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Obsession, or How I Ended Up With A SB-2

Discussion in 'G&L Bass Forum' started by lildrgn, Aug 7, 2007.


  1. lildrgn

    lildrgn

    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    (I posted these at my blog over the past few days and thought they might be appropriate here)

    A few weeks ago I was watching the Today show and Kelly Clarkson was performing. As usual, I strained to see her boob- er, her bassist and his gear. All I saw was this grizzled looking old guy playing a mustard yellow P bass with a black pickguard. Something about that bass really appealed to me so off to Google I went.

    Surprise, surprise. Google told me that the bassist on her latest record is none other than old punk vet Mike Watt. Now, don't mistake me for some Mike Watt or fIREHOSE fan or something, no. I don't have cred like that (though my neighbor had a Ric bass that had M. Watt's autograph on it and he wouldn't sell it to me!). I don't know if it was Mike Watt playing live on stage, but it set me off on a trek to try to find a yellow P with black pickguard.

    I checked eBay and Craigslist and had no luck. Perusing talkbass.com gave no leads either. Somehow, in my searching, I came across a bass made by G&L (Leo Fender's creation) called the SB-2. It's basically a P bass with a J bass pickup at the bridge. I looked at some pix and really dug how it looked. Then, in looking for vendors, it turned out that there was one in Bellevue. So, off to Northwest Guitars I went.

    They had a SB-2, brand new, white with tortoise shell pickguard for $1150. Much much more than I wanted to spend, but a beautiful bass. I plugged it in and dinked around. Amazing. The bass was passive and the sound was HUGE. What I liked a lot about it, besides the look and sound, was the simplicity of the instrument. One knob for the neck (P) pickup, one knob for the bridge (J) pickup. Dial into your preference and drop the bomb. So tasty.

    For a few days I obsessed about that bass. I tried to come up with scenarios in which I could get that bass. If I sold one of mine, I could get about $500 to put towards it, but then I'd have to pony the rest and I didn't want to do that. I looked on eBay again and saw some used ones, as well as Tribute models (basses with overseas wood, US hardware). I ended up putting all the eBay ones on my watched list.

    A few days later, I took my Fender Geddy Lee Jazz to NWG to talk about a trade-in. The GL served me well, but I never play it. Love Geddy as I might, I just wasn't too in love with his signature bass. NWG offered me $350 at first, then upped it to $450 when I was going to walk. Even with that (I was looking to get $500 to $550), I'd still have to dish out $700 for that white SB-2. I told the guys I'd try on Craigslist and see what I could get from there. I left without the SB-2.

    On Thursday I got an email from eBay reminding me that one of the watched basses was about to run out of time. I took a look and it was a used SB-2, sunburst with tortoise shell pickguard, and listed at $525 with $40 shipping. It was pretty and there was about 1.5 hours left. I thought about it and figured if I bid no more than $600, that someone would swoop in at the last second and win this bass. I put my high at $600, the new high bid was $535, and waited.

    As I kept hitting F5, it became pretty clear that I was about to be obligated to pay for a new bass. Pretty soon, I won the auction and owed someone in Ohio $575. Luckily, I had the $$ to pay so I sent him the funds via Paypal. All this time, the GL was on Craigslist with just a few bites. One guy gave me his phone # so I dialed him up.

    Turns out, this guy was from Oregon and wanted a GL and, within 5 minutes or so, he had Paypalled me $500 for it. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. He said he'd pick it up this weekend but I never heard from him. I do expect him to pick it up this week sometime.

    In the meantime, I have a badass new bass on its way to me. I should have it Thursday and I can't wait! Unfortunately, I won't be able to use it in a band situation until either Sunday at church (blech!) or next Monday with the Lunds. Ironically, I meet with both bands this week and I'll probably be taking the trusty ol' Sterling.

    ***

    Ask me what I did at work today.

    I checked UPS.com to see if they delivered my bass.

    It never updated, but when I pulled into the driveway, the box was propped at the door. I opened it up and took a look.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, the condition of the bass was a 7. It's actually in really good shape. There are two tiny nicks in the finish just above the pickguard. There was some residue all over the body of the bass, too, but nothing some wiping and cleaning couldn't take care of.

    I plugged the bass in and dinked around a bit. First thing I noticed was how low the action was. Usually that's a cool thing, but I think it was a bit too low. Buzzing and clinking everywhere. It also seemed that the output of the bass was a bit lower than what I played at Northwest Guitars. Then again, this bass is probably 10+ years old. Also, I wasn't playing through my main rig as that's down at Chris' house.

    Anyway, after mopping the bass off, it looked much better. I should put some new strings on it, but I am quite the string miser. I like to play them until they break. I have no idea how old the strings on the SB-2 are, but they're functional for now. Plus, I think I'm gonna try a new brand of string as I've been using Ernie Balls for years. I like 'em, but that's mainly because I'm too cheap to try new strings for $30 and risk not liking them.

    This bass is passive (re: no battery) and has a nice growly tone on the neck pickup. Turn up the bridge p/u and the high end comes in to play a little. I'm looking forward to trying it out next Monday at rehearsal with Chris and Sean.

    I believe I will take it into Mike Lull tomorrow, though. Have him give it the once-over and see how it looks. Hopefully he can get it back to me soon so I can play it Monday. Otherwise it'll have to be Thursday (if it's done) with the Scheme, or possibly even Friday when we rip the Rendezvous a new one.

    ***

    I took the new bass to Mike Lull the other day for a setup job. He oiled the neck and dressed the frets. He put in a new input jack and lubed up the knobs. He also strung it up with some D'addario strings. I got it back Saturday and played it and it was good. The true test would come tonight at rehearsal through my rig.

    I got down to T-town and we fired up on a new song, one of Sean's called Sugar, which will make its grand debut this Friday. And the clouds parted and the birds sang and the cool breeze blew as my new G&L bass BLEW MY MIND.

    I had the bass going into my SansAmp and no EQ on the amp and the bass was all bottom with crispy highs and tons of growl. I may need to dial the overdrive back on the SansAmp, but, man did I dig the sound. I'm going to pull my rig out of the car sometime this week and further tweak the sound, but I am very happy with what I heard.

    So we've also been working on some new stuff with the Lunds. Kind of cool. I get a recording sent to me, I learn the part, then come Mondays, we go and crush it.

    Well, crushing it is putting it a little strong, but it is a fantastic way to learn new music. No beating around the bush trying to teach each other parts, for the most part. We just count off and go.

    Next show, we'll hopefully be able to bust out one of Chris' new songs. We could probably do it this Friday, but, in all honesty, it's too close and we're just not tight enough yet. It's tight for the 10 or so times we've played it together, but, in this case, we'd want to crush it.

    Either way, the people who come see us Friday should get a kick out of the new song (and the new bass!).

    ***

    New content:

    The SB-2 is a killer bass. I was so pleased with the tones I was getting and I cannot WAIT to plug 'er in tonight to tweak the tones. I am completely stoked with the condition of the bass, the look of the bass and the playability of the bass. Now, when will it be 5:00??? :bassist:

    IMG_3263.
     
  2. snappytom

    snappytom

    Aug 17, 2005
    ChicagoLand
    I totally get what you are talking about. The SB-2 is a sleeper, it seems to go unnoticed by many but when played it grabs your attention.

    I picked one up off eBay a few weeks ago and have been cleaning it, tweaking the setup, and becoming familiar with it. Played it on a gig 2 days after getting it without so much as changing the strings (very unusual for me) and the tone just killed.

    I know .... no pics, no bass. The wife has the camera somewhere unknown so I hope to locate it and get some shots tomorrow and post them.
     
  3. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things. Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    is that a rosewood board? it seems really light.
     
  4. Looks like Rosewood to me. My guess is the picture's like that because of the flash.
     
  5. lildrgn

    lildrgn

    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
  6. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things. Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    you'd say this is rosewood too right?

    whitesb2-angle1.

    i traded for my sb-2 so i don't actually know...i was just assuming it was. maybe i just got darker rosewood.
     
  7. snappytom

    snappytom

    Aug 17, 2005
    ChicagoLand

    OK ...... here is my SB-2. This was advertised as having an Ebony fretboard. I am not an expert on woods, but I know Ebony has a very fine, dense grain which this has. It is completely different than the Rosewood on my L-2000.

    This one came to me in very good shape (that's glare on the body, not a ding). It has the tone pot mod so the the neck PU volume knob is a stacked V/V control and the bridge PU volume knob was swapped out to a Tone control.

    It has a nice old-school sound and is quickly becoming the go-to bass.


    [​IMG]
     
  8. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things. Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    hmm...maybe my sb-2 has an ebony board
     
  9. lildrgn

    lildrgn

    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Anytime I can see CraigB's basses is a good time. And snappytom, that is a pretty bass.

    Perhaps we should start a "Show your SB-2" thread?
     
  10. metron

    metron

    Sep 12, 2003
    Denver
    I have seen quite a few G&L basses with dry rosewood boards like the JB-2 I had recently. When I played it at the store it was quite pale looking. Before I bought it, the store owner rubbed in what I remember as being linseed oil and it darkened up nicely. SB-2s are awesome!
     
  11. spideyjg

    spideyjg

    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Bore oil color change......

    boreoil001.
    boreoil003.
     
  12. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things. Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    see thats more what mine looks like...maybe my board was just well taken care of :)
     
  13. snappytom

    snappytom

    Aug 17, 2005
    ChicagoLand
    Here are the necks of my two. Not being an expert, I am convinced the SB-2 is Ebony as the grain is much more dense.
    The Rosewood L-2000 was treated with boiled linseed oil about 2 months ago, the SB-2 last week.



    [​IMG]
     
  14. Looks like ebony to me!
     
  15. metron

    metron

    Sep 12, 2003
    Denver
    Nice improvement! Does bore oil have a lasting odor? That linseed oil or whatever it was smelled odd and it lingered for a while.

    Sorry for going OT. SB-2s are awesome! :D
     

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