Bass of the Week: Willcox Guitars Saber SL

This week we check out the Willcox Saber SL, a bass that is set apart by its innovative Lightwave pickups. Originally built under the LightWave moniker, designer Chris Willcox created a separate guitar company to put out his instruments. Willcox invented the LightWave optical pickup and incorporates it into the Saber SL.

Willcox Guitars Saber SL Bass - Blue 5-string

“The LightWave Optical Pickup System uses our patented infrared light technology to detect string vibrations,” the company explains. “The optical pickup is a proprietary type of transducer which utilizes an infrared emitter and an array of photodetectors for each string. The emitter casts a shadow of the string onto the photodetectors. As the string vibrates, the size and shape of the shadow changes accordingly and modulates a current which passes through the photodetectors. This current is the analog electrical signal which represents an accurate depiction of the vibrating string.”

Besides the optical pickup, the Saber SL has piezos in its bridge saddles. The company’s Icetone circuit allows for blending the two pickups together to create natural blend with natural high-frequency enhancement. Willcox also fits the bass with an active preamp with Master Volume, Bass Boost and Cut, Mids Boost and Cut, and Mid Sweep knobs. Finally, a Warm/Cool toggle switch gives broader tone shaping. Its whole system is powered by a rechargeable NiMH internal battery.

The Saber SL comes with four or five strings and is built with an alder body, a three-piece maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. It can also be made fretless, either lined or unlined.

For more, check out the Willcox Guitars website.

Willcox Guitars Saber SL Bass Photos:

Willcox Guitars Saber SL Bass Details:

Number of Strings:4 or 5
Scale Length:34″
Construction:Bolt-On (5 Bolt)
Body Wood:Alder
Body Finish:Gloss Polyurethane
Fretless Options:Lined or Unlined
Number of Frets:24
Neck Wood:3-Piece Rock Maple
Neck Finish:Satin Polyurethane
Fretboard Radius:14″
Neck Shape:Low-Profile ‘C’ Neck Carve
Inlays:Mother-of-Pearl Dots
Pickups:LightWave Analog Optical Pickup
Bridge:Custom GraphTech Monolithic Bridges with iceTone™ Saddle
PreAmp:LightWave Designed Active PreAmp
Controls:Master Volume, Bass Boost and Cut, Mids Boost and Cut, Mid Sweep, iceTone™ Blend, Warm/Cool Toggle Switch
Power:16 Hours playing time with 1-hour recharge (Rechargeable NiMH Internal Battery)
Accessories:ProTec Deluxe Gig Bag, User Manual

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Share your thoughts

  1. Rich Wagner

    Curious with no pick-ups or thumb rest to put your thumb if your playing the E (or B on a 5) where you going to lock down that thumb?

  2. Rich Wagner


  3. Bero

    I would just place my thumb on the end of the fretboard neck.