Re: Gibson SG £500
Have a shop around - especially on the net. I was lucky enough to pick one of these up when they first came into the country and several of the big Gibson dealers were selling them on a special promotion for anything between £399 and £449.
The guitar is nice and the neck does polish up nicely with use. My biggest disappointment was with the supplied gig bag which does not hold a candle to the older gig bags that Gibson used to supply.
Be warned that the bridge pickup is not as beefy as the one used on the Standard, but the neck one is the same (apart from the fact it does not have the nickel cover). I recently acquired a pair of ceramic pickups (496/500) from a friend who had taken them off a LP Classic and put them in, the guitar now screams!!
If you need any more persuading, I play bass in a band and went to my friend's studio to do a bit of recording with him. His No. 1 guitar is an Epi G400 but I took this one and let him use it - he fell in love with it straight away.
Good luck and happy playing