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Sound Quality

I play an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, rock-a-billy, gospel, and lounge. This instrument sonically fits well with what I play (although it looks out of place; it's a jumbo-sized hillbilly banjo.) The sound coming out of the pickup is surprisingly warm and dark, and due to the banjo design it has rapid attack and decay qualities similar to an upright. The advertising copy claims it sounds "eerily" like an upright. Of course it doesn't really sound like an upright but it has a satisfying sorta "Motown" bass boom to it. I put flatwound strings on to maximize this effect. The action is well-suited to slap techniques, but slapping doesn't sound right on this bass. Alas, it's not very versatile. It makes a really pretty sound but that's basically the only sound it makes.

Reliability/Durability

This bass has so far withstood 6 months of live playing and its solidity has impressed me. The finish is some hefty clear lacquer that looks and feels like it could last forever. There are no strap buttons; I secured my strap with hook clips on the banjo brackets. They aren't going anywhere. The loose volume knob is just a cosmetic thing. I trust this bass to hold up for years to come. I would and I do use it on gigs without a backup.

General Comments

I've been playing various instruments staring with piano for 20 years. Electric bass for 8 years. I have a Steinberger 5-string and a wierd rebuilt Danelectro shortscale fretless that I found used. I wish I could have PLAYED the banjo bass before buying it, because I was looking for something acoustic, but the banjo bass still was good enough to keep once it arrived. I think though, if it were lost or stolen I probably would not replace it. Things I love about it are the sound and its unusual appearance. I get a lot of comments about it. Things I hate are the tailpiece and the armrest, and the general ungainliness of it. I wish it had an acoustic transducer in or under the bridge; that might've been interesting, and delivered more of the promised "upright bass tone."




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