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My First G&L

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by entisgood, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. entisgood


    Mar 14, 2010
    Made a little treasure find on Craig's list yesterday...

    Picked up what I think is a 1995 (by serial number B027064) G&L sb-2, MIA for only $450 w/ hsc. I've been GASing hard over an early 80s JJ style sb-2 but can't find one for sale for the right price. I was skeptical about the VV config of the modern sb-2s but when I saw this for $450 I couldn't resist.

    It's pretty clean and I think this bass is going to be a monster, but it needs some work, pickup heights need to be adjusted bc the neck pu clips my speakers when i dig in and the bridge pickup is kind of dull and quiet, sharp frets and the action is way too high. It's currently set up with flats that feel really tight and harder to play than my other basses with flats. Maybe I'm just starting to realize I like the way flats sound, but not the way they play.

    I don't mess with truss rods but I have an appointment with a reputable local repair guy when he gets back from NAMM. Even with my complaints about the setup and pickup heights, this thing sounds awesome, can't wait to get it playing and sounding the way it should.



    The a string kind of sits on top of the nut

  2. Clouz

    Clouz The Ayatollah of Jack and Cola

    Jan 26, 2013
    you stole that bad boy! nice!
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Man that is a beast!!!! congrats on a great bass I love maple necks
  4. DLaunder


    Sep 8, 2010
    Great score. I'm jealous!
  5. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    Try adjusting your amp setting before adjusting the pickup height. I treat mine as if it's an active bass even though it's not. The pickups are much hotter than any other passive bass I have. Also, I never turn the V/V knobs up to 10. I typically leave them at 8 at the most.

    The bridge pickup is meant to mainly be a tone control. It really isn't meant to be solo'ed.
  6. Shinbone


    Dec 21, 2006
    Orange Park, FL
    An MIA G&L for $450 is a great deal.
    Regarding the pickups; the neck pickups on these are very high output. Even if you lower it. I usually run mine with the volume turned down about half way. The bridge pickup is intended to be used more as a tone control by blending it with the neck pup. It won't sound very good on it's own.
  7. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    The early J/J pickup SB-2's sound completely different than the P/J models. The modern SB-2's sound like a supercharged P bass while the early ones sound more like a high output J bass. If you find one some day at the right price you won't have much overlap tone wise, if at all.
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Nice! First cousin to my SB-2. :D

    As has been suggested, if you're clipping your amp's input, turn down the input gain. Plug it into your Active input, if you have one and the input gain doesn't take of it by itself.

    When you adjust the volume knobs, it really affects the tone, so I would suggest playing with different volume settings to get the tone you want, then adjust your input gain to match. If you just always run it with the volume at 50% or 80%, you'll only ever be getting one tone out of many that are available to you.

    When I want my SB-2 to sound like a traditional Fender Precision, I just roll the P pickup volume down to roughly 75% and roll the J pickup volume off and it sounds exactly like a Fender P. But, with the P pickup turned up all the way, it has an aggressive edge to the P sound that I LOVE!

    When I first got my SB-2, I played with the 2 volume settings and was seriously impressed by all the different tones you can get just by doing that. Tip: The J pickup does not sound good soloed, BUT try it with the J pickup turned up all the way and the P pickup volume set almost, but not all the way, off. Say, somewhere between 10% and 25%. THAT is a sound I was not expecting to get!

    Anyway, when I first figured out all the different tones I can get, I also felt like I wanted a regular Tone knob to let me roll off some of the high end buzz or finger noise. Then I played it in a band setting and all the high end that I didn't want simply disappeared. No way I could hear it in the mix. At that point, I decided I did not need a Tone knob after all.

    However, a year or so passed and I decided that I wanted my SB-2 to be able to get that tone that you get with a Fender P with the Tone all the way off. That really thumpy sound is totally "right" for some songs or types of music. So, for about $15 in parts and a little quality time with my screw driver and soldering iron, I changed out my controls for 2 stacked pots and added a Master Volume and a Tone. I think it's an awesome mod, totally reversible, and totally worth the price of admission. Now, I can get any sound out of it that I could get with a regular Fender P, plus it has so many more tones available by cranking the P pickup volume and by adding in some (or a lot of) J pickup volume.

    Congrats on your steal of a deal!

  9. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    Congrats - I was working a shipped deal with the seller when he told me it had a neck screw pressing into the fretboard from the rear so he was gonna keep it as a beater. I guess honesty isn't the best policy in Brooklyn :rolleyes:

    Enjoy the SB2 - they are great
  10. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    IOW, this sounds normal for an SB-2.
  11. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ

    It's not a bass that you dime and go.
  12. entisgood


    Mar 14, 2010
    thanks for all the feedback and tone suggestions. Just want to clarify that only the e string is clipping when i dig in, which makes me think its a pole height issue.
  13. terranova


    Sep 9, 2011
    sometimes the magnets can grab the strings, not sure what the correct height is I just adjust for that.
  14. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    The MFD split-coil will put out a whole lotta bass - so it may just be that the E string is only one putting out enough signal to clip your amp. If it's out of balance from the rest you've got the pickup-half tilt/height screws and the pole pieces to adjust to get it balanced to your liking. That's one of the things I really like about the MFD split-coil, how much adjustability you have to get the balance just right for you.

    Also make sure the string isn't hitting the pole - that is a pretty nasty sound when that happens. Since it's passive there aren't any onboard electronics to clip (my L-series clip really easily when the batteries get weak).
  15. entisgood


    Mar 14, 2010
    Never heard that saying before, what does it mean?
  16. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    Dime = knobs all the way to 10

    The pickups are so hot that you need to take time to work out the settings that work for you. I got the same thing when I first had my SB2. I had to learn how to set the bass and the amp so that it worked with my playing style.
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Killer score, OP - congrats...

    - georgestrings
  18. ac11367

    ac11367 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Flushing, NY
    When I gig my SB-2, I usually have my amp volume at around 6 or 7 and my SB-2 volume at 25-30%
  19. audreycashin

    audreycashin Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    long island, ny
    a beauty! good luck with it!
  20. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    Congrats - lovely bass and great deal!