A GONZO GUITAR MENU - SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Sometimes it is not until we get older that we appreciate certain things. That's certainly the case with the guitar I'm about to talk about. When I was a teenager I wanted a Les Paul badly, but even a relatively inexpensive copy was hard to come by for under $300 in those days. Knowing I didn't really like my Strat, I went to a pawn shop to get another guitar and amp. The guitar I came out with was this Raven SG copy.
From the research I've done it seems like Raven's were made in the Far East for the Canadian market. While a budget brand, they were well made. Even though I was far from knowledgeable about such things at the time, looking back I recall the guitar had pretty decent action and was relatively well set up and easy to play.
As I gaze at the photo, I'm struck by just how cool a guitar this was. Neck and headstock binding and block inlays starting at the first fret gave it a very upscale look. Then there's the obvious aftermarket pickup upgrade in the bridge. When played wide open on a small tube amp this thing probably roared. Too bad I was using it on a big transistorized beast, but I'll get more into that on another post.
Of course the tastiest part of this whole guitar lies behind the bridge with a Bigsby style vibrato unit (or whammy bar as we used to call it back in the old days). I've never seen a Bigsby on Gibson SG and I have no idea if this sweet piece of hardware came stock on this copy-guitar or was installed afterwards like the pickup.
These Bigsby style units only have a semi-tone worth of give - which really wouldn't cut it for 80s hair metal playing - but they have a very sweet sound when used properly. The major drawback of the hardware is its heaviness but on a light SG it works perfectly to balance the guitar and keep it from being neck heavy.
So what happened to this instrument? Well after learning basic major and minor chords and little else I gave up on the guitar. I moved a few times and the massive amp I had was really getting in the way. I left the amp and guitar in a friend's basement and years went by without me asking for it back. Eventually it was loaned to another friend and from there it disappeared. Now that I can play better, I often wish I had it back even for an afternoon to take it out for a run and see just what it could do.