G&L JB-2 USA or Tribute, have option to buy both...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Vinnie Boombatz, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Inactive

    May 26, 2010
    Looking to change it up a bit and get some new tones since I currently own two Precisions. Found a couple G&L JB-2's locally, one USA made for $800, one 2017 Tribute with a hardshell case for $325.

    Is the USA model REALLY worth that much more?! I'm not a snob and have owned and currently own instruments made in the USA, MIM, CIJ, etc. My understanding is the pickups are identical, and so is the bridge. The Tribute is a natural finish, so I'm guessing it's swamp ash (that's what the G&L site says)

    They are located in opposite directions of each other, meaning it would be several hours drive in different directions to check them both out.

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  2. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Starke, FL
    Owner: JLA Custom In Ear Monitors
    That's up to you. My call, I'd get the tribute.
    Torrente Cro and sbpark like this.
  3. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    USA version will have lighter tuners for less neck dive. USA model may (maybe?) have a lighter body, esp. if it is one of the newer ones made from empress. USA version may have been plek'ed. Is it worth the $ difference? I dunno.
  4. oldrookie


    May 15, 2007
    Avon, IN
    Full disclosure--I am fanboy for G&L. The two I have owned have been excellent, high-quality basses for mid-range money.

    I've had two Tributes (L2000 and an L2500). Only sold the L2000 to fund the 2500. Still have the 2500. Great basses. Excellent build quality.

    Just messed about with a Tribute SB2 at a local store yesterday. Also excellent build quality and sound.

    None of three were particularly heavy.

    The only heavy Tribute I have ever hefted was an older L2000 and it truly did feel like a boat anchor. I think it was from the '90's. It never sold before the store went out of business and I'd bet it was the weight. I would not have purchased it either--and in fact, didn't. It was the first one I ever picked up and it turned me off of G&L for years. Nobody would want to play a full set with that around their neck.

    More experience says G&L figured that part out and since you've found these locally you can assess that before buying.

    None of three had any neck dive. The only differences I've ever noted--slightly better finish work on the USA version and the Tribute only has one size neck. You can order a thinner neck on the USA versions.

    The USA price you found is about what a L2500 Tribute runs new and a new JB2 Tribbie is about $450, so I'd bet that the USA version you found has been discounted more than the Tribute version. If that matters :).

    I guess it boils down to the question n1as posed. Is the better finish, lighter tuners and pleked fretwork worth it? It wasn't for me and I have not regretted my decision, but YMMV.
  5. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I paid $900 for my USA-made SB-2. Found it online at Guitar Center in Albuqurque. Put $400 down on it because the sales clerk there told me it was in perfect shape…he was right. Somehow the sales manager at my local GC talked them into shipping it to them even though it was still on layaway so I got to see it before paying it off. New, it would've been $1,500 and if I knew then what I know now, I still would've jumped on it.
    There was an SB-2 Tribute there the day I went to pick it up. Plugged it in and took it for a spin. Loved everything about it. Went back to buy it a week later… it was gone!
    If you're talking about buying both and having one as a backup, do it.
    If you can only buy one, get the USA made one. The price is still a bargain.
    I just paid $1,500 for an L 2000. Yes, I consider that a bargain.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  6. Sands

    Sands Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2016
    Foreign manufacturers cannot compete from this perspective:

    Labor laws
    Environmental / pollution regulations and laws

    They are able to do it more cheaply in other countries, at the expense of the environment and by paying workers a lot less than what you'd like to be paid for a day's work. Quality can be quite good now.

    Many foreign manufacturers do this while justifying such destructive practices by saying they are elevating their economy.

    I get that, but so often it seems imbalanced - impoverished workers, terrible working conditions, pollution, etc. it's hard to know what's happening there.

    Besides that, there are, what, forty million Americans out of work?

    Buy the one you want.

    Personally I'd probably pay more for Made in USA if the quality is there.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  7. TDR1138


    Apr 11, 2007
    On the JB-2, the pickups aren’t the same. The Tribute are made-to-spec, which is part of the reason the cost is so much lower than the other Tribute instruments. The catch is that they’re both the same size and would be subsequently harder to replace should you decide to do so. I don’t believe the US ones are the same size, but are more traditional J widths.

    As noted, finish, tuners, fretwork, etc will excel on the US model.

    I’ve had a few tributes and a few more US G&Ls. You can’t go wrong with either, but if you could afford it, I’d get the US model if I were in your shoes.
  8. Andy_D


    Nov 28, 2009
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I own a JB-2 Tribute. It was a very good bass out of the box. That being said it became an excellent bass after a fret dressing. This is not a bad thing and I think is to be expected on a budget priced bass. I got mine for $275 new so I can't complain. I have not found anything wrong with the pickups either. They are very good quality for the price range of this bass.

    Now all that being said if you are going to spend $800 on a Jazz Bass get a Bacchus. there is not much in it's price range compares. Absolute best bang for your buck on a jazz type bass. I own one and want another.
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