Contrary to what many assume, you can get a cheap
(made in the US of A) for only a hundred or so more than the
Chinese-made Epiphone clones.
If having Gibson on the headstock means a
lot to you, and the assured quality that comes with it, this page will
point you in the right direction and save you hundreds.
The guitars featured here are backed up by
hundreds of reviews and comments which you can read for yourself.
are also carefully selected user videos that demonstrate the high
quality of these budget Gibson axes.
Gibson Guitar #1 - Melody Maker
Humbly minimalist, meat 'n' potatoes, whatever you want to call it, but
with all the presence and
sustain you expect
from a MIA guitar. If you're looking for a cheap
Gibson guitar, but
want more than a mere "copy", the below is a faithful reissue of a true
The modern Melody Maker is a reissue
of Gibson's classic, orignally
produced in 1959. It features a slimmer, lighter Les
Paul style cut and typically with one single coil pickup in the bridge
position, one volume and one tone knob. So simplicity is the MM's key
selling point, taking the cost of a Nashville made Gibson down into
Users have been pleased with the output from the lonesome single coil,
delivering plenty of high end balanced against the darkness of the
mahogany body and neck. There's a generous serving of sustain and
harmonic response, even with the slimmer profile, and users have noted
that the MM has enough grunt for classic rock, punk and even metal
susprisingly well through the right amp.
The crispness of the single coil is backed up with plenty
of punch when set close to the strings. Sink them into the
body for a smoother, jazzy vibe. The MM can even emulate a nice
acoustic tone through the right amp for lush, resonant, strummed
chords, which you get a taster for when unplugged.
You'll notice in the reviews many have upgraded the stock pickup to a
standard P-90 which has made a lot of difference for those who wanted
something a bit higher output. However, the stock single coil is
meatier, quieter and more rounded than anything you might find in
Fender models and delivers a "best of both worlds" chiming, even twangy
tone on the clean channel while grinding on overdrive.
The overall quality of the MM is what you'd expect from the US made
Gibbos. Built to last a lifetime and finished to perfection. Definitely
deserving of a hard case!
Gibson Guitar #2 - SG
down Gibson classic, retaining everything that truly
matters and at nearly half the cost of the Standard and less still than
the original Special.
A Nashville made Gibson SG with only
some minor simplifications on the
Standard (yet half a grand cheaper), and the faded cosmetic feature
which many love (available in New Worn Brown or Cherry).
Typical SG features - fat, rounded neck profile,
mahogany body and neck, double "devil horns"
cutaway, Gibson tune-o-matic bridge and dual 490 humbuckers. The only
notable difference is the baked maple, as opposed to rosewood
It's debatable just how much the faded finish adds to the tone, but
users generally agree the faded series is superior to the original
Special. Resonant, ultra reponsive and beefy, with the maple fretboard
giving that extra top-end bite. SG's have graced many
styles of music and will continue to do so - the Special's stock
pickups will fulfill anything but the heaviest of metal.
On that note, many users have been blown away with what a simple pickup
change can accomplish. Others have simply played with the stock pickup
height until they find the balanced, full, warm tone this axe is known
for. So don't be too hasty in dismissing the 490s.
The bottom line is, whether this is your first Gibson or you've owned
some of their top end models, the Faded Special will not disappoint.
Perhaps more versatile than your typical Les Paul and lighter although
not as bass responsive and punchy. Whatever the trade offs, an American
SG at this price is simply irresistable if you've got the cash.
Compare Inexpensive Gibson Guitars
The table below shows a side by side spec comparison of the two Gibson
axes on this page.
who want a simplistic design, punky tone and lightweight feel.
want a classic, US made SG spec without the price tag.
coil pickup (hot!), solid mahogany body, slim Les Paul cut.
cut, 2 high output humbuckers, faded finish.
this page helpful? Please let others know, cheers...