2008 Gibson SG Bass: Opinions?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by irishrock77, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. irishrock77

    irishrock77 Member

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    What is the general impression of the new Gibson SG basses? I am in a band in which the guitarist lent me an amazing Spector bass, but I'm finding that even though the tone is amazing and neck is thin enough for my fingers, it's still a little too big to really move around with on stage. (I'm 5'8'' with small-ish hands) I'm wondering if the short scale Gibson would provide me greater ease of movement and not sacrifice any of that tone that just punches through--growling, throaty and distinct.
     
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    You really need to go play one. It's a very different animal compared to the Spector you're playing. Yes, the scale length is 30" which means less finger gymnastics, but the sound is unique and quite a departure from what you're used to. You may love the way it plays, but not the way it sounds...or vice versa...or both.

    Sonically, they are designed to be darker sounding. Mahogany body and neck with a set neck joint and a neck pickup that couldn't be moved any further forward unless you put frets on top of it. So it's not designed to be as hi-fi / full-range as the Spector (if that even makes sense). That being said, it's still very usable and has a cool old school growl that loves overdrive.

    Just my two cents but you'll know what I'm talking about once you put one in your hands.
     
  3. Rockinrob86

    Rockinrob86 Supporting Member

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    If you are going to the store and playing short scale basses, my all time favorite is the fender mustang bass. It is worth checking out. Both the SG and the mustang are unique and just kind of do their own thing.
     
  4. irishrock77

    irishrock77 Member

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    testing and rockin: thanks for the feedback. It helps a lot and makes total sense. I'll get down to Denver in two weekends to play one. It just seemed odd to me that there are so few SG basses out there and so few people who even seem to talk about them. Thanks!
     
  5. Zilmo

    Zilmo Member

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    I have yet to be impressed by anything Gibson has built with four strings. YMMV
     
  6. Cosmic

    Cosmic Member

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    If the Spector had a pimple on its proverbial ass -- and you popped it -- the puss that came out would still be better than the Gibson SG bass.

    I am kind of joshing with you of course.Like others said...the SG is a short scale made of mahogany. The Spector (talking Euro and up) are all brighter sounding with active electronics. Comparing the two is really like comparing night and day.
     
  7. tkozal

    tkozal Supporting Member

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    +1, can't agree more.
     
  8. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I recently picked up this "Faded" Gibson SG bass and I really like it. Granted, I'm an Old School guy tonewise but it really sounds good to me. It's deep, dark, rich and warm. I primarily use the neck pickup but sometimes dial in just a little bridge pickup to add some bite to the tone. You should try one out and determine for yourself if it's right for you. Sometimes some of the advice dolled out around here can be very biased, based more on opinion than fact.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a '72 EB-3 for comparison...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Jake

    Jake Member

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    Really?!

    :Spank

    I just looked at these because my wife wanted to start playing bass and I figured a shorter scale would be the way to go. I wound up getting an old Musicmaster just because I wasn't personally crazy about the feel of this one - and I wanted to like it sooooo much because the general rule of thumb in my house is that 1) the wife wants to learn something, 2) I get the particular something, and 3) after a year or so of either frustration or disinterest on her part I get get to keep the particular something. I've got a pretty cool dobro thanks to that.

    What didn't I like? I'm coming from years of playing Jazz Basses and Pedulla MVP/Buzz types, so it was just a bit to thin bodied and unbalanced for me. I also really didn't like the strap button in the back. I have the same problem with SG's, though I've played some that didn't bother me, and I had a professor in college that used to hang with us on the occasional Friday afternoon (we were his last class of the day) and a couple of us wound up at his house one evening and when he found out I played he disappeared for a minute and then came back with an old (late 60's) EB-3. I fell in love with that thing, but I've been unable to find on like it (maybe it was just the moment). I guess that's better than him disappearing for a minute and coming back naked.

    :crazyguy
     
  10. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    Go for it! The last thing the world needs is another boring Fender... lol!

    I love the Gibson basses! Why sound like everyone else?
     
  11. Cosmic

    Cosmic Member

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    I think they would be fun to play. I was just joshing before. It would be cool to pluck away on a short scale Gibson.
     
  12. irishrock77

    irishrock77 Member

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    Cosmic: actually your joke was really funny and you had good information too. I'm really benefiting by the feedback from this post (there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this site!) and looking forward to getting my hands on an SG soon to figure out if it's for me.
     
  13. Cosmic

    Cosmic Member

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    Right on.

    I do think it would be fun to play one. Most of my basses have active electronics. Two of them with maple tops so they are brighter. I have nothing even close to an all mahogany, short scale bass like the Gibson. It definitely would fit a niche in my lineup. And my joke aside, I have actually considered buying one before.

    I make the joke about the Spector because I own one. And I do think -- all in all -- the Spector is a superior bass to the SG. But like everything, it comes down to preference. The darker tones and playability of the SG make it unique in that respect.

    But, you could probably get the Spector to sound close to the SG. But I doubt you can get the SG to sound close to the Spector.
     
  14. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    The biggest thing to remember about Gibson basses is that Gibson basses do what Gibson basses do.

    If you don't like what a Gibson bass does- it's not for you. Pretty much no matter what you do, it's going to sound like a Gibson bass.

    My first "real" bass was an old EB-0. I spent YEARS trying to figure out why my bass would not sound the way I heard other basses. "testing1two" summed it up really nicely- short scale, mahogany body and neck, set neck and the pickup location... those aren't characteristics that are going to lend themselves to a "modern" bass sound. Not to mention the 3 point bridge...

    Conversely- if you're looking for a bass with THAT sound, you're not going to find it in something long scaled, with a ash or alder body and a bolted on maple neck, with the pickup located roughly half-way between the bridge and neck- roll off the tone and mute the strings all you want- it isn't happenning.

    I, myself, am 5'8" with small-ish hands. IMO, the narrower 1.5" nut width has more to do with playability than the scale length. Of course, I'm not doing anything super complicated, and not trying to impress folks with my lightning fast chops- While I think the traditional Jazz body style looks a bit big on me, the P fits nice- but I prefer the 1.5" nut width.

    If'n I were you- I'd try to look at all the stuff you're interested in- pay attention to how your hand fits, and really pay attention to the sound. You're not looking for 'good enough.' I spent nearly 20 years being frustrated by the sound of my EB-0. No amount of drilling, routing, replacing pickups or hardware made it not sound like a short scale, mahogany bodied bass. Now that I'm actually LOOKING FOR THAT SOUND, I'm pleased with what the bass does. Keep in mind, that's a really niche sound.
     
  15. martmouse

    martmouse Member

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    I gotta' agree with SGNick here! I thought that there was no point in looking further than a Jazz bass, and then I was on my way to a gig in the Village in 1996 and stopped in Umanov's and bought fell in love with and bought a '63 EB-0, played it that night and literally didn't pick up a Fender bass for the next 11 years. the '63 is gone, but replaced with a '61 and a '67, and I also have a lovely '58 EB-2.

    I have recently been rediscovering my Jazz Bass, but there's no going back for me; if I had to marry one it would be the EB-2, but an EB-0 would do just fine too.

    In all seriousness, it's all a matter of taste, and I think that Gibson basses are really an acquired taste. For me, I just hit a point that day where I concluded that bass should be felt and not heard, and the rest just fit.

    As for the new SG basses, I have only played one, but I was completely unimpressed. It was really dead feeling and had a bunch of finish adhesion issues - big flakes coming off around the pickup, but I can't really judge by just one.

    My advice is look around for a pre-68 EB-0; they still have the old-style bridge that is not individually adjustable, which in my opinion feels and sounds better, and they're still pretty cheap (I think the best bargain in vintage guitars - VG Guide has then in the high teens/low 2's, but they can be foung for less; for what it's worth, I paid $700 for the '67 just last month). As for EB-0 vs. EB-3, I say don't waste your money on the extra pickup. If you are after the muddy Gibson sound, you will never use it, and EB-3's sell for a lot more money because of the Jack Bruce connection.

    Here are the two EB-0's; the EB-2 isn't here right now, so I can't post a pic.

    [​IMG]
     

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