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G&L SB-2 as P alternative...? Sounds similar? How much weighs?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ProfFrink, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. ProfFrink


    Jan 16, 2015
    I've been really wanting to get myself a nice good quality bass capable of a good P sound and I think I can now justify the purchase ($1-2k), but I have a few limitations:
    • Where I live there isn't much stock available to try out hands-on. E.g. an SB-2 will only be available as a special order, so I can't really try any.
    • I don't think I can justify having just the "P". I need some flexibility, so a P/J config seems like a good idea. I've found that some good bridge-pup grind is the best way for me to "cut".
    • I'm playing lefty, so there aren't many options in the good-quality / $1-2k range.
    ... so ... I've been eying the SB-2 (US-made). I like what I hear in the YT demos, but I have a few questions:
    • How close does it actually come to a "classic" Fender P sound? What I think I'm hearing in the demos is a somewhat more aggressive tone, in a sort of undefinable sort of aggressiveness.
    • How heavy are these? I'm having trouble with my heavier basses, and fear that a heavier beast will not get much love. I always end up gravitating towards my lighter basses.
    Would appreciate any insights
    metron likes this.
  2. somebrains

    somebrains Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2017

    There was an 81 in my area with lawsuit headstock & mahogany body for $650
    ProfFrink and metron like this.
  3. metron


    Sep 12, 2003
    Lb-100 is a good suggestion for classic P.

    I have an SB-2 and I love it. Not really a classic P sound though. The MFD is grindy sounding solo and the single coil mixed in makes it very middy. Also, the P location is a little closer to the bridge than a standard P which adds mids. You could tame it a bit with flats or tapewounds and a tone control.

    Mine is heavy but its a little older. I see they are making them lighter these days. If you order one, they may try to reasonably accommodate weight requests. Empress wood pretty much guarantees light weight but its an upcharge.
    jd56hawk and ProfFrink like this.
  4. Gee Man

    Gee Man

    Nov 2, 2016
    W. MA.
    While not familiar with their bass line, I have owned more than a few ASATs, and the pickups are like, hyper hifi. With that said, I found that if you roll off the volume a bit, you can get great classic tones out of them. I would be surprised if the basses weren't similar.
    ProfFrink likes this.
  5. gunai


    Dec 22, 2016
    As a lefty player who also happens to live somewhere with a very limited availability of instruments and international special order being the only option...
    After considering the three 'P' models by G&L I ended up opting to get the SB-1, which I've had for about 3 months now. I'm very happy with it.

    In my experience, while the MFD can be aggressive, they aren't necessarily so, the pick-up is very reactive to one's playing.

    Here's Dan Lutz demoing his instrument, showcasing its versatility in character.

    You can expect similar behavior from the neck pick-up in the SB-2. However, keep in mind that you'd need reverse audio taper pots, being a lefty, to have any real usage of the knobs. This goes for the stated (and factual) slight roll off resulting in a more mellow/classic character.

    Regarding weight, mine is ash bodied and is a tad lighter than my Ibanez SR300EL, very comfortable and well balanced. I suspect G&L would accommodate you asking for a lightweight bass, as well.
    ProfFrink likes this.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I've had an SB-2 since 2007, and have owned a few Fender Precisions as well. The G&L MFD split-coil is just a monster, with very high output and a wide frequency response. It produces a bigger, heavier version of P-bass tone, similar to a DiMarzio Model P pickup, but with more vintage warmth IMO. When you roll back the volume, it gets much closer to traditional P-bass tone. In fact, years ago, someone on TB posted sound clips of an SB-2 with the split-coil's volume rolled back and a vintage P, and they sounded almost identical. I like the MFD slam, so I usually keep it up full, but it really does sound great rolled back a little.

    The bridge pickup adds some treble bite, which can be useful. When both pickups are up full, it scoops the tone a little bit, like turning both pickups full on any other P/J bass or J-bass. It does produce single coil hum, but not very much IME. You can also order an SB-2T, which comes with a tone control from the factory.

    Mine is typical weight for an alder bass, about 9.3 pounds. If you want it light, order empress wood for the body, and it should be around eight pounds.
    ProfFrink likes this.
  7. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    Sooooo I had an SB-2 fretless... and I currently have an 87' SB-1 Fretted. LOVED them both but they are still distinctly different from that fender P bass sound. Somewhat more aggressive in a strange way but I love them. However.... if I were looking for a P bass in your budget, Id be scouring the net for used Mike Lull P4 basses. They are just amazing and nail that proper P tone.
    ProfFrink likes this.

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