Knowing what you like/want is just as important as trying before buying. Everyone will tell you, if you have a chance to play a whole bunch of SG’s, do it. Bit that’s not always realistic. Not everyone lives in a downtown code with a guitar center on the corner.
I have bought many guitars without ever playing them. All three of my SG’s fall in this category. My 61 are/issue was a gift 20 years ago, and it had to be ordered in from a small ma & pa shop. My 2007 Custom was bought online. It was a limited run of 400 and I was lucky to even find one. Hit buy now as soon as I located it. And lastly, my Angus Custom Shop was impossible to find. They instantly sold out. Sweetwater tracked me one down and I have them my credit card info.
All three of those guitars play a little different. But I love them all. 61 has a 61 neck, custom has a Large D shape, Angus has a pencil thin 9/16 nut. They are all fantastic players.
Again, your looking at luthiers and the highly regarded Jaydee (John Diggins). Excellent route to go, but it will take about 3 years. Honestly. And…. Going this route you will pay a good chunk of money and not have an opportunity to play it until you have bought and paid for it. Only with a custom build you don’t have a return option. Buy from Sweetwater (or other major retailer) and you can ship it back if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
I guess my point is playing before paying is not that critical. However it is a great way to increase your chance of buying and not returning. Because you already now you like the neck, pickups, wood grain etc.
I would stay away from the made to measure program. It is extremely costly and meant for those who want something very specific that doesn’t exist over the counter. I don’t think you are in that situation, you seem to be open to almost anything. However you are looking for a “one true love”.
I believe you mentioned that fact that once you buy this SG you don’t want to look for another one. Like this guitar should check all the box’s. If that’s the case I strongly suggest sitting down and writing down all the features you love on a dream SG. That will give you an idea of what your looking for, or more importantly what your not looking for! Go online, and browse SG’s. Look at hundreds of photos and a guarantee you that you will see one and go, “Dam, I NEED that guitar”. Once you have a vision, or a model, you know what your looking for. Once you know what your looking for, you can obtain it.
Right now you are kind of all over the map (no disrespect). But it seems odd to me that you want your dream SG, but your looking at a USA Jr, a Yamaha, a Jaydee custom build, made to measure custom shop, but you also said you don’t like any of the current custom shop models… There are SO many beautiful USA and custom shop models. Look past current production on the Gibson site. Hope on reverb and type Gibson SG Custom Shop and scroll through all of the magic. Surely something will get you Randy
I envy your position right now. Hunting for the next dream guitar is my favorite thing.
Thank you for such a thorough response pancake81. No disrespect taken; you are correct in your assesment.
Jaydee would probably be my top choice. But 3 years... I don't want to wait that long.
The ONLY reason I am so anti-custom shop is the VOS and aging. It just turns me off. I don't want my brand new guitar to look old. I want to wear it out myself. And I have no nostalgia for the 60s at all. I do not have a doubt in the world they make world class guitars in the Custom Shop. But I just cannot buy something like that, out of principle. Unless of course, we are talking about that black SG Custom that goes for $4699. I would be all over that in a heartbeat. But it's been out of stock forever.
I was considering the M2M program so I could get a custom shop caliber model, that quality, without the VOS and aging. And with some specs that are not super important to me, but would be nice (no fingerboard inlays, and a TV Yellow finish). But, you have given me cause to pause.
That said, I saw this great comparison video on YouTube between the USA SG Special and Custom Shop SG Special, and I genuinely thought the USA sounded better. I really like the p90 pickups on an SG. The USA SG Special is probably my top choice right now.