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Recurring GAS: Sandberg

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CoolHat, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Oh man, just when I thought I´m through with all this GAS business...

    For last year and a half I´ve been playing a cheapo Harley Benton 5-string J-clone, with DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pups and "custom" faux-cowskin finish (you can see it here) I´ve been quite happy with it, especially considering the price (~250 euros total). But I´ve come to the conclusion that I need a second bass, specifically a 5er. I do have a 4-string MIM Jazz, but I´ve grown too accustomed to the extra string.

    So anyways, I was thinking about making another Harley Benton/DiMarzio/crazy finish-combination, but that particular model seems to be discontinued. Besides, my financial situation has improved a bit lately, so I thought maybe I could invest in something decent for a change.

    I am looking for a J-style sound so I decided to pay a visit to a new music store near me, since I had heard they had a nice stock of Japanese-made Fenders. There was some cool stuff, like an absolutely gorgeous blue ´75 Jazz reissue with ashtrays, block inlays, matching headstock and all.

    There were a couple of fivers too, but they didn´t really rock my boat. Nice, well made basses, just didn´t have that Jazz Bass vibe. I´ve found the same problem in almost every Fender 5 I´ve tried: they just don´t sound and feel like their 4-string counterparts. The B string wasn´t too impressive either, sort of clunky and unarticulate.

    Anyways, on one wall they had a small collection of Sandberg basses. I had heard about this German company before, but never played one. There were two J-style fivers, so I grabbed one and WOW...there it was, the J-sound in 5-string package.

    I kept on playing and gradually fell in love. The B-string was clear and tight, and the sound blended absolutely seamlessly with other strings. Acoustically the bass was very loud and responsive, plugged in it was just perfect. With little tweaking of the active 2-band EQ I was able to produce smooth, Marcus-like tones. In passive mode it was just like a classic J-bass should be. The electronics were dead quiet, both in active and passive mode.

    The overall feel was extremely solid and the setup was near perfect: the action was probably lowest I´ve ever seen in a bass straight out of the sales rack, and there was practically zero rattle. And of course it was cute as candy, with beautiful maple fingerboard and flawless high-gloss finish (although not in a color I´d prefer).

    After playing enough with the first one, I decided to try the other J-style Sandberg. This one had a MM-style splittable humbucker in bridge position, whereas the first one had two single coils. Even better! The playability, construction and feel were just as great as in the first bass, but the J/MM configuration added some interesting options. With the humbucker in single-coil mode the bass sounded just like the JJ one. In dual-coil mode the sound was thicker and punchier, not quite like a MM Stingray, but close.

    I also tried a couple of Sandberg´s own designs. They were again very well made and also quite a bit lighter than the Js. The sound was different though, more modern and defined. Sort of Stingray-meets-Warwick, if you get my drift. Not bad at all, but I preferred the round fullness of the J.

    There you have it, I´m officially GASsed up for Sandberg now. For the last few hours I´ve been browsing Sandbergs website, trying to figure out the right wood/color combination. Right now I´m thinking about alder body with blueburst finish and maple fingerboard, but I´m sure that´ll change several times until I´m ready to order.

    Anyway, I would love to hear opinions and experiences of Sandberg players here in TB. I found some threads on the subject, but nothing very recent.
  2. If you're like me and would rather see the instrument before reading a gas-induced tirade, look no further:

  3. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I love the looks of Sandbergs (except for the little company logo they always put near where the neck meets the body), too bad I never had the chance to try one.
  4. The custom thinline bass is stunning, the guys who work at sandberg are amazingly nice too. They replied very quickly to my emails and i ended up not even buying one- they were more than happy to glue on instead of bolt the neck and do all sorts of things for me. Id love to see more players using them.
  5. Do they take direct orders? Somehow I got the impression from their website that they only sell through retailers, but I could be wrong. I hope I am, because I´d much rather deal directly with them than through a middle man.
  6. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Any upcharge??? im really interested cos i have too much money on my hand ATM!!!!
  7. Eisenmann


    May 12, 2004
    yeah sandberg rule!

    but i'm not to sure that they take direct oders.
    all of their basses are great. expect their own designs. don't like them.

    the cool thing is that you can get many many custom options on every bass for very little upcharges.like custom finish, inlays, electronics etc.

    i'm gassing a long time now for a california pm-5 (p-bass).
    the california series are afaik completly handbuild at their customshop
  8. Great to hear that. While their basses felt great by default, there are of course some small details I would like to customize to my liking. I think I´ll e-mail them and ask for more information.
  9. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Sandberg Custom Thinline 6


    I just love this bass.


    EDIT: Damnit, I just found this one...