Price paid: $ 1100
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 9
2002 Nashville, TN USA made.
- 22 jumbo frets with EBONY fingerboard non-binding wrapped with pearl voodoo skull inlay at the 5th fret.
- Fat mahogany '50s profile neck.
- Sticker Gibson logo on headstock and blank truss rod cover.
- SG style swamp ash body with the upper horn slightly longer.
- Black chrome hardware throughout with grover kidney bean black chrome tuners.
- Black satin paint job with red paint rubbed into the finish.
- Passive open 496R and 500T with three way toggle switch with tone and volume controls for each pickup.
- Nashville Tune-O-Matic Bridge.
- Red Faux python skin case with black fuzz lining.
- SG Special pickguard fits the theme of the guitar really well.
Sound — 9
I would not have liked a SG with '57 pickups. I'm glad I got the 500T. I have '57 pickups in other guitars and I REALLY LIKE the 496R and 500T. These pickups are actually too hot. I normally play '57s at 10. These pickups can go 10 on tone and 8 on volume, which is great if you want to push yourself above the mix for a solo. Soloing is a breeze with the double cutaway. This is my first '50s profile neck. I bought it thinking that I would "get used" to it. I normally play '60s profile, but I really like the added girth, tone and sustain the '50s profile adds.
I have this guitar set up to play drop C hard rock/ metal. It has a lot of "chugging" ability without really any modifications to the stock guitar. I play this guitar through solid state 4x12 Marshall with a Dan-Electro Fab Tone for distortion. The guitar in my opinion is for playing rock, thats it. It can go from a very full and fat rhythm with the 496R (but much brighter that '57s) to a very bright tight and responsive 500T. Overall the tone is very special for a SG which is due to the '50s mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, 496R and 500T and swamp ash body. I've been waiting to get into SG and I didn't want to change the pickups. When I found out that it had the 500T, I was immediately sold.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I bought this guitar 12 years after it was made. The guitar had some pick-scrapes on the upper horn and some wear next to the underside of the 500T (like a shredding anchor hand spot). The action was horrific (high) when I bought it. I had Guitar Center (Grand Rapids, MI) set up the guitar for low action Drop-C with Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms (a tall order for a SG Special). Now the guitar squeals, screams and roars. I am very happy with it.
The previous owner had the 500T sticking straight up out of the body. I dropped this back in as much as possible. It is still high which is weird for me to have it out there exposed with no covers. The red Gibson logo on the headstock is cheap and there is some high E open string buzz. Hardware and body are top notch. Guitar suffers from neck dive. Super light guitar no fatigue with standup playing. Guitar basically feels like it was in a time capsule for the last 12 years. No other complaints.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will withstand 4-5 songs without needing to be tuned. Guitar tuning will withstand light to moderate string bending (could be rectified with string gauge). Guitar is made pretty solid (for a SG). Hardware is strong and shows no signs of wear (12 yrs old). Strap buttons were ok but I switched them out for black chrome Schaller strap locks immediately. Of my guitars I would worry about it a little going out at a show. I think that the black satin finish will wear eventually and look SWEET!
Overall Impression — 9
I play mainly hard rock and metal. The guitar has a very commanding, sinister presence. This aspect goes well with the music I play. I have been playing for 15+ years, and I own Gibson LPs, an Explorer and a Flying V. This is my first SG and probably my last because this SG is exactly what I want in a SG. The only thing I would change would be to put binding on the fretboard. The frets aren't rounded enough on the sides and you can snag your hand with doing practice and solos. The guitar has its utility but it is kind of limited in what it can play. If the guitar were stolen, I'd miss it. This would be a very hard guitar to replace. I think this is a very rare guitar, and I'd value it at $1500.