Gibson SB350/450 Bass

Some might say this vintage SG Bass is butchered… I prefer the term ‘enhanced’. Like the 6 Million Dollar Man.

Being a guitarnerd, I love a good, unmolested vintage guitar. One that hasn’t been messed with… that still has it’s original tags and strap and case and curly lead etc. It’s like a time capsule to awesomeness. But on the other end of the scale, I like a vintage guitar that has been hot rodded. I’m not talking a Floyd Rose on a ’59 Les Paul (well… maybe a Kahler). I’m talking 70’s Dimarzio humbuckers in a 60’s Fender Mustang (which I’ve seen) or a 60’s Dearmond pickup in a Les Paul Custom (which I’ve done).

What we have here is a bass owned by my mate Ben. It’s a 70’s long scale SG Bass, from Gibson’s cheaper SG line. They cut a lot of corners with body shaping, finish and pickups. The guitars were so far away what people expected from an SG that I think it scared them off. They only lasted a few years.

Ben’s bass on the other hand, has a lot going for it. First off… it weighs absolutely nothing and is long scale. Both those are very un-Gibson.

The SB350 originally had two weird mini-firebird looking pickups and a cheaper version of the 70’s Gibson bass bridge.

Ben’s bass had some sort of weird humbucker fitted, which he’s replaced with P-Bass pickups. OK, it’s not the prettiest job around, but it certainly suits the rat rod vibe of this bass.

The bridge had also been replaced with some heavy duty brass thing. Again, it isn’t exactly pretty but it does the job.

The neck is fantastic. It has sort of a Jazz Bass profile, with the 70’s Gibson volute of the back. The headstock is really long… my Gibson Triumph bass has a tiny headstock compared to this. I guess everything in the mid to late 70’s was big… cars, flares, hair. Why not bass headstocks.Maybe it helped with a straighter string pull. It does make this bass a bit of a neck diver… but a wide suede leather strap would solve that.

I think the control plate has been replaced as the mini switches are missing. Also, in this photo you can see how badly refinished this bass was before Ben got it. It’s pretty rough, but it helped keep the purchase price down.

Ben brought this to band practice soon after he got it and it sounded great. I love SG’s… and with the long neck and P-Bass pickups, plus the general MacGyver vibe of the whole bass… I’m a fan.