Marcus Miller V9 Swamp Ash 4 TBK Fretless

Fretless Electric Bass

  • Body: Swamp ash
  • Top: Quilted maple
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Neck profile: C
  • Bone nut
  • Nut width: 38 mm (1.5")
  • Scale: 863.6 mm (34")
  • Fretboard radius: 184.2 mm (7.25")
  • Pickup: 2 Marcus Super Jazz single coils
  • Marcus Heritage-3 preamp with middle frequency control
  • Controls: Volume / Sound (Dual Pot), pickup blender, treble, middle frequency (dual pot), bass
  • Mini toggle active/passive switch
  • Heavy Mass standard bridge
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Sire Premium open-gear machine heads
  • Colour: Transparent black
  • Pickguard included (not mounted)

Informações adicionais

Colour Black
Number of strings 4
Body Swamp Ash
Neck Maple
Fretboard Ebony
Scale Mediumscale
Pickup System SS
Elektronic Aktive, Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No
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Total
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som
acabamento

Good bass, but huge variety in quality of quilted top veneer

Quiltedbass, 14.11.2017
Just received the Sire Marcus Miller V9 Swamp Ash 4 TBK Fretless and thought it might be useful to share my first impressions.

In sum: very good bass, but unacceptable varieties in the quality of the quilted maple veneer top.

The 4-string bass is essentially the same as the V7 version (which I also own in a fretted version), with a number of alterations. First, the V9 version has a quilted top, no plate under the control knobs, a control cavity and plate at the backside and because of the very thin quilted maple top, the top is almost flat with a subtle curve for the arm.

The bass is made to high standards, with only one flaw on this one: the mirror quilted top has not been perfectly aligned which results in a thin greyish line in the middle of the top. Nothing to worry about, but this should simply not happen.

The bass is delivered with flat wounds, which, even though they did not sound awful, I immediately changed for round wound strings (more ?my sound?). The sound board is very smooth; it has been finished with a high gloss lacquer (which may, or may not result in wear out in the years to come, especially with round wound strings. We?ll see).

The bass is very easy to play, the out-of-the-box set up was pretty good. The sound is amazing! Especially the sweepable mid-frequency is very useful (like on the V7) and together with the Master tone knob provides for a great variety of sounds.

Al in all my first impressions are that this is a high quality bass; definitely better than, for instance, the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass (which, admittedly, has a different price point).

However, I do have one major point of criticism. This is actually the second V9 Swamp Ash 4 TBK Fretless that I ordered from Thomann in Germany. Even though I know that quilted maple comes in many grades and shades (I built basses myself), the pictures of the V9 TBK fretted version (still today there are no pictures of the fretless versions!) both on Sire?s website and Thomann?s website (see below) show a very high grade quilted maple veneer top (I would grade it 3A). However, I returned the first V9 Swamp Ash 4 TBK Fretless on the day of its arrival, because the quilted top was of a very low grade. It showed hardly any quilt!!

In my opinion, with all caveats regarding the difficulty of obtaining high grade quilted maple, this is something that I find unacceptable. Sire has chosen to sell their basses almost exclusively through Thomann, and for most people this means that they will not be able to pick their bass themselves. This means that quality standards should be pretty consistent.

After many phone calls with Thomann, and after I was sent a picture of a bass with a higher grade quilted top, the second bass was on its way. Even though this second bass has a much better top than the first one ? and turned out not to be the same bass of which the picture was taken and sent to me!! ? the quilted top is not to the same standard as the advertised bass by Sire.

I eventually decided to keep this bass, because upon its return I would have had to wait until the end of January 2018 to get a replacement, with respect to which, as the story shows, there would be no guarantee in regard of the quality of the quilted maple top.

This issue is something Sire should really take care off. For this price it is impossible to produce quilted tops that are consistently grade 3A or 4A, but proper quality control procedures at Sire should filter out below par tops for their V9 line.

In addition, Thomann should find a way to deal with this in the sense that if they send a picture of a bass to a customer and the customer replies that it wishes to purchase the bass on the picture, they should also deliver that particular bass.
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