The undeniable appeal of Sandberg has always been it’s wallet-friendly pricing compared to its vintage counterparts. So how special is this Special Panther? …
When looking straight at it, while keeping Music Man’s back catalogue at the forefront of your mind, it does take a lot of its styling from the Stingray. This Panther Special version has an exotic wood body with a walnut top, a mahogany back and added layers of maple and more walnut. The bolt-on neck is slim and fast, and arguably by the means of a nice rosewood, really feels great to play.
The bypassable active electronics are powered by a PP3 housed in a quick release chamber. The pickups are fantastically elaborate, parallelogramically shaped, designed by Sandberg themselves and encased by Delano. But don’t think that their both the same spec… A Power Humbucker hugs the neck while a Split Coil sits on the bridge. To further pursue tonal perfection and reach that ‘unique’ stature, Sandberg run both pickups through a three-band EQ, before sending relays to the player via tone and volume pots.
The Panther is as clean as a whistle in the twin-pickup mode. A lot of low end grunt is apparent in the bridge split coil whereas the Humbucker is reserved for fashioning funk. Increasing bass EQ adds a silky sheen to the bridge pickup, ideal for slaps and pops; the twin-pickup setting does make the overall tone lose its flick and speed though.
Sandberg’s build quality is simply marvellous. Splicing materials the way this company has, while carefully and accurately considering the electrical hardware, has given Sandberg the edge. For a handmade forefrontal company flagship of a bass guitar, the price questions logic.
The Sandberg Panther Special retails at £1299.