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Gibson Standard SG Bass Review

When thinking about electric bass guitars most people automatically conjure up the image of a Fender Precision or Jazz bass and quite rightly too. Not only did they invent the concept of the electric bass but they clearly have a large number of players enticed to either instrumentís charms.

However there are also a large number of alternative instruments such as the SG standard bass that we are reviewing today.

I am myself a long time Jazz bass player and was attractedto the SG bass in view of having something completely antipodal to it.

First impressions are good, upon opening the form fitting case the heritage cherry finish contrasts greatly with the white lining of the case. The case itself is quite usual of Gibson instruments but compared to other Gibsonís I own, I notice the lining is white not dark grey, the lack of the shroud (cloth that covers the instrument) and that the combination lock has been replaced with a lock staple. I do believe that these changes have applied to most Gibson cases over the last couple of years.

Moving back to the bass itself the fit and finish are what you would expect from a high end American made instrument.† The nitro cellulose lacquer is generally well applied, bar a slight unevenness on the top of the fingerboard which truth be told is hardly noticeable. The rest of the bass is well executed without any paint blemishes or overspray as is sometimes usual even on high end instruments. When I first played the bass ithad a strange rattle, but this was easily fixed by tightening the neck pickup cover.

Specifications

The SG sports a set mahogany neck with a 30.5Ē scale (otherwise known as short scale) adorned with Gibsonís traditional trapezoid fret markers. The fingerboard is rosewood and has 20 frets, which are all easily accessible thanks to the double cutaway body.

The body again is made of mahogany and has the traditional SG double cutaway shape with the sharp horns and bevelled edges for extra comfort. All hardware is chrome such as the shamrock tuners and the three way adjustable bridge as are the pickup covers.

In the electronics department the SG has a TB full size humbucker in the neck position for that classic deep SG sound plus a TB mini sized humbucker in the bridge position to accentuate the mid range.

To finish off the specifications, the controls are comprised by a volume control for each pickup plus a master tone control. These are topped off with the usual SG top hat knobs with silver inserts.

Sounds

Acoustically the bass sounds and feels good and rings true, plugging into an Ashdown Five Fifteen 100 watt amplifier the classic deep SG sounds comes through. Turning the volume down slightly on the neck pickup brings out a slightly brighter sound from the bridge pickup with well a pronounced mid-range, turning it down completely brightens it up totally. This can be also fine tuned using the tone control.

The bass sustains well and has a funky kind of tone in the higher register. I have yet to play the bass in a live situation and it will be interesting to see how it cuts through the mix.

The short scale neck makes playing fast runs a breeze especially with the uninhibited access to the upper register. The bass is very comfortable to play both sitting and standing and the use of a suede strap with a rough back avoids the usual neck dive associated with SG Basses (and guitars).

In my opinion the bass is best suited to finger style playing or playing with a pick for harder styles. Although traditionally not a bass for slap style playing it is indeed possible as long as care is taken

All in all a worthwhile investment.

By Ernest H Slade
www.gear-review.co.uk

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