Original SB1 body and later models

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Original SB1 body and later models

Postby b-bottom » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:03 am

Hey everyone. Are the original SB1 body style (not split P) the same size as the later ones? Thanks!
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:20 pm

The original SB-1 and SB-2, with the single coil pickup(s), is a bit smaller than its split humbucker cousins. Slightly tighter waist and about an inch narrower at the lower bout. Those older originals were also slab bodied.

Edited to correct the above. The lower bout of the older SB-1 is about an inch narrower than the later models.

More info here. Note to everyone: Please be mindful of GGJaguar's image ownership and don't grab his images. Linking to his site is okay. Thanks.

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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby b-bottom » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:27 pm

Ken Baker wrote:The original SB-1 and SB-2, with the single coil pickup(s), is a bit smaller than its split humbucker cousins. Slightly tighter waist and about an inch narrower at the lower bout. Those older originals were also slab bodied.

More info here. Note to everyone: Please be mindful of GGJaguar's image ownership and don't grab his images. Linking to his site is okay. Thanks.

Ken...

Thanks for the info! One more question, would the three bolt necks from the late 80's early 90's SB-2's fit one of the old SB1 bodies?
Thanks!!!
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby Ken Baker » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:24 pm

b-bottom wrote:Thanks for the info! One more question, would the three bolt necks from the late 80's early 90's SB-2's fit one of the old SB1 bodies?
Thanks!!!


Possibly. There was a little bit of variability from neck to neck back then and they were all hand fit. You can probably get a later 3 bolt neck to fit with some judicious use of sandpaper.

Note that I corrected my response above. The lower bout of the older SB-1 is about an inch narrower than the later SB-1/SB-2.

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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby b-bottom » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:28 pm

Thank you for all of the info!!
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby fatherska » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:31 pm

I have long contemplated posting the following history of G&L's SB-1 bass.

What stopped me before: I must not name my sources. Instead, I'll describe my sources.

These two guys informed me about the history of the SB-1 model separately. What each said validated what the other said; no contradictions. Listeners (in the case of Person 1) and lurkers (in the case of Person 2) only nodded heads in agreement or allowed the info shared to pass without challenge. I have encountered no contradictions.

Person 1 told me about the history of the SB-1 model in several one-to-one conversations in the store where I bought my own NOS 1989 SB-1 in 1994. An established professional bassist from a small farming community in southern Ontario, Canada, he travelled daily to get to and from gigs and rehearsals and to and from work as manger of a musical instrument shop that sold and serviced only guitars and basses in a mid-size southern Ontario city. For several years, his travels included attending multiple NAMM shows in the USA. At these NAMM shows, he had annual one-to one conversations with Leo Fender, George Fullerton, and Dale Hyatt - the founders of G&L and reportedly friendly fellows.

Person 2 informed me about the history of the SB-1 model through our mutual participation in an online discussion forum and through a few direct-message discussions facilitated by the same forum. A collector of G&L guitars and basses, he is also an historian of the Fender, MusicMan, and G&L companies; less interested in the companies per se than in the history and progression of their products. Independently wealthy, he seems to have the time and inclination to have become a collector not only of instruments, but also of facts about them and their makers.

The original SB-1 model was intended as an entry-level instrument: basic and affordable, but good enough to continue serving a player well while advancing as a bassist. It had a slab body made of “soft” maple. A high proportion of this first-type SB-1 had a maple fingerboard. Rosewood generally had to be requested. It featured G&L’s bi-cut quartersawn maple neck, three-bolt micro-tilt neck attachment, a straight (not split) single-coil MFD pickup, plus basic volume and tone controls, saddle-lock bridge, and – when not a maple fingerboard – veneer (curved-under) fingerboard. Demand for this model persisted as rather weak, despite its low price, great tone, and robust construction. See here: early SB-1 https://www.ggjaguar.com/sb-1-83.htm

The transitional SB-1 model reflected Dale Hyatt’s drive to fulfill more market potential. He wanted to sell more basses and for G&L to incorporate feedback about the original SB-1 from shops and from players. With the transitional SB-1, the body changed in shape and included arm and belly contours. Since 1985, the same body shape continues today for SB-1, SB-2, and Kiloton basses. Responding to demand for a more Precision-like bass from Leo Fender, the transitional SB-1 included a Precision-like pickguard and a split-coil pickup. Mr Fender, adamantly sticking to his vision of G&L instruments as progressing beyond Fender models, initially refused to design, produce, and market a P-like split-coil pickup. So, Mr Hyatt arranged for outsourced pickups. Schaller provided them for about one year. Then, Mr Fender saw that the improved demand for SB-1s and his reputation as a master pickup designer forced him to create the split-coil MFD pickup known and loved today. See here: 1985 SB-1 https://www.ggjaguar.com/sb-1-85.htm

The second-type (post-1985) SB-1 model initially featured the same body as the transitional SB-1s, still made of ‘soft’ maple. Necks continued since the original SB-1 as bi-cut quartersawn maple with three-bolt micro-tilt attachment. If a rosewood fingerboard was requested, G&L considered the veneer approach developed by Mr Fullerton best, as for all G&L instruments for more than a decade. The aluminium pickguard had a crinkle-black finish. The saddle-lock bridge also came with crinkle-black finish. G&L tuning machines featured tapered aluminium string posts. The most important feature of the second-type SB-1: the split-coil MFD pickup that Mr Fender designed specifically to meet demand for a P-type pickup in a P-type bass and to distinguish G&L basses as having hot pickups that deliver more and better than all others. See here: post-1985 SB-1 https://www.ggjaguar.com/89sb-1.htm

Since its introduction, the second-type SB-1 bass remains in production today – unchanged at a glance. Changes have occurred, though: from “soft”’ maple bodies to mostly alder; ash if a premier finish is requested. The bi-cut neck, three-bolt micro-tilt neck attachment, and veneer fingerboards have all been replaced: with flatsawn maple necks (quartersawn by request only), six-bolt neck attachments, and slab fingerboards. Plastic pickuards in various colours have replaced the aluminium crinkle-black plate. The saddle-lock bridge sports a chrome finish, as it did on the original SB-1s. The knobs have changed to current spec for all USA G&L basses (except today's CLF Research line, which features the same retro knobs as my '89 SB-1 had). Same with the G&L tuning machines, defined by their tapered aluminium string posts. Most important: that sexy-shaped contoured body and that incredible, hot split-coil MFD pickup remain. Oh, that pickup...

Somebody might appreciate this history. I have felt confident about its accuracy for years.
Last edited by fatherska on Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby jim.i » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:50 pm

In fact i can remember, many years ago, being told by a dealer that "SB" stood for "student bass" - intended as a quality entry-level instrument. I have no idea if this is what G&L intended but your post seems to confirm it, at least unofficially.


"The original SB-1 model was intended as an entry-level instrument: basic and affordable, but good enough to continue serving a player well after advancing as a bassist"
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby fatherska » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:05 pm

I, too, have seen on the web that SB stood for student bass.

However, SB might have actually meant single-coil bass.

Consider:
* In G&L's early years, it made guitars called SC-1, SC-2, and SC-3, each defined by 1, 2, or 3 single-coil pickups.
* For years, G&L serial numbers began with G for guitars and B for basses.
* The SB-1 and SB-2 basses have - and might have been named for - 1 and 2 single-coil bass pickups.

Even so, entry-level and student certainly overlap as concepts in many consumer goods. Never mutually exclusive.
Last edited by fatherska on Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby derick » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:00 pm

Wow, thanks for posting all that.

For what it's worth, George Fullerton in his 2005 book describes the SB-1 and SB-2 basses as the "Standard Bass" Range.
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Re: Original SB1 body and later models

Postby Ken Baker » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:47 pm

fatherska wrote:I, too, have seen on the web that SB stood for student bass.

However, SB might have actually meant single-coil bass.

Consider:
* In G&L's early years, it made guitars called SC-1, SC-2, and SC-3, each defined by 1, 2, or 3 single-coil pickups.
* For years, G&L serial numbers began with G for guitars and B for basses.
* The SB-1 and SB-2 basses have - and might have been named for - 1 and 2 single-coil bass pickups.

Even so, entry-level and student certainly overlap as concepts in many consumer goods. Never mutually -exclusive.


If what you're saying is true, and I'm not preferentially hanging my hat on either one, what happened with the gen 2 SB-2? That neck pickup that many of us have come to know and love certainly isn't single coil.

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