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Ander87

NBD - Sandberg Grand Dark - This should be it for a while!

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Posted (edited)

Hi guys! Well - it's been a ride... I started playing bass October 2018 after a long time playing guitars. 

Because of this, I am used to 'good gear' and knew I wouldn't settle for bad quality or an uncomfortable bass - I loved bass so much I ended up selling all my guitars and guitar gear to fund basses... The list has been long! I've had Spector, Stingray Specials, a Sandberg, Lakland, a Sadowsky MV5 and a couple of boutique basses like the Merlos I presented recently, a Sei I got in a trade or my ex-mine beloved Alpher. It's been a total of 9 basses in about 18 months, Jesus!

Of all the basses I've had, the Alpher Mako (Jazz) and the Stingray Special 5 (Cruz teal, lovely!) have been my favourite tones and basses; I love a good punch and fat tones regardless or the genre but still with some zing and growl on the highs. Now that I am opening up to play not just my neosoul project but also want to get into an alt/hard/rock band, I ended up with this as my 'only' bass - and here it is!

It's a Sandberg Grand Dark from sometime March 2020 equiped with the Darkglass Tone Capsule - this has the new pickups (TM plus, probs made by Delano?) that do give it an extra punch compared to how I remember the VM5 I had about a year ago. It would initially put me off to have a hi-mids / mids / bass preamp with no highs but to tell you the truth I don't miss them! I push them a tad bit in my amp to get my fundamental tone and I'm ready to go - boosting the preamp on hi-mids is plenty to do slap but without the 'hiss' or extra noise so I'm well happy - also banging feature - same volume either active or passive. Lastly, the musicman pickup splits to single coil. The wood department is alder body, hard rock maple neck and a gorgeous, nice chocolate streaky pau ferro board. Coming in at 4.15kg so defo well manageable!

For obvious reasons I haven't tested it on a band environment but I do have to admit I love it, I feel at home with it's tones and should be one I'm planning to keep for a while! the finish is perfect and it is plek'd and all that - you know how Sandbergs do, I feel like this is a tier up compared to the regular sandys with the revisited pickups and new preamp...!

With this, I am retiring off the marketplace for a while now (gosh, believe me it's been draining!), focus on playing and learning more. That doesn't mean I don't need a Line6 HX Effects to cover compressors and whatnot but hey, amp and bass is settled at last!

Best,

Ander.

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Edited by Ander87
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Good man and congrats they are cracking basses - I enjoyed playing one.

Pick ups Should be Sandbergs black labels

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Very nice ..Enjoy 

Feel like I’ve been on a journey with you , watching your BC activity ...😀

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Cuzzie said:

Good man and congrats they are cracking basses - I enjoyed playing one.

Pick ups Should be Sandbergs black labels

Thanks buddy! The black labels are in the Nighthawks I believe, from what I've researched these are the 'plus' set with a little mark on them.

Supposedly they've a bit more meat in the low mids than the regular ones. I like them better.

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Edited by Ander87
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9 hours ago, haimesy said:

Very nice ..Enjoy 

Feel like I’ve been on a journey with you , watching your BC activity ...😀

Ah John, so true! It's been a journey. From the Alpher + Eich T900/DB 2x10 to this Sandberg + Aguilar TH350 + SL112. And all the bits of gear I've flipped in between and before.

All with the interest to get a more versatile and warmer punchier rig but also adulting getting cash to buy a house sometime in the coming months - every little helps 😇 !

Truth is I find it very draining and stressful to follow up on leads, post, bump, post in other platforms.... The last bass I won't keep should be on its journey today 🙌 but at least I've made good friendships along the way...!

I'll try and take a proper picture of the pau ferro board - I used to be one thinking it's the poor man's rosewood but wow I am loving this one! Smoother than other rosewood boards I've had to the touch, and the grain is delicious!

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That's stunning. Nice to hear from a Basschatter who will never buy another bass again. 

Rare breed! Enjoy. 

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36 minutes ago, Ander87 said:

Thanks buddy! The black labels are in the Nighthawks I believe, from what I've researched these are the 'plus' set with a little mark on them.

Supposedly they've a bit more meat in the low mids than the regular ones. I like them better.

IMG_20200529_073414.jpg

15907341021648779644985557298956.jpg

Sorry, my bad - the plus ones - anyhow - great pick ups

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28 minutes ago, stewblack said:

That's stunning. Nice to hear from a Basschatter who will never buy another bass again. 

Rare breed! Enjoy. 

Ah not that I expressed I won't eeeeever buy a new bass - I don't think that's really possible, but I know this: I am tired of gear flipping back and forth and have found what I need for all my purposes.

Hope it stays that way!

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24 minutes ago, Ander87 said:

Ah not that I expressed I won't eeeeever buy a new bass - I don't think that's really possible, but I know this: I am tired of gear flipping back and forth and have found what I need for all my purposes.

Hope it stays that way!

Ha! I was teasing. You know when you have a keeper though don't you? 

I think we often buy basses because they're beautiful, the problem is that they're all beautiful! 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, stewblack said:

I think we often buy basses because they're beautiful, the problem is that they're all beautiful! 

That is so true! I can be so lusty about basses - you check around, something tickles you fancy and then you start to either glorify that new love interest or find faults on your current gear to justify getting it...

But also I am so mentally relieved to have one very reliable, cool looking and most importantly great sounding and versatile bass. For what I do, this is pleeeennnty!

No more parades of boxes and shippings back and forth for a while :D I may still find some strings or straps to sell under the sofa but that's minor anyway ha!

Edited by Ander87
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Great bass. I own three Sandbergs but only really play two of them, the other is a back-up.

My two go to basses are a Grand Dark 4 string in blue, like yours and a Nighthawk 4. They are both magnificent instruments and with enough difference to warrant owning them both, IMHO!

The pickups on yours are excellent as are the Black Labels. I got my Nighthawk during lock-down so have not played a gig with it yet. The Grand Dark has done many gigs and the 3 band EQ is a dream to find 'that' tone on stage. Have fun with your new baby.

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Indeed @fretmeister - I think in many ways they're an underdog and not in the front pages as often as they could - sober and well fitted basses with a reliable tone.

And they've done some interesting bits with the Grand Dark, Nighthawk and whatnot. Unless you go for the big aged masterpieces etc, most of these basses are £1,600 and under, I would without a doubt put them on par with Stingrays, although the new Stingray special may have that extra 'something something' to lead by not a lot.

On that note @bob_atherton, how do you compare the nighthawk to the grand dark? feels like they should be similar vibe (loving the inca silver one) but also interested in the differences between the pickups etc.

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2 hours ago, Ander87 said:

Indeed @fretmeister - I think in many ways they're an underdog and not in the front pages as often as they could - sober and well fitted basses with a reliable tone.

And they've done some interesting bits with the Grand Dark, Nighthawk and whatnot. Unless you go for the big aged masterpieces etc, most of these basses are £1,600 and under, I would without a doubt put them on par with Stingrays, although the new Stingray special may have that extra 'something something' to lead by not a lot.

On that note @bob_atherton, how do you compare the nighthawk to the grand dark? feels like they should be similar vibe (loving the inca silver one) but also interested in the differences between the pickups etc.

Ander. To start with the GD is 35" scale , the NH is 34", no biggie but it does have a slightly different feel. The GD lends itself to more of a jazz fusion type playing, in my hands anyway. I used to play a bit of upright bass and I slip into that sort of vibe more often on this one. The pickups on the GD are more rounded sounding and the big difference is that the neck pickup is a J type not a P type as on the NH. I've yet to play a gig on the NH (bloody lock-down) but I can tell it will be an instrument that I will be more aggressive with. It is more of a rock bass than the GD, IMHO. I still believe that nearly all of the sound one gets is from the fingers and how one plays it so your mileage may vary quite a lot. They both look as cool as f**k though...! 

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On 29/05/2020 at 13:03, bob_atherton said:

The GD lends itself to more of a jazz fusion type playing, in my hands anyway. I used to play a bit of upright bass and I slip into that sort of vibe more often on this one. The pickups on the GD are more rounded sounding and the big difference is that the neck pickup is a J type not a P type as on the NH. I've yet to play a gig on the NH (bloody lock-down) but I can tell it will be an instrument that I will be more aggressive with. It is more of a rock bass than the GD, IMHO.

Tha'ts a very good point and interesting I've noticed - when they came out I thought the GD was the badass bass by Sandberg dedicated to metal but truth be told there is a lot of ease to play something more chilled; this bass works perfectly on soul/jazz/blues, like you mention very round but also punchy sound. 

I thought the NH was a J pickup too!

On 29/05/2020 at 13:03, bob_atherton said:

I still believe that nearly all of the sound one gets is from the fingers and how one plays it

Very true, and I appreciate the pickups on this bass are very sensible to dynamics, more so than most basses I've tried I'd say funny enough!

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Sorry - mixing the Nighthawk (P as suggested) with the Nighthawk Plus - the new ones in 2020... I gotta admit that copper finish (let's admit it it's gold!) is lovely!

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Never played a Sandberg that I didn't really, really like... not played yours (of course) but I doubt it would be the exception to that rule. Lovely looking bass - love that idea of the JMM format - I can only imagine how lovely it sounds and feels. I quite fancy the idea of a PMM format. I know that if I was buying another bass tomorrow 99.5% sure it would be a Sandberg, Enjoy!

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20 hours ago, TrevorR said:

love that idea of the JMM format - I can only imagine how lovely it sounds and feels. I quite fancy the idea of a PMM format

Thanks for your comments Trevor! I agree - it is the most versatile and suitable bass I've had, interesting as I've had a few!

I also had a Sandberg VM5 (P+MM) but I didn't get on with the P pickup too well, and once I tried jazz basses I've always had at least one J pickup at hands reach!

I find Sandberg incredible value for money, same as the Sire/Marcus Miller on entry level is, but in this case for pro level! Not to forget others like Lakland and Xotic etc, the competition and quality on this range is defo there, but I can say hand in my heart this Grand Dark is in no point worse than the Alpher, MM SR5 special or Sadowsky Metroexpress I've had recently - indeed, it is like a merge of these basses and I'm well happy with that!

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