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NBD - Vintage Gibson

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 40Hz, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I'm not into vintage purely for the sake of vintage. But when one of Gibson's rarely seen SB-300s crossed my path, it was too interesting an opportunity to let go by:


    These were sold between 1971 and 1972. They were replaced after that by the better known Grabber G1.

    Dual ceramic single-coil pickups wired in series, with separate on/off slide switches, plus a master volume and tone. Slim short-scale set neck, rosewood fingerboard and SG/EB-styled alder body with nitro finish. AFAIK this was the first Gibson bass to use single-coil or ceramic pups. It was also the first Gibson to have a maple neck and their first solid body not to be made from mahogany. Haven't weighed it yet, but if it's much over six or seven pounds I'd be very surprised.

    I'm still sorting it all out. Gonna be fun.

    Now begins yet another 40Hz quest to find the perfect set of strings to go with a new bass.
    dukeorock, djaxup, fretno and 49 others like this.
  2. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Congrats on your new Gibby! May it serve you well.

    I was always intrigued by these basses, but most of the ones that I ran into were in poor shape. If I found one as good looking as yours at a reasonable price I would likely be very tempted to add it to my stable.

    Melody Maker bass from the late 60s might have been the first one that was not all-mahagony but I've never played one so I'm not a 1000% certain...

    All academic concerns aside, play it in good health and enjoy!
    nixdad and 40Hz like this.
  3. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Very cool, what does it sound like?
    40Hz likes this.
  4. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Oh, here is a demo:

    dukeorock and rico bass like this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


    Not an EB-0/3 sound that's for sure. But dead quiet despite being single coils. Not a huge amount of output. But definitely loud enough.

    Right now it needs better strings. The flats that it came with aren't really cutting it for me. I'll probably give something brighter a shot first. Either a set of nickel rounds or LaBella white nylons. LaBella has a Höfner gauged set that might be just the ticket.

    Big mistake (IMO) people make with short-scale basses is that you're best off going with flats. But I respectfully disagree. Shorties have a huge amount of bottom already due to the physics of lower tension, shorter vibrating length, and the same guages as long-scale strings. So a mellow set of rounds or a brighter more complex midrange set of flats (i.e. TIs, Chromes et al) are a potentially better choice for tone.

    Still getting it sorted. But so far I like it best with both pickups on and everything dimed. Has good bottom with a hint of something I can't quite describe yet. Have to see what different strings will do.
  6. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Sounds like he's got a speaker that's on it's way out. Braaack! :laugh:
  7. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I really like how it sounds when he digs in. That E string is fat!
    Aqualung60 likes this.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


    Yeah…I've been having the most fun with Gibson's and Peaveys these days. I've own and play all the usual the obligatory Fenders too. But those hold no surprises for me anymore. They're like a pair of comfortable shoes, or my favorite old oversized flannel shirt. The bulk of the stuff I have is more out of the mainstream and has their own unique sounds.

    Like my GF says: Don't just play the best - try the rest.
    yodedude2 and gustophersmob like this.
  9. Nice! I tried one of those out years ago when they first came out, was in one of my previous lives:roflmao:. I really liked it. I've had good luck with La Bella light gauge Deep Talkin' flats (Jack Bruce) on my short scales. I've tried rounds on them and at least with the big humbuckers they only detracted, no more treble just less solid sounding. I had Rotos on an EB-2 and another bass player looked incredulous when I told him they were on it after I played, because you couldn't hear them at all. Flats sounded better on that bass as well as on my EB-3, but with single coils maybe the rounds will sound good, it's been so long I forgot when they sound like on the SB-300, I think that when a bass player gets hold of that bass it can sound a lot better than it does in that video.
    gustophersmob and 40Hz like this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I've got rounds on my Gretsch Junior Jet and they were the keys to the kingdom in that bass with its TV Jones designed pup. Don't know how well that would translate to another bass because a TV Jones is a TV Jones afterall. And I've got pressure wounds in a Chowny SWB-1 that work very well. TIs on my Epi Viola. That made all the difference there.

    I'm convinced that there's ideal strings for every bass out there. The trick (and expense) comes in finding it.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    gustophersmob, bobyoung53 and fermata like this.
  11. Nice catch, 40z. But I'm a little surprised by the short scale. I've seen only a couple of these, but my recollection is they were long scale. Did they maybe come in both scales?
    gustophersmob and 40Hz like this.
  12. Nice! I had a long scale one back in the Eighties. I found it kind of thin sounding, but I probably should have tried different strings.
    40Hz likes this.
  13. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    As per @Fly Guitars, the -400 and -450 were long-scale, while the -300 and 350 were shorties:

    [Model] - Scale - Pickups - Bridge - Available finishes
    SB-300 30 1/2" 2 Gibson single coil pickups(part 13570) Multiplex adjustable bridge Cherry, Walnut

    SB-400 34 1/2" 2 Gibson single coil pickups(part 13570) Multiplex adjustable bridge Cherry, Walnut

    SB-350 30 1/2" 2 Gibson SB humbuckers Gibson two-point, later Gibson three-point Cherry, Walnut, Natural

    SB-450 34 1/2" 2 Gibson SB humbuckers Gibson two-point, later Gibson three-point Cherry, Walnut, Natural

    Gibson SB Series of Bass Guitars
    gustophersmob and 40Hz like this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Yes they did. The SB-400/450s were the long scale. The 300/350s were the shorties.
  15. Just like Rics: 3000 series = short; 4000 series = long
    40Hz likes this.
  16. bassman10096

    bassman10096 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    I had a 300 briefly a few years back. It was in sad shape but cleaned up and refined nicely. The single coils were among the hottest, grittiest I ever played. Not unlike the single coils they put in the G3 cousin to the Grabber. Never should have let the 300 go. You've got something pretty unusual there. Hope you enjoy it.
    40Hz likes this.
  17. Thanks for the clarification! What I had was an SB-400.
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  18. Great sounding bass, not even being played through a bass amp/cab.

    If OP's sounds like that, great score. Congrats and enjoy.
    dukeorock and 40Hz like this.
  19. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Daddy like.
    dukeorock and 40Hz like this.
  20. Fine score.

    I find myself liking Gibson basses more and more.

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