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Gibson SG Custom 2017 - review.

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Set up specs:


Neck relief: .004

Action at 12th: Around 5/64 L - 3½/64 H (reads roughly around .70 L .40 H or 1.50mm L .75 H on my metric ruler)


Hardware faults: none


Cosmetic faults: a kind of red dye had bled onto the white binding and discoloured it in some areas but apparently this is a normal and common issue with Gibson finishes. The richlite fingerboard resembled a chalked up blackboard which detracted from the instrument's beauty.


Upon opening the case for the first time I was initially disappointed with the guitars appearance on account of the cosmetic faults I've mentioned above. I wasn't expecting a brand new guitar to look this way. Fortunately, the red stains wiped away with the right product and the binding returned to normal again. It's now perfect. As for the aforementioned chalkiness, it vanished with a small application of lemon oil and it never returned again. The fingerboard now looks wonderful and the beautiful mother of pearl inlays glimmer like stars.


In short, it didn't take long for me to make the guitar look as good as it does in the product pictures.


However, ultimately I was more concerned about how it would play and feel and sound. After a quick cleaning I changed the strings to a brand I prefer and then I set it up to the way I like a SG to feel in my hands.


The original neck relief was around .002 with absolutely no buzzing anywhere. Even when I thrashed the strings really hard it still didn't buzz. However it felt a little too tight for me so I adjusted the truss rod just a little to suit my tastes. .004 is just about right for me and then it felt perfect. The strings feel nice and slinky. Bends don't choke out and its playability is truly astonishing. I can't even begin to describe how playable this guitar is. It's like nothing I've ever experienced before. It's comfortable, it's slick, it's ridiculously fast and it's incredibly responsive. Unlike my other Gibson SG Custom (a vintage) this one remains perfectly in tune no matter what I do and it has no intonation issues anywhere.


So they've done an excellent job in terms of this instrument's construction. It's just rock solid. Chords ring out and resound wonderfully with excellent sustain.


All of my guitars have ebony fingerboards so I wasn't expecting much from richlite. I wouldn't say it's an adequate successor to ebony, even if it's a good emulation of it. But it isn't as bad as people are saying. Not in my opinion anyway. I read some terrible things about richlite before trying it for myself and I hated the sight of it at first... but clean away that chalkiness with some oil and it looks no different really. Tonally it's a tad bit brighter than ebony but I think that's nothing a bit of EQ can't sort out. I wouldn't say I'm a richlite convert or anything, I still prefer ebony. The only issue I had with it was the chalky appearance and that can be fixed in 5 seconds.


The 498T bridge pickup is fantastic. I love it!!! I read horrible things about this too so I was expecting it to suck but I love it. It sounds amazing. It's so crunchy. It's perfect for what I do, hard rock and metal so I'm gonna keep it. It pushes the tubes in my amp so well. I'm so happy with it.


The neck pickup isn't my cup of tea though. It has a flabby, kind of dead sound I strongly dislike and it doesn't work well with the bridge pick up at all in my opinion. But to each their own.


This was definitely a good investment. I've owned this guitar for several days now and I can't put it down.


Some people are claiming that it's a glorified SG Standard. It isn't. Unlike the SG Standard this one has a long neck tenon and several other constructional differences which set it apart from that model. It also has higher quality materials in it and it was manufactured in a completely different way. It doesn't feel or play or sound anything like the SG Standard I own, the only thing it has in common with that model is similarity in body shape. Outside of that, it's 100% a Gibson Custom guitar all the way.


I give it 5/5

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