Published On: Thu, Dec 17th, 2009

Sandberg Panther Special

Brilliant sounds and top-level workmanship, all for much less lolly than the boutique American names thats the undeniable appeal of Sandberg. Review by Gareth Morgan

SandbergDesigned to link Sandberg‘s traditionally-appointed basses with their more contemporary offerings, the Panther is inspired by the Music Man Stingray. This Special version has an exotic wood body with a walnut top and a mahogany back plus added layers of maple and walnut. The bolt-on maple neck is slim, fast and ultra comfortable. It terminates in a hooky single-sided headstock carrying four Sandberg cloverleaf tuners. The dot-free rosewood fingerboard has 22 medium nickel frets plus an old-skool zero fret to even out the open string and fretted tones. Sandberg‘s own chunky bridge has new-style saddles with cylindrical string rests designed to reduce stress and enhance sustain.
The bypassable active electronics are powered by a PP3 housed in a quick-release chamber (hurrah!) while the unusual parallelogram-shaped pickups are designed by Sandberg and encased by Delano. A Power Humbucker sits in the neck position, a Split Coil at the bridge; both are souped up by Sandberg‘s three-band EQ and can be controlled by Volume and Balance controls.

Sounds
The Panther sounds clean and even while demonstrating a slight high-mid bias in twin-pickup mode. Bags of growling, earthy detail come from the neck humbucker and gurgling funk issues from the bridge split coil. Increasing bass EQ adds a silky sheen to the bridge pickup, good for poppy material; the twin-pickup setting loses its brittle tinge while retaining clarity and weight, and

Verdict

Another excellent bass from Sandberg. The Panther is forward-looking with plenty of power, although not quite as much as wed expect from a really modern active bass. To us The Panther offers slightly less in the way of ear candy than the other Sandberg offerings such as the Umbo. Sandbergs build quality is uniformly magnificent, and although theres been a price hike, in a hand-built context both these basses represent near-unbelievable value

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score
19 19 16 16 16 86

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