Old Yamaha SVG series bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cyco739z, Jan 31, 2014.


  1. cyco739z

    cyco739z Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Location:
    Boston
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    Boston Ma.
    The ones that look like they are melting and have a Samuri sword headstock... very unique. Can anyone help me with any info on this made in Japan bass. Anyone played, bought, or know anything of them?
    Value? Quality? Playability?
    Obviously, I'm thinking of buying one but have no idea.
    Thanks so much for any help
  2. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Not sure about the basses, but a friend used to use one of the guitars and it played great, sounded great, and nobody had any idea what kind of guitar it was.
  3. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
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    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    The originals or the reissues?
    I had a 68 version and it was.. Well.. Crap.

    I assume the reissues from the 90s are much better
  4. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member

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    Nov 5, 2004
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    Mount Vernon, Illinois
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    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Although I have no first-hand experience with these, I have also heard that the re-issues were a LOT better quality than the originals.

    I think they look cool, I'd probably buy one of I ever came across a good deal on one, but I doubt it would become a main-player. It LOOKS to be a neck-diver.
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  6. cyco739z

    cyco739z Supporting Member

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    Mar 25, 2013
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    this one would be an older model made in Japan. I read they are of high quality, but really don't know.I was looking at it to get some different tones for recording. my guess would be that it is a well balanced bass due to the on shape because it had to be a major factor when designing such a unique shaped body. I don't think that neck dive would be a problem with that little stick head stock. but like I said I really don't know and I'm just speculating.
    anyone know what these things are worth? not the reissue but an original?
  7. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    The bass you're looking for is a Yamaha SB-5A.

    One recently sold on ebay for $500 shipped.


    [​IMG]



    Like mr.mow above, most first hand accounts of the original examples from the late 60's have them as terrible instruments. Very cool looking, but they're poorly built and sound bad.







    I can tell you first hand, this is NOT the case with the made-in-Taiwan reissue, the Yamaha SBV-500.

    [​IMG]

    I bought one on a lark a few years ago, and was stunned to find that this bass was beautifully built and sounded great.
  8. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne
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    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    Yeah trust me.. The originals are a novelty but horribly engineered, the saddles don't really offer enough break angle so they scoot around, the bridge is really flexy metal so will bend when screwed down, the pickups are weak and thin etc etc.

    The reissues are way way better.

    Classic example of 'just cos it's old doesn't make it good' and 'just cos it's japanese doesn't make it good'.. Remember the Japanese didn't really begin turning out great instruments until about 72-75
  9. cyco739z

    cyco739z Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Location:
    Boston
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    Boston Ma.
    Agreed with the time frame on the Japan quality. I love M.I.J. Fender products and love my 1973 Electra/Westone Jazz, but some of the earlier stuff was less than playable. I have decided to pass on this one.
    Thanks to Everyone for the great input!

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