Bittersweet NBD - G&L Tribute SB-2 - being too picky?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HeavyGroove, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    So yesterday I received a G&L Tribute SB-2 from Sweetwater. This was the first time I had ever purchased a bass going in "blind," so my fingers were crossed.

    The Good:
    -I didn't pay for the special setup treatment from Sweetwater but it was very playable out of the box. I'll be dropping the strings a bit lower but I was very impressed. Even if I kept the string height, I was going to drop the pickups anyway - my fingers are hitting them on a regular basis.

    -The tone of the P pickup solo'd & dimed is absolutely crushing. Just chunky, tight and angry low end. The type of sound where riding the E string just makes you want to put on your angry face! I'm still messing around with rolling on the tone/bridge knob but I'm not sure how much I'll use it with how much I love the full P tone.

    -The neck is very comfortable to play. It has the same 1.5 nut width as my Ibanez but is a bit more thick as you head down the fretboard (no issues, though).

    The OK:
    -They said the weight was around 9lbs, which didn't see too bad. Compared to my Ibanez it feels like a big difference, though. Just something I'll have to get used to.

    The Bad:
    -I read some threads on here that at some point in the last few years, the QC of the tribute models has seen a downturn. I dismissed it, but it happened to me as well. I don't want to make a blanket statement as this is the first one I've seen in real life, but it is what it is - disappointing. I know the Tribute line isn't their premium line, but they're not cheap bases either.

    I'll attach the pictures but, here is the laundry list:
    -Some type of grit (almost looks like sandpaper grit pressed into it) on the neck between the 1st and 3rd fret.
    -3-4 rough spots on the neck (including the one above)
    -A corner of the pick guard is completely off of the surface.
    -One of the neck plate screws was driven in off-center.
    -The curve of the headstock is rough (still has tooling marks) and doesn't look straight.
    -A minor scuff of the paint on one of the corners (normally I would overlook this, but it just added to everything else).

    I contacted my sales rep and he asked if the box was beaten up - nope, just a minor dent or two on the exterior box and the insides were pristine. He's going to have the support team reach out to me and take care of things. Honestly, everything is cosmetic so I'd rather just keep it and get a partial refund. That said, I feel like this bass should have been listed a B-stock and priced as such.

    Based on the pictures, what do you folks think?
    IMG_20200617_201239~2.jpg IMG_20200617_201308~2.jpg IMG_20200617_201333~2.jpg IMG_20200617_201356~3.jpg IMG_20200617_202307~2.jpg IMG_20200617_202800~2.jpg IMG_20200618_033230~2.jpg IMG_20200618_133953~2.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  2. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Suggest you return and exchange a good one.
    I can't accept the neck plate off center screw and rough headstock job.
    petch, db59, Sloppy Hack and 32 others like this.
  3. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Yeah, that is probably the right thing to do. That said, it took a few weeks for Sweetwater just to get 2 of these basses in before doing their inventory and eventually shipping it to me. Shipping it back and waiting who knows how long makes me hesitant. I went with Sweetwater b/c I was hoping that their inspection process would have caught something like this.

    In your opinion, if they would do a partial refund, how much would seem reasonable?
    dkelley likes this.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I've never had a Tribute but even for the G&L name you're right to expect a better quality instrument. The neck roughness would bother me. The construction details you show probably don't impact the function but don't hesitate to send it back if you don't love it. Sweetwater takes good care of their customers. That's why they are doing so well.
  5. BadJazz

    BadJazz Totally Elite Hyper-Member Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Eugene, Oregon
    That's sub-par on a Glarry, IMO. I'd demand a full exchange or refund.

    Further, my only ever b-stock was a G&L JB-2 from a now-defunct site for $289 shipped. The only issues were one or two neck screws were off like on OPs bass, and the headstock logo was slightly blurry. Kept it with a smile.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  6. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile, ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Those are factory second level defects IMO. I'd send it back. I'd expect some of that on a bottom end squier that cost a couple hundred, not on a tribute.
  7. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    For everyone saying send it back, would there be any amount of partial refund you would accept (if you were to keep it) or would you not risk possible issues in the future?
  8. Not for me. Back it would go without any consideration of a partial refund.

  9. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    It's really quite simple...send it back!
    Obviously, Hank or Gus or Ronnie was asleep at the switch.

    Sweetwater's 55-point Inspection
    Taking the guesswork out of buying your next guitar online.

    Our detailed 55-point Inspection ensures that each instrument valued $299 and above is shipped in factory-fresh condition and ready to play. Plus, our professional technicians, inspectors, and luthiers are trained in factory specifications and tolerances and steeped in years of customer feedback.

    You can count on the fact that they have looked at every aspect of that guitar or bass, from the input jack to the headstock, the same way you would in a store. And each instrument ships with its own individually signed certificate of inspection, giving it our personal seal of approval that the instrument meets or exceeds factory standards.

    The 55-point Inspection* Checklist:

    Handling 24-hour climate acclimation & professional handling
    Inspect case/gig bag interior & exterior
    Verify contents & accessories
    Cosmetic and Construction Inspection
    Inspect & polish body
    Fingerboard surface
    Neck & neck joint
    Plastic parts
    Hardware Check
    Motion/vibration test
    Tuning machines
    Strap buttons
    Truss rod cover
    Output jack
    Pickup screws & rings
    Neck joint screws/bolts
    String trees
    Battery compartment
    Locking nut

    Electronics Testing
    Output jack & plug fit
    Pickup switching
    Pickup splitting/tapping
    Onboard tuner & battery
    Electric pickups
    Acoustic pickups
    Onboard preamp
    Onboard effects
    13-pin pickup
    Playability Check
    Check tuning machines & tune to pitch
    Stretch strings & tune to pitch
    String & saddle position
    Neck relief
    FretsAction height
    Pickup height
    Tremolo system
    Play test all notes on the fretboard
    Play test a variety of half- & whole-step bends
    Play test a variety of chords & styles
    Tune and Polish
    Tune to pitch
    Polish instrument
    Inspect/refresh packing material, as needed
    Professional repack
    Store in climate-controlled warehouse
    Double-box for shipping

    I own four basses right now, all bought online, all arrived exactly as they should have.
    I've heard more good things about Sweetwater than bad, but I simply buy elsewhere.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
    el jeffe bass and vid1900 like this.
  10. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Yeah, there was a hand filled out card inside of the box, but its not like I had to hunt to find these issues.

    It looks like the overwhelming consensus is to send it back. I'll see what they say about turnaround time etc. Thank for the input everyone! I'll update the thread when there if more info.
  11. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    As for your initial choice, I came this close to buying this on Monday...just because of the woodgrain!
    Yes, I was definitely willing to take a chance and buy it without trying it.
    selowitch, Qlanq, kwdhsk and 11 others like this.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I would say 35% to 40% would be fair because you're going to take a hit if you sell it. Here are the stats from Reverb.

    Transaction History
    Date Condition Sold Price
    3/7/2020 Excellent $395
    1/24/2020 Excellent $595
    1/17/2020 Excellent $475
    8/18/2019 Excellent $375
    7/14/2019 Excellent $300
    1/16/2019 Excellent $415
    1/14/2019 Very Good $290
    9/14/2018 Excellent $349
    8/28/2018 Very Good $455
    8/22/2018 Excellent $479.99
  13. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I've gambled on so many basses over the years and never lost.
    Why can't that happen when I'm at the casino or horse track?
    mikewalker, Nedmundo and Spidey2112 like this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Here's the thing about Sweetwater (in my experience). If there ever is an issue, they fall all over themselves to make it right. We ordered a digital piano for my girls for Christmas. (Firdt off, Phillip put together a killer discount package for me, AND threw in a really nice pair of free headphones I didn't even ask for.) When I went to assemble the bench, it was cracked. This was a few days before Christmas. I called Phillip. When I told him what was going on, all he said was "Is this the best number to reach you at? You'll be getting a couple on calls in the next few minutes." Five minutes later, I got a call from the vendor who made the bench. They wanted to know where to rush my bench to. Two days later, TWO benches arrived. Phillip would let me return the extra one. (Now I have two extra comfy padded seats in my jam room, because the cracked on still functions fine.) During all of this, Phillip and two other people at Sweetwater called me several times to make sure I got the bench and that I was satisfied.

    Sure, that's
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Whether you ultimately decide you want to return it or will be satisfied with a partial refund Sweetwater will make it right for you. No worries.
  16. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Yes, that's what I've heard.
    I don't buy basses from them simply because they don't have what I want, same goes for Zzounds or AMS .
    I'd have no problem buying an amp there, though
    HeavyFingers and two fingers like this.
  17. Haha yea right. Out of every squier I have owned, (a few) I’ve never had a neck screw like that, or pick guard either. Or nearly any of the issues You have on this bass. In fact I just received a 2000 squier MB5 that is near perfect. I mean it’s not even faded or scratched Up.
    Also I bought an offshore Zon last year and it had a screw or two on the back plate a little crooked but that doesn’t bother me. The one on the pickguard Is ridiculous.
    What I would point out To SW also is, if they are paying someone to inspect every bass, then they are getting ripped ofF. I mean really folks how many basses does the guy inspect every day that he couldn’t catch at least a couple of those and bring it to someone’s attention. Common man. In summation, yea send it back. Also if you still like the bass enough to keep it, you can wait for another and then you will LOVE one that’s put together right.
  18. In my experience the condition is not normal or acceptable for a G&L Tribute. I own two, models L-2500 and M-2500 and quality is excellent for both.
    Send it back and have them send another.
    HeavyFingers likes this.
  19. Bass Man Dan

    Bass Man Dan Endorsing Artist: Ned Flanders' Bass-a-Reeno

    Oct 20, 2017
    I always imagine I'm writing a for sale ad for my bass. How do I feel about it's value after I disclose and photograph all the flaws? If I paid full retail, there should not be any disclosure-worthy flaws on a brand new bass.
  20. You know, you sound more interested in getting some money back. That's ok too. It really depends on you.

    I have no idea how much they would give you back, though. They would be cutting into their profits, while if they send you a new one, they are likely going to be sending this back to G&L.

    FWIW, I bought a SB-2 Trib like yours, sight unseen. It was very well constructed, came in at 8.4lbs. So if you do send it back, it is entirely possible that you get something back that is perfect. There are subpar Tributes, that's true. I own 4 Tribs (7 G&Ls altogether) and none have had even one of the issues of yours. I'm not saying this to be mean, just for you to know that it is completely possible that if you get another one, you will get one that is pretty much perfect.

    Up to you!
    HeavyFingers and Rabidhamster like this.