My model is a 2013 USA-made one with swamp ash body and rosewood fretboard. It was in basically new condition, doesn't look like it was removed from the case.
Construction quality is excellent. I can't find any flaws. Fit and finish is excellent. I'm extremely impressed with the necks on these. It's fast, can take low action, and even if you slam the strings it doesn't buzz.
I personally like the sound, but I could see that being subjective. This bass has output similar to an active bass, but it's totally passive. The pickups can be harsh and are really, really loud if you don't dial the volume back a little.
I don't think it's fair to say this bass is "less versatile" than a P-bass. It's more like a P-bass on steroids. My take on it is you are suppose to favor the P pickup and the J pickup volume IS your tone knob. It's a bass for P-bass players that don't typically roll their tone below half way and would like having a bit more top-end to be available as needed.
You can get a surprising array of tones with this bass just with two volumes.
So far I've tried :
1. 80% P pickup -> Vintagey Precision with tone @ 5-7
2. 100% P pickup -> Hot, biting Precision
3. 100% P 80% J -> My favorite, sounds like a P with more punch
4. 100% P 100% J -> Cops a hot Jazz sound
5. 80% P 85% J -> Cops a vintagey Jazz sound
6. 80% P 100% K -> Really biting with a little low-end support
7. 100% J -> Not that useful, too harsh
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 12, 2015
- Build Quality:
- + Minimalist. Powerful pickups, sounds like an active bass. Can pull a typical P-bass sound if you roll the volume down a bit. For being a PJ the J pickup lacks the hum of a vintage style single coil pickup.
- - No tone knob
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Apr 3, 2011
- Build Quality:
- + Great neck, great finish, awesome sound
- - poor case
I have 2 early 90s SB-2s and love them both. They have the 1.5" rosewood neck. I also have 2 1st Gen SB-2s and it's a tough call which ones I like better. Both generations are great with the better finish on the 2nd generation. Some folks don't like the "only" 2 volume controls with no tone control, but I think Leo designed these that way for a reason. I can get all the tones I need out of balancing the 2 pickup volumes. Granted, I use it for Pop an alt. rock primarily. They stay in tune forever and have a great bridge for setting up the action just the way you want it. For this sound the SB-2 MFDs rule. I haven't found anything I like better. I have a hard time chosing between the gen 1 and gen 2s, but it's great to have a choice, and usually the old ones win by a hair.
Warm and punchy
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Mar 24, 2009
- Build Quality:
- + Simplicity; ergonomics
- - Lacks tonal variety
According to G&L's serial number archive, my SB2 was made in 1993. The fit and finish of this bass is superb, and feels like a nicely broken-in baseball glove in my hands.
When I first got it, I tried to turn it into something that it’s not: a Jazz-sounding bass. I tried soloing the bridge pickup so that it can sound somewhat like a Jazz, but with no success. If anything, the bridge pickup is more for tonal control.
However, once I’ve accepted the SB2 for the Precision-like vibe that it brings, I began to love it. As everybody have mentioned, the split-coil is the primary pickup, and the tone it produces carry a lot of girth, including the ones produced by the G string. This bass doesn't give you many choices in terms of tonal variety, but it cuts through with authority in a band setting. If your guitarist suffers from questionable self-esteem, you may want to warn him about the force that this bass produces.
- No. of Frets:
- No. of Strings:
- Body Material:
- Alder on Standard and all solid finishes, Swamp Ash on all Premier finishes
- Neck Material:
- Hard-Rock Maple with choice of Maple or Rosewood fingerboard
- Body Finish:
- Standard finishes included
- G&L Saddle Lock
- G&L Magnetic Field split coil humbucking pickup in center position, with G&L Magnetic Field single coil in bridge position
- EQ / Controls:
- One volume control for each pickup, no tone control
- Other Specs:
- Older SB-2s had a G&L #6 neck as standard (1.5" nut width, 7.5" fretboard radius) and other necks have been seen on them as well.
The first generation SB-2 had two MFD single coil pickups, like a jazz bass.