Gibson SG Special Worn Cherry Faded Finish Reviews 5

I saw this guitar advertised brand new for $579.00, and ever since I saw Frank Zappa on the cover of Roxy & Elsewhere album I fell in love with the body style of the Ginson SG. I noticed when researching reviews that there were not too many so I offer this: I ordered the guitar and the first one came with an "intolerance" at the 2nd fret. So I sent it back. I noticed this from setting the intonation and had quite a time playing it at the gig the first night...it just seemed to not want to stay in tune as well as my other guitars, but sounded great nevertheless. Bridge pickup was a little thin but would bite quite well when needed- Neck pickup was thick and rich without sounding muddy - the low end was full and clear and I ended up playing most of the solos with the neck pickup. The 2nd SG arrived factory sealed and upon opening the box and taking it out of the free beato-bag there was a gash-ding in the body with no damage to the shipping carton- so I sent it back. (quality control? - probably did the boo-boo when packing) When the third one arrived I almost sent it back, but at the last minute decided that I needed to adjust my playing style to fit the guitar. I found myself pressing harder unnecessarily for some reason...maybe I was getting used to the wider neck, but I would end up playing a little out of tune, so I got hip to this really quick when I sat down with the guitar for a while, alone. I also noticed that while sitting and playing, the guitar neck positions itself a little outwardly and takes a moment to get adjusted the a slightly different anatomical feel if you will. As well as the guitar hangs "neck-heavy" and will drop downward should you let go of it while picking up, say, a cowbell so the first thing I did was put on Strap-Locks and got myself comfortable playing, holding and strumming/picking in a more "outwardly" fashion. The Neck-Joint is quality and quite solid. I read in another review of someone who was skeptical of the "glued to the body" one-piece neck construction, but I can assure you that it is rock solid, and nothing to fear. Gibson is good stuff and strong... just be careful about the neck slipping downward...any guitar will crack the neck when dropped - I did it to a BC Rich Neck-thru-Body and had it repaired to fine playing again. With all three guitars, I would personally change the strings to my flavor, adjust the action and then set the intonation. I found out immediately that the tuning keys HAD TO GO! I called Gibson tech support a couple times, had a great "guitar discussion" and found them to be fast, friendly and helpful to anybody who would call for any reason. Here's their number: 1-800-444-2766. They stood behind their machine heads (Klausson type traditional) and claimed they were 12:1 ratio, but they were just plain cheap. I bought a set of great quality Grovers which DID NOT fit to the pre-drilled holes as exactly as they should, but I fastened them tightly, but on a slight angle inward and they are just fine. This made a big difference and made tuning much easier and straightforward. To round it out I decided to put on a TP-6 fine tuning tailpiece (stock Gibson) and replace the Stopbar Tailpiece. This might have been unnecessary, but I like the convenience of "right-hand tuning" as well as the ease of micro-adjustments. It also made it look much cooler as well as add a little weight to the very light body and balanced out the appeal factor. heh! Complete with the hard shell Gibson case I ended up investing around $760.00 ($579 + $15 strap locks,$35 for Grovers, $95 for case, $32 for tailpiece) When replacing the tailpiece the body adjustment screws had a VERY HARD TIME tuning, and Gibson tech was purplexed about this... also the tailpiece had to be knocked off with the butt-end of a screwdriver (Gibson's recommendation) and in doing this I put a slight ding in the body (My fault.)But all ended well with a tight fit and a strong turn...though I did make the set screws a little damaged due to the hard turning required and I used a smaller than I should have screwdriver, but they should not have been so hard to turn. Possibly the lacquer finishing process got into the threads? I am not too concerned because I wanted a guitar to play, and I got another pair of set screws with the TP-6. The mohogany wood is good quality, not the best, and the grain does have a slight flaw with what looks like a knot but it more of a grain thing, I dunno, I concluded that it rang out well while played unplugged and it probably wouldn't affect the tone or sustain. As with everybody else, I feel the pickguard is a little large, looks nice and balanced, but hides a nice finish if you are the type that appreciates this cheap finish. It also feels a little oily on the body and neck, but I am sure this will rub off soon! (eh, whaddaya want, perfection for $500 bucks?) I also wish Gibson would have placed the input jack on the side as opposed to the front of the body. But it does make a nice CLUNK sound through your amp when inserted or removed! lol! I found out that if I raised or lowered the action a little bit, the bottom end would sound more "in tune" - in that there seemed to be a point that everything was in tune but still sounded "funny" at the second fret, but I fixed this by "fiddling" with the combination of string height, tailpiece height, but I also have to note that our lead singer has a deep low voice and we have succombed to tuning down 1/2 step. ???? I got it right now and I had a hard time putting it down to write this review. The half-moon fret markers are unique and quite lovely. Nice inlay. Though, the Gibson logo is a cheap decal, but again, for the money it's nothing to cry over. BE GLAD you are saving money on a quality axe. I think this was Gibson's whole intent with this model. ONE THING I DID NOT LIKE- When I pulled the G string downward it came right out of the nut! It also pulled the B and high E out with it! Again, upon consulting Gibson, they suggested taking it to a local rep and paying for it, for it would be cheaper than the shipping it to Gibson for the free service! After hanging up, I took a pair of manicuring scissors and dug out the grooves in the nut a little bit, being careful and it works great. (Don't tell Gibson!) It seemed that the grooves on all 3 guitars were hastily cut and not quite deep enough. Nothing to freak out about! If you like Gibsons, this is probably the sexiest body style, a solid rocker and good for ballads too. Takes a little getting used to, but worth ever effort. A wonderful rhythm guitar, full on strumming and I wonder how it will work in a slide situation...Hmmm?? Might as well buy it, it's a great deal, but it's not a Fender type guitar...it's all Gibson and well worth it!

Greg Lawrence rated this unit 5 on 2003-02-16.

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