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NAMM 2020: Sandberg refreshes its bass lineup with the short-scale Lionel, the Nighthawk Plus, and the California VM5

(Image credit: Sandberg)

NAMM 2020: (opens in new tab)Sanderg has launched a comprehensive update to its 2020 lineup of basses comprising the short-scale Lionel, the California TT4 SuperLight with roasted maple neck, the California VM5 with Aguilar Electronics, and the Nighthawk Plus.

The Lionel features passive split-coil pickups and will be available in matte and aged finishes, but the big selling point is its 30" scale, which might make it it a more manageable and comfortable proposition to those new to the instrument, or players who split their time between guitar and bass. 

The California TT4 SuperLight is another accessible option from Sandberg. It might be full scale but courtesy of its Paulownia body it is incredibly light. As a tonewood, Sandberg says Paulownia is somewhat like swamp ash. The big news here is that it is now available with a roasted maple neck. 

Sandberg California TT4 SuperLight (Image credit: Sandberg)

The California VM5 is an all-new model for 2020 and features Aguilar Electronics.  It has an onboard Aguilar OBP-2 preamp to boost/cut bass and treble and is equipped with an AG 5P 60s split-coil pickup in the neck, with a high-output AG 5M in the bridge for added clarity and precision in your low-end. And who wouldn't want that!?

Sandberg California VM5

Sandberg California VM5 (Image credit: Sandberg)

Rounding out the launch is the Nighthawk Plus, which sees Sandberg's Black Label pickups and preamp on hand for "bite and aggressive tones".

The Nighthawk Plus has a blacked-out headstock, black hardware, an anodized aluminium pickguard, and sees a number of all-new metallic finishes make their debut. Choose from Inca Silver, Copper, and Dark Grey – each mixed in-house by Sandberg.

As with all Sandberg basses, the spec is a moveable feast, easily configurable in the Sandberg Configurator and should be online soon. Otherwise, check in with Sandberg (opens in new tab) to find your nearest dealer. Prices TBC and dependent on spec.

For more gear news, check out our NAMM 2020 hub (opens in new tab).

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.