Epiphone’s 1966 SG G-400 PRO
Price: $582 (list); $349 (street)
Gibson’s SG is a classic design with plenty of great players behind it, from Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and Jerry Garcia to Tony Iommi, Angus Young, and Mick Box of Uriah Heep, to name a few. The Limited Edition 1966 SG G-400 Pro is Epiphone’s updated reissue of Gibson’s venerable ’66 SG – the first model-year to carry the distinctive “batwing” pickguard. This Epi, however, is notable for more than a simple cosmetic consideration.
The Limited Edition G-400 Pro has a mahogany body and a set mahogany neck with Gibson’s ’60s SlimTaper D profile. Its rosewood fingerboard has 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, and a 12″ radius. Nickel hardware includes a LockTone bridge and tailpiece, with Wilkinson 14:1 tuners that are serviceable, depending on how hard one strums and picks. Guitarists will especially dig the Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers, both of which have coil taps on their respective Volume pots. Notably, these ’buckers are mounted directly on the batwing pickguard rather than body-mounted. It is available in several finishes, and our tester’s translucent Classic Cherry showed just enough mahogany grain.
Plugged into a variety of tube and modeling amps, the G-400 Pro was a blast to play – a rockin’ plank begging the player to crank up the dirt. We rolled through a variety of AC/DC, Who, and Black Sabbath riffs with grand results, the Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers evoked strong blues, metal, and classic-rock tones, especially with the amp’s overdrive dialed back. The coil taps added a layer of tones, providing scooped mids and funkier flavors more in the tonal camp of Gibson’s single-coil P-90. In any case, there are lots of sounds to explore.
From the factory, our test guitar had a low-action setup, while its 243/4″ scale offered that classic Gibson feel. While the neck’s D profile isn’t as chunky as, say, a ’50s C shape, it’s still a large, vintage profile, more akin to an early-’60s SG Special or Junior.
That said, the 1966 SG G-400 Pro is a fun rock-and-roll solidbody. If you want old-school Gibson vibe combined with Epiphone’s bang for the buck, it will verily rock your roof off.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.