I got a Gibson SG Special Faded a few months ago (maybe about a year ago), and it still amazes me. I bought it new for $550, plus a bunch of accessories (if you buy an SG, which I highly recommend, you should buy strap locks, or it will slip out of the straps and onto the floor, which is bad, although SG does stand for Solid Guitar, and rightly so), and it was about the best purchase I’ve ever made. I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice at first – I loved the tone, and the look, but it didn’t play all that great. But then I got it set up at a good shop close to me, and since then it plays like a dream. Seriously. Since then, I got it set up with heavier strings. I just took it in today to maybe get it set up again, but mostly ‘cuz I was worried that the neck was drying out (it’s really dry in my apartment), and the guy told me it probably didn’t need another set up, just some lemon oil on the neck and some new strings – he could tell I’d been playing it a lot lately because the strings were rusted from rubbing on the frets or something. The last guitar I owned was a Fender Squier, and I never played it because it was such a poorly-crafted piece of shit, it was more frustrating than fun playing it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll play guitar more if you buy an SG, but I played about twice a month when I had the Fender Squire, and I play almost every day now that I have a Gibson SG. I’m looking into replacing the pickups – they sound really good, but the pickups on SG Specials don’t come with covers, and I think I want a 498T for the lead pickup, which is what most SGs, including the Standard, come with. First, I would say don’t be afraid to buy a used SG. Really, they only sound and play better with age, so if you don’t mind some scuffs and scratches, look around for a good used SG. That said, I paid less for my guitar than I probably would have spent for a used SG – for some reason, the SG Special is a lot cheaper than other SGs. The differences are mostly cosmetic – the Special doesn’t come with bindings, but I talked to a guy at a guitar shop and he told me that the bindings are only cosmetic – they look nice, but they don’t really change the way the guitar plays or sounds. The pickups don’t come with covers either – again, I think the difference is mostly cosmetic, but in this case I think covers would be nice – they look better, and occasionally my high e string gets caught on the neck pickup, something that wouldn’t happen if I had pickups with covers. I know this is long-winded, but just one more thing – don’t buy an Epiphone, or an SG knockoff. Most Epiphones don’t have set necks, and so the sustain pretty much sucks, unless you get lucky and find one that has a neck that was bolted on really well. Also, the craftsmanship and electronics on USA Gibsons are top-notch. They don’t set them up very well out of the factory, but for $20 or $25, you can take it to a trustworthy guitar shop and have them set it up right. The SG looks like a million bucks and sounds even better, take it from this satisfied customer.