Price paid: £ 380
Purchased from: GAK
Features — 8
- Built in 2011
- Alder cutaway body
- Bolt-on 5-ply maple/neto neck and rosewood fingerboard.
- 34" scale, 5 strings, 21 frets
- Bar single bridge pickup, split single neck pickup (passive)
- Volume knob, tone knob and 3-way toggle switch
- 45-degree Mitre stringing bridge
- Weighs 10lbs
- Available in tobacco sunburst, black, metallic red or vintage white
Sound — 8
Both pickups are geared towards vintage tones, and seem designed to emulate classic instruments more than having their own sound. The bridge pickup gives more of a Gibson/Hofner-esque tone, with the neck pickup a dead ringer for a Fender Precision and the middle position emulating a Fender Jazz. Whilst all three positions produce a very good tone, both pickups suffer from a slight lack of high mids, so you may have trouble cutting through a mix if you prefer playing higher up the neck or favor a Steve Harris/Geddy Lee-esque sound. It's also not the warmest of basses (passive pickups on a 5-string are a little uncommon anyway), so may suit those with a more aggressive fingerstyle technique or pick players more. Having said this, for the price point the tones are still very competitive, and would perfectly suit the needs of a rock/metal player.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The feel of the bass is where it truly shines. The BB425 has a very flat neck and came from the factory setup excellently, with extremely low action and no dead spots. Unfortunately the frets overhung the neck slightly and needed sanding down by a tech, but afterwards the bass feels stunning in your hands. The Mitre bridge gives you the option of stringing through the bridge, as is traditional, or through the body - the latter option results in increased string tension and greater sustain, which is how I have mine set up. The string spacing is unusual, with very narrow spacing towards the nut and, compared to other 5-strings I've played, much wider spacing at the bridge, allowing for the best of both worlds between your fretting hand adjustments and room for your picking hand. The tuners are of good quality and rarely let slip, however the sheer size of the Fender-esque clover machine heads can be a little impractical and takes a little wrestling to fit snugly into a gig bag. Weighing in at 10 pounds, it's not the lightest of basses but it won't break your back either, however the weight distribution is a little neck-heavy.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Having owned this bass for about 4 years, everything works as it did on the day it arrived - no electrical faults, no warping, no breakages, nada. It's a tough baby and has seen a substantial amount of use at home, in recording studios and at gigs, and has survived a bit of knocking about with no visible scars. I'd say this bass would be more suited for a gigging musician than in a recording environment due to it's playability and versatility - perhaps save something more upmarket for those situations.
Overall Impression — 8
- Phenomenal neck and action
- Versatile tone options for the classically-minded bassist
- Bridge options add more versatility
- Very good for the price
- Pickups lack higher end frequencies
- Overly-large machine heads
- Watch out for quality control on the frets