Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

For a guitarist, settling on the right instrument can make a world of difference when it comes to your gear selection. While shopping for the perfect beginner guitar, I knew I wanted the Gibson SG’s coveted tone and eye catching stage appeal, but couldn’t justify taking out a second mortgage on my house to achieve that goal. Luckily, Epiphone offered the perfect solution to my problem with the SG-Special, a recreation of the Gibson classic that delivers outstanding tone quality at a greatly lessened price.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Guitar

Before settling on the SG-Special as your guitar of choice, there are a few things you should take into consideration. The SG-Special was created as a more affordable replacement for the Gibson SG, so this product will appeal more to less experienced guitarists who are still learning the ropes, so to speak. While Epiphone has a reputation for faithfully recreating various offerings from the Gibson line, you should be aware that a guitar that can be found for less than two hundred dollars won’t compare perfectly to the one that costs a thousand.

The Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

Epiphone’s SG-Special electric guitar is a faithful recreation of Gibson’s famed SG model, presented at a fraction of the price. The SG’s distinctive double cutaway design is a rock standard, and Epiphone pairs its eye candy appeal with tone that rivals the original. This guitar is built with a mahogany body and a hard maple neck, and includes Epiphone’s LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and a KillPot switch for tone control. Epiphone is known for delivering on Gibson’s high quality sound and craftsmanship without breaking the bank, and the SG-Special holds true in this regard.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Enviable sound quality

Cons

  • Doesn’t perfectly recreate the Gibson SG sound
  • Made with lower grade materials than Gibson SG
  • Some issues with the fretboard that may impact playability

Features And Benefits

Price

Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar

As mentioned previously, the biggest benefit you get out of the SG-Special is its greatly reduced price tag compared to Gibson’s original offering. Depending on the model, a Gibson SG can easily run over a thousand dollars, so players who can’t justify spending that much on a guitar will be relieved to find an SG in a more attainable price range. At Epiphone’s price point, you would expect the SG-Special to simply be a cheap knock-off, but that just isn’t the case here.

Sound

Epiphone is owned by the same parent company as Gibson, and many of their instruments are patterned after Gibson’s line to offer cheaper versions. But because of this reciprocity between the two companies, you will find that Epiphone manages to deliver a great deal of Gibson’s high quality tone and sound. If you’re a guitarist who’s dreamed of achieving Gibson’s legendary tone but never had the budget to back it up, the SG-Special may be the perfect instrument for you.

Visual Appeal

Aside from tone, another important quality of the SG is its distinctive visual appeal with its double cutaway design. The shape of the SG’s body has gone on to become a classic after it was popularized by guitarists like Frank Zappa and AC/DC’s Angus Young, making it a sought after look for many players. Though the SG-Special differs from the Gibson SG in a number of ways, appearance is not one of them and you will be happy to find that visually it’s an exact replica.

Rating

Design

4

Performance

4

Construction

3

Value for the Money

4

User Satisfaction

4

Alternatives

Gibson SG 

Gibson SG

Seeing as the SG-Special is meant as a substitute for the Gibson SG, you may want to consider the original as you shop for the right guitar. While Gibson’s SG is much more expensive than Epiphone’s offering, any seasoned guitarist will tell you that it is worth every penny if you can spring for it. The Gibson SG has all the same great qualities as the SG-Special, but taken to the next level. Gibson uses higher quality materials in their construction, resulting in the top notch tone the SG is known for.

Compared to SG-Special:

  • More expensive
  • Higher quality materials
  • Better sound

Fender Stratocaster Squier 

Fender Stratocaster Squier

Fender’s Stratocaster is perhaps the best known electric guitar in the world, and many players opt for it as their instrument of choice. In addition to the true Strat, fender also offers the Squier version, which is a cheaper alternative to the original. For newer players or those on a smaller budget, this guitar is a great alternative to the SG-Special that won’t break the bank but still provides excellent sound and playability. It will likely boil down to your own personal tastes, as cost wise they can be found for around the same price.

Compared to SG-Special:

  • Comparable price
  • Not as distinctive looking
  • Comparable sound quality

Epiphone G-400

Epiphone G-400

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to the Gibson SG but don’t mind paying a little extra, you can always spring for the Epiphone G-400. The G-400 is another SG alternative, but costs a bit more than the SG-Special and improves on the quality of the guitar. While the SG-Special would be best for newer guitar players, the G-400 is more suited for more seasoned guitarists who will demand a higher quality from their instrument.

Compared to SG-Special:

  • Same body style
  • Higher quality
  • Slightly higher price

Final Thoughts

For guitarists who want to capture the Gibson SG’s famous tone and stage presence at a fraction of the cost, you won’t do much better than to settle on Epiphone’s SG-Special. Not only is the price tag far lower than on Gibson’s offering, but the SG-Special is a serious contender in terms of design and sound quality. To see a list of criteria we select the guitars, please check out our best beginner guitar guide for more information.

Stephanie Su
 

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