SG Special Faded review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (498 votes)
Gibson: SG Special Faded
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Price paid: € 554

Purchased from: musikia Paris

Sound — 9
Sound is the sound you expect from an SG, fat on the neck, sharp on the bridge. Is the type of guitar I have been using for the last 20 years, so I cannot think in other type of guitar for my music, I do not fit any style, but I need the configuration I get in an SG, from fat, distorted and saturated sounds, to harmonics; I need the access you can only get in this Gibson model, the Les Paul cannot give me good fair access to the lasts frets, with this model you have total access and this particular body design is the one among all the SG models that can give you a comfortable feeling in the 20-21-22 range. Is the reason this guitar was the choice of Santana over a Les Paul. The neck profile is the rounded Les Paul, so is thicker, that can be uncomfortable for some players, I thought that could be a problem, but eventually it was not for me, although I feel better with a slim neck profile. Its a matter of choice and taste. Although you can get very good access in a Flying V model and an Explorer, the body of an SG can give you the choice of a pleasant, relaxed play, its more guitar-like, and you may like that. I have tried it in a variety of combos, effects, the pick ups are a classic Gibson model, so you will feel that they are the basic Pick up you can get, which, to my mind they give the instrument an aura of rough which fits the Vintage look it has. Is a guitar that looks good and sounds and feels even better, tells something about you, that to my mind, you are a guy more connected to what you can do with the thing rather than what the thing is or represents. This guitar is what a SG should be to me, you don't need more, you don't have less.

Overall Impression — 10
I really don't like labels in music, but people do label it in order to classify it, sell it or to be part of something. I prefer to talk about tones and sounds, and say that this guitar can fit the basics which is the classic Gibson configuration that you can see from the early 50s to nowadays, and I like it for my music, where I need high tones, fat tones, dissonance and distortion. In that frame it fits what I need. I have been with this sort of guitars for 20 years now, and after that time you get very open into music, at least, you should. That also goes for instruments. Maybe is the same an Epi made in China, Epiphones used to had differences in quality and sound with Gibsons, today you wont see that to be so obvious as it used. Even are cheaper today, but better build. The wood is the same, materials are quite the same, the machines are the same, but I don't care if its a beaver that makes 'em in china, or guy in Nashville, cause an Epi I bought in 1992 cost me 300 dollars and today you can have that very same guitar for 200 euros, and if you take into consideration the inflation it has been in 20 years, boy, really there are beavers out there making 'em and they get payed with the left overs of the wood... But seriously when buying a Gibson other things come into consideration and you wont have peace of mind till you own one if you like 'em. So this one is a great chance, great value for the money and make the other SGs to look overpriced, expensive. This is what an SG is. Is nothing special about it, it should be considered as a blue jean guitar. I would definitely buy another if needed, in fact I bought this guitar to replace another one I lost, so yes, definitely I would buy it again if something happens to it. I did compare it to other SG models, and again, I feel that maybe this one is a bargain or the others are horribly expensive! I give that to ya to think about it. Thanks for reading this.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar can do whatever you want, sounds good, looks good, and it is a rock machine, a very simple one, but lets face it, rock is simple. So this is a guitar for live playing and a guitar for studio as well, I highly recommend this guitar for studio, its a basic, like a Levi's blue jean, you have to have at least one if you don't like strats. I have been around SGs for 20 years now, I wanted to be a Les Paul player, the early nineties late 80s, where a new era for Gibson models after the fever for the super-strats in red, and the influence of players like Slash that picked up Gibson models again at the time I couldn't afford a Les Paul, and I had to look after an SG, later I got so used to it, than when I start playing Les Pauls I found they were to me heavy and not comfortable, although they are amazing, they looked then a little ridicule to me, like a log... I love the simplicity of this guitar, its a guitar I would replace if lost or stolen, it can be also a guitar for starting to modify and see what can you get after, like Zappa's SG nicknamed baby snakes. I wanted to buy this one, and I made comparison with more expensive SG models, but I like the feel of the wood, how it looks, and then, all the features of an SG that are here, I even like the mics, is the type of mics I like to hear. As I mentioned later I would add to it a screw to allow the mic to modify its angle... But as I said, this is a blue jean, you cannot add or take anything, is just the way it is; It looks that it will last forever, and it has been with you since a long time, which is a very strange thought. Its like that people you met and you think you know 'em from before. I don't agree with that assumption that SGs are heavy neck, that is another myth, a thing someone said once, and everybody keeps on repeating it, the feeling of the guitar dropping is caused by the position of the strap button, switch it for one with a lock, and it will be the end of the discussion.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Setting up was is fine, but I still have to do some adjustments that are for the way I play, I mean not standard. As a look on the thing it would be good idea to add a third screw so you can change the angle of the magnets, that is a thing I had in a old Epiphone SG, a model from the early 90s, which you cannot see today, but actually it can make a big difference in sound if you are an obsessive character. Wood could be better, it wont be a difference in sound and play, but here is the contradiction between an entry level guitar and the finish. In fact this Vintage finish demands better wood selection, (in aesthetic terms) which is for more expensive instruments. But not to fully paint the instrument makes it cheaper, so it looks like a dead end. I'm convinced that wood in electric guitars, is not a thing that will modify the sound, because of the nature of the microphones that cannot translate the resonance of the wood, more over if its a solid body guitar, where yes there is a difference in wood, but to me is mostly in the fingerboard, and the ability of the instrument to work as a whole thing in terms of the resonance of the strings, the finish, is good, only I have this observation, look at least three or four guitars, this series and the next of Les Pauls and SG with the P90s, have that contradiction. Many guitar players like to talk about wood in electric guitars as they were talking of Spanish guitars, or even violins, where homogeneity in wood, humidity and many other things make differences in the range and reverberation of the notes. Please, from here, that's a myth in electric guitars that I would like to help to put into an end.

Features — 8
This review is for a 2011 USA Made Gibson SG Special, natural brown finish, Body Top Mahogany, Neck is Mahogany SG Rounded, truss Rod Traditional Adjustable Joint Angle 4.25 (+/- 15 seconds), fingerboard in Rosewood 22 frets, dot finish, radius 12" Nut/E.O.B1.695"/2.260, bridge is classic Nashville Tune-O-Matic-Stop bar in chrome; Hardware: Strap Buttons in aluminum, pickups in neck position, uncovered 490R, bridge position: uncovered 490T Alnico II, electronics (passive), potentiometers 2 volume controls, 2 tone controls type 300k Linear Volume, 500k Non-linear Tone, three-way Switchcraft with Cream Plastic Tip, acrilic top. It included an standard gig bag, manual and Gibson guarantee.

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