Gibson now has a seemingly standard series called the Raw Power series now. These guitars are made from all maple to give a unique and bright tone. This is the the Raw Power SG guitar. The one I tested had the natural Satin finish and it is super mapley. The natural version has a strange clear pickguard. You can see the routing on the SG through it. I guess this is Gibson showing off the cheap route they developed in the mid 60s that caused them to switch to the large pickguard SG guitars over the original small pickguard design. You get the standard SG shape with a maple body and a maple neck with a maple fretboard. Maple everywhere. The fretboard has 22 frets and white inlays that easily get lost in the maple fretboard. To keep up with the cost cutting it has a standard black headstock that matches nothing on the guitar. You get a set of Classic 57 humbuckers thankfully with the standard Gibson control layout.
This guitar plays a little better than your typical boat neck SG which isnt saying much. This is mostly due to the lack of excessive finish on the guitar. With the baseball bat neck it really fills your hand and then some. If you have small hands you may have trouble playing this guitar. As I said the dot lightly colored dot inlays get lost in the maple fretboard. After 5 minutes you are glad you can barely see the inlays because thats when you notice the inlay on the 12th fret is completely different than the rest. They threw in a trapezoid inlay in the middle of all the dots to change it up I guess.
This is the Gibson for people who hate the tone of a Gibson. With the maple body maple neck and maple fretboard this guitar does not sound anything like any other Gibson you have played. Even the great 57 Classic pickups cant make this guitar sound like a Gibson. It not sounding like a Gibson doesnt mean it sounds bad. It is pretty bright and this gives the tone great clarity. I just dont know what Gibson player was wanting this guitar. If they wanted a guitar that sounded like this they wouldnt have been playing Gibsons to begin with. If you are playing it low tunings this could be a great guitar to retain clairty. A set of Seymour Duncan Blackouts would really even out the tone. A set of EMG's might be too bright for this guitar.
Im surprised Gibson is still making these. They have made so much good stuff in limited runs and you get stuff like this and the Zoot Suit SG that really have no place in Gibsons lineup for any lenght of time. If you are downtuning or dont like the typical Gibson dont but still want a Gibson I guess this is the guitar they are making for you.
The Raw Power series is another limited run of guitars they put out a few years ago. Gibson goes crazy with their limited run ideas. The Raw Power series of guitars are all maple guitars. The neck fretboard and body are made of maple. With the maple bodies you get totally different tones than you would get on a normal Gibson. What we know now as the SG was introduced as the new Les Paul in 1961. Later on the real Les Paul was re-introduced and the new guitar was renamed the SG. The standard SG of today is exactly that, the standard SG. 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. But unlike most SG's this guitar is made from all maple.
This guitar plays like any other SG. The wood choice does not effect the playability. One difference it does have to most SG's is that it has the large 50s profile Gibson neck. This may be a problem for some people who are use to playing SG's with the thinner 60s profile neck. 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.
With the maple body and neck and fretboard this guitar does not sound like many other Gibsons. SG's due to their thinner body naturally sound brighter than Les Pauls. This guitar has over the top brightness. It sounds like an all maple shredder guitar from the 80s almost. This much brightness can be good in many situations. If you are playing with low tunings or super high gain a bright guitar can help you cut through. This guitar does not give you the classic Gibson sound at all.
Gibson has made all sorts of crazy stuff in their limited runs. Some of it was been good and some has faded away unnoticed. I dont think many people noticed this guitar. For SG purists this guitar is a black sheep. People who buy Gibsons want them to sound and look like Gibsons. This guitar sounds like a superstrat and looks like a maple fretboard strat. This guitar still has its place though. If you are looking for a Gibson that can cut through any mix with ultimate clarity this guitar is a good option.