Price paid: $ 650
Purchased from: CL
Sound — 8
I find that this guitar is suitable for almost anything. I don't have a main genre or style that I play, but I have a few that I play most often. Of those my favorite right now is 'Jam', which varies from classic rock to jazz-fusion and folk and some blues, but none of them are constant. I get great tones for what I mentioned above, but there are some tones impossible to get with humbuckers vs single coils, [P.S. I am looking into a coil-splitter, I recommend this for anyone buying this guitar.] I also play punk rock, which calls for heavy, fast riffing, and some crunchy distortion. This is where I think this guitar shines, being very gritty. It has good cleans, but it really 'opens up' once you hit the break-up. It's a very quiet guitar, most noise you'll hear is generated by your pedals or the amp itself, when I plug direct into a box and through the computer there is no noise at all. When you have it plugged into the amp when it's on and your volume knob is all the way up it will get very loud, but like I said that happens with most guitars because the amp's sound travels through the pickups and back again in that beautiful loop we call feedback. When I turn the volume knob down its like I shut the amp off, so electronics-wise, this guitar is solid. My current guitar rig is a Mesa Boogie F-50 combo and most of the time I run direct into that, no effects. The guitar sounds amazing through the Mesa now (I used to have a JCM 900 half stack) and while I preferred the crunch on the Marshall, the SGs tone through the Mesa IMO is better. (This can be left up to the player though, that is merely my personal preference). When I use effects, I have a Boss ME-70. The effects of the pedal work well with the nuances of sound I get from the SG. I play a lot of harmonic note stuff with effects and this guitar can sound beautiful.
Overall Impression — 7
Like I said, I play almost everything with it, except for country and surf and other things I like to use single coils for. This is my main humbucker guitar, and that's not going to change anytime soon. I've been playing for over 10 years now, and I've had this guitar for almost 6 of those. I've had Epi SGs and LPs, I've had a Gibson SG Special, I've had Ibanez RG series, Ibanez S, Strats, Teles, Jags + Stangs, etc... This one I've had the longest, and I like it the most. If someone stole this guitar from me I would probably buy it again eventually, but I like to change things up so I may get a Jazzmaster or something. My favorite thing about this guitar is how long it's been 'loyal' to me. I can always count on it, it's my mainstay. I'd say it's better than a lot of guitars that I've played, but by no means the best. Overall I give it a 7. This is very fair, and if I wasn't used to how reviews work I might have given it a 10 because I love it so much. As far as Gibson SGs go, this is the one to have. I had the special and it did basically the exact same thing except it didn't feel quite as solid, to me it seemed almost fragile. If you don't have that kind of money the SG Special is a good second, but try to stick to the finished models. The unfinished guitars always show every little mark and while you might not have to worry about messing up the finish, putting dents and scratches and marks directly into the wood isn't any better. The Classic is amazing but I feel you're limited with just P90s, which is why I mentioned earlier that I want to coil-split my pickups so I can truly utilize this guitar more, and have an entire other side to guitar tones not accessible before. Very long story short, if you're looking for a Gibson SG, I recommend this for the price range. If you're looking for a lightweight, hard-rock machine, I recommend this. If you're looking for cheap, maybe you'd have better luck with another brand. Names get expensive these days unfortunately.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've had it since January 2008, and after nearly 6 years of constant shows, practices, and overall roughhousing, its still 'mint'. The paint has worn in a couple small spots, the frets have worn slightly, there have been several dings in the finish, but the guitar itself still plays like I bought it last month, but better! Most of the hardware seems like quality. I liked everything when I first got it, but now I'm thinking of getting new tuning pegs like some locking ones or even some nice Grovers because the Gibson Deluxe pegs look nice, and they give it that feel, but they're not the best tuners I've used. The strap buttons were great, very solid, but I switched them to Dunlop strap-loks because I tend to get crazy with the guitar and it helps to keep a good hold on it. I depend on it every weekend, its a beast. I often do bring backups but its for tuning choices and besides the occasional string break I never need to use a backup for this. The finish is strong, but not too thick. The nitro was done beautifully and it's starting to have that natural paint wear that I love (some people could definitely keep theirs nicer over time though).
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I bought this new from Guitar Center in 2008, and the setup it came with was less than satisfactory. Don't get me wrong, Gibsons set up more guitars a day than most others but when they do so many in an assembly line its easy to let some slip through the cracks. I feel that's what happened with mine because it felt like garbage the first time I played it. The pickups were adjusted nicely, they're set very well so I hardly have to do anything to them. As far as flaws go, I've already mentioned the only one, the setup. The frets feel fine, the finish looked flawless, the wood is very nice (I can see it now since paint has worn in a couple spots) the hardware wasn't dirty or oxidized, the tuning pegs feel spot on (although after a few years I'd recommend some locking tuners, I notice the Gibson Deluxe set has a limited life span as accurate tuners. The nut was ok but I replaced it last year with a new bone nut which was more of my preference than an issue with the original. The controls still to this day feel very tight (not too tight) and the pickup selector isn't noticeable while plugged in. Overall, there were somethings I didn't like, and some things I really did.
Features — 6
My guitar is an '08 from America obviously. Standard 22 frets, rosewood fretboard, trapezoid inlays. Solid top, 100% mahogany, black nitro finish. The body style is the simple 60's style double-cut, beveled mahogany SG. Vintage green tuners (Gibson Deluxe). Currently I still have the original passive pickups (490R, 498T) and it has the 4 pots and a selector switch. Basically this part isn't necessary because the tons of other people who reviewed this same guitar will all have more or less the exact same specs/features, but it required me to write 500 characters, sorry.