Dimavery SB-201 electric bass review

The SB-201 by Dimavery is an OK bass guitar, you get what you pay for. The SB-201 is still in production, comes in different colors (black, blueburst, sunburst and red), you can even find a pink version called SB-301. This review is about the sunburst model.

Beware of the broken tuning peg

Dimavery SB-201 frontThe front side of the headstock is black, it’s got the shiny gold Dimavery logo on it; a truss rod cover hides the truss rod’s adjustment nut here. The tuning keys are the small, enclosed kind, with no markings; they seemed to work fine, but when I was putting on new strings the first time, I noticed that all four tuners are mounted loose in the headstock. I tightened the nuts of their mounting bushings, that’s when I noticed that the thread of the bushing for the A string is stripped. The headstock is angled and attached with a scarf joint. It’s interesting that this scarf joint can be seen on the headstock end of the neck (somewhere around the 2nd fret) in some pictures on the Dimavery site, but on my bass, it’s in the headstock, which is supposed to be more stable.

Crooked side dots

The width of the nut is 42mm (about 1-5/8”), and is made of black plastic. The 24 fret (two octave) neck is made of a single piece of maple, with a rosewood fingerboard on top. The fret markers are simple, regular sized, mother of pearl looking plastic dots. The side markers are not well placed, they should be centered between two frets, but they are placed closer to the headstock end between each fret. Also, the double side dots of the 24th fret are crooked, one of them is actually touching the maple part of the neck. I can see some high frets that aren’t hammered in fully into the fretboard. That’s probably the reason why I can’t quite get the action as low as I want, even though the truss rod works flawlessly and I can set the neck straight, they way I prefer. The neck is attached to the body with four bolts.

The scale length of the SB-201 is the regular long scale: 34”. Dimavery’s site says the body is made of the somewhat soft but very light wood called catalpa, but mine looks and feels pretty much like alder. They used only two pieces for the body, and they are matched them beautifully so it’s pretty hard to see the line between them through the transparent yellow of the gorgeous sunburst finish. The weight of the body is on the light side, the balance of the bass is excellent, it doesn’t suffer from the dreaded neck dive.

Noisy pickup

Dimavery SB-201 backThere’s one passive, Music Man style humbucker pickup in the bass, with eight pole pieces. The two coils are wired in series for greater output. The pickup sounds fine if somewhat on the dark side tonally. Unfortunately the pickup is noisy, though this noise is only present when your hands are not in contact with the strings or other grounded parts, which indicates a shielding problem. The control cavity comes unshielded, so I tried to shield it with copper foil, which only reduced about 10% of the buzz, so all in all, I recommend replacing the pickup. I did that, got an EMG MMCS for this bass, and though my measurements of the original pickup indicated that the route in the bass matches a standard MM pickup, I needed to dremel a little bit of wood away around one of the mounting lips of the pickup, to be able to slide in the EMG MMCS.

The bass has got a master volume and a master tone knob, it’s obviously a passive circuit. The bridge is the regular, four saddle top loader kind, attached to the body with five screws; two at the front lips of the bridge, and three in the rear of it. You can set the action and intonation to your likes perfectly, but you might run into annoying little problems. On my bass, the saddle of the low E string needed to go back towards the rear for proper intonation, and the spring of the saddle was already fully compressed, which meant I needed to cut a part out of the spring, so I could move the saddle further back. At that point, the outer saddle height screw was sitting right over one of the bridge mounting screws, which made setting the saddle height a bit tricky.

The bass comes with a flimsy gig bag, a black strap, a cable, two Allen keys (one for the truss rod and one for the saddle height screws), and a spare set of (unlabeled) strings, which turned out to be .040 – .100 gauge set, while the set the bass came with was more like .050 – .110 gauge. Or whatever the little Chinese mice who put this thing together has found in the barn. Oh well.

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