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:
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.