The Epiphone SG - the cheaper younger brother of the Gibson version, but it's certainly a worthy substitute.
It's dark cherry colour, dark wooden neck and black scratch panel are excellent on the eye, and with it's symmetrical body it is one of the best looking guitars out there!
The strings are raised higher in their saddle on the SG than say on a Fender, which is more ideal for lead guitarists out there, but being a rhythm man myself, there is no inconvenience whatsoever.
I like to use Ernie Ball .9 Slinky strings on it, and they fit just about perfectly - you could probably squeeze some .11's in there easily enough if you really wanted to and if you played quite a lot of heavier music.
Two pickups sit on the bridge, and three pickup selections are available - rhythm, middle and treble, depending on what takes your fancy!!
Of course, something I do like on the Fender is the tremolo bar, especially handy for lead guitarists without a Wah-pedal, but the SG doesn't have one, so if your after the serious bending effect, an effects pedal may be needed.
I use a Marshall Amp, that goes through a Korg multi-effect board, but the distinct sound that the SG has, like with many good guitars, is still very apparent, be it distorted or clean, and to the trained ear it is easy enough to tell it apart from other guitars.
Because of it's short bridge, beginners may want to go for a Fender first off and then move onto this, like I did for example, but it is certainly an easier guitar to play than say a Les Paul, due to aspects such as the SG's light weight compared to the heavy Les Paul's and pickup placing, and even the most recent intermediate player will be able to work with this guitar in no time at all.
Because the SG is a fairly renown model, accessories are straightforward enough to come by. As mentioned before, I use basic Ernie Ball strings as there are no custom strings, like the Bullet Strings for Fenders. And other accessories such as new scratch panels or pickups can be found all over the Internet.
I did have to replace my first one however, as the input jack snapped out of the wood for some unknown reason to me or the dealer I brought it from - he said he'd never seen anything like it, which I believe to be true - and thankfully my second one has been faultless so far, after 18 months of rigorous playing!!
I brought mine first hand for approx £300 - 350 (can't remember specifically), but a second hand one will be as good as half that in many places!! But considering the high quality of the sound it produces, the tones available and it's gorgeous looks, this is a more than acceptable price, and you will struggle to find anything better on the market in this price range!!