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Played a Gibson SG and hated it..

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by project_c, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I've been looking into various basses in search of vintage-ish tones, and one of the things I'm really GAS-ing for at the moment is the Gibson bridge pickup tone that you hear on old Mike Watt / Firehose records. I LOVE that tone, and the general sound of the old EB-3 and the new SG, I think those basses sound awesome, and I also really love the way they look.

    So I played a couple of Gibson SG's, and yeah, the tone was there in all its' glory, but both times these basses just felt terrible to play. For starters, they were both pretty heavy for a short scale, not crazy heavy, but heavier than my 83 Fender p-bass, which is not light. I couldn't find a decent way to balance it on my lap. Also, there was something about the neck that just felt weird, and kind of cheap, like it was sticky and covered in tons of lacquer or something. Both times the action was way too high, and my fingers kept getting caught on the frets too, the whole thing just felt awkward, it really did not feel like a bass that costs upwards of £1000.

    Maybe the bass might feel a lot better to pick players, it seems to sit better in a slightly more downward position and lends itself well to palm-muting, and the high-ish action is not such an issue. And of course the pick tone is super good.

    I really wanted to love this bass (so much that I tried 2 of them in different stores), but I walked away pretty disappointed. Did I just get unlucky and try 2 duds, or is this similar to your experience? My main basses are the 83 Fender precision and a 2011 Fender Jazz Deluxe, both of which feel a lot more solid and better built in comparison, but I'm just craving that tone...
  2. Dubsly


    Apr 1, 2011
    I have a 2006 standard that I bought new, and I love it. But, I have picked up a few at Guitar Center when trying out amps and such, that I felt were pretty inferior.

    My only complaint was with the bridge. I replaced that wirth a Hipshot supertone, though.
  3. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Hmm perhaps the ones I tried were really just a couple of duds. What did you think was wrong with the bridge?
  4. 1960jbass

    1960jbass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    Berwick, PA
    It seems that when it comes to Gibsons, you either hate them or love them. No middle ground. Of the Gibsons I've tried lately I just didn't care for the feel of them. But I'm sure there are those out there that love them. It's all down to individual choice.
  5. Dubsly


    Apr 1, 2011
    The Gibson bridges use those glue-in posts to mount, raise, and lower the bridge. There's no individual string height adjustment, and the whole thing is kind of floating in the air above the posts. I feel alot better with the bridge mounted firmly against the body and all the adjustment the Hipshot has to offer.
  6. I loved the SG Reissue I played, mostly for its tone. I agree with you about the finish (too sticky, seems kind of cheap) and the fret-cutting thing. There also exists a satin-finish version of it and I imagine fixing the frets is easy enough, even if it is kind of an outrageous thing to do on an instrument in its price range. Gibson really has nose-dived in quality in recent years. I see Les Pauls that cost $3000 that have finishing errors that you would only expect on guitars less than a tenth of its price.
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I can think of better basses worthy of my hard-earned cash. The EB series was (IMO) awkward and less-than-ergonomic back in the day; I don't see any major improvements since that time. Sidenote: "SG" designates a Gibson guitar with the same basic body shape. I don't know why it was assigned to what has traditionally been listed as an "EB".

    On the plus side, they are cool looking and, to some extent, satisfy some elements of the nostalgia craze.

  8. antonspon


    Mar 27, 2013
    EBs/SGs are an acquired taste. I have a '61 EB3, which I bought because I love the look and I got a very good deal: they're neck-heavy beasts and the neck is very thick as well, but what a tone! :) Action etc are setup-related and can be adjusted, I wouldn't base my judgement of an instrument on them. I don't use mine much, but when I need THAT tone, there's nothing else that comes close. Wouldn't be my only bass though, very limited and, as you've noticed, not the most comfortable or practical in use.
  9. I had a mid 60's EB-O that was stolen about 40 years ago and i have had the itch ever since to replace it. After cruising Ebay and seeing what a vintage Gibson of pretty rough condition goes for these days .... I decided that I would basically create my own!
    Bought an out of the box, discounted new Epipi EB-O that I am now going upgrade with a Hipshot bridge and Dimarzio 120 pick-up. I love the short scale, and I am in hopes that this "new and improved" baby will be awesome!

    Does anybody have a suggestion for a good bass luthier in the Sacramento area? After all the parts arrive, I am anxious the get this puppy done!
  10. nicopiano

    nicopiano Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Levis, Quebec, Canada
    A setup to your taste by a good tech would help.
  11. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I think that explains some of the weird awkward feeling I got from playing it. Did the replacement bridge bring it a bit closer to how other, perhaps more Fender-esque basses feel?

    You know what, I had similar thoughts too - after checking the SG's, I played a tired old Japanese no-name EBO copy from the 80's, and in all honesty, it really didn't feel much worse than the brand new SG, and in some ways, it had a lot more charm, and the neck was nicely worn in. It sounded different but that's because it was an EBO copy, so it was missing the bridge pick-up. It was fairly cheap (not dirt cheap, but definitely affordable), and would probably make a nice project. Don't know how easy it is to route these basses and throw a bridge pickup in there, but I was tempted. I might just have to go back and have another look tomorrow.
  12. Wotcher


    Mar 10, 2009
    When I saw Mike playing with Firehose he was still using his old telecaster bass maybe that's where the tone came from?
  13. I had the exact opposite with the NEWER Gibson SG-style basses. o_O

    I found them to be too light (yes that is a thing in my book) and feel too 'soft woodlike'. I can't really explain it, it felt like wood, but fake wood, plastic molded in a woodlike feel.

    That + the shortscale and the tin strings that came with it made it feel like toy bass more like a real bass. I had almost the same thing with the Höfner 500/1's I've played.

    Just to be clear: THIS IS NOT because of the short scale necks, OTOH I have Epi EB-0 and I adore it's feel (it has neck issues though).
  14. Not true, even though I hated that EB-3, I love Rippers.
  15. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK

    was that the recent reunion gig? because his Gibson was stolen a couple of years before that, you must have seen all the posters saying "have you seen this bass"...
  16. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I absolutely love mine. It is everything I could have hoped for. Mine is light weight (7.5 lbs) and well balanced. The new pickups are actually the same as the current Thunderbirds and thus there is a much clearer sound than the old EB-3s. My has a very woody tone and by rolling back the tone knob I can get a very upright-like sound out of it. With the tone wide open and a pick it gets quite snarly and mean. This is most certainly not a toy!

    As a long time Fender player I would just say that you have to take the SG on its own terms, it is NOT a Fender tonally, ergonomically or any other way. Nor is it a one trick pony. It may not be for everyone, t definitely has its own thing going on, but if one takes the time to really get to know the SG I think they would be quite surprised and find it is a great bass in its own right.

  17. ih8law


    Aug 8, 2009
    Houston, TX
    I fell in love with SGs when I made a switch to playing with a pick because of some problems with my hand. I feel like that's what this design is made for, and for which it really shines. Mine feel substantially lighter than my Fender, so I'm confused by the OP's observation in that respect.
  18. Tunaman


    Dec 26, 2004
    Gibson isnt well known for basses & now you know why.
  19. redhed


    Oct 25, 2009
    I dont know, I love my 2013 Gibson SG!

    Attached Files:

  20. Remus_Redbone


    Dec 27, 2010
    Western AR

    +1 for sure.