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Gibson SG Bass Review


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I am a Pbassman but I got an SG bass last April as I like SG guitars and figured the bass would be great to have.

Impressions and my opinions based on my 2011 Gibson SG Bass:



1.It is only 7 lbs (mine is). Even lighter than my SG '61 RI guitar!!


2.Plays easier than any bass I have ever played. Free and easy access to all frets right up to the tip top of the board. Nice small, comfy neck. Effortless playability. Fits my body like a glove. With my P's I feel like I am wrestling a Marlin. So the SG is a real treat in this regard.


3. Looks great. Beautiful finish and nice headstock inlays. Tidier and cleaner control outlay than the EB's. Craftsmanship is awesome.



1. Less punchy and has less clarity than my Pbasses. Not as powerful sounding as my P's either.


2.Neck dive:

To the ground, but the right arm laying over body in playing position nullifies this. I cannot tell or feel any neck dive when playing, so it doesn't effect playability. Just when you let go, watch your toes.


3.Can't adjust neck pup height.

But you can raise/lower the bridge pup on either side, which helps accomplish the same sonic thing if you are trying to make any side of the neck pup sound relatively louder/softer than you are hearing it to be. I found my Low E to be quieter than the rest of the strings, and this fixed the problem.

ps- raising or lowering pole pieces on my SG Bass neck pup produces no detectable difference to naked human ear.


4. String windings lay over bridge saddles, which can affect tone. But there are remedies for this.

Mine intonated ok when the saddles are set far forward enough to be on the speaking length of the string. You can also find manufacturers who make strings with shorter windings on ball ends.

There is a mechanical fix here at Gibson USA Basses. Thread titled "Gibson SG bass bridge fix video", or something like that.


Maybe pro/con depending:

Headstock is slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom of it, so it looks a little less cool than an EB headstock, IMHO. I don't know if that is an issue or not for some.


In sum:

Doesn't sound as powerful and clear as I'd like, but looks great and physically plays better than anything else I have ever had in my hands.

I am keeping mine and will experiment with the electronics to try to get a better sound. I will also get a '61 EB3 RI if they ever come out with one.

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My SG Std. follows the majority of traits you mentioned. The SG Std. I bought is punchy, and has two very sensitive pups. The tone pot works well also. I never had to adjust a pup height, or adjust a bridge, or bridge saddles, on any EB/SG style basses so I can't say anything about that. I kept the settings on my Marshall at the same for a comparison to the Fender American Deluxe Precision. When I compared the two, the SG Std. sounded equal to the Am. Deluxe in the Active mode. In the passive mode, the SG Std. out preformed the Am. Deluxe. Fender style basses are really good, but I'll go with the SG Std. The SG Std. is a passive mode bass, that thinks it's an active mode bass, and no batteries needed. [thumbup]

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