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G&L Tribute SB-2 vs. G&L American SB-2

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Caleb Mills, May 5, 2015.

  1. Tribute SB-2 for $550 w/ return policy

  2. American SB-2 $750 w/ no return policy

  1. So, I've been interested in trying the G&L SB-2 for a while now. Seen a lot of great things about them here on TB. I'm traditionally a Fender P Bass guy, but the added J bass pickup in the bridge does appeal to me. I have seen a lot of people say that you just have to play an SB-2 to see if it's "you" or not.

    So I'm interested in buying one, and there are some Tribute SB-2's on Reverb running around $550, with a return policy so that if I don't like it I can send it back. But then there's this American SB-2 for sale on Reverb for $750 plus shipping from a private seller, there isn't a return policy. If I don't like it, I can't send it back and I'm stuck with an SB-2 that I don't like, then there's the hassle of selling and whatnot.

    So what do you all think I should do? Is the American worth the risk and $200 extra dollars?
  2. Also, the American SB-2 in question has a Pickup selector switch, and is volume-tone instead of volume-volume, which is cool.

    I guess I should've mentioned that I'm playing through an Ampeg SVT-3Pro and an Ampeg 8x10 fridge. I play punk, rock, alt rock, indie rock, and church music (like Hillsong, not hymns).
  3. Asat77


    Apr 29, 2015
    I should'nt take the risk. I should try the tribute first. I don't know how different the tributes are as from the American's. I've tested several G&L basses and they all sound different.
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    on the flip side, just because you can't return the other bass does not mean you can't flip it here. you'd have the box and everything for shipping already!
    davedblyoo and Tbone76 like this.
  5. Word. I'm sure someone would take it off my hands pretty quickly.
  6. RedHotFuzz


    Mar 16, 2014
    For only $200 extra, I'd definitely go with the USA model!
  7. I guess it is sort of a no brainer. Plus it comes with a hard shell case... I could probably off-load it here on TB pretty quickly if I don't like it, like yodedude2 said.
  8. NightCat


    Apr 4, 2013
    If you don't like the American SB-2 maybe you should switch to harmonica or something...
    <Just kidding>

    Tone control... Pffftttt.. SB-2's don't need no steenkin' tone control!
  9. Haha, I can always borrow my fiance's recorder if I need to...

    I think it gives me peace of mind having a tone just because I've played a P for 12 years...
    NightCat likes this.
  10. Without a tone knob I'd be like
  11. NightCat


    Apr 4, 2013
    Not to start this debate again because I think you do what you want to your own instrument, and I realize that some of the deeper dubby reggae tones are hard to get without the tone knob.
    BUT... I think having no tone control knob forces you to listen to how the two pickups interact and load each other. It also keeps you from thinking that this is just another Fender PJ bass. The SB-2 is it's own kinda monster. Let it be unique. Let it cut through the mix with the subtlety of a Mac Truck or lay in the groove like an old friend.

    I don't think I have ever played the Tribute version of the SB-2. I would suspect they would sound exactly the same and feel very similar.
    eff-clef and Mike Goebel like this.
  12. I don't have any friends that lay in my grooves though... Okay, I'll stop with the jokes. Anyway, I can definitely see your point. I've read a bunch of stuff about how using the volume knob for the Jazz pickup dramatically changes the tone of the bass, much like a tone knob would. Although, the pickup selector mod on the American SB-2 in question is a pretty cool feature as well, although I know that having a volume for each pickup is basically the same exact thing...
  13. Mike Goebel

    Mike Goebel

    Mar 26, 2015
    I agree with most everyone here that the US model is the way to go. I have a mid 90s L2000 US model and it is such a beautifully crafted instrument that I could tell right away when I picked up the tribute version a year or so ago, there was something not quite right about it in comparison. Also, NightCat is totally right - having that tone control is going to really help you shape the instrument's sound in a totally different way and force you to hear how the pickups work together.

    I'm sure whatever you get used to will feel right in your hands after a while, but one thing I can tell you for certain is that if/when it comes time to sell the bass to upgrade or get something different, whether that is days, weeks, months or years after getting it, the investment in the US model is going to be worthwhile because it will hold its value better. With the tribute, I would imagine you'd be lucky to get a couple hundred back when it's time to sell. Food for thought.
    Caleb Mills likes this.
  14. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    20150411_143309. 20150309_082309. The only way you take the Tribby is if the USA was drugged behind a truck down what is left of Route 66 and then there's a good chance it would still be in tune so it's still a better buy.
    I have two USA 2500s so I may be a little bais.:)
    20150411_143309. 20150309_082309.
    rusted247 likes this.
  15. RedHotFuzz


    Mar 16, 2014
    You can always add a tone control to the SB-2 if that really does turn out to be an issue (which I doubt it will).
  16. I think you've sold me on the US model, man. Although the US model I'm eyeing has the pickup selector and the tone knob. I guess I could always rewire it back to stock volume-volume, but that seems like a hassle to get less options, so what would be the point?
  17. Yeah, this American SB-2 already has a tone knob and a three-way pickup selector switch installed.
  18. As a matter of fact, the description LITERALLY says "I found this SB-2 after it had been dragged behind a truck down what is left of Route 66 and there's a good chance it is still in tune, so..." ;)

    But seriously, it's in great shape. Probably am going to pull the trigger on it knowing that I can sell it to another Tb'er for a great price (for both of us) rather quickly.
  19. Got a question... The guy selling isn't the original owner, so he doesn't know. The American has a maple fret board, but it doesn't have the guide dots on the frets on the front. Is that normal for older (this one is a 2006) G&L's, or does that sound like a replacement neck?
  20. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    the g&ls can be ordered with a ton of options, therefore, you see different necks, finishes, and woods all the time, my sb-2 is a plane jane musician's friend special that i picked up super cheap at the height of the recession, it's the most stable and trouble free instrument i've ever had, all i need to do is restring it for my projects, hi beams - goth industrial, xl 170s - punk/hardcore, and la bellas - early 60s vibe

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