I was down around Poughkeepsie yesterday (aka Po-Town) & dropped in a local Music Store to see what Gibsons were in house & available for a test drive. First choice off the wall was a beautiful looking 2018 SG Standard HP in a gloss 'Mohave Fade' finish. First impression upon seeing the guitar & looking it over?.. Just a stunning looking instrument with superb fit & finish & essentially no noticeable cosmetically flawless. Holding the guitar for the first time the first thing that immediately came to mind was that she felt heavy for an SG. Not dramatically heavier, just enough to feel noticeable. She also felt rock solid & very stable by the neck & playing it would bear witness to this particular 24 fret neck design being significantly more stable & less subject to what has become known as typical SG neck flex. I must admit I was excited and very interested in this guitar before I even plugged in. So off I went to pick an amp & choose a Paul Reed Smith Sonzera 50 Plugging in.. Clean channel first with a touch of Reverb to let those notes hang around in the air a bit for proper tasting.. and away we went. Things sounded beautiful just as the amp & guitar were found already set. Tone was full, rich, resonant, articulate & defined. Noticing both pups were on I switched to the Bridge pup & was happy to find little to no volume drop & what was still a full beautiful sound coming out of the guitar minus some low end that really wasn't missed or needing to be compensated for with tone adjustments. Like Goldilocks tasting the 3rd bowl of porridge, this one was just right! And if this was the only pickup that came on this guitar I could easily have been satisfied enough with only having this one pickup. Set up.. Although the intonation was splendid up & down the neck I will confess to spinning the Bass side height adjustment wheel on the bridge down a turn or two (maybe a turn & 1/2 before I had to stop because the low E was getting too near the pup covers & any lower would require also lowering pickup height) to get the intonation effective with the factory set-up. FYI: Pup height adjustment screws are now on the backside of the guitar & the strap button has a different location than usual. Once the bridge was lowered lowered, that pitch raise due to added string tension during fretting affect was negated & the intonation was now perfect (ok, perfect enough). And, after re-tuning the strings back up to pitch, warming the guitar up to physical contact & some additional stretching of the G string, the guitar (now with store installed manual locking tuners) held pitch / tune for the duration. I was then off for what quickly became an uplifting journey through some chordal progressions, lead runs & double / triple stop country pulls. While adjusting height & re-tuning I couldn't help but take time to appreciate the tapered fret over binding design & notice that the binding has apparently gotten a little thinner than what Gibson had been using on recent model years I had played. I really liked the look, feel & functionality of this guitar. There was a definite sense that this Gibson was a serious finely designed beautifully playing stringed instrument & something any player would be proud to own. Back to playing... The PRS amp with a touch of Reverb was a fortunate choice. I was happy & inspired by what I was hearing & found myself enjoying getting a little crazy & exploring territory seldom visited. Soon enough, I was in hindsight definitely feeling carried away to that special place that almost seems to border on a spiritual & out of body experience where thought & musical expression become one in the same. I'm sure that having the glass enclosed display room to myself might have helped that happen. But there is no denying that this SG quickly let me go & spend time in the place I like living in musically. It really was 'Highly Playable' (HP), inspirational, captivating & supremely rewarding musical instrument to play. Three way switch.. All this joyful guitar happiness and I hadn't even tried to solo the Neck pickup yet! Seriously, I spent 20-25 minutes getting wrapped up & lost in the sound I was getting from just the Bridge pup! But when I did finally flip the toggle it sounded full with additional Bass / Low Mids as expected with no noticeable increase in volume or output with sufficient high end for clarity & cut. Switching gears.. I was off to the 'Drive' side (Gain Channel) of the amp to see waazzup! First impression was that I didn't care for the PRS's coloration that the Gain knob supplied as it (to me) sounded & felt more like a Fuzz effect than simply adding some Tube gain characteristics like compression & even order harmonics, but that's my take on things coming into play here & more amp critique than guitar criticism. I ended up turning the Gain way back to just a little edge & it allowed for a more interactive & responsive playing ying / yang experience. Now things once again sounded lovely & expressive with the added ability to get gritty and complex when digging into notes or slamming power chords. Now once again the guitar was interacting with the amp & was responsive, expressive, dynamic & a joy to play. Balancing act.. Overall pickup balance was darn near perfect & every position complimented the other. My only bitch would be the initial string height & subsequent lowering adjustment that left the pups needing to be lowered an additional amount to actually be able to get the action perfect! But if you could live with the height as it was, the pup adjustment & output were perfectly balanced & sounded wonderful. Combine those tones with the supreme playability (even with slightly high action) & I found a highly playable guitar that was inspirational & rewarding to play on. Combine all that with the perfect fit & finish & we have a real winner here boys & girls. All that's left to do to achieve musical instrument bliss now is to save up 2 G's & make one of these babies personal property. Additional observations: Interesting to note, this rather large music store takes ALL the Gibson G-Force / min e-Tune auto tuning devices off their Guitars & actually knocks their prices down a couple hundred dollars from current high volume on-line dealerships. I couldn't help but say "Wow!" out loud when I heard the sales-dude explain that they do this & WHY! Somehow I felt validated on a very functional real life level as my personal evaluation & feelings around these devices on HP guitars was also held by this store's guitar techs & staff and they were actually doing something about it by making a significant meaningful difference for potential Gibson customers, despite Henry J's feelings on the subject! Gotta love that man.