Gibson SG Special EMG
Gibson SG Special EMG

SG Special EMG, SG-Shaped Guitar from Gibson in the SG series.

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tjon901 06/29/2011

Gibson SG Special EMG : tjon901's user review

« Another Good Gibson that was discontinued »

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If I had a book with every Gibson model ever made im sure 90 percent of the guitars would be models that they only made for a year or two. This would be one of those guitars. This is a great model that only lasted for a short time, probably because it was too awesome. It is a pretty simple model too. It is a SG Standard with EMG pickups. The standard Standard is pretty standard in its equipment. The guitar features the classic dual cutaway SG body with a 22 fret neck. It features dual humbucking pickups selected with a 3 way toggle switch and two tone and two volume knobs. This guitar has some upgrades. All the hardware mentioned is black and so is the finish. It has EMG pickups instead of the passive Gibson pickups and an ebony fretboard which matches well with the black finish. The EMG pickups are active so they run on a 9v battery to produce more output and clarity. The pickup models are an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck.


Playability wise this is pretty much a standard SG. The SG was designed in such a way to give better fret access than the earlier Les Paul. The neck is not mounted as deep into the body as is with the Les Paul. This design gives it a few problems. The neck joint on SG models is very weak compared to Les Pauls or even bolt on guitars. This weak neck joint makes some SG's prone to going out of tune. With the neck mounted so far out on the body and the body being so thin and light, SG's are prone to neck dive. When playing an SG standing up you may find yourself holding up the neck due to this awkward balance between the neck and the body. The neck on this SG is ebony compared to rosewood on most SG guitars. This provides a smoother feel under your fingers.


The EMG pickups make this guitar a real beast when it comes to heavy music. The 81 in the bridge has been an iconic metal pickup for decades. It has a high end crunch and distortion that gives it clarity no matter how much gain you are using or how low you tune. The 85 in the neck is a great pickup too. It has a more fuller sound than the 81 so in the neck position you can get fat lead tones. The 85 is also good too in the bridge. With EMG's quick connect system you can easily swap these pickups position without soldering anything. The 85 in the bridge produces a super thick tone and cleans up better than the 81. Speaking of cleans if you do the 18v mod on the EMG's. With the 18v mod you run the pickups on two batteries instead of one. This provides a more organic tone with more headroom. This tone produces better cleans than stock EMG's and clean tones are usually the weakest part of the EMG sound. Gibson now has their own brand of active pickups so I will not be surprised if they put out this guitar again except with the Gibson brand pickups.


The horn cutaways on an SG give it a real metal look so with the metal electronics it fits perfectly with heavy music. Gibson should make models like this standard. They have put out 67 reissue V's and Explorers for like 25 years, why not make one of these models for a few years and get some out on the market. If you are looking for a really metal SG without having do get one of the silly Gothic models this guitar is what you want.