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Happy Jack

Obscure Musical Backwaters - The Great SGC Nanyo Thread

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Seeing as I actually put a bit of time & effort into this, it seems a shame to let it get wiped when Basstalk goes.

Cut & paste starts here:

I sold my SGC Nanyo Bass Collection SB301 (snappy name, huh?) last year and almost immediately regretted it. I’ve just managed to replace it with an SGC Nanyo Bass Collection SB325, a 5-string active version of the same bass.

It’s not often that I go back and replace something I’ve sold. I already knew that the original (i.e. SGC Nanyo) version of the Bass Collection was and is a well-respected bass, but that there was great confusion over their history and over the various instruments you can find on eBay or in dealers.

So I did the usual quick Googles and discovered that precious little was known about the background. I also discovered that at least three different Bass Collection ranges now exist, probably from three different sources, none of them the original but all of them looking remarkably like it.

I was now curious enough to do some relatively serious research on the whole topic, and this is what I found:

During the mid-80’s a Japanese electronics manufacturer called Nanyo (who presumably made pickups, amongst other things) bought a small British firm called the Sexton Guitar Company. They scrapped any guitars that Sexton were making and concentrated on making one basic design of bass guitar, which they called the SB range (Standard Bass? Sexton Bass?).

The range was launched in either 1987 or 1988.

The design was available in a number of flavours:
4-string or 5-string
Active or Passive
J/J or P/J configuration

All were 24-fret maple necks with rosewood fretboards and genuine Gotoh tuners.
All were fitted with own-brand pickups which say – VERY faintly – SGC. You need to look pretty closely to spot this.
The cheaper basses (SB301 and SB310) had alder bodies, usually painted.
The more expensive basses (SB320, SB325 and SB330) had sen bodies.
The SB325 was the 5-string, the SB330 was a fretless with fret-markers.

The range was not cheap. These basses sold in the £500 - £800 range 20 years ago.

Serial numbers were 6-digit numeric, the first two digits being the year of manufacture (so my 325, S/N 883357, was made in 1988). The serial number, bizarrely, was on a label stuck to the electronics inside the back cavity. This meant that owners of a passive Bass Collection (like my old SB301) never realised that there was a serial number at all, since there was no reason to take off the back cover.

In the mid-90’s, probably in 1996, SGC Nanyo went bust.

Almost immediately a new range of Bass Collection basses appeared, made/marketed by a firm called SX, sometimes labelled “through Marina”. SX are probably Korean, but I can’t confirm that. The early SX versions of the Bass Collection range were apparently pretty decent, though not as good as the SGC Nanyo ones.

Current SX Bass Collections can be bought in the US through Rondo Music for $100 and are apparently exactly as good as you’d expect a $100 bass to be. They have standard alder bodies and generic electronics.

Meanwhile, Godlyke Inc. in the US started to sell their Disciple, a clear copy of the SGC Nanyo Bass Collection made of hardwood and equipped with “SGC electronics”, for prices ranging upwards from $825. Quite a long way upwards, in fact.

As if that’s not enough to be going on with, our own dear Bass Centre has just launched the Bass Collection Speakeasy, made of basswood and own-brand electronics, for £299.

What this all means is that a bass described to you (on eBay, for example) as a Bass Collection could come from any one of four different ranges from four different manufacturers, made at any time from 1987 to the present day. Looking on review sites such as Harmony Central doesn’t help much since so many reviewers clearly don’t realise the differences, and the exact model number is often misquoted or misdescribed.

Even the wood used by SGC Nanyo has caused confusion, especially the ash bodies.

SEN is also known as hari-gari, or occasionally as nakora. Although it is often described as Japanese Ash, this is quite misleading since it is actually a member of the Ginseng family. (Betcha didn't know that, huh?)

The wood is similar to both American Elm and Ash in texture and appearance, and can be mistaken for Swamp Ash.

Sen is less dense (SG = 0.45) than either American Elm (SG = 0.50) or Ash (SG = 0.58). It is therefore significantly lighter but, of course, also weaker.

By God I love the InterNet!

Edited by Happy Jack
Amending the title after over a decade
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Thanks for researching all this. I bought a Bass Collection Speakeasy last year. It's my main bass and I'm extremely pleased with it. I knew that there had been various different incarnations but hadn't been able to find anything more until your excellent post. Knowing how good my Speakeasy is you've made me really curious to try one of the 'top end' Bass Collections now!

If the attachment works, then attached is a pdf review of the Speakeasy which will hopefully be a useful addition to this thread.

[attachment=264:1599.pdf]

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Nice one Elom.

I see you're in Devon ... if you find yourself up in London ping me an e-mail, my 325 is about to be joined by a 320 and you're welcome to have a play on them if you're interested.

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POSTED 21 MARCH 2019 - YES THAT'S 12 YEARS LATER.

Here's the official Price List from 1993 listing the model range as it stood at that time. 

Note that a few well-known models had already disappeared by then, in my case most notably the SB320, which is my all-time favourite SGC Nanyo bass.

 

Bass Collection.jpg

Edited by Happy Jack
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[quote name='Happy Jack' post='6039' date='May 24 2007, 09:07 PM']Seeing as I actually put a bit of time & effort into this, it seems a shame to let it get wiped when Basstalk goes.[/quote]

damn right.
only yesterday i pointed somebody else towards the thread who was looking for Bass collection info

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i had an original passive SB301 back in the day.... can't for the life of me remember where i got it from mind you.... hmmmmm....

was a very nice little bass as i recall too: lightweight, small in stature, nice thin quick neck and looked pretty sweet too. they used to have one or two 'name' users as i recall from the old ads back in guitarist magazine.....female bassist from shakespears sister being one (i think anyways..the old brain not working too well today!!..or anyday for that matter! :) ).

i'd probably pick up another if i saw it at the right price


peace

c

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[quote name='Happy Jack' post='6270' date='May 25 2007, 08:28 AM']Nice one Elom.

I see you're in Devon ... if you find yourself up in London ping me an e-mail, my 325 is about to be joined by a 320 and you're welcome to have a play on them if you're interested.[/quote]

They do allow us bumpkins into the metropolis on rare occasions so I may take you up on that kind offer at some point! Thanks

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[quote name='elom' post='6959' date='May 26 2007, 01:23 AM']They do allow us bumpkins into the metropolis on rare occasions so I may take you up on that kind offer at some point! Thanks[/quote]

Arrr, ye bain't be goin' down Grimpen Mire, be ye? Arrr.

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I used to have a 325, for some stupid reason I sold it, and I've regretted it ever since.

Never had a bass with such a thin comfortable neck for a 5'r...

I've got nicer basses now, but I still cant get that one out of my head.
I'd buy it back in a heartbeat.

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I bought a SB301 in 1993 (I think it's a '91 model) for £400 and still have it, though now it's got EMG pups and electronics.

I don't know if I'm adding anything new to what's already been written, but from what I can remember of the original Bass Collection basses imported by the Bass Centre, there were three ranges over the years - the SB300, SB310 and finally the SB320 range, each range an 'update' from the previous one. They also had a couple of very nice Jazz copies which were pretty expensive and by all accounts really nice to play - I'd be all over one like a shot if I ever found one.

The 300 range had something like 6 models: a passive 4 string, an active 4 string, active 4 string with an ebony board and brass nut, a 5 string and a high end mahogany bodied, maple topped 4 string. There was another maple capped bass but I can't remember what the core wood was. 4 stringers were P/J, the 5s were J/J configuration.

The 310 range was very similar and may have just removed the passive base model. I think they had slightly different hardware too.

The 320 range dropped the ash bodies for sen maple and see through colours with gold hardware. I think by this stage there were just the 4 and 5 string models (320 and 325 probably) but I could be wrong.

I don't recall there being a 330 model but Bassist magazine ran a competition to design the new range so that could have been the 330 range. I've no idea if it ever went into production before the company went bust.

As for name users, there was Shakespeare's Sister's bassist (Clare somebody?) as already mentioned, Culture Club's bassist, Nick Fyffe and Chris Wolstenholme from Muse.

Anyway, here's mine...

[attachment=354:DSCN1169.JPG]

Dave

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Hmm, I could never get on with my SGC...though looks wise I always thought it was pretty sweet, especially how the finish continued up the neck (see the pic).

Though apparently some came with Paduak tops at some point according to the shop that sold me mine. Mine also had Seymour Duncan PU's on an active circuit. Probably a retrofit but hey.

Also if anyone is interested in buying one, last time I was in a store near me there was a 5 string (possibly a 325?) SGC in white with the SGC pickups, rosewood board and matching headstock. PM me if anyone wants the info :)

Cheers,

Ash

Oh yeah and here she was when I had her...

Edited by ashevans09

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There's a 320 on the Bay at the moment:

[url="http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280123045652&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:middle:uk"]http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...hlink:middle:uk[/url]

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If anyone is after one [url="http://www.projectmusic.net"]Project Music[/url] in Exeter have a mint 1988 Red 5 string. The tag price is £279 but they've had it for quite some time so I reckon you could cut a pretty good deal. They post too.

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Wunjo's in Denmark Street have just put on display a 310 (active 4-string) which says SGC Nanyo Bass Collection but then goes on to say Made in Korea.

I'm guessing that this is a sort of transitional model between SGC Nanyo and the later SX version. It looks very like the original but the headstock has a narrower shape.

The price is a remarkably reasonable £150! Someone's going to get a lot of bass for their money ...

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I remember seeing those speakeasy basses on the bass centre website. I thought it was their in house brand 'cos the logo is the same. Maybe they just nicked it.

[url="http://www.basscentre.com/cat/index.php?cPath=25_208&osCsid=cf61d89e513954479612fd50d72af968"]http://www.basscentre.com/cat/index.php?cP...612fd50d72af968[/url]

Edited by EdwardHimself

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The Bass Centre did do the original ones and they were available in 4, 5, 6 and fretless.

Many different specs - the only ones i can remember were the 300, 320 and 460 series but there were lots. the 300 series was passive, all others were active

My first 5 string was an SB305

The way you can tell what model it is within the range is: if its a fretless it ends in a 1, 5 & 6 strings are either 5 or 6. eg an active fretless would be a 321, a passive 5 string would be a 305.

Then you go onto different finishes - I had an SB465 which was an active 5 string with gold hardware and a Paduak top. They did Zebrano and a few others as well.

I have a speakeasy as well that i'm modifying. I tried every bass in Glasgow for the fastest playing bass I could find, regardless of sound or price and this was the one. the only original parts are the body and neck. Its got Gotoh machines, Badass I bridge, EMG pickups. All parts that i can remove and use again if i were to sell it on.

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[quote name='Happy Jack' post='14156' date='Jun 8 2007, 01:01 PM']There's a 320 on the Bay at the moment:

[url="http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280123045652&fromMakeTrack=true&ssPageName=VIP:watchlink:middle:uk"]http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...hlink:middle:uk[/url][/quote]

Hmmm ... £255, not bad, not bad at all.

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[quote name='Happy Jack' post='19303' date='Jun 17 2007, 09:08 PM']Hmmm ... £255, not bad, not bad at all.[/quote]

sounds like my amp :) sereously tho, i would so like to get one of these basses, if only they had a 5 string version...

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They do - the 325. I've got one and it seems that some other BassChatters do too.

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Not sure which model it is, probably a 1995 SB301 or possibly SB310, but mis-spelling [i]Bass Collection[/i] means that it probably won't attract much attention.

[url="http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Bass-Colection_W0QQitemZ190132002200QQihZ009QQcategoryZ4713QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem"]http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Bass-Colection_W0QQi...1QQcmdZViewItem[/url]

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Hey guys, I'm completely new at this but I'll try anyway...
Read this forum about the Bass Collection basses which I find very interesting. I know nothing about this bass but what I did find out is, that there is possibly another brand making these basses...!
Have a look at www.soundland.de and check the DelRey basses. Now, call me ugly :) , but is that DelRey Serius II not a twin brother of the Bass Collection...? Except for the headstock ofcourse. AND they have a 4-string Serius with the same headstock as with the Bass Colection ones! The other model look a like, the Tornado, does seem to have another neck joint.
Well, this was my addition to this very nice topic. Have fun.
Cheers all!
Hansabass
'Funk you very much!'

Edited by hansabass

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