Gibson SG Special EMG
Gibson SG Special EMG

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

tjon901 08/11/2011

Gibson SG Special EMG : tjon901's user review

« SG loaded with metal pickups »

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This model was discontinued pretty quickly. Big companies like Gibson dont like putting other peoples pickups in their guitar if they dont have to. This guitar is a super guitar if you can find one. They only made a few hundred of these, I dont know why because they would sell forever. This guitar is pretty much an SG standard with a set of EMG in it. You get a mahogany body and a mahogany set neck with a rosewood fretboard. The bridge is a standard tune-o-matic. The pickups are a fully active set of EMG's. You get the standard Zakk Wylde set of EMGs in this guitar. You get an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. The controls are standard as well with a volume and tone for the neck pickup and a volume and tone for the bridge pickup with a 3 way switch.


The playability on this guitar is pretty good. The SG standard is a good workhorse guitar. The fret access is pretty good due to the SG shape. The neck profile is nice like a typical SG it isnt too big like some other Gibsons. 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 body has more contours than that of a Les Paul so your arms rest on it better and it does not have as sharp an edge to it like a Les Paul.


The 81 and 85 pickup set is a very common set of EMG's. It is also known as the Zakk Wylde set because he was probably one of the earliest adopters of the EMG active pickups back in the 80s. The 81 is a good bridge pickup. Just about everyone who uses EMG pickups uses the 81 in the bridge. It has a high top end cut to it which allows it to retain clarity even with a ton of gain in the sound. The 85 in the neck is great for high gain leads. It has more low and and a bit less high end than the 81. It has a smoother sound which allows it to work better in the neck position. You can do high gain leads with the 85 without it becoming harsh and what not. The 85 is also good in the bridge if you want a thicker tone. Since it has more bottom end it provides a thicker tone than the 81 but with slightly less top end clarity. With EMG pickups you can do the 18v mod to give them a better clean tone. Stock most EMG pickups do not have a very good clean tone but with the 18v mod which has you run them on two batteries instead of one, you can get an more organic clean tone and more headroom.


This guitar is great for metal. A lot of Gibsons metal image guitars are not that great for metal. For the longest time their gothic guitars came with standard pickups and things like that. Every once and a while Gibson will get it right and when they do you better be on it because they usually do not last very long. They will make stuff like the Melody Maker or the Zebrawood SG forever but with a good guitar like this they are one and done.