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Sandberg appreciation society

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25 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Do it - you or it won’t regret it

What you after?

After reading the past few posts I went looking at Mark's site and spotted this... https://classicandcoolguitars.co.uk/portfolio/sandberg-tt4-black/

At the moment I've a Cort A4 Artisan in spalted maple and a 2017 MiM Jazz in a very similar colour arrangement to the TT4 here. What I want is to keep the Fender tone but add in the Cort's richness.... I play passive most of the time and the Cort oozes this creamy rich smooth neck pickup. Where it falls down (for me) is the bridge - it's not Jazzy enough, it's too modern. It's actually exactly what I was after at the time and then I got the Fender.

Tried an Ida Neilsen TM4 at Bass Direct and loved the tone but couldn't get along with the distance between the PG and the strings. Have only just seen an interview with her where she explains that the pattern on the PG is sandwiched between 2 sheets so it's thicker and that suits her. Ida definitely doesn't have sausage fingers like wot I have. I wasn't exploring everything on the bass at the time as I was buying the Magellan amp - the only thing that I would like to explore is TM versus TT. But hell, look at it. Yes, after all the diagnosing and pontificating, it still comes down to looks :)

So... what's pointing me at Sandberg are probably the things some of you have already found. I want a Fender Jazz sound but with more tone options if I want them along with better build quality (and no nose dive). Can't see me shoving nearly £2k at a USA Fender.

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58 minutes ago, MisterT said:

After reading the past few posts I went looking at Mark's site and spotted this... https://classicandcoolguitars.co.uk/portfolio/sandberg-tt4-black/

At the moment I've a Cort A4 Artisan in spalted maple and a 2017 MiM Jazz in a very similar colour arrangement to the TT4 here. What I want is to keep the Fender tone but add in the Cort's richness.... I play passive most of the time and the Cort oozes this creamy rich smooth neck pickup. Where it falls down (for me) is the bridge - it's not Jazzy enough, it's too modern. It's actually exactly what I was after at the time and then I got the Fender.

Tried an Ida Neilsen TM4 at Bass Direct and loved the tone but couldn't get along with the distance between the PG and the strings. Have only just seen an interview with her where she explains that the pattern on the PG is sandwiched between 2 sheets so it's thicker and that suits her. Ida definitely doesn't have sausage fingers like wot I have. I wasn't exploring everything on the bass at the time as I was buying the Magellan amp - the only thing that I would like to explore is TM versus TT. But hell, look at it. Yes, after all the diagnosing and pontificating, it still comes down to looks :)

So... what's pointing me at Sandberg are probably the things some of you have already found. I want a Fender Jazz sound but with more tone options if I want them along with better build quality (and no nose dive). Can't see me shoving nearly £2k at a USA Fender.

Gotcha
 

If the 70s jazz sounds with more Bark is where you are at Then you need to look at the MarloweDK-it’s closer to the bridge for just that reason

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for what it's worth, I'm new to Sandberg  and found that the VM's are fairly modern sounding if you're used to the Fender thing.(like I'am) they are just a bit different (the reason I bought one). Only used mine at practice a couple of times but found it fills the space nicely and not left wanting.

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3 hours ago, MisterT said:

I wish I hadn't found this thread. I am weakening for a TT4....

Obvs it's all subjective/personal, but for me I knew from the moment I tried my first Sandberg that they were for me, just felt so comfortable, effortless and at home in my hands. In fact when I bought my first one it ruined all my other basses and I ended up selling them all. In fact, even my mainstay of about 15 years, my trusty US standard jazz felt like I bag of crap in comparison and I reluctantly moved it on! 

I like em anyway, in case you hadn't noticed. 😊

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, MisterT said:

After reading the past few posts I went looking at Mark's site and spotted this... https://classicandcoolguitars.co.uk/portfolio/sandberg-tt4-black/

At the moment I've a Cort A4 Artisan in spalted maple and a 2017 MiM Jazz in a very similar colour arrangement to the TT4 here. What I want is to keep the Fender tone but add in the Cort's richness.... I play passive most of the time and the Cort oozes this creamy rich smooth neck pickup. Where it falls down (for me) is the bridge - it's not Jazzy enough, it's too modern. It's actually exactly what I was after at the time and then I got the Fender.

Tried an Ida Neilsen TM4 at Bass Direct and loved the tone but couldn't get along with the distance between the PG and the strings. Have only just seen an interview with her where she explains that the pattern on the PG is sandwiched between 2 sheets so it's thicker and that suits her. Ida definitely doesn't have sausage fingers like wot I have. I wasn't exploring everything on the bass at the time as I was buying the Magellan amp - the only thing that I would like to explore is TM versus TT. But hell, look at it. Yes, after all the diagnosing and pontificating, it still comes down to looks :)

So... what's pointing me at Sandberg are probably the things some of you have already found. I want a Fender Jazz sound but with more tone options if I want them along with better build quality (and no nose dive). Can't see me shoving nearly £2k at a USA Fender.

Very interesting, and kind of links in to the realisation I've had in the last 6 months or so. After trying various different Sandberg models over the years (and don't get me wrong none of them sounded bad at all) I kept feeling like I was chasing an elusive 'something' in my sound that I couldn't put my finger on. Turns out that what I really wanted was a nice, organic, traditional sound, and I found that finally in passive basses. 

I came to realise that the standard Sandberg large pole piece pickups don't really give me the tone I want. I've also decided (not specific to sandberg) that active basses always sound like active basses, no matter how neutral the preamp, and seem to have an almost inherent compression (which makes sense as the signal is being processed in some way). 

That's why after 7 other Sandbergs I've ended up with the TT Passive; they have much more traditional small pole piece Alnico V pickups, and I am getting that rich, organic, unrestrained depth of tone I was looking for.

I feel like the bridge pickup is capable of a pretty good jazz honk, but then I'm not exactly an authority on jazz-honkiness! 😊

Edited by TRBboy
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1 hour ago, Highfox said:

for what it's worth, I'm new to Sandberg  and found that the VM's are fairly modern sounding if you're used to the Fender thing.(like I'am) they are just a bit different (the reason I bought one). Only used mine at practice a couple of times but found it fills the space nicely and not left wanting.

The standard pickups are definitely quite modern sounding (although not especially 'high output'), and the wood combination can make a huge difference too. I found that the European ash they use on the matt finishes is REALLY tight, focused and mid - punchy, and accentuates the kinda modern, HiFi tone even more. 

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13 minutes ago, TRBboy said:

That's why after 7 other Sandbergs I've ended up with the TT Passive; they have much more traditional small pole piece Alnico V pickups, and I am getting that rich, organic, unrestrained depth of tone I was looking for.

I exclusively use my VS4 in passive mode and swapped the stock large pole pick up out for a vintage voiced nordstrand -  absolutely love how it it sounds now.  thinking of doing the same with my vt4 

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Sandberg also offer Black Label pups now. Like their traditional pups but with a little something extra.

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7 minutes ago, ClassicVibes said:

Sandberg also offer Black Label pups now. Like their traditional pups but with a little something extra.

😬 Not an entirely popular opinion as they have a lot of fans seemingly, but..... I didn't like them! I ordered my last build (a Cali VM5) with them, and I wasn't a fan at all. VERY loud pickups, but just not toneful at all for me. The P neck pickup was missing any P character to my ears, and in fact there seemed little tonal difference between the P and the MM! 

 

But all that is subjective, and at I said I know a lot of people rave about them. 

Weren't for me personally though. 🤷‍♂️

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Apart from the pups then.... is there any difference between the TT4 passive and the TT4 regular but in passive mode? Hope that's not a daft question.

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3 minutes ago, MisterT said:

Apart from the pups then.... is there any difference between the TT4 passive and the TT4 regular but in passive mode? Hope that's not a daft question.

Yes there is, one is active, one is passive.... 

Joking, just the pickups really. Although even though it's a true passive bypass on the preamp, it may affect the tone somewhat... Maybe..... I guess? 

 

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quite a few owners have commented on how the tone is affected when in passive mode. Some enough so they removed the active circuit and made passive. (don't know the details on what was done)

 

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Got my first Sandberg a month or so back and got a chance to play it for the first time with my band last weekend when we had an outdoors jam . Absolutely loving it. Plays and sounds amazing. It’s pretty cool looking as well 😎 can’t believe it’s taken so long to try one let alone get one !

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2 hours ago, MisterT said:

Apart from the pups then.... is there any difference between the TT4 passive and the TT4 regular but in passive mode? Hope that's not a daft question.

My TT5 was a stock active one.  My pickups are not the large pole piece ones.  In passive mode, the active treble control becomes a passive tone control, but only has an effect across half of its rotation.  Furthermore, to me it didn't have the full dark-bright tonal range I would hope for from a traditional passive tone control.  I took out the preamp and put in a KiOgon loom.

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2 minutes ago, jrixn1 said:

My TT5 was a stock active one.  My pickups are not the large pole piece ones.  In passive mode, the active treble control becomes a passive tone control, but only has an effect across half of its rotation.  Furthermore, to me it didn't have the full dark-bright tonal range I would hope for from a traditional passive tone control.  I took out the preamp and put in a KiOgon loom.

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7 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

My TT5 was a stock active one.  My pickups are not the large pole piece ones.  In passive mode, the active treble control becomes a passive tone control, but only has an effect across half of its rotation.  Furthermore, to me it didn't have the full dark-bright tonal range I would hope for from a traditional passive tone control.  I took out the preamp and put in a KiOgon loom.

How did you find it with a proper passive loom in? 

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Posted (edited)

I have to say, after loving all my previous Sandbergs, I am REALLY loving this TT Passive SOOOO much, it is literally my perfect bass! ❤️

Edited by TRBboy
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2 hours ago, TRBboy said:

How did you find it with a proper passive loom in? 

Yes, I much prefer it this way. The active preamp is good, but I'm not interested in using it, as the bass already sounds great without it.  Also, it's better for me if I have fewer options, otherwise I get distracted and end up tweaking for no real benefit.   The passive loom works well - the tone knob now has a better range across its full range of travel, so it's easier to use.

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3 minutes ago, ClassicVibes said:

Why buy an active Sandberg then?

Do you mean generally, or are you asking jrixn1? 

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6 minutes ago, ClassicVibes said:

Why buy an active Sandberg then?

Second hand vs new

Seem to be more active ones about , and if you can get a good deal on a Second hand one but tinker with the electronics it makes sense as you can sell the preamp, pick ups off etc. And offset the cost.

If you can spec your passive sandberg from new, and want a new bass, that’s easy enough to do as well.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, ClassicVibes said:

Why buy an active Sandberg then?

 

As someone who preferred his VM4 with a passive circuit... in my case it was a matter of finding passive -> active conversions requiring more work than active -> passive, and not being sure what I preferred at the time of ordering I wanted a flexible option. I only experienced the preamp in the shop, and it's hard to decide there. Also, it was not the bass I ended up with (mine was built for me).

I generally prefer the flexibility of active EQ onboard, but there's something I love about passive tone controls and I'm a little picky about preamps. Some preamps work well for me (like John East's MMSR and U/J-Retro) while others not so much. I started out playing the VM4 in active mode, but eventually I realised I liked it better passive... so once I decided that this bass was going to be played passively, it made sense to give me better tonal controls by removing the preamp and installing passive circuitry. While the VM4 has a passive tone control in the treble control knob, it's limited in its function. I suspect I could probably make it work a little more to my liking by locating and changing the right capacitor, but it's simpler to just remove the whole thing and install fresh, plus I had a Tonestyler passive tone control already, so this was a good candidate.

I had a U-Retro preamp in my drawer that I thought I would install if I didn't gel with the Sandberg one... but as it turns out I prefer it passive, now I have two preamps in my drawer. Easily restored or preamp replaced if I choose to in the future.

There's nothing wrong about the VM4 preamp, I just find most active onboard EQ a little 'meh' and the Sandberg unfortunately fell in that category, but it's only a reflection of my personal taste. I've got a friend who loved the bass and was remarking how good the onboard EQ was... The thing is, it's *my* bass :D

edit: conversely, I have a custom Maruszczyk Jake with a single P pickup in reverse orientation placed a bit closer to the bridge than usual. I ordered it passive. This one ended up with a John East MMSR preamp. It's the problem with ordering a build: you may have an idea of what it'll sound like, but you can't control what you'll get exactly. Sometimes a pickup sounds great in one bass but it's very disappointing in another bass... 

Edited by mcnach
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11 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

My TT5 was a stock active one.  My pickups are not the large pole piece ones.  In passive mode, the active treble control becomes a passive tone control, but only has an effect across half of its rotation.  Furthermore, to me it didn't have the full dark-bright tonal range I would hope for from a traditional passive tone control.  I took out the preamp and put in a KiOgon loom.

 

Same here... the passive tone control is too subtle, it's like it allows you to tweak the upper mids a bit but doesn't give you the full range of operation that a standard passive control normally gives you.

I know a lot of people who barely use their passive tone, so for those it's probably more than enough. I use the passive tone controls a lot, so this was just not doing it for me.

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40 minutes ago, ClassicVibes said:

Why buy an active Sandberg then?

Yes fair question - I would have gone for a passive one off the bat if I could have found one.  I knew I wanted the SL model, but looking around for a while none came up - they haven't been out that long.  Turning to buying new, it didn't seem that a passive SL was a stock option - and since I'd never played let alone owned a Sandberg before, I preferred to buy something off-the-shelf,  so I could easily return it if for some reason we weren't getting along - I'm not sure I'd have that option if I'd order one to spec.

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Posted (edited)

Agree with what you guys have said. The other thing is, if you're looking to buy a used Sandberg there are WAY more active than passive ones about, and the majority of their models come active as standard. 

I will also say there is nothing at all 'wrong' with the stock preamp. They're made by Glockenklang and are superb quality. They are very natural sounding and intuitive. However, not everything is for everyone, and as with anything tone related, it's all subjective, personal and individual. 

I didn't have an issue with the sandberg preamp itself at all, it was more of a general realisation that passive basses with more traditional Alnico pickups give me the tone I want to hear, non-specific to brand. Plus I didn't need the flexibility, I tend to set and forget my bass and pedal controls and shape my tone at the amp. 

Edited by TRBboy
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