After Gibson emerged from its fi nancial travails with a change of ownership, the company hit the reset button. Quite literally, Gibson was restored to factory settings. Large sums were invested in quality control. The collection was simplifi ed. The brief was simple, too: put pro-quality, aspirational instruments into the hands of players who have always idealised the brand. One of the most signifi cant changes to Gibson’s lineup is the split in the production line range between the Original Collection and the Modern Collection. This month’s SG Special in Faded Pelham Blue is from the Original Collection; the Les Paul Tribute and the Les Paul Special Tribute with dualhumbuckers and dual P-90 options are from the Modern Series. Retailing for under a grand, the Tribute models potentially represent the best of both worlds – an American-built Gibson that won’t break the bank. The spec options look neat, too. The big news with the SG Special is that fi nish, yet under the hood there are 500k audio taper CTS pots and hand-soldered Orange Drop capacitors. The Tribute models pare back the spec a little but they still off er plenty of guitar. Yeah, choosing between these is gonna be excruciating.