2016 Gibson SG Faded T

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andypandyp Frets: 176
edited March 2016 in Guitar Reviews

Hi folks. Here’s my attempt at a review of my Gibson SG.

I bought the SG new in November 2015 for £599 from Guitar Guitar in Glasgow. I tried out a fair few guitars between £300 and £1000 including a few PRS SE models - the 2016 Les Paul Faded (which I very nearly bought) and a full fat 2016 SG Standard were some of the guitars I tried but the SG Faded was the one I settled on as it instantly felt comfortable and just what I was after.

I much preferred the satin finish on the Faded model compared to the gloss on the Standard that I had played a couple of weeks prior and although I was prepared to spend the extra and get the Standard, I clearly preferred the feel of the Faded model and it was £400 less, so it was entering no-brainer territory. The SG  feels light and comfortable and when I was playing the PRS SE 245 back to back with the SG, the PRS felt more solid and beefy and the tone was likewise, but I still preferred the feel and tone from the SG. The sales guy described the SG as having more “bite” and he was spot on. It just sounded cooler to me. I knew it was the right guitar and now after 4 months of owning it and playing it most days, I still love it. My Epiphone feels noticeably cheaper by comparison.

I’ve only been playing since January 2015 and play at home, generally on my own and am now taking weekly lessons. At this point, I can only see my playing time increasing as I just keep wanting to play it more and more.

It’s a much simpler looking finish than the SG Standard with the satin finish, dot fret markers and the uncovered pickups, but I really like it. I read lots about SGs having issues with balance / weight distribution but mine is spot on, there’s no neck dive or feeling that the neck is really long, it just feels very comfortable and balanced. The controls are the usual Gibson / Epiphone layout that I’ve got used to but on the SG they make a much more noticeable difference, even a small movement makes a difference to the tone and I find the neck pickup much more useful than on the Epiphone. There’s a nice variety of tones available from the two humbuckers and where I play the bridge pickup almost exclusively on the Les Paul, I find I can make use of both pickups equally on the SG and also the middle setting, which I never really do on the Les Paul.

Overall I find the SG much more easy to play than any other guitar I’ve tried so far, which for a beginner / intermediate (at best!) is really confidence-inspiring. Things like string bends seem much easier on the SG, even after I re-strung it with 10-46 strings in place of the hybrid 9-46 standard strings. I opted for D’Addario NYXL and love them, they seem to work very well with the SG. The only other thing I’ve changed on the guitar from it being bog standard off the shelf was to add some Schaller strap locks that I asked to have thrown in with it.

Neck-wise, the Gibson website describes the neck profile as “historic original” and I genuinely don’t know if the neck is skinny or fat, but I think someone commented that it’s pretty chunky – whatever it is on paper it feels perfect for me. I don’t like the skinny Ibanez type necks and the Les Paul Faded felt really large, which I did like too. The PRS models I tried just didn’t feel quite right. To me, the SG seems to be somewhere in the middle of the Gibson neck shapes I’ve tried but I think it is rounder / chunkier than my Epiphone Les Paul.

In terms of flaws / bad points, there are a couple - but nothing major so far. It seems to have a buzz sometimes which I will need to get looked at, but it’s only noticeable on my Dad’s big valve amp. On the small valve amp that I normally use it’s not there so I’ll need to investigate that. The G string tuning stability seems odd and the tuners seem to do nothing then too much but I think this is down to the nut needing lubricated after asking on here what might be causing this. The Fret edges are a little bit sharp but only if you go out of your way to notice it. The pickups look a little rough around the edges too but I prefer the uncovered look to the chrome covers on the Standard and my LP. The finish of the body and neck is spot on, no issues there at all. The standard gig bag that came with the SG is crap though, it barely fits the guitar and I couldn’t fit anything other than a sheet of paper in the outer pocket – even my strap was a real squeeze to get in. It’s near useless as a carrying bag so I opted to replace it with a Mono gig bag for taking it to my lessons, which was very expensive in comparison to the standard one, but it was a good move. Thanks to the advice on here for aiming at the Mono bags! To be honest, I’d rather save the money on the purchase price and then do what I’ve done and get the bag / case that suits my needs best.

Overall, after 4 months I still love the SG and want to pick it up all the time and play it at every opportunity. I’m still learning lots about playing on a day-to-day basis but the SG is proving very versatile and the more I play it the more I bond with it. In terms of modifications I think I’d like to try and sort the tuning issue, but that could be a very simple maintenance type item. I would imagine I’ll want to do one or two other things, but nothing springs to mind right now – which is a good sign!

It really feels like a keeper, I’m delighted with it and on reflection I think it offers superb value at this price point, it certainly doesn’t feel overpriced.

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll62/andypople/8C954E56-79F5-411F-88DF-69EEB2DA3454_zps4sa2d4qo.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll62/andypople/IMG_5542_zpsexsjr3ny.jpg

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Comments

  • jonnyburgojonnyburgo Frets: 5365
    I like em, Ive had 5 of them, They've all been of a consistently good quality, really light too. Stock pickups aren't bad but sound much better with some vintage voiced PAFs IMO
    Thanks for the review!
    "OUR TOSSPOT"
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    No problem. :) The more I play my SG the more I'm loving it.
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1149
    I have always loved SG's.

    I don't like them over fussy, I like them simple and straight forward. Yours is a beauty.

    M :)
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    Thanks :)

    I always liked them "from afar" kinda thing but never really considered buying one when I was starting out... until I played an Epiphone one. I went back a year later to look at the Gibson models and the one I bought felt so good from the off and we are definitely bonding more and more. I agree 100%, I love it being simple and the satin finish suits it well.

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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1149
    I have never liked the glossy paint versions, there was a white one for sale recently, and as nice as it was, it just looked wrong to me.

    I have the 50's tribute SG with a lovely fat neck & P90's, and one like yours from 2008.

    Both cracking guitars!!

    I find the pickups on both are a touch hot for my tastes though, but I can live with it.

    I can see me making investments at Oil City Pickups again soon

    M :)
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  • ForgeForge Frets: 430
    Nice review! For your tuning issues it is most likely to be the nut needing a minor adjustment.
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    Thanks. It's definitely improved with the application of some pencil lead, I'm going to do a setup with my Dad soon and see how it goes. It's going into Guitar Guitar on Monday for a look at the humming issue, will come back here to update once I find out more. :)
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    Took the SG into Guitar Guitar on Monday to have the humming issue looked at. They were great and agreed instantly that there was an issue with it - just took a few tests to find out what it could be. Turns out the pickups are amplifying everything so it's making some horrible noises now. Buzzing, humming, if you touch the backplate it comes out as sound in the amp, knock on the body and it echoes etc.

    It's in sick bay until the get some replacements in, plus getting Gibson to approve the warranty repair... Hoping to have it back this weekend, but it might be a week or two yet.

    Andy
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    Sorry - wee bit more of an update. New pickups on the way over the pond from Gibson, GG should have them midweek and I'm hoping to have the guitar back next weekend. Fingers crossed.

    Andy
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  • maw4neumaw4neu Frets: 165
    I have an SG Special Faded, it has the Pickups from my old SG Standard installed rather than stock pickups and its simply the best playing guitar I've ever owned . . . It also one of the least expensive . . . Congratulations Gibson . . Result
    Id just like to point out that, despite all the video and DNA evidence, it genuinely wasnt me, your Honour  ! 
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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    edited May 2016
    So... an update.

    I've still to go back and speak to the dealer on what I found, but although they replaced the pickups, it didn't solve the issue I had with the humming / buzzing and they couldn't figure out what it was. They did say that if I wasn't happy they'd replace it, but I opted to play it for a couple of weeks before I made my mind up about how much of a problem this was.

    The buzzing was as bad as ever, but the new pickups were definitely better. I had the guitar home for an hour or so and decided to take a look at it myself. I took the cover plate off the back and immediately noticed that there isn't a lot of room for the circuit board setup that this model of SG uses. The wires and the very tip of the jack plug socket / connector were touching the inside of the cover plate and causing a buzz. I tried touching them with my hand and there was a really loud buzz from the jack, really loud. Simply there just isn't enough clearance in the cavity or the rout for the cover plate is too deep so when it is fitted and screwed down the electronics occasionally touch it and buzz. I stuck some rubber strip around the edges of the cover plate to raise it a little and rearranged / tidied the wiring, screwed it back on and now it works perfectly.

    Kind of disappointing that they didn't know about or identify this, as it seems to be an issue on many recent SGs (as I believe the PCB design is really intended for Les Pauls?) and I know almost nothing about guitars. Anyway, what I've done for the moment has sorted my issue, the guitar sounds superb and I just can't stop playing it. It really is awesome. I (well, my Old Man) will remove the PCB and re-wire it eventually, but for the moment all I want to do is keep playing it and playing it. After nearly 6 months now, I just love this guitar more and more.

    As an "improver / intermediate" player it's really got under my skin and is so easy and fun to play.

    Andy
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  • andyozandyoz Frets: 654
    Yep, SG are the cheap rockers that alot of people dismiss way too early (I did for a few years myself)
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  • EdB999EdB999 Frets: 7

    I also have one of these, bought it used from a guy who gave up learning to play after a couple months for around half the price of a new one :)

    Really light weight, with no neck dive on mine either. Fret work is OK, ends a little sharp but nothing that would cause a loss of a finger in normal playing. Would of preferred the brown over the cherry but for the price I can’t argue. Love the faded finish and stripped down vibe of it :)

    Not completely sold on the pickups, not that the 490’s are bad just not really to my taste. I’ve spent a while messing with pickup heights, which has had more of an impact than with other guitars. Its a lot better now they are set lower, but the bridge is still very bright. May well swap them out for something a little less aggressive at some stage.

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  • andypandyp Frets: 176
    Thanks for posting in the thread. :)

    I have to say, I still absolutely love this SG. I only have one niggle, which is/are the tuners. They're just not accurate enough as I find they move too far or not at all, so I still fancy upgrading them to some "better" ones but then I start wondering about putting more modern ones on and it starts to snowball...

    I also really fancy swapping the pickups, but it's almost a "just to see what happens" job as I quite like the stock ones. SD Pearly Gates or maybe some Bare Knuckles... then I wonder about putting some HB sized P90s in. I really like it as it is though, it plays brilliantly and just feels like it's my ideal guitar. I would like to upgrade it tastefully at some stage though as I'm never selling it.


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