1978 Greco Flying V bass

The seventies Greco catalogue was littered with Gibson copies in both guitar and bass versions and while they made "close" copies and actual replicas, there were some seemingly obvious versions that Gibson didn't even do ... yet.

The Greco Flying V bass was introduced in 1974 as the Greco FVB and came in bolt on and set neck versions well into the eighties. These were of course sold as Ibanez (2387B) versions throughout the world. While the bolt on neck version is much more popular (especially here in Australia) the set neck version as seen here really gives you a real Gibson vibe and tone. 

 

Gibson didn't make a Flying V bass until 1981, and then only made a limited run of 375 mostly in black, probably having seen how great the V worked as a bass from these Japanese manufacturers who had been making versions for over 5 years already.

While the bolt on neck version is nice, the set neck and through neck basses from these great factories are exceptional for bass. The solid mahogany body is of course huge with those great V wings and feels very substantial to wear. Like the guitar version it is very comfortable to play standing up with a strap, but awkward sitting down.

 

The set mahogany neck feels great and access all the way to top is easy. The bolt on version has the little wings slide out more to give better structural integrity around that joint but is still easily played all the way to to the 21st fret.

The headstock is pure Gibson V with two a side tuners and a Gibson shaped, but Greco branded trussrod cover. The scale is also different to what Gibson would eventually use being a full scale 34" whereas Gibson opted for it's short scale 30 1/2" as used on most of its basses.

Gibson used it's Thunderbird pickups when it issued the V bass but Greco, basically "guessing" what a V bass would have went with the EB-3 set up of duel humbuckers with a mini in the bridge position. These were made by Maxon and were used in other Gibson copy basses by Greco.

 

The bridge is the three point adjustable bridge as used by Gibson on their basses and while some people don't like these bridges i think they work and sound great. They can warp from all the tension over the years but I think the three anchor points, and being fully adjustable and tiltable make them very expressive and, like the wraparound on LP's I'm a huge fan of the tension being ON the bridge/tailpiece.

 

Controls are typical V with a volume for each pickup and master tone with a three way toggle. 

This V bass is 3 years older than any Gibson version, made using the same solid mahogany set neck technique and plays and sounds .... amazing. It has lots of frequency response and great bottom end, which defies logic with nothing behind the bridge, but, it works.

1974 Greco catalogue.

Seventies set neck versions of these are hard to come by, especially in this condition WITH it's original yellow fuzz hardcase. While I've set up and repaired a few bolt on neck Ibanez's this is the only set neck version I've owned and I've had quite a few EB (SG) style set neck Grecos from the seventies and eighties which are GREAT, it was great to finally get hold of one of these to play with.

It's in the shop now if anyone wants to have a play.

Jul 19 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan