G&L SB-2 (tribute) in aggressive or fast music?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HeavyGroove, May 26, 2020.

  1. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    So I'm planning on giving the G&L Tribute SB-2 a shot. I play an Ibanez SR1800 with stock Nordstrand Big Singles in it, but play with the blend at 80/20 (neck/bridge) nearly all the time. I got to thinking that maybe I've really wanted a P or P/J all this time.

    Since I can't really try any out right now, I was going to order one from Sweetwater and give it a shot. That said, I've only found one demo on youtube where its featured in harder music, and it sounds amazing:

    I understand that most people don't play this type of music, but it makes it tough when trying to research an instrument from afar. I can't count how many TB threads I've gone through trying to give myself a good idea of the tone, but words can be fleeting and just blend together after a while.

    I still have some time until the new shipment comes in for them, but can anyone give me some more insight on how the tribute SB-2 performs in this type of music? Can it get that "solo'd neck J PUP" tone? does it hold notes tight even when slightly mellowed out?

    Thanks in advance!

    p.s. I know "any bass can be used for metal" ;)
    Vinny_G likes this.
  2. Mannn sometimes finding info specific to aggressive/heavy music is purt-near impossible on TB. I feel for you

    I have a SB-2 tribute. It’s sweet. Super easy to get around the neck (I sanded it and put some carnauba wax on it to facilitate even more), and it plays nicely with my pedals and amp. I call the tone “muscular”.

    On my board, I have an always-on Darkglass B7K. I use an Aguilar Agro when I need to go full metal bass for an almost “articulate grindcore” type sound (without the crappy fuzz) and that sounds gnarly. To me, this combo does the grit you want from a Sansamp metal sound, but on fire and with sharks.

    It is, notably, both my drummer and my guitarists’ favorite, more favored than either of my active basses. Sits in the mix like a friendly fat guy in a mosh pit.

    I play exclusively with a pick, tend to roll off treble on my amp, and use a Mesa M Pulse 600 head (solid state with tubes in the preamp) into a 2x12 custom cab.

    I play punk that verges on hardcore, but mostly listen to metal and have an ear for that type of tone.

    the SB-2 can definitely do it. If you like a thicker, beefier distorted bass tone rather than a scooped, thin Ibanez SR-type bass sound, it’ll kick ass.

    8 months late, but hope this helps you and/or others!
    BassTheory, filler83 and HeavyGroove like this.
  3. to answer your questions more specifically, the sb-2 tribute’s jazz pickup is more for color than soloing. It’s not great by itself; the P is definitely the heart of the bass and why it sounds good. If you want solo J sounds, this might not be your bass. You could likely use the J volume to mellow the P to get a necky warm sound. Overall, it’s rather articulate unless the J is turned all the way off. I think you’d probably be able to blend it to the tone you’re describing (if you’re still considering)
    Crater and HeavyFingers like this.
  4. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Hahaha, I really appreciate the reply (and know what you mean)! Since then it's been a rollercoaster of getting a horrible SB-2 Tribute (big thread about it), sending it back to Sweetwater and landing a used '94 USA SB-2 from a fellow TBer (same color scheme as a black tribute). It has a bit of a darker tone than what I remember of the Tribute (natural result of same pickups but older) and is a bit heavier (9lbs 7oz) but it absolutely slays!

    I go 100% P-pup for a harsher more cutting tone and blend in the J-pup for a more old-school sabbath tone. In the last few months I've also switched over to pick playing and it's such a powerful combo (as you know). It's got such a sweet clean tone through my Quilter Bass Block 800 and the pedals I've also accumulated over that time give it a brutal fuzz tone (the orange overdrive pedal in the picture doesn't add anything to the tone, so I'm not using it).

    Attached Files:

    BigCactus likes this.
  5. Saweeeet. How do you like the USA? Apart from darkness in tone (to me, a benefit), the only other difference I’ve read about is a smaller more traditional 9.5” fretboard radius in the USA, 12” in the tribute.

    pick playing with a P style pickup is so powerful. I’ve been reading about using flatwounds with the sb2 to take off some treble zing and keep all the power
  6. HeavyGroove

    HeavyGroove Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    TBH, I'm kinda split on the neck. "In the hand," it is absolutely one of the best feeling and comfortable necks to hold. The smaller radius is noticable for me, though. I've compared doing quick runs between the 10th - 7th frets on the SB-2 and my Ibanez (not sure of the radius but flatter) and it's noticeably easier on the Ibanez. It's not a show stopper, as the rest of the positives outweigh that negative but if I were to order a fully custom SB-2 it would have the 12" radius.

    I actually went through that flatwound journey and the EB Chrome Flats sound and feel amazing for flats. They still got hidden in the mix after a while, though. I've landed on the newer Rotosound UltraMag strings (round wound) and think they are perfect for pick playing. They retain the round wound grunt/grind but have that treble roll-off you are looking for. The only downside is that they are pretty pricey.
    BigCactus likes this.