Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: Ideal Sounds
Features: The VBS5A is a 24 fret, 5 string bass with a thumb like aesthetic. Made in 2001, it has two humbuckers with separate volume controls and a single tone control. All of the hardware is black. The body is made from Ash with a natural finish and the neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard. // 7
Sound: Thanks to the twin humbuckers, there's a small variety of sounds you can get from this. The neck humbucker offers a warm, bassy tone with a slight growl to it, it can get a little muddy at times but simply rolling down the volume sorts that out. The bridge humbucker offers a decent amount of high-mids, and used in conjunction with the neck humbucker it can create a nice full sound. The bridge humbucker on its own is a little lacking though.
Using the B string with the neck humbucker creates a beautiful chugging sound, depending on the type of music you're playing it can really carry the rhythm in a way that most cheap basses can't. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: To say this bass was set-up would be misleading. The action was sky high and the intonation was way off thanks to a massive bow in the neck.. So I had to crack out the Allen keys and mess about with the truss until the neck was straight, then adjust the saddle to make sure the intonation was as close as possible and finally make some small adjustments to the action.
Apart from those little problems, everything else seemed to be fine. The action can be set pretty low without causing any fret buzz and it seems to settle quite well. Considering Westfield guitars are mostly aimed at beginners though, they should be set-up properly because most new bass players are probably oblivious about how they would perform a set-up.
And finally, I didn't bother with the strings that came with it.. I just threw some rotosounds on. // 4
Reliability & Durability: It's still in one piece after 4 years of gigging with, however there's two small cracks emerging on either side of where the neck is bolted on so it's likely that in the future something will go horribly wrong. The hardware however is still going strong with the exception of the tone knob which has become loose, there's no wear on the nut, the tuners still do their job and the strap buttons are completely solid. // 6
Impression: I've played all-sorts of styles using this and it mostly excels at heavier styles as most 5 strings do, however it's perfectly fine for most styles of rock and even the occasional bit of reggae or ska. Unfortunately the cheapness of it shows on the build quality and the lack of set-up at the factory would be frustrating for a beginner looking for their first bass. If you're looking for a cheap 5 string bass with a decent sound though, I would recommend it. // 6