I had my fair share of bass guitars. Squiers, Yamahas, Fenders, bizarre eastern europe brands, custom made by luthier, and so on, and I play mainly jazz and fusion, with a touch of world music and rock. I read a lot about this one, and I decided to give it a try. I chose the swamp ash version, tobacco sunburst finish, with maple neck and fretboard, 4 strings. The very first impression when it came out of the box was already good: aestethically the bass presents itself very well, finish and colours are beautiful to see, and you can really see the wood underneath. Although swamp ash is usually heavy (and this bass makes no exception) I have to say that the guitar is so well balanced that once you are wearing it, standing, you don't feel the weight at all. I am 90 percent sure the body is composed by two pieces, but they fit together really well. The maple used for the neck is well chosen as well, beautiful to see and touch. Frets are astoundigly finished for a bass at this price. Hell, all the hardware is basically taken from a tank: the tuning machines, the high mass bridge, the capo, everything in this bass guitar says "I am worth a lot more than what you paid". Last but not least, you can either let the strings pass through the bridge as usual, or through the body, which I immediately tried doing and yes, you can definitely tell the difference. I played it unplugged for a while: the vibrations were going up and down the neck, the body and into my hands. Even unplugged, ALL the notes, over ALL the fretboard, were even in tone and volume. So I dediced to plug it in my amp, and that's where the real suprises started coming up. Usually a bass at this price can be well built but it often has some issues in the electronic part, hums, noises, not so great dynamic range in the volume pot and so on. Well this is not the case, ladies and gentlemen: when in passive mode, this little monster has the typical tone of a 70's Jazz, you can control the pick up choice and the tone knob. Great sound, great response, with the fingers, with a pick, slapping. When I switched to active mode it was like having the same instrument plus 100% possibilities: it has a bass and a treble boosts, and most important, a parametric middle control. The range of sounds I could get out of this instrument is huge, from boomy, big bass sound, to nasal jacoish tones, to a killer slap and pop, and with some adjustments and playing with the right technique I even could easily obtain a Geddy Lee sound and play Rush like they need to be played. My conclusion is that this bass is a killing machine. The price is ridicolously affordable, it is built like a tank and it has a monster tone, you really have the feeling you shouldn't have payed it so little money. I suggest to EVERY bass player to get one. Let's come to the FAQ section: is it comparable to a Fender Jazz? I say, yes, but it depends. Your american Standard Fender Jazz made in 2010 that you paid over 1000 euros, I would say it is not worth it, Sire just showed us you can make a VERY good instrument for less than half the price. Your Fender Jazz from the 70's or 60's, original? Of course there is no match, we are talking old school. And of course you can't compare it to a high boutique bass neither, and I mean Fodera, Marleaux... but hell those are 4000 euros basses. As for all the rest, on the same price range, there is no match, plain and simple. These are just my two cents. I have no idea how the people at Sire and Mr Miller managed to do this, but hey, keep it coming guys!
I received my MARCUS MILLER V7 SWAMP ASH-4 TS on the 5th of August.
It arrived in excellent visible condition. Thus far it has been pure joy to play with. I was surprised that it was heavier than expected. It does not feel too heavy, feels like a wholesome bass.
The passive mode is gorgeous just as it is - each note rings like a drop of glass! The feel of the bass, string spacing, the fact that it was set-up perfectly just made the whole experience really worth it. The finish was flawless for a bass that was made in Indonesia. The preamp and its power to dial in what felt like limitless different tones from the combination of the treb, mid, mid sweep and bass boost still leaves me finding new tones every time i experiment with it. its like having the amplifier tone circuit built in.
But with all things created by humans, there are some imperfections:
1) Problem: the "main volume" knob (which is the small knob located on the dual concentric knob) does not cut the volume 100% when completely turned counter clock wise. Which means there is always volume even though the volume knob is physically turned off. I suspect there is a problem with the dual concentric knob. The said knob feels very loose to the touch as compared to the middle boost/cut knob. [update 26-08-2015: I received the replacement pot; fitted it and it works perfectly. The volume turns off 100% at zero position. ]
Given I live in Malaysia sending the guitar back is not in my interest as it will simply take too long. I am however quite happy to replace the dual centric knob myself. I am aware that I will be breaking my warranty should I repair it myself - at some point.
2) I noticed the pickup blending pot is wired in reverse ? meaning when you turn the knob clockwise - instead of turning on the bridge pickup fully, it turns on the neck pickup fully and vice versa ? when you turn the knob counterclockwise the bridge pickup turns on fully rather than the neck pickup. This is odd.
Thats it folks - to those thinking about purchasing it - i say just do it - at this price point its very hard to go all that wrong.
Electric Bass Body: North American alder, One-piece maple neck, Neck profile: C, Fretboard: Maple, Scale: 34" (long scale), 20 Medium small frets, Nut width: 38 mm, Bone nut, Fretboard radius:...
Electric Bass Guitar Body: North American alder, One-piece maple neck, Neck profile: C, Fretboard: Maple, Scale: 34" (long scale), 20 Medium small frets, Nut width: 38 mm, Bone nut, Fretboard...
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