DC, Soundgarden, David Bowie, Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones) and the rich, fat seventies style growl the SG produces makes it perfect for that type of music. It can also make make beautiful, bubbly, clean blues and jazz notes and have even played classic country like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash on it. It's heavier on the bass and mid range than on the treble, but the two pickups can produce a remarkable range of sounds. I play it on a Line 6 Spider II, and the number of styles I can imitate is astonishing.
Overall Impression — 10
I often joke that I stumbled ass backwards into getting the coolest guitar on earth. It's not entirely facetious, I played in high school and quit for over ten years, had always loved SG's but for some reason had always played this contrived metal style Charvelle and an HM Strat. They had these terribly contrived floyd rose tremblos and locking devices that were overcomplicated and a nightmare to change strings on. Fast forward ten years and I got the itch to try guitar again, older and wiser I don't care about being "good" anymore I just want to enjoy myself and this is one of the most enjoyable guitars to play I've ever tried. I often browse guitar stores and try other intruments with price tags from $500 to $1200 and have yet to play anything (including les pauls) that I would consider the equal of this instrument let alone something I would prefer. In general I'm a hug fan of SG's. They sound great, look great, are fun to play, and quite affordable. This model does the SG name proud and has a great look to boot. It's a shockingly good instrument to pick up for less than 600 bucks.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It seems very durable. I chipped the finish in one place because I put it down very quickly once and banged it on the thin metal edge of its stand because I thought a friend had gotten hurt. Nothing could have withstood that blow, the chip is really minimal and clean. It's also been dropped without incident so it puts up with abuse fairly well. It's a solid and simple guitar and seems pretty simple to maintain. I don't play in a band so I can't vouch for gigs, but I find it reliable. The strap button is a little awkwardly placed but I'm getting used to it and would not move it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I bought this guitar used, it's age is a mystery. I know the model isn't available new which is a real shame. The action is incredibly low and has that classic Gibson ease of play and epic sustain. The pickups were a little high but easily adjusted. The only flaw is a slight buzzing on the E string, which doesn't doesn't come through when amplified. The lack of inlays is great for me, the fretboard is solid and very very smooth, the best I've ever used. It feels nothing like rosewood, there is no grain in the wood, just buttery smoothness. It's light and comfortable to play.
Features — 10
A matte black finish with no inlays on the fretboard other than the spooky crescent and star (think ninteenth century occult stuff rather than islam) at the 12th fret. There are 22 frets overall. It also has a bizarre and mysterious picture of this turn of the century guy with a moustache. Other than that is a real meat and potatoes SG, the pickups are exposed and the overall look of the guitar is beautiful. The matte finish minimizes fingerprints. No tremblo or any of that crap, this is a good old fassioned rock guitar. The neck and body are fused together as a single piece. This is a real meat and potatoes instrument little changed since the late sixties.