Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
This guitar sounds great and has a nice thick full sound thanks to the Gibson Alnico pickups. I'm running this guitar through a Marshall JCM800, a really old Fender Twin and my Fender Blues Jr. practice amp. I can get everything from a bright sound, almost country, to heavy metal. Considering I play just about everything but modern punk this is important. I might recommend a pickup change in the rhythm humbucker because it it is a tad muddy depending on the amp setting but not too bad.
Overall Impression — 10
For any hard rock or metal, this guitar flat out kills. I love the looks and I needed a guitar under $1000 that would still sound like a high end machine because nobody in their right mind would want to bring a pre-cbs Fender or a Vintage Les Paul Standard (Well if I really had a Gibson Les Paul Standard) to a gig. This guitar fits this need perfectly and also has been a great axe to own. I would reccomend this guitar or any rock player, especially the one that plays live and doesnt want to haul around a heavy, or expensive axe to a gig.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems to be as durable as my pre-cbs Stratocaster I bought almost 45 years ago. But I haven't had any problems in the 6 years I have owned this one besides the pickup selector being a tad loose. The paint job seems solid, well as solid as it can be, since I abuse this guitar a lot more than my precious Strat. There is only one spot on the back where the paint is gone due to a freak accident with the bookshelf. I would have no apprehensions about bringing this guitar to a gig without a backup, as I have several times.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Now, the factory setup wasn't good, however I've seen much worse. After adjusting the pickup heights and lowering the action a little bit it was good to go. I had to file the 12th fret a little bit because it was a little sharp on the edges.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 1999 in the US of A. The neck has 22 frets with pearl inlays, thinner neck than most Les Paul models, which is typical of the SG. The finish on mine is black, and it is flawless. It has 2 volume and 2 tone controls and a 3-way pickup selector. It has two humbuckers, a Gibson 490t Alnico V humbucker in the bridge and a Gibson 490R Alnico II Humbucker in the neck position. It came with a decent gig bag.