This bass was mentioned in this article, and this is the one where you can actually hear it being played below.
Before we get to the video however, it’s probably true a whole bunch of you out there didn’t know the Gibson Victory Bass even existed, so here’s a quick history lesson on it.
The Victory Bass was launched as an ’81 model during the “Norlin era years” at Gibson (which lasted until 1986.) Three versions of the Victory Bass exist, that being Standard with passive electronics, Custom with two pickups and passive electronics, and Artist with two pickups and active electronics. The scale is 34″, body is maple, neck is three-ply maple with rosewood fingerboard. A fretless version was an option. Several finishes were available.
This design was a rather large departure from what Gibson was making at the time. Very daring, very modernized, very bold styling. And yes, it was specifically made to get Fender Precision Bass players interested in Gibson.
How well was the bass received?
You might look at this bass now and think, “Wow! Looks cool!” But that’s not what bass players thought about it back in the early-to-mid 80s. Many bassists scoffed at the Victory Bass. While the electronics, the tone and playability were great, it was ultimately the look of it that turned people off.
When you compare this bass to what was being sold in 1981, you can see that the Victory Bass stuck out a little too much.
Was the Victory Bass design ahead of its time? One could arguably say it was.
How much is a Victory Bass worth now?
At the moment, they’re surprisingly cheap. As of this writing, prices range from $600 on the low end and $1,600 on the high end.
Put through the right rig, the Victory Bass really sings. This is the Standard, and yes it does have P-bass like sound to it, albeit slightly more growly.
What do you think of the Victory Bass? Is it cool or should it be left in the past? Would it be worth it to restore? Post a comment or two with your thoughts below.