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GIBSON SG REISSUE BASS GUITAR
Mar 26, 2011 (Updated Mar 26, 2011)
Review by Dr.P
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:This is a very good sounding bass.
Cons:No major ones.
The Bottom Line: This is a very good sounding bass guitar.
GIBSON SG REISSUE BASS GUITAR
Recommend this product?
If you are looking for a bass that has that great full rich room rocking bottom, which made Gibson basses very popular in the 1960's and 1970's, you might want to check out the Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar. This is not just a cheaply made or inexpensive bass guitar, designed to be a mere rip off on the popularity of the Gibson SG Standard guitar. The Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar is a fine instrument in its own right, and it is very nicely designed. Read on and see if you feel that the Gibson SG Reissue Bass guitar sounds like a bass that you might be interested in giving an audition to the next time you are visiting your local musical instrument store.
Since price is always a major consideration in making any purchasing decision, I should start out by mentioning that the Gibson SG Reissue Bass guitar has a list price tag of $2,419.00, but it can be found selling at a discount for as low as $1399.00 at some of the bigger national musical instrument chain stores, and from some of the better Internet dealers. As you can readily see, even when it is being sold at a significant discount, the Gibson SG Reissue Bass guitar is not an inexpensive toy, and it is selling for some serious money.
The bass that the Gibson SG Reissue Bass is modeled after is the Gibson EB-3 Bass that was introduced in the early 1960's, and later discontinued in the late 1970's. However, in my opinion to call the Gibson SG Reissue Bass a "reissue" is misleading, and it is not technically correct to do so. It is my belief that if a musical instrument is going to be labeled as being a "reissue" that it should be a virtual clone of the original musical instrument that was originally issued in the first place. It should not be called a "reissue" if it is not designed or made the same way, and if it does not have the same features. Well, the Gibson EB-3 Bass had a varitone switch, as well as 4 control knobs, and the earlier versions had a somewhat different bridge. The Gibson SG Reissue Bass does not have a varitone switch, and it has only 3 control knobs, and the bridge is adjustable three ways. Does that sound like a "reissue" to you? Simply put, the Gibson SG Reissue Bass is similar in general appearance to the Gibson EB-3, but it is certainly not the same instrument. As a matter of fact there never was a bass that was called the Gibson SG Bass, so it seems to me that the "Reissue" part of the name is really not appropriate to attach to this bass guitar. Does that mean that I do not like the Gibson SG Reissue Bass? The answer is that I never said that. I don't like using the term "reissue" to describe this bass. In actuality I do like the Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar quite a bit, and I will get into the pros and cons of this bass a bit later in the review. If a reader is interested in a bass that is more closely based on the original Gibson EB-3 Bass from the 1960's and 1970's, they should consider taking a look at the Epiphone EB-3 Bass. However, the Epiphone EB-3 Bass is not an exact replica of the original Gibson EB-3 Bass either, and the Gibson SG Reissue Bass is also a much better bass in several very important ways, such as in sound, feel, and design. But that is another story that I will save for a different review.
The body and neck of the Gibson SG Reissue bass guitar are made of mahogany, and the fingerboard is made of Rosewood. Mahogany and Rosewood have been the traditional tonewoods that have been used to construct of the Gibson SG style basses for years, as well as also being the same combination of tonewoods that have traditionally been used to construct the ever popular iconic Gibson SG Standard 6 -String Electric guitar. The color of the Gibson SG Reissue Bass that I was playing on was Heritage Cheery, but this bass is also available in Canary Yellow, Coral Pink, and Classic White. I clearly preferred the Heritage Cherry finish, as it closely resembled my own 1969 Gibson EB-3.
The Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar has what is known as a short scale neck, and the scale is 30 ½ inches. A standard long scale neck is 34 inches, and as you can guess, this bass is easier to play than a bass with a long scale neck. The neck on the Gibson SG Reissue Bass is also slimmer and more tapered than one might typically expect to find on a bass guitar. The short scale neck length and thinner neck profile make is easy to play fast, quick, and accurate runs. The short scale neck length and thin tapered neck profile is also a desirable feature for 6-string guitarists who might have to share bass playing chores with the steady bass player in their group. The feel and playability of the Gibson SG Reissue Bass is something that the average 6-string electric guitar player will find to be relatively easy to adapt to, especially as compared to a long scale bass, such as a Fender Precision Bass.
The Gibson SG Reissue Bass has 20 frets, and I found these were nicely set into the fingerboard. Right out of the case this bass seemed to be set up nicely. They action was good and there were no discernable problems, such as buzzing frets. This was a nice surprise, as it seems that lately a number of the newer Gibson guitars and basses that I have played on appear to be just adequately set up, and this means they require a professional set up before they sound as good and are as easy to play as they potentially should be. Fortunately, I know how to do that, but one should not have to have to resort to this when they are paying for a good quality expensive musical instrument. By way of analogy, if you were buying a new car from a dealer would you expect that it would need a tune up before you felt that it was ready to leave the lot. Personally, I don't think so. Thus, I was pleased to discover that the Gibson SG Reissue Bass that I played was set up relatively well.
Regarding the electronics on the Gibson SG Reissue Bass, there are two pickups and two volume controls, and a master tone control. The neck pickup is a TB humbucking pickup, and it delivers that vintage deep bottom tone that was so popular in the 1960's and 1970's rock sound. The bridge pickup is a mini-humbucker. The addition of the tonal attributes of the bridge pickup in conjunction with the rich bottom end of the neck pickup, give the Gibson SG Reissue Bass that extra bit of versatility and tonal variation, which was lacking in some other Gibson Basses, such as the very popular Gibson EB-0, which had one pickup. One can blend the amount of volume between the two pickups, and increase the amount of mid-range presence by adding the tonal coloration of the bridge pickup.
Well how does the Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar sound, play, and feel? Well, the sound is very vintage and classic. It is not exactly like a Gibson EB-3 Bass, but then again how could it be without the varitone switch that the EB-3 had. However, the Gibson SG Reissue Bass Guitar must be judged on its own merits. This bass was able to give that rich, room filling, low end that many of the power trios of the 1960's had. One can get a sound that is very similar to Jack Bruce of the Cream, or Felix Pappalardi of Mountain. The sustain of this bass was also quite impressive. They were also no rattles, buzzes, or dead spots on the neck. This bass also held itself in tune very well, and did not require constant fine adjustments to maintain good tuning and proper pitch. Are there sonic limitations to this bass? Absolutely there are. One should not expect to get a funky sound out of this bass, as might readily be obtained with a Fender Precision Bass. A good slap bass sound is also not something you should expect. What you should expect is a classic Gibson bass sound, such as would be expect to hear from a performer like Jack Bruce. Every instrument has its limitations, as does every player. In the hands of a skilled musician, this bass will deliver the sound it was meant to deliver. As to the feel and playability of this bass, well it is very ergonomically constructed. The Gibson SG Reissue Bass is well balanced, light in weight, and it feels comfortable to play in either a seated or standing position. Because the Gibson SG Reissue Bass has a short scale neck, as well as a fast thin neck, it would also be a very good bass for a person who is short in stature or who may have small hands. The bottom line for me is that I liked this bass very much.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.
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