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SKU SDG-CANV2-000794

Sandberg California VM-4 Active/Passive Bass, Black

Lightweight Chambered Swamp Ash Body, Birdseye Maple Fretboard, Black Label Pickups

Player's Perspective

Music Store Live is proud to be an official Sandberg dealer! Made over in Europe, with the finest German engineering, this bass will slap a smile on your face that you just can't shake. And this one really stands out from the bunch. For starters, it's only 7.4 lbs! If you're looking for something very lightweight and extraordinarily comfortable, it won't get any better than this. A chambered swamp ash and beautifully figured birdseye maple fretboard provide the uniqueness that makes this a bit different from other Sandberg VM's out there.

The playability is just simply off the charts. The neck is extremely comfortable and it seems like everybody that picks one up instantly reaches the same consensus. They managed to build a real bass player's neck that meets today's needs. The flat 14" fretboard radius is a joy to maneuver on and the neck is thin enough to maximize comfort without feeling like you're playing a toothpick. The string spacing at the bridge can also be adjusted to fit your playing style and the overall feel from top to bottom is absolutely superb. 

As well as being effortless to play, this Sandberg VM-4 comes loaded with some potent electronics. The pickups are their new Black Label reverse split-coil and humbuckers. We are huge fans of these as they allow you to get a modern and hi-fi tone but also still retain some vintage characteristics. They have a certain grunt to them that really sounds awesome and they have character to them that really gives them life. They're nice and growly, punchy, and defined while still having some of that openness that vintage pickups used to have. Some hi-fi and modern-sounding pickups can be a bit sterile, but definitely not these. They're a really great combo of vintage inspiration and modern tone-shaping. You might also notice that the split-coil pickup is placed in an opposite orientation that you might traditionally find it. This is a brilliant adaptation of a tried and true design. By placing the E, and A string pole pieces closer to the bridge you end up with a tighter, punchier, and more focused tone on the bass strings while having a slightly fuller and rounder sound out of the D and G treble strings. The difference is quite subtle, though certainly present... We definitely dig it.

Rest assured, you can still achieve some pretty traditional P-bass tones with this as well. The orientation of the P pickup will always give it a bit extra tightness and growl, but it's pretty easily tameable and you can also run it in passive mode to really tap into a more vintage and traditional vibe to get your James Jamerson or Steve Harris on. Located directly behind that is a big MM-style humbucker to add bite, growl, and attack to your notes. By adding that humbucker close to the bridge, you can achieve super growly and barky tones that compliment the P-pickup or run the pickup soloed (the bridge pickup soloed with a bit of the bass EQ boosted growls like a polar bear just stepped on a thumbtack!) The ability to run this in active or passive mode only further adds to the immense versatility found here and the treble EQ knob doubles as a passive tone knob when you disengage the preamp. This is another "under the hood" feature that we just love from Sandberg.

A simple 2-band boost/cut EQ allows you to tweak your sound on the fly, without ever having to turn around and fiddle with your amp knobs. For a more vintage sound, just pull the volume knob to disengage the preamp and you'll instantly be transported to bass sounds of the 60's and 70's. With the preamp engaged, you can really dial in a huge array of tones ranging from modern hi-fi to old-school and vintage. Rockers, funkers, blues players... We can't really think of anybody that wouldn't find a useable tone out of this, and it's definitely one of those "once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down" types of instruments.

Special Features

Sandberg Guitars was founded back in 1986 by Holger Stonjek and Gerd Gorzelke. Since then, they have been producing hand-made instruments at the highest quality. This bass features Sandberg's newest version of the California body shape along with Sandberg pickups and preamp that Glockenklang helped them develop. The reverse-P pickup and MM-style bridge humbucker combine to provide anything from familiar vintage tones to uniquely modern and hi-fi sounds. This is an extraordinarily versatile bass. This bass is made out with an alder body, Canadian hard maple, and an ebony fretboard.



  • Model: California II VM-4
  • Color: Black
  • Body: Chambered Swamp Ash


  • Construction: Bolt-On
  • Fretboard: Birdseye Maple
  • Radius: 14"
  • Frets: 22 + Zero Fret
  • Fretboard Inlays: Black Dots
  • Neck Wood: Canadian Hard Rock Maple
  • Finish: Satin, Black
  • Neck Profile: C-Shape
  • Nut: 1.56" (39.5mm) Graphite
  • Neck Depth @ 1st Fret: 0.79" (20mm)
  • Scale: 34"
  • Headstock: Black


  • Pickups: Sandberg Black Label Reverse Split-Coil + MM Humbucker
  • Preamp: Custom 9v 2-Band EQ (designed by Glockenklang)
  • Controls: Volume (push/pull for active/passive), Blend, Treble (tone knob when in passive mode), Bass


  • Bridge: Sandberg Custom 18.5mm - 20mm Adjustable String Spacing
  • Tuners: Sandberg Ultra Light
  • Hardware Finish: Black


  • Case: Sandberg Gig Bag
  • Made In Germany
  • Serial #: 38901
  • Instrument Weight: 7.4 lbs.

Overall Condition

Music Store Live is proud to be an authorized dealer for Sandberg. This VM-4 is 100% brand new and is being sold with a full manufacturer's warranty. Photos are of the exact bass you'll receive.

Our in-house guitar tech will inspect, test, set up, and clean all of our instruments on site prior to shipping. All of our instruments are guaranteed to be fully functional upon arrival.

Along with our amazing inventory, we can custom order any Sandberg bass or guitar you'd like. Call or message us for details.