I recently picked up one of the new Gibson G3 tributes. I've been playing it for about two months now, and I've logged a variety of different gigs on it. I'm a huge Fender P bass guy, but I've always had an eye out for a good deal on a G3. So when this came out I thought I'd give it a try.
The bass is well made, nothing really to gripe about there. The wood is immaculate, the finish is flawless, all joints and connections are tight. Tuners are firm but easy to use. Nut is filed perfectly. Frets are perfect. Knobs and switches all feel solid. The finish is quite thin and has a satin feel. The neck feels amazing. It's thicker than an average P-bass and rounder. The burnt maple fretboard is interesting. I'd personally rather just a regular old maple board but I'm not really all that picky about it. This may sound strange, but this bass smells
amazing. I'm not sure if it's because the burnt maple or something else, but it has a chocolatey-wood smell to it that's very nice and very strong. After a night of gigging my hands smell great! It's pretty much on par with the average weight of a Fender I'd say, but I don't have a scale and I find Fenders tend to vary in weight quite a bit. It sits well on the strap, either strung low or high it balances nicely. The body is larger but thinner than a P-bass, but not by much.
I already hate the bridge. I know there's a wide variety of mixed opinions on here about Gibson's bridge design, but it makes very little sense to me and it's quite frustrating to deal with when changing strings compared to the simplicity of Fender's design. Any suggestions for an aftermarket replacement would be greatly appreciated.
Now the most important part - the sound! This thing is entirely it's own animal. I've never really played anything like it. The body is super resonant, it's quite loud just playing without plugging it in. Plugged in, it's very mid heavy. There isn't a huge difference between the three switch positions, but definitely a more mid heavy sound in the bridge/middle spot and more bass heavy in the neck/middle position. It's got a much louder output than my Fenders. It's a very usable tone though, and it sits well in the mix. It can be shaped easily with tone controls on your amp, but it never loses it's signature voice. It's very aggressive and responds quite well to playing dynamics. It gets great aggressive rock tone with a pick.
It handles adversity quite well - I just played it outside in Canada for a New Year's Eve gig in -10 (celcius) weather for about an hour with no problems. I brought my American P-bass as a backup, but it was unusable in that weather because the neck was so out of whack. It also handles down tunings with no need to redo the setup. I switch between half step down, drop D and standard tunings between different bands frequently and it handles it all easily.
One major gripe - an instrument at this price level should come with a hardshell case. The gig bag they provide is quite nice, but finding a case for this is going to be hard. Would love suggestions if anyone has them.
Rockin' it outside in the snow and -10
Here's some pics:
Wiring is super clean and tidy.
Pickups are quite shallow and mounted to the pickguard.
There's a huge cavity under the pickups that's totally unnecessary as the pickups sit almost flush to the pickguard. There's also an unnecessarily large one for the control cavity. I'm assuming it's probably because they use the same bodies on the Grabber reissue. Would make a great place for your stash!
Beside a P-bass for size comparison.
All in all, it's a fun bass to play and an alternative tone that's still very usable. It won't replace my P-basses, but it's earned a spot in my arsenal for sure and makes sense on certain gigs.