SG Standard Bass review by Gibson

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (9 votes)
Gibson: SG Standard Bass

Purchased from: MusicMaker Dublin IRL

Features — 9
My bass, purchased in Sept. 2013, used but mint, was made in USA in 2010. It is a short-scale (30,5") set-neck bass with two-piece mahogany body and neck and rosewood fingerboard. The finish is a matt cherry stain, a faded finish. The bass has the classic SG shape and two volume controls and a master tone for the reassuringly large (neck) HB pickup and smaller bridge HB. Mine had been fitted with a Hipshot Supertone bridge which is supposed to improve the sound. The only flaw was a broken con lock on the black Gibson case, but for this price.

Sound — 9
I play rock, country and Great American Songbook (Jazz) with my SG Bass. Through a GK MB-150E and satellite 12" GK box, in effect a mini-rig. I only use one FX pedal, a SansAmp Tech 21 Bass Driver to warm and fatten the tone where required. My reason for writing this review is that this model has largely been the subject of negative reviews. I would like to help correct this. This bass is versatile and covers very well a number of styles. I do not agree that it's "muddy" but yes, it has a deep bass sound-which appears to me to be the point of bass, anyway! I have found this bass at home on different kinds of gigs. Remember, your amp settings are crucial in any event.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
As I bought it used, all I had to do was tweak the action and truss-rod to suit my kind of playing. I'm a light player who let the amp do the work for me. I tightened the neck HB screws as there was a slight rattle, but everything else was as it should be. The two pieces of mahogany were not bookmatched and the finish had set differently on each part. This is pronounced at the rear of the bass. However, that's an aesthetic issue and I really cannot complain about my SG as I picked it up for the price of a budget instrument.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This is a well-built and incredibly light bass (mine weighs... 6lb. 10oz!)and is an uncomplicated guitar with good-quality components that I believe will outlast me! The bass has picked up a few small dings, due to the inherent softness of mahogany but if anything the faded finish copes well with dings-they'd look a lot worse on a gloss nitro finish. I have no idea how long the finish will last, nor do I particularly care. I would depend totally on this bass and I have never brought a backup to a gig.

Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for over 20 years and at my age I appreciate the short scale and ease of playing. It is not a Fender and it is pointless to reference it against J & P basses. It is a light, playable, high-quality musical instrument with a voice that's as valid today as it was in the '60s. I love to gig it, and if it were stolen, I would buy another. There is a fancier version with gloss finish and fingerboard inlays that costs 60% more but having played this also, I honestly don't hear the difference. Gibson's SG Faded Bass has to be, all things considered, the very best-value quality US-made bass you can buy and that's saying something.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought a used one (2013 Standard (confirmed) - faded cherry) that had a Hipshot bridge installed. I reinstalled the original bridge to compare and I can say that without a doubt the sustain improved noticeably with the Hipshot. The was a little rattle coming from the bridge pup that was solved by tightening the screws under the strings. A LOT of tone options with the 2 TBird pups. The neck width at the nut is 1.6". The nitro-cellulose finish is a little rough if you pass a cloth over it, it will tend to slightly "catch" on the fibers but it allows the wood to breathe, supposedly a good thing per Gibson. I wanted a good short scale and it fulfills all my expectations. 4/5.
    I have a problem with the second review. I actually happen to think the bass in question is NOT an SG standard bass but the SG special bass. Why? Because only the special comes with a satin finish, the standard (heritage cherry) has always had a gloss finish.