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Gibson G3 Tribute Review and Pics

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by marklaforest, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. marklaforest


    Feb 5, 2010
    Hey y'all,

    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.
    Tbone76 likes this.
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Have you played vintage G3s? If so, comparisons?

    I have my own thoughts on the matter but would want to know what you think too.
  3. marklaforest


    Feb 5, 2010
    I've dabbled on one in a store once, but not plugged in. So basically no. I'd love to do a side by side comparison.
  4. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    I have one the re issuses too, I thinks its a great bass, they only made 400 so enjoy it!
    Looks great in black. I wrote a review of it awhile back, but it's nice to read your thoughts, I don't mind the bridge, but mine needed a little clean up on the fret ends - Which could have come from temperature change but, I think Gibson could likely do a little better on that particular issue. Otherwise a stellar bass esp at the price
  5. marklaforest


    Feb 5, 2010
    I didn't realize they only made 400. Might need to grab a sunburst too then before they disappear!
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I have one in black too. I think it's funny you mention how unnecessarily large the pickup and control cavities are. I just shielded mine and noticed the same thing. The 6 little "dog ears" for the pickup screws made it a PITA too. I fell like Gibson could have done a better job on the routing. Just 3 spots for the pickups, or make the whole route a little bigger (what's a little more?) so it's rectangular.

    As for a bridge replacement, the only option is the Hipshot Supertone. I put one on mine and I like it much better than the 3 point. Most of the Gibson guys will say the 3 point is just fine and to learn how to adjust it.
  7. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I'm gonna go check one out tomorrow...still wondering if anyone has a/b'd against a vintage G3?
  8. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    How do you keep your fingers mobile in sub zero weather?
  9. starmann

    starmann Flats and Fingers Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2011
    I have the G3 in burst.

    An Epiphone explorer hardshell case is a PERFECT fit.

    I have one. They are about $100 at Muscians Friend.

  10. davedblyoo

    davedblyoo "All the mayhem and none of the sticky mess." Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    Augusta, GA
    I had an original G-3 come through my hands in the late 80's. I don't remember it having the the three point bridge on it. Wish I had kept the darn thing, it was a completely unique beast unto itself.
  11. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    They didn't originally, the Grabber and G3 basses came with a fender-style bridge. The reissues took a few liberties, including the neck through design and 34" scale.

    I also just noticed that the specs on the Gibson website list the nut width on the G3 was both 1.6 (under fingerboard) and 1.5 (under nut).
  12. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    Definately a set neck on the re issue, it's a cool bass!
  13. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I bought a G3 when they first came out. My main bàss at the time was a 64 P bass. I also bought an ebony Ripper, but the Ripper just wouldn't cut through the din of our hard rock band. (Mid 70's) The G3 sat well in the mix, had plenty of presence, and had the most Fender-like neck I ever felt on a Gibson. I eventually traded it in as I grew too bonded to my P bass.
  14. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Yes, set neck, I misspoke. Haven't played a new one yet so I can't say how much of a difference it makes, but my Grabber and G3 don't seem to have much trouble with sustain or tone as bolt-ons ;)
  15. banskevie


    Jan 9, 2013
    I thinks its a great bass, they only made 400 so enjoy it! [​IMG][​IMG]
  16. KramerBassFan


    Jan 3, 2009

    Thats how a Gibson ought to look, in terms of construction and fit/finish. ;)
  17. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    I love the tone the re issue has, here's the Satin Honeyburst.

  18. swamp2


    Feb 27, 2008
    Ok, I don't even consider myself a Gibson guy, but I do have an SG Supreme with the 3 point bridge and I do think it's just fine. It's easy to set up, and does what a bridge is supposed to do. It baffles me why this thing is so despised by so many...

    Anyway, the G3 does look pretty cool. I'll keep my eyes open for a bargain on one...
  19. 52hurtz

    52hurtz Supporting Member

    May 8, 2007
    So is the width at the nut 1.6" or 1.5" like a jazz?

    Not used to nut width vs fingerboard width.
  20. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    A nice design