Price paid: $ 1119.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I play mostly Sabbath-esque doom metal with sprinklings of thrash and blues. This guitar sounds great as far as single string picking with a really crisp but warm sound. It sounds pretty good for chords and strumming but not the best. I think it's the neck pickup which sounds a little too twangy. I use a B-52 AT-100 100 watt amplifier pushing a B-52 412 speaker cab with 4 12" 120 watt speakers. I occasionally play through a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone pedal and this guitar compliments these perfectly with a warm sound on clean and a crushing chunk on gain.
Overall Impression — 9
If you play lead or do a lot of single string picking this is definitely the guitar for you. If you plan on strumming a lot and playing mostly chords I'd recommend a guitar with different pickups like EMGs or else to swap these pickups out. I've been playing guitar off and on for 10 years and this is my favorite I've owned and I'm extremely happy with everything the SG packs for the price. If you're considering a lower cost SG such as the Special, Faded, etc. I'd recommend trying both first as they're incredibly different beasts. The biggest difference I noticed is the feel of the neck. The standard is FAR superior. When buying this guitar I'd suggest asking if the seller has a technician available to adjust your neck and pickups to save you the time and possible damage to your guitar. Also make sure they have a good return policy so you can take it home and find out if there are any subtle problems you might not have noticed in the store. I love the look of the SG. There's no metal guitar that looks as cool. The chrome hardware and pearl inlays really make this axe look regal. I chose this guitar over a Les Paul Studio because they have basically the same features and the SG looks meaner. I wish the tuning pegs were chrome instead of the greenish plastic but I'll swap those out on my own. Also for some reason the black SG toggle Switch has a cream knob on it which stands out like a sore thumb but can be replaced for about 4 bucks. I'd definitely recommend this guitar in cherry or sunburst but would warn that if the cosmetic look matters to you in the least stay far away from the ebony. It's worth the extra hundred for a decent finish trust me. In fact I'm rating this section on the other finish's impression or it'd be closer to a 7.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is definitely gig capable. I'd probably bring a backup or at the very least a couple sets of extra strings though as this bridge has murdered many of mine. I do a lot of bends and am rough though so maybe it's just me. The double cutaway horns seem like they may be susceptible to damage if dropped but upon closer inspection they are curved in a way that would make them unlikely to be hit at an angle to damage them. The chrome harware is beautiful and from looking at my friends Who's owned his for 7 years and never wipes it down it will definitely last with minimal oxidation. The positioning of the strap buttons is odd after playing Strat style guitars for so long but nothing that can't be adapted to. The electronics and build seem extremely durable as I've never heard of any major problems occuring from others and haven't experienced the slightest myself.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The neck definitely needs adjustment out of the box and wherever you bought it from should be able to use the included truss rod to modify the neck's bow. The strings are.10 and I prefer a little thicker string so I had to change these but that's just my preference. The pickups were spot on from the factory which was a pleasant surprise. The neck feels great. Sliding between frets is amazingly easy. Now we get to the problems I've experienced. I got this guitar in the ebony (black) finish and while it looks awesome with the chrome hardware it's extremely delicate. I've owned black guitars and I expected the usual surface marks but this finish while brighter and shinier than most other black guitars collects scratches like Mick Jagger's bed post. Also there is a slight raised area that you can only see in certain lighting that looks like a seam. At first I thought it was a defect in the wood but upon going to a music store and inspecting other black SGs they all had it right below the bridge. The three way toggle switch is also a bit touchy as it seems a puff of air is liable to Switch it to the middle position. I tune down anywhere from a half to one and a half steps and Gibson guitars aren't the best at handling this. While not a problem you may need a technician to adjust everything on the guitar to prevent fret buzz. All of these negative aspects are just from my experience. My friend has the same guitar in cherry and his toggle Switch isnt loose in the slightest. I actually am in the process of returning this guitar for a Natural Burst finish and I'm sure I'll be much happier.
Features — 9
2005 Gibson SG. Made in America. Has 22 beautiful trapezoid mother-of-pearl inlayed frets on a 24.75" Rosewood Neck. Double cut-away "devil horn" solid super light mahogany body makes the neck feel heavier than it is which takes some getting used to. Tune-O-Matic bridge which for some reason contributes to me breaking a lot more strings on this guitar than my Washburn Lyon Strat copy. 2 volume, 2 tone knobs and 3 way toggle Switch. Chrome hardware. 490 & 498T Alnico magnet humbucker pickups. Gibson Deluxe tuners with greenish looking plastic pegs. Came with a nice Gibson USA hardshell exterior, plush interior case with a little compartment for the included truss rod. Also came with a manual and inspection card.