This is what compelled me to write. First off, I have a Gibson SG deluxe built in 1979, a great guitar to compare this with.I've been playing for 20 plus years and I've played and tried many different guitars and amps.The first thing I do when trying a new electric is to strum some chords and listen the unplugged sound.If there's no tone there, don't expect much when you do plug it in. Yes, the amp and pickups can make up for it, but when you start with good tone going in, you don't need to mask it with tons of gain and effects. The first thing I noticed is a ringing resonance, chords sustained nicely and single notes had good clarity.It has this "GROWL" that gives it a character of its own. The 60's style neck delivers a "percussive" feel to picking and hard strumming/double stops. Most music store guitars have crappy strings and are strung with light gauges to make them easy to play. This came with '10's so that may have helped. I play mostly classic rock with a cover band, but I play all styles and the SG sounds great for 80's Metal, Hard Rock, Blues, Fusion, Pop, etc. For jazz, you would really want an archtop. Some reviewers complain about the pickups but I love them. I suspect these are mostly th "Line 6" generation people. What I want from a p'up is pureness of tone, a good reproduction of the tone coming from your strings and guitar body and not so much a coloring or overdrive built in. Some love the EMG's, DiMarzio's, Duncan, etc, but I like to start with a clean sound and let the amp do the work. Once you add gobs of processing and amp modeling, it's not going to make a big difference which pickups you use. This is why so many guitarists today sound like clones. The best players always have a sound that comes from their guitar, amp and fingers combo. See Carlos Santana, Angus Young, Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Beck, etc.. Also, some have mentioned the rhythm pickup is louder. Ummmmm.... adjust your volume controls, adjust the pickup height- can you say "Philips Screwdriver?" You'll get a beautiful blend of the two in the middle position. The tone controls actually work! A variety of tones are available, experiment! I guess I'm old school (or maybe just old!)but my favorite players never used too much between guitar and amp. If you want to shred with hot, overdriven pickkups, you might want to look elsewhere.If you want raw, biting blues, rock, punk, etc, The SG delivers in spades! By the way, my 10 rating is not "based on it's low price". The SG can hang with the big boys- my Gibson included! The salesman at GC tried to steer me towards a more costly Gibson SG, claiming "You won't get as good a sound as the Gibson"... Bulls@#$t!!! Don't listen to these goons, tell them you need some space when trying out anything and listen with your eyes closed. Save your money and laugh all the way home!
Live playing is what the SG was made for, the finish is beautiful and will probably last for many years with moderate care/polishing.The original SG neck/body joint was a problem. This is a faithful recreation of the 60's Gibson SG which is what makes it a great playing neck and gives the guitar its signature sound. At the same time, it worries me because I've heard that the old necks would sometimes snap off! My 79 Gibson SG Deluxe solved that problem by setting the neck deeper into the body but I feel that this sacrificed the feel and attack of the original model.Only time will tell how it holds up.I've had it a month, no signs of problems. Needless to say, I will be extra careful with it and will NOT be doing my signature back of the headstock push to simulate a whammy bar!! Not sure how the toggle switch will hold up have not tried any Tom Morello killswitch stuff yet. All hardware seems well made and installed, no other issues apparent.Removed the electronics cover plate on the back, wiring looks neat, even has foil shielding on cover plate, my Gibson has none. I would not gig with any one guitar without a backup,I'm confident that it can stand up to normal playing situations unless you're the "throw your guitar, abuse your equipment" kind of dude...I enjoy taking good care of my equipment. This guitar is a work of art and I plan on keeping it looking good.It seems like a handle with care kind of guitar but lets remember, this is a musical instrument, not a toy to lend to your little cousin Chucky or maybe your friend Helmut or Deiter or..you get the idea.
Overall, very impressed with what Gibson/Epiphone has done here. For a fraction of the cost of aGibson, you get a pure, fire breathing, rock and roll machine. If you are a beginner, or a metal shredder or a death metal or grindcore or numetal head or whatever , it will be harder for you to appreciate what this guitar can do, but someone who has been playing for some years will be pleased with the earthy, down home, grinding rock vibe this baby puts out! As for looks, for me, this design, the horns and the neck joint just kicks ass! All things considered, I shop around a lot and I have not seen anything this cool or that sounded this good for the money. I love it!!