SGJ review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (20 votes)
Gibson: SGJ

Sound — 9
The SGJ is extremely versatile, so it suits many music styles. I play mostly progressive metal and thrash metal, and the pickups are perfect for those styles of music. But it can also crank out some killer blues and funk riffs. The pickups have punch, clarity, and growl when the volume and tone knobs are both turned all the way up, but turn the volume knob down, and you can get beautiful clean tones from them too. I play through both big tube amps and small practice amps, and the SGJ sounds great despite whatever amp I use. There is some minor buzzing here and there, but it's excusable.

Overall Impression — 10
Ever since I started playing guitar 4 years ago, I have always adored the SG, but didn't have enough money to afford one. So the unreal deal for this guitar - I got it for 600 dollars - was a dream come true. It feels great to finally own a genuine Gibson guitar. As I already mentioned, I play mostly progressive metal and thrash metal. The SGJ is a perfect match for metal and heavy rock. It's definitely a shredder's guitar as well. String bending on this guitar works just as well as some whammy bar theatrics work on other guitars. If it ever disappeared or got stolen, I would do everything in my power to find it again. As I already said, I'm a shredder, so maybe a Kahler on this axe would have been cool. Just a personal matter of opinion though. I love pretty much everything about this guitar. It looks stunning, it plays like a dream, and it's one of the - if not the single - greatest guitars of all time: the genuine, USA-made Gibson SG. Video from YouTube:

YouTube preview picture

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is a great guitar for playing live. The finish is certainly eye-catching and sounds great through a tube amp so you can melt faces onstage. The hardware is built to last; the guitar has never been screwy at any gig. The strap pins are extremely solid and will hold the guitar in place. Usually I use a few different guitars over the course of a gig to get different sounds for different songs, but when I use the SGJ it is versatile to the point where I can rely on it for an entire show.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The cherry finish is beautiful. I've had it for a good 3 months now and the finish doesn't wear at all. I do a lot of shredding, so I like super-low action on my guitars and the SGJ has the strings literally a fraction of an inch off the fingerboard. The guitar is almost absolutely flawless; it was obviously made with a lot of care. Even the smallest little details - such as the pickup height - had a lot of thought put into them. My only quip with the worksmanship is that the neck pickup is completely flat - it's leveled exactly the same as the pickup binding. I tend to pick in that area where the neck pickup is usually located, so it might seem good for me, but it just doesn't feel right when I don't feel my pick chug on the pickup cover.

Features — 8
The Gibson SGJ was made in 2012 as part of the "The Year of Les Paul" celebration. It was built in the USA (as are all Gibsons). The color options are cherry, rubbed vintage burst, chocolate, and white trans; my SGJ is cherry in color. Gibson's driving concept with the SGJ was to make a completely stripped-down rock machine. It has 24 medium-jumbo frets, a rosewood fretboard, a Traditional Gibson tune-o-matic bridge, vintage-style Kluson Deluxe tuners. Has a 490R pickup in the neck position and a 490T pickup in the bridge. Although they have black pickup covers that give them something of an EMG look, the pickups are, in fact, passive. The SGJ has no pickguard, providing for a very unique look. It has a 3-way pickup selector, and Tone and Volume controls for each pickup, making for a wide range of sounds and tones.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not a big fan on the design but guitar greatness isn't based on looks, sounds like it might be worth a test run
    don't knock it till you've tried it
    Well, i know, in the guitar world price doesn't ALWAYS dictate quality but it does pretty often, and to think that gibson would make this cheap guitar better than their most expensive ones simply doesn't make sense...
    Oh come on? I haven't played one, but the one of the greatest guitars of all time? really? Exaggerate a little maybe?
    also let it be noted that i got the chocolate finish and it honest to god smells like chocolate
    I love my SGJ - the J part of the name is unkind tho, its not a junior because it has two pickups and four knobs, lcassic full-on Gibson layout. Also, the 24-fret feature is a killer bonus - you use to have get a $2500 Iommi if you wanted a 24-fret SG. This is one fifth the price! I bought a pickguard for it w/o measuring and it doesn't fit. So I'm looking for a half-guard off an SG three-pickup Custom, they will fit because they are straight along the string side. The only other mod i did was swap out the ugly SGJ truss rod cover for a basic Gibson blank one...and voila! a beautiful Gibson for the price of an Epi.
    Every time I go into Sam Ash or Guitar Center and they have one of these I always play it. These things rock especially the white one. 24 fret SGs are the best. The rubbed on finish is awesome as well. And you can't beat that price when it comes to a Gibson. I do agree that a kahler could make this thing especially awesome. I will always like SGs more than Les Pauls.
    ravelle X
    I absolutely love my SGJ! I mainly bought it as a project guitar but have used it to play live. Here is a photo of the paint job I gave it
    SGJ 2014 has a few small (well basically) changes. The pickups go from 490s to 61 Zebras, you can listen to samples to see if you prefer one. The '14 also has special anniversary inlay on the 12th fret. They also changed the knobs and added a graphic to the headstock. There maybe a few other small things as well, but those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head. I personally love the SGJ, it is just such a fun guitar. I got a White '13 model for ~$400 which I think was phenomenal for a USA made guitar. There is nothing really cut rate about the guitar either, if you want to pay more you are basically just getting a finer finish. The 2014s look quite nice, and if some of you are considering them you should be aware that Gibson has discontinued the line along with the LPJ. For shame.
    Just picked one up - I've owned a few SGs and this one is definitely blowaway for the price. Sounds very good too, not muddy like some of the other ones.
    Just bought a 2013 SGJ for $400 new online! They were originally $600 but they only had 7 left and only in white. Would have picked white anyway as I think it looks great with the black pickup covers. This is awesome as my local music store is selling Epi G-400 pros for the same price. I'm super stocked and can't wait to get it!
    Just tried one today, for its price it´s an excellent guitar! Great sound and the neck is very comfortable.
    I have one on the way; I'm thinking about taking to a guitar tech for a setup; there's a local shop that will do it for $45.00.