Friday, 11 November 2011

11 on 11/11/11: #5 - Gibson SB300 cheapo bass

OK, it's the 11th November 2011, that is 11/11/11, and as such today has been designated Nigel Tufnel Day. To celebrate this day of Maximum Elevenness, we here at Guitarz - for this day only - will be posting an unprecedented ELEVEN blog posts! So, keep tuned throughout the day for eleven weird and wonderful guitars!

You know already the Gibson SG200, the early 1970s budget version of the SG - well worse than budget, a big flaw in Gibson's production from a bad phase era. Here is its bass equivalent, the SB300. I don't have more to say about it, but I see more and more of these guitars showing up on eBay and sellers starting to ask vintage prices for them, so I thought I should repost the comment that our reader Teh Gav posted about the SG200:
"I've played dozens of these crude, downmarket '70s SGs over the years, hoping to find one that had potential. I found nothing but sadness and humility. They are bad guitars.

I say this as a huge fan of Melody Makers and pre-Japanese Epiphone solidbodies. It's not a snob thing. It's like, "Oh my God, this guitar feels like it's nailed together from leftover firewood and finished with slapped-on shellac. Uh, let's see how it sounds..."

That is where the sadness generally comes in. The humility has come from watching the numbers on the price tags rise from the moderate three-figures and move steadily toward a thousand dollars. Someone is buying these things, and it makes me feel like a cranky old guy who can't stop himself from wagging an index finger and telling 'back in my day' stories.

Because see here, back in my day, if you needed a guitar and were stuck with a hundred and fifty bucks in your pocket, you would step straight on top of one of those suck-Gibsons whilst making a straight path through the music store to the wall where the used Cort, Fernandez, Hagstrom, and/or Aria Pro II guitars were hanging.

These had no cachet or 'mojo' at all, but for God's sake, at least they freaking worked properly -- and at least they didn't make you feel shallow and vaguely dirty for playing a guitar purely because of the name painted on the headstock.

Seriously, these guitars suck. They have caused many people to experience pain and confusion. Not worth it -- really."
I won't deny that there is a certain wild beauty in this bass's crudeness, but guitars are still meant to be usable for music playing, aren't they?


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  1. What a freakin guitar snob review. I have the long-scale version of this bass and it is great for me. It isn't my main player and it only cost me around $500, but it is useful and sounds better than an EB-3L that I also own. Chunky neck to suit large hands and lighter weight than mahogany bodied EBs. The pickups sound good due to their placement - they are the same as used in some Gibson guitars of that era, so they are clear but produce good bass by being closer to the neck than in other two pickup basses. With tapewound strings I get a great vintage vibe.

  2. ^^^
    He's wrong. They sound like the Hanna-Barbera 'donk' sound effect, such as when Fred Flintstone is hit on the head.

  3. Well guys, I really have to disagree with you about these basses. I bought one new in 1971 I must say at the time I really hated it and couldn't wait to trade it in for a Fender. I've been a working musician for nearly 50 years and am an avid collector. A few years back I saw one of these and wondered what it was that made me hate it so much. So I bought it. I must say after a good set up this bass played very well and sounded great. The bridges are the weak points. But these basses are to be respected. I take it as a second bass along side of Sadowsky's, Zon's, Modulus and vintage Fenders. You would never see me with a Cort, Fernandez, Aria Pro II in my hands. These basses are wonderful sleepers and the single coils give it a tone much better then the mudbuckers in the SG basses .



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