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SGD 2 band Stingray preamp - review

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Thedaivisch, Mar 22, 2013.


  1. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    I recently bought an SGD 2 band replica 70s preamp and I thought I'd share my experience.

    The good

    *Beautiful organic tone.
    This is one of the nicest preamps I've used. It sounds musical, powerful and with one of the sweetest high ends you'll find. I have no point of reference for authenticity vs a real 70s MM 2 band, but I have heard it sounds identical. It sounds far nicer than the 3-band Sterling preamp it replaced. It is also quiet.
    *Great build quality
    Right up there with the big guys, I would say.
    *Excellent customer service
    David Schwabb is a really nice guy and always very helpful, despite being very busy. You can often find him helping out with general technical queries across Talkbass.
    *Delivery time. Although David has had some bad press on here due to long lead times for custom work, this was a standard order and was delivered within 4-5 working days.
    *Price. These are a good price for the quality.

    The not-so good

    *The only thing I can really find fault with is that it seems that the wrong spec'd treble pots ship with these by default. When I installed the pre for the first time, I noticed the treble pot gave very little boost for most of the travel and then suddenly jumped up at the end. I discovered that this was because the SGD pots are linear taper 1M pots. The pre was designed for reverse taper 1M pots. Unfortunately, David has struggled to source 1M reverse taper pots. To fix, I had to search for a compatible pot, which was a little disappointing. It didn't ruin my experience and even with the extra expense of the pot the preamp was still a decent price, it's just a shame there's only one mark against an otherwise spot on purchase.

    Overall, I would recommend David for his quality work and I would thoroughly recommend this pre-amp. I'm VERY happy with the result on my Musicman Sterling and frankly, the tone kicks the crap out of the old 3-band.

    8/10- 10/10 if David fixes the treble pot spec.
     
  2. racecar5

    racecar5 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    Myersville, Maryland
    Have the same exact problem with my SGD preamp. Where did you find the pot to fix the problem?
     
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The issue is the unavailability of a 1M reverse audio taper pot in a similar style to the rest. So I use a linear taper pot.

    I actually find it works fine in my basses, but I'll look into another source for the correct taper.
     
  4. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    David - I hope thats an overall really positive review, it's a great preamp :)
     
  5. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    The bass pot for the G&L basses and S500 guitar is the correct spec (1M reverse taper pot) and a perfect fit. I ordered from a G&L distributor in the UK. These spec pots are like rocking horse sh**! Had a bit of a challenge finding one..
     
  6. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    The website doesn't specify that the 1M pot is reverse taper, but it is. Don't worry. As long as you get the US 1M pot for a G&l bass, it'll be reverse taper.

    http://www.glguitars.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=19&cat=Potentiometers
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It's your review! Say how you feel... sounds like you like the preamp though. :)
     
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
  9. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    Yeah with shipping I paid £12 - about $18! It is a really nice feeling well made pot, though so I'm not that bothered and I now get really smooth treble boost.
     
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The problem with all of those is the form factor. I have the one from Mouser. It's smaller than the rest, and the shaft is longer and is a split shaft. They have another one with a solid shaft. You can actually see it in the photo on my website:

    SGD_MM_pre4.

    I was trying to keep them all Bourns pots and the same size.

    That's also when I used then closed jacks.

    Oh and that one from eBay... $15??? I don't think so.
     
  11. liveburning274

    liveburning274 Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Do you have any soundclips to show off the preamp? There aren't any on the website I could find.
     
  12. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    Not yet, I will do at some point. Try finding a clip of a 70s Stingray - that ought to do it ;)
     
  13. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    To describe the sound I would say -

    *Warm, subtle bass boost which never muddies clarity (although isn't the strongest boost in the world)
    *Powerful, sizzling top end which interacts perfectly with the bass frequency and always sounds organic and musical even when cranked. The treble on this unit is a head and shoulders above the modern 3 band MM unit and this is what really sets it apart.
    *This pre coupled to a good MM humbucker (Nordy in my case) wired in parallel is THE holy grail Musicman sound IMO.
     
  14. Thedaivisch

    Thedaivisch

    Sep 3, 2009
    Also, it is different to a lot of modern preamps which try to remain completely transparent. It has its own character which only enhances the sound. Why be so obsessed with transparency when you can have something which enhances with its own voice and sounds as great as this?
     
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I am Passinwind and some of you are not. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I just went with a 500K RA pot in mine. Makes the treble a touch hotter (I modeled this in another thread I think), but turning it down a notch gets you pretty much back to the same place you were with 1M. It is a very nice sounding design, for sure.
     
  16. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I may try this. Does it cut the same amount of cut?
     
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I am Passinwind and some of you are not. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    It pretty much does (in my model anyway), but 500K at full cut actually rolls off a little more above 6K in my model. In boost mode 500K looks peakier, with narrower bandwidth, but also essentially the same amount of boost as 1 meg. The differences could easily be accentuated by different pickups, which of course is your department. I figured it was worth a try, and don't plan to change back to 1 meg for this particular bass.
     
  18. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Slight side track: How do these sound with P bass?
     
  19. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I use Mouser's pots. No problems.
     

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