Hands-On Review:Two great artists deliver their own takes on a classic
I was almost intimidated to play the signature axe of such a huge rock icon as Pete Townshend, but the feeling passed quickly when I ran my fingers over those hand-polished frets on that silky bound rosewood fingerboard with pearl dots. I plugged into something LARGE and tubular. I cranked the amp, blasted out a few of those famous chords, and understood instantly what Gibson had in mind. This SG is a precise replica of the SG Special Townshend played at the "Who Live at Leeds" concert. Chills ran up my spine. An hour later I was soaked in sweat with a pounding heart and ringing ears. It was easy to replicate Pete's huge, sustaining tone, aided by the compensated adjustable wrap stop bar and the super-tight joint between the mahogany body and neck. The pickups are two black P90 soapbars that generate the cutting grind found on hits like "Magic Bus" and "I Can't Explain" with perfect accuracy. The SG Special neck is solid but sleek and speedy. The chrome Grover tuners kept me in tune, despite my clumsy attempts to replicate that round-the-world thing. (It's harder than it looks!) The red satin finish on this guitar is stunning (I have to suspect it's nicer than the original). They hand rub walnut stain into the mahogany color apply a cherry and finally finish it with a durable satin top coat. It has a Pete Townshend signature decal on the back of the headstock. After I'd run out of Who licks, these fantastic looks helped quell the inexplicable desire to smash the thing through my amp.
Ever notice how when you play a certain guitar it evokes a particular style of playing? Well the Tony Iommi Signature SG transformed my whole personality. Suddenly I was a darker, meaner, more metal kind of woman. Suddenly "I am Iron Man" became a personal message. The obvious source of the transformation was the Tony Iommi signature humbuckers. The original versions of these pickups were hand wound and specially configured by John Birch in England to produce Tony's unmistakable filled-out but edgy sound. Tony approached to get some more of them made and, after a huge amount of experimentation with magnets, wire, and winding, they finally hit it on the head. It has the highest output of any Gibson pickup and features a massive, single-blade polepiece with the entire assembly sealed in epoxy. It's super hot, but I could really hear the incredible breadth of signal. When I played around with various tone and volume combinations, the signal was always solid and full. Word is, Tony likes these better than his originals.
Features & Specs
|Pete Townshend Signature SG||Tony Iommi Signature SGH|