Will Glarry’s updates to their P-Bass copy be an improvement, or more of the same buzzy, thin, mod platform variety like the first?
Grab your own from Glarry!
When I first reviewed the Glarry GP Bass I didn’t realize that it would become one of my highest viewed articles of all time on this site. I also wasn’t expecting Glarry to issue a new and improved version only one year later. But here we are, and I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to plug this new bass in and put it through the ringer (plus a Big Muff) and see how it stacks up.
The original Glarry GP Bass cost only $75, which was a great price for a working bass, but scored a measly 4.3 out of 10 on our ratings scale. While the value element and some nice aesthetic features were all there, the GP Bass was riddled with fret buzz, had a HUGE neck that was uncomfortable to play, and decent tuning stability. Even worse, mine showed up with the pickups hanging out of the body, and once they were installed, they sounded pretty lifeless.
With redemption clearly on their mind, Glarry’s new version of the GP Bass, the GP II, is roughly double the price of the original, but also sports a more impressive spec sheet. As such, let’s do a shorter review to update the status of the Glarry GP model, by comparing the two versions side by side.
As you can hopefully hear in the video above, this GP II bass already packs far more output and tone than the original, which sounded very thin in this ultra-quick Instagram clip I posted.
How Did The Sound Change?
The pickups have been upgraded, as the new bass sports a Wilkinson split-coil set. These do more closely resemble a true P-bass pickup, with more bite and output that are about on par with a solid Squier bass. I’m very happy with the upgrade, which made the bass much more useable, regardless of your skill level. These two basses are played through the same amp in both clips and you can hear a pretty stout difference in tone. Aside from the nice tweak with the pickups, the rest of the electronics looks, feel, and sound the same to me. No upgraded pots as far as I can visual and sonically tell. Volume and tone pots are useable, but not ultra sensitive, or even very sensitive, meaning you can go from loud to silent quickly, and clear to muddy quickly. The new Wilkinson split coils make a big difference in terms of punch, volume, and clarity, but still put this only on par with a Squier, Harley Benton, or similar level instrument.
Verdict: Overall tone is improved, but on par for the increased price.
Improvements To Playability & Feel?
The neck on the upgraded GP II Bass is still big and round, but it definitely feels slimmed down from the original model I was sent. Tuning is definitely better, as I can go more than a few minutes of down picking without having to adjust it. Hardware like the tuners and bridge both look and feel much better than the original, even if they are only marginal upgrades. It gives the appearance and feel of a quality instrument, something the original GP Bass was starkly lacking. Unfortunately, the GP II Bass is still riddled with fret buzz, likely due to the high frets because the action feels and looks really good to my eyes.
Verdict: It’s an improvement, but not as large as you may want for double the price.
Finish & Construction
I think what’s most impressive about the newly improved Glarry GP II Bass is the new finish. It looks much nicer, with a smoother, glossier look over light wood compared to the darker, grainier wood used originally. The Canadian Maple looks and feels much improved on the fretboard as well, with a cleaner look that contrasts the striping along the neck. It’s certainly a prettier bass guitar and it feels far more complete, like one solid unit. Again, there is a nice upgrade here that squarely brings it into the realm of a nice Squier or Harley Benton product, without dipping into the higher end territory. At the end of the day, it is still inferior to my Classic Vibe Squier.
Glarry did a great job correcting the laundry list of issues I had with the original GP Bass. However, the price nearly doubled, meaning that this bass is now firmly in used Squier Affinity Series territory. I do think this is a more solid instrument than some Affinity Basses, but not all. It’s like a high floor, low ceiling situation where the Glarry feels rock solid and won’t disappoint, but it is missing some of the magic that players may find in cheap gear. With the Wilkinson pickup they have really succeeded in the most important department, improving the tone of the instrument, making this a solid instrument for beginners and pros alike. In fact, DIY modders may not even want to really upgrade the electronics much. Instead, a solid set up, new strings, and new tuners would have this thing 100% professional grade ready. Overall, I think Glarry did a great job improving some glaring issues and has presented a much more user friendly and enjoyable bass guitar. If you’re on a strict budget, the upgraded GP II Bass should 100% be on your radar!
Original Score: 4.3 out of 10
Revised Score: 5.5 out of 10