2008 Blue Mist SG Special – Blue Steal

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jeffwith1f, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    OK, let’s recap
    Last year I purchased the Reverse V for "spite" (those that remember the review, will recall that my Bass Player had declared it "Gay", so I bought it, in part, to annoy him).

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    Earlier this year I bought a Robot Les Paul Studio for reasons that could probably be best summed up as "utility". I need those tunings.

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    Now, on a whim, I have my latest conquest, an SG Special done up in "limited edition" Blue Mist finish based on motives that can be best described as "vanity".

    Why an SG?

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    I have a ‘61 Reissue SG from the mid 90’s that is one of my most used guitars. It lives in DADGAD tuning, which I use frequently. It was my second proper Gibson, and is probably the guitar that cemented my love affair with the brand as both it and my trusty Ebony 67 Reissue V made every other guitar I owned feel like a struggle to play, or at best, bland.

    Did you say Vanity?

    Yes. I’ve wanted a Blue SG for quite some time. I see SG’s come up for sale around me all the time, but they are always earthy tones: Cherry stained wood, like my 61 R.I., or Brown (or Walnut), occasionally creamy White, Ebony, or even periodically TV Yellow (which in some ways is a yellowish shade of brown) but hardly ever do I see any variance in these colours. Periodically I would see images of people playing SG’s in more esoteric finishes, but I never saw availability of anything like that around me.

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    I remember reading about the Elliot Easton model from Custom Shop earlier this year, and that stirred me, but as with many custom shop offerings, the street price of approximately $4000 ensured that this was out of my range pending some sort of windfall. I’m sure I could have found one online, if I were feeling flush, but 4K is a lot to drop on something sight unseen because you like that it’s blue. When I found this SG Special in my local shop for such a low price, it was a serious temptation.

    I realize that picking a guitar because you like its colour is about as ostentatious as it can get. If it were more expensive, even by a couple hundred dollars, I would have passed. If I couldn’t have played it first to establish that it plays well, I surely would have walked away, however, as all was good. I was left with this dilemma: I want the guitar because it’s blue. I don’t NEED a blue SG, I simply want it. Dare I?

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    My mental hand-wringing lasted about a week. I bought the damn thing, mentally citing the old "I work hard for my money, I should enjoy it while I can!" gambit.

    Finish and Hardware

    The Blue Mist finish is "limited edition" not in that there are a set number of instruments being made in this colour, however, it is intended to be a limited run of instruments available only to a handful of dealers for a short period of time. In this case, it looks like it was made available to Guitar Center dealers in the US, and now is making its way to select Canadian stores through Yorkville. I am unaware of any distribution of this colour outside North America. Blue Mist is a metallic finish, and has been applied here in what can best be described as satin finish. It is not a high gloss finish, which, in part explains the price point, however, it is also not like other faded finishes I have experienced. I would say that it almost falls in between a typical faded finish, and the more posh high-gloss finishes.
    It is nearly perfect. After much inspection, I found, on the back what appears to be 2 tiny specs of dust that did not get sanded off in the finishing process, and seem to be under the blue. Not so much as a blemish anywhere else on the finish.

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    Interestingly, on the Robot Les Paul, which has a Metallic Green finish, I am able to see the grain of the wood through the finish, however, on this model, the Blue Mist covers the mahogany body and neck completely. Blue Mist is not unlike Pelham Blue, but is probably best described as a shade or two greyer than Pelham. I wonder if it will fade a grey-green colour if the paint oxidizes?

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    What struck me immediately about this blue finish on this model is that it also shows on the front of the headstock. I am aware of only a couple of Gibsons that have a non-black headstock front, but not very many, and this is one of maybe only 2 or 3 that I have seen in person. It looks odd, almost as if the instrument has been refinished (albeit, very well). The tuners are Gibson Kluson Deluxe and work smoother than others I am used to, perhaps because they are brand new.

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    The pickups are 490R/490T, typical for SG’s and are fitted without covers, also present is the ubiquitous ABR-1 and stop tailpiece. The frets on the neck are well set and the unbound rosewood fretboard is free of any sharp edges. The instrument comes only with 5th and 12th position markers on the board, but a full compliment of white markers up the side, which in fact, do the trick extremely well. I was concerned how this would play out, but in a testament to the design, after I picked it up, and played it a couple of times, I forgot about the lack of markings and found playing comfortable and natural without ever getting lost.

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    The instrument displays a different neck join than my 61 RI, joining with the body at the 19th fret, instead of the 21st fret. This longer neck join allows the strap lock that is at the back of the body where the neck joins to sit about an inch towards the headstock compared to the strap lock on my other SG, however, it does not seem to really change the fact that, like every SG out there, this guitar is neck heavy, and it tends to sink if you let go of it. No doubt contributing to this, the neck profile itself is significantly thicker than my 61 R.I., which has about the thinnest neck of any guitar I own. I think I find the chunkier neck to be more comfortable and less tiring on my hands, so this is a welcome change, although I think it should be noted that the satin finish does feel different under hand than a gloss finished neck. It lends to a slightly less refined feel.

    I can note one other slight cosmetic flaw, and that is that the tone and volume control knobs are slightly misaligned in the grouping presented here with the distance between the top Volume and Tone set being slightly less than the lower Volume tone set. It does not alter the playability of the instrument but if you notice it, it does look a bit sloppy.

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    Sounds

    Compared back to back with my ‘61 Reissue they do sound very similar, and I am aware that this is a criticism often laid against SG’s. "An SG", it is said, "sounds like an SG", and not much else. Fortunately I like that sound.

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    They are not identical though. The SG Special here projects through a bit louder than my older guitar, aided, perhaps by the thicker neck. It’s overall sound through an amp is perhaps a bit more "brash" while I want to describe the sound of my 61 RI as being "rounder", I also think that perhaps I am experiencing a bit of a synaesthesia, as in a way, the difference in sound is paired with the difference in tactile feel of the satin finish on the new instrument vs. the bound neck and full gloss finish on the 61 R.I.. That being said, I’d say that the new guitar has more authority to its sound, while the older model perhaps has more nuance. Both will have their uses, both are enjoyable to play. It is hard to pick a preference. The new instrument sounds better in Standard tuning than the old SG, while my old SG, I believe still sounds better in DADGAD than any other instrument I have picked up and put in that tuning.

    Bottom Line:

    I love my pretty new SG. Based on its price and playability, coupled with its distinctly non-traditional colour, presuming you are into an SG that looks a bit different, I think this guitar is something of a steal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
    JBid likes this.
  2. Motorhed

    Motorhed Member

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    I love it!!!! The pics of it outside really make it look like a chunk of metal! I also love that the headstock isn't painted black like usual.
     
  3. Simto

    Simto Member

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    Awesome guitar! I love pretty much anything SG, especially those in a different colour than you normally see them in. (But reds are cool too)
     
  4. MikeB_18

    MikeB_18 Member

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    Good story, the guitar looks great! I love the color, although I might have prefered the headstock to have been black. I recently picked up a P-90'd SG Special to acompany my '61 as well, I love it.

    Congrats and enjoy! :BEER
     
  5. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    Very nice. As much as I can't stand GC and dread the thought of making any major purchases there, I have to check one of these SGs out. Can I ask what you paid for it? I would assume it was probably around $699? I'm not really an SG lover-I've had several and sold them all-but that color is great. I'd like a Les Paul Junior in blue.
     
  6. guitarpkr67

    guitarpkr67 Supporting Member

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    Cool, man. I saw one of those the other day when I bought my Sg 61 RI. Looked pretty cool.
     
  7. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    In fact, I have never set foot in a Guitar Center. I live in Canada, we don't have them up here, the closest thing we have is Long and McQuade, and while they have thier weak points, it still sounds better by a country mile than the GC horror stories I've heard.

    That being said, I'm sure if I went past one, I'd go in, at least to see.

    I bought mine from the much fabled 12th Fret here in Toronto. Certainly one of the finest brick and mortar guitar emporiums in Canada, and fortunately right around the corner from where I currently live.

    come to think of it, I bought my 61 RI from them as well, although that was over 10 years ago.

    $699 is the cost of a special faded, this cost somewhat more.
    I saw the GC price for it listed at $999. I got mine for $1049 CDN

    the general price range I have seen for the instrument ranges from low ($899 to high $1200)

    interestingly this also seems to fall nicely inbetween the faded models and the full gloss finished modes in terms of price, which fits with my assesment of the feel and look being about in between.

    It's almost like Gibson's trying to create a third tier of finishes that offer a bit more than fadeds, but still offer a savings over a traditional finish.
     
  8. Simpy

    Simpy Member

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    Beautiful guitar, longest post ever! j/k. Cool to see someone playing in DADGAD.
     
  9. tennisplayer

    tennisplayer Senior Member

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    I always cringe when I see a guitar laid bare on the ground or a rough surface.
     
  10. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    yeah. I know..but the lighting in my home is very dim. direct sunlight brings out the details better.

    trust me, the guitar is laid gingerly down and sits on it's neck like that for all of 30 seconds while I snap the pics, then it is immediately and gingerly picked up and placed somewhere soft and secure. I always check the contact points for scratches, and so far, the wood table in my backyard has not caused any dings.

    I couldn't even fathom putting it down on the patio stones on the ground...I'd loose my mind.

    I think I have problems.
    wear from playing guitar = ok
    wear from photographing guitar in dumb ways = very no
     
  11. Frankee

    Frankee Wartime Consigliere

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  12. seajay

    seajay Member

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    Nice review. SG's look great in blue!

    However, I don't agree that every SG is neck-heavy. My '81 is pretty well balanced. Of course, it has a different neck-joint than modern SG's; the neck joint is at the 18th fret. That's only a one fret difference from current Specials but it seems to make a difference.

    I just think it's unfair to say that "every SG out there" is neck heavy. ;)
     
  13. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    an 18th fret neck join coupled with a thinner neck might offset this tendency, and the effect would be minimized by using a nice thick strap with some grab to it (like a leather strap with an unfinished underside)

    perhaps there were some SG's build with really heavy bodies as well.
    general consensus that I have come by is that the design is inherantly neck heavy. I'm sure examples exist that balance better than others, and some of them are perfect (I have yet to handle one)

    it matters not. When I play guitar, my hands are on it at all times. it only sinks if I totally let go, which never happens.

    I think the high points of a good SG far more than outweigh balance issues.
     
  14. SteveSchu

    SteveSchu Member

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    I agree with you on this one! I saw one seller lay the guitar on the concrete next to his swimming pool.
     
  15. Seditious

    Seditious Member

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    I absolutely love this guitar. I bought one as well, and I would swear my RSA 23 was designed with this guitar. It absolutely kills. It's raw, it's in your face, and it has so much character. I just sold my R9 to my bandmate, because this sounds better clean and dirty. I'll probably sell my McCarty too. This is the Humbucking guitar for me, and it was cheap in comparison. Oh, and it looks so cool! :JAM

    One question though, my guitar came with different volume and tone knobs than yours, did you change them or did yours come like that?

    Here's a pic of mine with my Rick and my thinskin jazzmaster.

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  16. Vintage-tone

    Vintage-tone Gold Supporting Member

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    wow nice Blue lil threesome !
    That SG looks great, it will turn green if it s clear coated with nitro.
    Did you say Pelham Blue :) ok it s on the green side now ...
    Oh btw the grain and / or sanding scratches etc will appear later on once the finish shrinks and sinks in a lil.

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  17. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    mine came with those knobs
    they are also the knobs pictured in the GC ad that I found online.
    it is possible that they had run out of chrome topped knobs that day, and just used the set you have on yours. not certain which looks better, they are both nice.

    that's a lovely set of blue fiddles there.

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    and that Pelham Blue/Green? oh man. I'm drooling
     
  18. Seditious

    Seditious Member

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    The black knobs are cool, but I might like the chrome better. Of course I can always say mine is unique.;)

    All of the guitars in this thread are fabulous, but that Elliot Easton is the winner. A Pelham Blue SG with Maestro, it just can't get better than that.
     
  19. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Great review. Thanks for sharing!
     
  20. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    there is nothing stopping you from getting a set of chrome top Gibson knobs aftermarket and swapping them on in place of the originals.

    in fact, as it stands, you're more likely to get called on switching the knobs the way it is now....
    I dunno. they're just knobs. the blacks look fine. I'd say not to worry about it. grass is always greener.
     

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