Price paid: £ 220
Purchased from: Twelve Tone Music, Cleethorpes
Sound — 8
I am a guitarist and I play mostly blues/rock, with a bit of jazz when I feel like a challenge. I'm into home recording rather than gigging out and I needed a bass to take care of the bottom end - playing bass lines on a keyboard or via MIDI just doesn't cut it for me. I use it direct into a Novation Speedio USB interface and record with SONAR 7 Producer and a variety of DSP effects including Guitar Rig. For this ourpose it suit's me fine, with a wide variety of tones on offer via the pickup blend and active tone controls. Having said that, I did find after a while that the roundwound strings it came with were a tad 'clanky' for me, so I've changed to flats and the bass is transformed - bags of thump in the low end but still capable of a sweet trebly chime at the other. I don't possess a bass amp, but I tried it through one in the shop and it produced a nice growly sound - but how much of that sound comes from the amp is open to question. In use the pickups are noise-free - very important to me for recording. One odd thing - if I turn the blend control while a note is actually sounding, there is a slight crackle. If I turn it without a note playing it is silent. The guy in the shop said it was because there is DC across the blend control (by design) and not a faulty pot. I can't compare it to another, so I'm not sure about this. Not a problem in use though. In the end tone is very subjective, but this bass suit's me fine - I doubt I'll be wanting to change it.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues/rock and my own compositions - it works very well for me. I've been playing guitar for around 40 years - bass for about 4 months! I have a Squier Strat, an Epiphone Flying V, a highly-modded Hohner Les Paul, a Yamaha Acoustic, and a Kimbara classical. If this bass were stolen I would hunt down the perpetrator and ask for it back with mild menaces - failing that, if I could find the same bass again I would buy it on the insurance. I love the tone now it has flats on it, I hate nothing about it. My favourite feature is the active circuitry. I compared it to loads of other basses and this one ticked most of my boxes - it is a much better bass than I thought I could get on my budget. I wish it had a low-B string, and no frets - no wait, that just means I need more basses doesn't it?
Reliability & Durability — 8
As I've said, I am not intending to gig with this but it feels rock solid so I'm sure it could take it. I don't know how durable the finish will be long-term but it looks very good right now. The hardware all seems very solid and the strap buttons are very tight. No Doubt a gigging bassist would put strap locks on anyway. It's never let me down in my recording environment - that's all I can say really. I tried many basses before I bought this and it seems as solid as any of them.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It was set up very well by the guy in the shop and he did it again after I changed the strings to flats. Pickup height was fine and it plays in tune all the way up. It holds it's tuning very well, by the way. The finish is a high gloss which shows off the wood to perfection. I have only found one flaw, which was not the fault of the manufacturer. While the bass has been in storage the 9V battery has leaked and stained the foil on the inside of the control cavity cover, also corroded one of the screws slightly. Easily fixed as and I say, NOT a manufacturing fault.
Features — 9
This bass is the Corsair B-120N (Greg Bennett Signature Model) made in Korea in 2001. I should say this bass is not a current model - it was found in the stock of a distributor who retired, so I am the first owner although it was 7 years old when I got it. I believe I paid approximately half the retail price. Depite the name, it is not anything like the current Corsair range, which have a P-Bass shape and configuration. In appearance it is similar to the current Fairlane FN5-4 - have a look for that model on the Samick web site and you'll get the picture (literally!). It is an active 4-stringer with 2 humbucking pickups and 4 controls which are blend, volume, bass cut/boost and treble cut/boost. The body is alder with a highly figured bubinga arch top. The neck is maple, the board is rosewood with offset dot markers and 22 frets. No-name die-cast tuners and a heavy die cast chrome bridge with separate saddles adjustable for height and intonation complete the picture.