Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
I play punk and ska, and I think this guitar is incredible for both. I use this with a JCM 900 4100 Head and a 1960AV cab. It's not very noisy, but not dead quiet (although that's very difficult to come across). Gibson's 490R and 49OT uncovered pickups (R for rhythm and T for treble) give you the flavor of Gibson's original '57 Classic pickup, but roll the output and midrange grind upward a few notches. I personally think this guitar can do anything you want it to.
Overall Impression — 10
I play punk and ska, and I can't think of a better guitar to play it with. I've been playing for about 10 years, and I have a few guitars by Epiphone and Squier, and my Marshall jcm 900 half stack. I wish I asked about the strap buttons so I could have bought the straploks sooner, but oh well. If it were stolen, I'd hunt another one down for the price I got it for in this exact finish and buy it again. I'd have to save for a while because I'm really poor, but I would definitely buy it again. I love how light this guitar is, at just around 6-7 pounds, it's so easy to have on your shoulders for concerts. I don't hate anything about it. I compared it to the new Epiphone g400s, and the Gibson SG Standard, and I decided on the special because it was better than the g400, and simpler than the Standard and costs less. I wish it had a pearl logo, because the gold logo is kind of lame, but that's just a minor detail. I love this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Mine is only from 2004 so it hasn't been around long enough for live playing to have much of an effect on it, but I know that this guitar will last years and years of Live shows. I had a slight issue with my strap buttons, but I got straploks for it so it would stay on the strap much better, but other than that, the hardware seems mint and will probably stay that way. I can depend on it, and would use it without a backup, but i got an Epiphone g400 as a backup just in case *knock on wood*. Gibson puts this guitar through 15 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer, so it'll be good forever, and will allow the guitar to breathe and encourages natural vibration for purer tone.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I don't know for sure how it was set up from the factory as I bought it used, but from what I play at Guitar Center, it seems to be just a bit better than mediocre, but still nice. It was much better when I got it. The pickups were adjusted wonderfully (on Guitar Center SG Specials) and even better on my used one. The top isn't perfectly mirrored, but is very close. And the bridge is routed wonderfully. Nothing on my guitar would be considered "flawed" by the description given, so I'm going to say it's "flaw"less.
Features — 10
My guitar was made in Nashville, Tennessee USA on April 29th 2004 (Serial Numbers for the win!) It has 22 frets, with a 50's style comfortable thick neck profile and also has a rosewood fretboard. Solid top, all mahogany neck and body with a high gloss nitrocellulose finish. Average Gibson SG body shape that's very thin and lightweight. Tune-O-Matic Bridge. Passive electronics that include 2 volume and 2 tone pots with a 3 way Switch. 2 humbuckers, volume and tone knob for each pickup, and treble setting on Switch activates the bridge pickup, the rhythm setting actives the neck pickup, and the middle is both. Non-locking tuners, Gibson Deluxe brand. It came with a bag and a strap but I bought it used, I think Gibson includes a gig bag with the purchase of a new one.