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NBD G&L JB Vintage White w/Nitrocellulose Finish

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Max, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA

    So I am a big G&L Fanboy. The red metallic LB-100 in my avatar and pictured below is the best P bass I have ever owned. Alnico pup but for reasons unknown, it's hotter than a couple of SB-2's I have had. Everyone I have played with loves this bass as much as me. Quartersawn neck and the six counter set screws are far better IMO than Am.Std Fenders.

    Wanting a Jazz to go with my P, I ordered a new JB from Riff City for $1200 on a last day of the year special sale they were having. These are retailing for around $1749. Rocket Music has one and there is a thread on TB talking about these special runs. I did some due diligence and was aware that nitro finishes get mixed reviews. (They're an unnecessary gimmick, poly finishes are more durable etc.) Still, the concept of me playing for another 25 years and having something genuinely relic'd quicker appealed to me. So I went for it.

    So here's my review. Neck is as always, fabulous. Playable, plek'd, great action. These runs don't have quartersawn necks, but it's a great neck nevertheless.

    Yes, Nitros scratch EASILY. Good grief. I've scratched the headstock swapping strings, and there are a couple of dimples in the body already. And yes, the smell is divine. Yes, it feels more brittle, thinner, more resonant.

    Downsides: there is a stickiness to the finish I notice in the neck. I don't know whether that's because it's new? Still has to dry? Goes away after a while? Who knows. But it's a different, somewhat tackier feel than a poly finish. AND, there is a hard spray spot in the curve of the lower bout. Like the spray gun lingered a little too long. Looks like it was dabbed with a sponge. Not really noticeable, and as stated above, it practically self scuffs. It's not returnable at this point.

    Fit in the neck pocket is not as snug as my LB-100.

    Biggest disappointment is the pickups are, to me, thin. The JB pickups are marketed as vintage, and I don't really have anything to compare it to. I have had a couple of USA Fender Jazz basses that were pre 2012 and did not have the custom shop pickups. They did the Jazz sound, but deeper. I need to experiment with strings. But as God as my witness, I think the pickups sound better . . . in my Squire VM Jazz 77.

    So it plays great. Neck is great. Tuners are great. Bridge is great. Great sustain. I'm keeping it. Going to play it and age it naturally. But the pups are probably going to go.

    Here it is next to the beastly P.

  2. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Very cool, Congrats!
  3. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Excellent pair of G&L's! Congrats indeed. I also have a JB, and know what you mean about the stock pickups. I do think Fender's pre-2012 MIA Jazz pickups had more bottom and thickness than the G&L Vintage Alnicos, but I still thought the G&L pickups sounded great, with lots of clarity and balance. IMO, they also record extremely well. I suspect they capture a real 1960's tone more than many modern J-bass pickups, but who knows?

    I eventually swapped them out to go noiseless, and liked the DiMarzio Area J set that came next. They eliminated the hum, and sounded slightly more aggressive. Later, I couldn't resist the allure of Lace Sensor Man O' War, which provide reduced noise in a true single coil. They're pretty sweet, with so much thickness that they give the JB a mix presence almost like a great P-bass. I'd like a little more high end, but heck, I get lots of that from my G-K MB-500 anyway. They sound great with the band, and the louder the better.

    Just curious, on your LB-100 do you think the maple fretboard and quartersawn neck produce a brighter tone than the usual P-bass? I love the quartersawn necks on my JB and M-2500, which have rosewood fretboards, and I'm considering an LB-100 with a maple board and I'm debating whether I want to go quartersawn, or maybe keep things a little more "wooly."
  4. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    I wish my JB were quartersawn. Though I like the thinner #8 profile on my JB, the quartersawn #12 on the LB-100 feels so rock solid and is so solidly installed into the body, it's like a neck-through.

    I do think the maple quartersawn is brighter, but my theory also includes the metal flake, which is very heavy, and I feel less vibration into the body. If it's possible, with less vibration from the strings being absorbed, the output is stronger. I had another LB-100 with a regular paint job and same pups seemed not as hot as the metal flake.

    I know I can't compare the two, but I'm trying to get used to the not-as-hot JB output.
    Nedmundo likes this.
  5. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    There is a polish that's perfect for nitro finishes called Virtuoso. It will help do away with tackiness and cloudiness in the finish, though it can come back depending on humidity and sweat interacting with the finish when playing.
    Max likes this.
  6. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Yes, the quartersawn necks have a distinctly solid feel, and I love it. IME, they resonate differently, which results in a different feel while playing that's difficult to describe. I noticed this difference with my 2010 JB, but wasn't sure what caused it, but my 2014 M-2500's neck resonates in exactly the same way so I figure it's the quartersawn neck. My SB-2's neck doesn't do this.

    BTW, interesting theory about the metal flake, which is awesome.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    hey, congratulations on your new instrument! looks nice! :thumbsup:
  8. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Postscript. Raised the pickups. Loosened the tension on the truss rod a bit. Strings have lost a little of that new 'boing' sound. Great tone. Stickiness has gone away. Awesome bass

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