Badwater APJ-820 Review

manufacturer: AXL date: 02/28/2011 category: Bass Guitars
AXL: Badwater APJ-820
I bought this bass thinking that I'd be receiving a lower-level bass guitar. After all, the price is pretty close to one of those starter value packages.
 Sound: 7
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.4
Badwater APJ-820 Reviewed by: p_a_morgan, on november 17, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 224.99

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: I bought this bass thinking that I'd be receiving a lower-level bass guitar. After all, the price is pretty close to one of those starter value packages. This bass arrived at my house and I loved the finish. I got the "Off White" finish and, trust me, the picture doesn't do it justice. This thing looks awesome. All the hardware is antiqued and the wood is distressed. The "Axl" logo is branded on the headstock, it's a cool effect. The pickups are EMG designed, and I don't think you could get a much better sound with real EMGs in it. Solid alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. The C-Neck profile is pretty comfortable. Two volume and one tone knob gives you room for quite a bit of tonal variety. Both on bolt at the 16th fret. It's a pretty traditional P-Bass style instrument. // 8

Sound: When I unboxed it, it was roughly in Dropped C tuning. I tuned her up and plugged in and the sound I got was more than I could have asked for. When you pay a thousand dollars or more for a guitar, you're more likely to be disappointed in the sound and overall quality of the product then if you paid less than $300. You can't buy a Fender Precision Bass that sounds better than the Axl. I play through a Acoustic B200H and 4x12 Acoustic cab, it sounds great. I don't use any pedals or anything, but I did try my Dunlop Bass Wah with it for the heck of it and it sounded just as good as any other bass. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Naturally, I'd read reviews on the bass before I made the purchase. You'll always have nay-sayers, but most of the reviews were good. Some people said that they could scratch the finish off with their finger nails. I tried it a few times out of curiosity and I couldn't manage to affect the finish at all. The action was fine right out of the box. I've always gotten my instruments professionally set up as soon as I bought them, but I've had this one for a month and it doesn't seem to need it. Believe it or not, my band plays in Drop B and this bass holds up just fine in such a low tuning. I honestly thought that I would have to tune up after every song at practice, but I kept checking my tuner and it never came close to going out of tune. You may not believe it, but I'm an eye witness. The only complaint that I have is that, when playing in such a low tuning, my B string seems to flop and buzz a little bit on my first 2 or 3 frets. It no big deal though, you can only hear it when you aren't playing plugged in. When running through an amp, it's not noticeable. Haven't had any electronic issues with it as of yet, either. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The tuning pegs are a little sticky when you are tightening or loosening strings, but it's nothing that will prevent you from tuning the strings. The strap buttons have held up just fine. As for durability, I've done three gigs with it so far without a backup and it's pulled it's weight without a problem. I forgot to mention that this bass is LIGHT! It weights well under 20 pounds, but it's still sturdy. The best thing about the finish is that, seeing as it already looks beat up and scratched, it you scruffed it up some, it would just add to the effect. It already looks vintage, so you might as well put some miles on it. // 9

Overall Impression: If it were lost or stolen, I'd easily buy it again. It's great. I used to play with an Epiphone Thunderbird. I liked it, but it was really heavy and the neck is incredibly long. The AXL isn't as big and not near as heavy. I looked at a lot of different basses before deciding on this one. I looked at Les Pauls, SGs, Explorers and quite a few Ibanez basses, but ultimately, I don't think I could have made a better decision than going with the AXL Badwater. If you are in the market for a bass, check them out. If you play the six string on the side as well, look into their guitars. They have the best looking finishes you will ever see and judging by the quality of my bass, I'm sure their guitars are just as good. // 9

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overall: 8.2
Badwater APJ-820 Reviewed by: jrkgrb, on february 28, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 225

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: First off, this bass is light. I've been playing Epiphone Thunderbirds for years and have constantly lived with the neck dive. This is mostly my reasoning for buying this bass. The other part is the worn look. I like anything that looks different, I didn't care that I'd never heard of the brand before and at this price I could afford not to. The tuning keys tend to stick, but this is nothing that can't be dealt with. Claims to have EMG designed pickups, but that makes no difference to me. // 8

Sound: The J&P pickup configuration sounds just like you'd expect it to. Just as good as a mexican made fender. I can get more diverse sounds out of this bass than my tbirds. However, this basses overall sound is weak in comparison but by no means unusable. I play through a Markbass little mark III and an Ampeg 6x10. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Out of the box this played great, only needing a minor tune up. The strings that came with it were garbage though, I cut my finger on one. The finish is the coolest part, mine is the "off white" which looks like a regular white guitar that has been left in an oven for too long. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I am nothing short of abusive to my basses in live performances. I have gigged with this one a few times without a backup and it has stood up just fine. I put straplocks on all my guitars so I can't comment on the stock strap buttons. The best part is any dents or scratches will go unnoticed due to the finish. // 8

Overall Impression: I play in a post hardcore metal band, (the bled, norma jean)ish and this works awesome for less than 300$. I can't bring my self to buy expensive basses because I feel as if I can't be as rough on them. I don't care that it was made in china or that I've never heard of the brand until now, If I like it and the price is right, what else matters? // 9

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