Johnson review by AXL

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (1 vote)
AXL: Johnson

Price paid: € 173

Purchased from: Yamaha

Features — 7
This is my first bass. I've played it for nine years now, and I have no complaints. It was made in China, but it's difficult to tell. It plays well, has two separate pickups with two separate volume controls, allowing for a broad range of different styles. For a four string first bass guitar, it's got everything you want and more, and comes at a very decent price. The only negative point I have is that the output jack sometimes has connectivity problems, causing static. This only really comes out when the cable itself is also damaged, and may actually have been caused in the first years by personal use.

Sound — 8
As I mentioned earlier, the double pickup and volume control creates a variety of options for the sound and style. This bass guitar also possesses a real natural and vintage sound, which I really enjoy and love. It is excellent for playing finger techniques, and classic rock, and also works well for blues and jazz. It only comes with a tone control, which leaves little other variation, but I can not say I missed it much. Would be nice to add to a second bass guitar though, just to see how much difference it will make.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Everything was decently set up out of the factory. We had to tweak a bit on it at home the first day, to get the most out of it, although really, it sounded alright the way it was at the store. The one problem I did experience out of the factory was the nut. The original nut was of poor quality and gave problems with the G string. It kept slipping off the guitar. We had to replace the original during the first year. One of the tuning pegs is crooked from an accident, but that only adds character, and does not effect the sound.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar has traveled between at least three different countries, and withstood much traveling, on foot and by car between gigs and practice venues. Although it has obviously sustained some damage, I am surprised at how well it got through all its trials! I mean, it's come through much over the nine years, and still plays great! Although a second bass is always good to have on gigs, I have never had such luxury, and I have never needed it either. I do always check the cable and the jack to make sure they are not having a "bad day." If they do, I switch cables or correct whatever is causing trouble, but it only really acted up during one minor gig.

Overall Impression — 9
Like I mentioned, it's a beautiful bass for playing songs by Toto, my favorite band, because of it's vintage sound. I've also played blues, jazz and metal with it, and it sounds good enough in each of those fields. For metal in particular, I would like to experiment with some other basses, but classic rock, with some blues and jazz gigs from time to time is what I mostly do, so no complaints.

It works well with my Hartke B300 amp at home. Personally, I always wished I had it in a different color, but this was the only one available at the store. I was already playing it in the store, and fell in love with it, so I accepted it for what it was, and I do not regret that. Each bass is unique.

What I miss most by now is a fifth string. Since it was my first bass, and the five string bass I played at my teacher's place was tricky to begin on, we opted for a four string. Out of the two my teacher advised me to buy, this was the best. The other had a fresher sound, but this bass.. This one has soul.

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