Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

2003 Faded SG


Recommended Posts

I bought the 2003 cherry Faded SG from Musicians Friend in 2003, simply because it had an ebony fingerboard and the half moon inlays. To my surprise this is absolutely the truest neck/finger board of any guitar I have ever owned of any make. It was cheap too, I think I paid $599 for it with gig bag. To this day it stays in tune from day to day and never loses it's tuning during any playing session, (and I do bend strings) I had an SG Standard back in the late 60's or early to mid 70's, and I could not keep that thing in tune for more than a few minutes.


I do all of my guitar setups from simple adjustments to filing the frets if they are not true, and of course pickup changes, and electronic parts swaps. This SG has never needed any of my attentions in that way. I adjusted the neck when I bought it, set the intonation and string height then, and have been been playing it ever since, with only very slight adjustments over the years.


Lauds to Gibson for building me that guitar....... It ain't pretty but it is one fine instrument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My '79 "The" SG was a cheap guitar, multi / walnut but is very stable, and one of my favorite players. It's an ebony board as well.



Cool amigo, I really can't believe how good that Faded SG turned out to be, Every other guitar I own needed frets filed, my Ibanez RG321 (another cheapie) needed the frets filed 3x (I do that stuff myself) and I needed to solder the capacitor back onto the tone control right out of box. My Agile Strat Clone (another cheapie) needed new pickups (I put in Fender Noiseless) and a slight touch up of the frets right out of box. I have a Philip Petillo Custom made guitar he made for me back in the late '80's, that warped the neck slightly so I had to file the frets on that one too (After I left it in my shed for 6 months in Florida, Probably not Petillo's fault). The Les Paul Custom I just sold needed refret and pup change too when I bought it used back in the 80's. The faded SG however was almost perfect right out of the box. A few minor neck truss rod adjustments, and string length adjustments right away, and I have never done another thing to it except change strings here and there. Amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Purchased new in 2002, I have the same faded SG Special with ebony fretboard, moon inlays, and ABR-1 bridge. It was made in April '02, which makes it one of the earliest examples of this model. The bridge, board, and inlays all disappeared rather quickly in later versions. Only change on mine from stock has been to put chrome covers on the pickups, which dresses it up quite nicely. Overall, a very satisfying guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A fully professional instrument as far as I can tell. It ain't gonna win any pretty fine furniture finish awards. But for a working musician who ain't a super star, It is a very craftsman like tool. I was a masonry craftsman before I retired, and the sayings on the job site when I was learning back in the mid 1960's was; "a man is only as good as his tools" Which is not entirely true but a man who is good at what he does, is better with a craftsman like tool than with something less professional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Ever since Frank Zappa's Roxy & Elsewhere album, I always wanted one and the "faded" price put it within reach.


Yes - Ebony fretboard and limited edition crescent moon inlays.


I got mine for $579 new, but had sent the first two back and kept the third one. (Made in 2002)

There were various flaws and fast production boo-boos like finish, scratches, electrical on the first two, but the third one passed the hurdles for what I deemed an affordable 'beat-em-up' jam night axe.


Same specs as any other SG without the fine finish, appointments, binding or inlays.

It did come with a pickguard as the newer model faded guitars no longer do, but without covers on the pickups.


A very bright and 'ringy' guitar when played without an amp.

Some people say the frets can stick out from the edge of the unbound neck and rub against your hand but I have found no problem with this. If your guitar has dried out in low humidity or desert dry conditions, the fretwires might protrude out from the neck/fretboard any guitar if the wood dries and shrinks.


Really dig the crescent moon inlays...did I mention that? (lol)

It was a nice surprise to find out it was a limited run.


Since then I have acquired a proper Gibson SG case, replaced the tuners with heavy Grovers, added a TP-6 fine tuning tailpiece and most recently swapped the pups out for '57 Classic and a Classic Plus at the bridge.


Before, the sound of the stock 498's were a little hollow and ratty. The only amp I found it to be really compatible with was a Tweed Blues Junior. It really liked that amp, but was seemingly a one-trick pony.

Now, with the 57' Classics in it, I find I can take it onstage and it will do more styles with a fuller, meatier tone especially on that neck pickup. Now, a workhorse of many colors!


Nice & light, and even though it is the same scale length, the guitar seems "neck-heavy" or feels like it is "sticking out" more because of where it joins to the body. One must be mindful not to slide up a couple of frets when getting acclimated to the ergonomics of an SG -lol.


The neck is somewhat wider than most Gibson electric guitars. This is good for some things, and a little more challenging for others. Plenty of room between the strings for clean fingering as well as digging in quite hard while remaining articulate tonally.


I still find the 'jack-on-the-front' design really weird if not awkward & cheap, but using a cable with an angled plug will only rub wear spots, and sometimes wonder what it would be like to have an SG with a carved maple top like a Les Paul. I remember Sigma made an SG copy that seemed to be more molded & thicker, not to give the impression I don't dig the flat-top slab or the reduced weight! Compared to the CS-356 or the Les Paul Custom, it's quite light and fun playing.


These were some of the last series where the faded finish actually looks kind of nice, cheap albeit, but nice.

The newer model faded finishes look as though horrid white-wash or watery-stain was applied by a blind chimpanzee. The new faded finish looks more 'cheap' than 'faded.'


As of January 2014 I have seen "The Crescent Moon SG's" on eBay selling for $550-$585 -some with a hard case.

I expect the price of them to rise significantly in the future adding at least an extra two hundred dollars for the collector's appeal of ebony fretboard and crescent moon inlays limited run...probably ten years down the road.

I just found out the Tim Shaw pickups in my '82 LP are selling for $400 on eBay...yeah, hard to believe it myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...