Price paid: A$ 1149
Purchased from: Better Music
Sound — 8
I play whatever I feel like playing at any given moment. This includes various styles of rock, punk, blues and folk. The guitar does most of it, but especially anything rock oriented but shy of metal territory. This is definitely a bright sounding guitar. The bridge pickup in particular really screams. Turn the bass up a bit and it'll happily take on a fuller sound, but anything sludgy is not ideal. Select both pickups and you get a mellower sound. Basically, P-90s have the twang of single coils with the bite of humbuckers. P-90s are high output single coil pickups and while they sound great, they are very noisy. I think I'm going to have to invest in a noise suppressor for when I use distortion.
Overall Impression — 8
Like I said, this guitar is pretty versatile, but really excels at brightly toned rock. It's great if you play a lot of lead, which I don't, but I'm trying to rectify that just so I can get even more out of the guitar than I already do. Use both pickups for a mellower sound that you can use for laid back blues or pop. Folk would be a stretch, but it'll do it if it has to. The biggest drawback, as I mentioned, is the loudness of the pickups. If you haven't played with P-90s, don't assume you know what you're in for just because you've played with other single coils. Another thing to the guitar's detriment, though not a major issue, is that it's pretty neck heavy.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I haven't had the guitar long, so durability hasn't really crossed my mind yet. It's a very light guitar, so while it's very comfortable to play, I wouldn't want to drop it. I don't have any plans to play live in the foreseeable future, but I wouldn't be too timid to take this guitar along if I did. Only time will tell if Gibson sacrificed durability to make this guitar as cheap as it is. As much as I like some Epiphones, they're guilty of that. I had one of those snap in half. This being a Gibson, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until such time as that happens.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I'm no expert here, but as far as I could tell the guitar was pretty much ideally set up already. The bridge pickup is set pretty close to the strings, but that seems to be standard for this guitar. The only change I have made to the guitar is changing to a lighter gauge of string. The strings (the new ones) initially went out of tune if I so much as brushed against the guitar, but they settled into place after a few days of constant retuning. It's a natural finish, so any flaws would have been readily apparent.
Features — 8
See the specs here. Specs include mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard. The pickups are the real draw for me. P-90s in both neck and bridge. Some might say P-90s in an SG are tits on a bull, but I say they're awesome. This guitar is based on a model that was good enough for Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Carlos Santana. It's got tone and volume knobs for both pickups. I don't usually use those, but it's good to know I have the option. Mine's the natural finish.