Gibson Midtown 2013 - Views?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Musicman20, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Hi all

    I've researched this bass, and as much as 10 years ago, I'd never imagine buying any type of Gibson, I absolutely LOVE the shape and the tone demos of the Midtown Standard Bass.

    I prefer the shape and colours of the 2013 over the new 2014 signature version.

    I've been offered a new one at a reduced price, in the colour I like.

    Thing is, what are these like? I have NEVER played a bass with a nitro finish and I'm worried it'll be too fussy for me. I'm used to thick Musicman poly finishes which I love.

    I'm concerned about the posts saying 'don't use a stand' or 'be careful with temperatures'.

    How is everyone getting on with their Midtowns?

  2. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester

    I can't speak much about Midtowns, but I can tell you a bit about nitro finishes. My EB-2 feels great and doesn't have any finish issues that I'm aware of. It doesn't live on a stand much, and when it does, the stand is a neck hanger type stand. I haven't seen any problems from the rubber on the stand. The other nitro finished bass is the Ric. Same thing except it spends a whole lot more time out if its case. So far, no issues with it, either. If you ding the surface of a nitro finished instrument, the nitro is flexible and will follow the dent in a way poly won't. Nitro doesn't "shatter" like poly can when it gets hit just right. If you warm and cool either finish too rapidly, you can damage it, but nitro will check where poly will crack.

    I don't think there's any magic to one finish over the other. They are different, but they both work just fine for what they do. If you like the bass, go for it.
  3. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Well I guess it depends on how "fussy" you are about surface swirls and scratches. Nitrocellulose shows wear much more and much faster than polyurethane finishes like you're used to. I've got several Fender basses finished in nitro and they all show varying degrees of wear.

    As to the Midtown specifically, I've owned mine for a few months now and it's been to a few rehearsals and gigged several times. There are surface scratches on the back from my pants and on the front from my hands but that's normal for nitro finishes and to be expected on any nitro bass. I wouldn't let it bother you, just play it and enjoy the great tones it makes. :bassist:
  4. I have had my Midtown for nearly a month and the more play it, the more I love it. I got mine from Sweetwater and it was absolutely gorgeous out of the box. Some have complained about minor fit, finish, and QC issues, so I probably scored there.

    My 5-string G&L Trib is the only other bass I have owned, and I am looking for more of a blues/jazz muddy-toned vibe. The first thing I noticed about the Midtown is that the neck is very smooth and clean and solid feeling. The second thing is the weight: Mine weighs in at 8 lbs. 10 oz., so it's reasonably light (from Sweetwater's site, you can see that the instrument weights vary by as much as a pound--I picked one in the middle). The disadvantage of a lighter bass body is that the balance shifts more toward the neck. Mine is not too much of diver, but it is a tiny bit more noticeable than the slightly headstock-heavy trib.

    I love the look of the finish. Not sure as to all of the ins and outs...

    I really like the body shape. It is very comfortable to play. I like to play strictly finger-style, up around the neck. With this bass I find it very natural to rest my thumb on the neck pickup and pick in that general area. (I am not sure how the "technique police" view this, but it seems to work for me.)

    The tone is simply killer. I quickly replaced the factory roundwounds (really?!?!) with GHS Precision Flats and they are breaking in very nicely. Also, I find that with the bridge pup and the tone control, I can still get quite a variety of tones, beyond the mud that I am wanting. With the rounds, I could get quite a bit more growl and grind. Some of that is still there with the flats and the bridge pup and tone, but that may disappear when the flats fully break in--this is the first set of flats I've owned, so I not sure what to expect. (I prefer less grind and growl for this bass, so not too unhappy if it vanishes.)

    The neck is quite stable, so far. After sitting a day or two, very little adjustment (almost none) is needed to get back in tune.

    Some TB'ers do not like the stock bridge. I am not too picky about string height and action, but getting very good intonation took me maybe a 1/2 hour after I put on the flats. One note about the flats is that they have longish transition winding which has the potential to interfere with the bridge saddle, specifically on the E-string. For me, the saddle point for proper intonation on that string was just on the neck side of the transition winding. Whew! For a bit there, I was thinking I would need to invest in the Hipshot SuperTone replacement bridge. (I still might do that; I am on the fence.)

    I hope at least some of this is useful. If you have any more questions, I'll watch for more posts.

  5. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    I've had my Midtown almost a year now, no finish problems, average 8 gigs a month.
  6. Thanks all. It's actually much cheaper than I expected, new fresh from Gibson's importer in the UK, cased etc.
  7. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
    Yes, I have one of the early Midtowns. It is my fave bass of the nine I own. I haven't had any problems with the finish, but I do baby it a bit. I've gigged & recorded with it, and all the guys I play with prefer it. I love the feel and it has a HUGE presence.

    I realize that they tried to make the 2014's look like the old '74 LP Sig bass, but I much prefer the shape of the 2013s.
  8. loendmaestro


    Jan 15, 2004
    Vienna VA
  9. Calexia13


    May 22, 2007
    I also have one of the early midtowns, mine has a Baked Maple fretboard, which I really like, I've had it since October of 2012, I prefer maple boards, so for me it was a non-issue. As others have said, it will not resist dings and scratches like a good poly finish will, but those finishes won't let your bass vibrate the way this thing does when you get her going. Love mine, it's got scratches on it, and screw driver marks, but I don't care, it's honest wear, I do wish I had been more careful with dings on the neck, I have one by the 7th fret that I always feel when playing. Get it, you won't regret it if you like hollowbody basses.