If it is true, as many critics have claimed, that Gibson’s Norlin-era decline began almost as soon as the new ownership, known better for running South American breweries than for manufacturing quality musical instruments, were handed the keys to the factory, how do we explain this truly fine-sounding SG Special?
Although we concede that some of the aesthetic details from Gibsons in that era were questionable, including the flared headstocks, the company also managed to produce at least a few excellent guitars that reflected the quality and innovation of the earlier Ted McCarty era. This is truly one of the best SGs from that era we have played—perhaps the best, with a great round neck profile and tonal character to spare.
This guitar is loaded with a pair of robust mini-humbuckers that toe the line between “robust” and “chimey” in a way that recalls Pete Townshend’s live work in the ‘70s (not coincidentally, Pete’s guitar of choice during that time was a Les Paul Deluxe loaded with the same mini-buckers found in this instrument). The lightweight mahogany body thrums and resonates gorgeously, reminding us a bit of our favorite late ‘50s Les Paul Jr.; in fact, if you roll the tone back and play through, say, a blackface Fender amp, the guitar is a bit of a sonic chameleon, covering everything from Leslie Wes’s heavy blues-rock t to Frank Recard’s crisp, well-defined country.
The guitar has clearly been played (always a good sign of a superior instrument, in our book). The body has been over-sprayed with clear lacquer, and is now equipped with a set of replacement Schaller tuners. In addition, the chrome plating on the stop bar exhibits significant wear, but all parts function perfectly.
A few dings, and some wear to the top, but no breaks, cracks, or other issues. Ships in original Gibson logo hardshell case with cool, ‘70s-approved red interior. SOLD!