HA! MINE!! Very few basses in my depressingly long catalog of "previously owned" which weren't special orders have been subject to this kind of anticipation.
There was a lot of hype on the Brutes when they first came out... the hype kind of died when the supply dried up after having sold better than likely anyone anticipated... and now they're starting to be mostly available again and we've seen lots of cool mod and upgrade threads in the interim. My quest for this SC started way back on THIS THREAD
Where I saw a KXB standard thinking it was a prototype Brute SC.... and then towards the end of the first page, Kevin pops in and asks if the world is ready... and BAM... the Brute SC was born
So... whatever the TRUTH may have been... I will always tell myself that this was ALL MY IDEA. In any case.... The bass arrived about 2 weeks ago and it has hardly left my hands since. Heavy Metal
The first thing I noticed was how heavy it was. 11.6 lbs to be exact. More on this later. The setup out of the box was good, but the B string was dead. All the way dead. A trip to the bench and a fresh set of SIT's got me in the mood to rock. But I performed a thorough inspection first. After the weight, the first thing one notices is how really sweet the satin matte black finish feels. The neck is fast fast and to my hands feels quite like the ZON necks in feel, if not in profile. The neck profile is identical to my regular brute, and I was impressed with how well the SC neck joint was executed. The seam is not perfect... which is to say if you paid $6,500 for one of Kevin's USA customs it would look slightly better. Slightly. This is in every way a new benchmark of import bassmaking. It's easy to see why Kevin and friends were rumored to have fired two factories and turned down bids from still more trying to get these basses right. The finish is not without some very very minor flaws. There was an air bubble about 1/64" in diameter near the headstock, and a minor rub mark near the control cavity. The rosewood board is nice but not amazing, what is amazing is the uniform and perfect seam between it and the black satin finish. A glance at several dozen $3k+ Gibson Les Pauls might not net you it's equal. Again very well done. The bridge is the same hi-mass job you see on the Carvin SB basses and on a few other mid-price basses. I'm a fan. However, the first problem I encountered is that, for those of us who like ridiculously low action, you actually cant get the saddles low enough on the D and G strings. I'm told this is being corrected on the next run. Bear in mind, you can still get the action very low... just not as low as my Lakland DJ5.
So let's talk about fretwork. Plek'd basses may demonstrate a very slight improvement over this bass... but only a slight one. It's plain to see every single fret was HAND POLISHED and some kerfs corrected and given a once over. This is a level of workmanship unmatched anywhere in import bassdom outside of the Chi-Town masters. Every piece of hardware was properly secured and the whole thing just screamed quality. Another thing to note is how unusually thick the nut is. I've found a great deal of a bass's flavor comes from the material and mass of the contact points; the nut and bridge. This one is extra thick and appears to be corian. At one point I was told what the body wood is, but it's an asian species and I can't recall it now. What I can tell you is that it's DENSE and despite the bass being heavily chambered (yes this bass is CHAMBERED), it's heavy. Sound Workmanship
Plucking acoustically... the bass is very resonant. The B string is as taught and piano-like as any of the best 34"ers like Musicman and Sadowsky Metro. Plugging in revealed this bass to be a very distinct departure from the regular Brute, not simply an SC version of the same instrument and dare I say.. un-Brubaker-like? When I think Brubaker I think aggressive, piano-like, sizzly. This bass is all of these things but in a different way. It has TREMENDOUS low-mid presence which makes it seem treble-shy on first listen. It sustains like mad! I was able to make my regular Brute sound close to the same by boosting midrange at setting #1 on my SVT-7Pro... but the regular Brute refused to be as forceful and sustainy. These pickups have gone through several iterations and I doubt much could be gained by replacing them, unless with something that has a ton of it's own personality such as EMG's. The preamp leaves a little to be desired, as I'll explain shortly, but lacking a big fat pickguard makes this bass less mod-friendly than maybe the regular Brutes. The Pre itself sounds like it's been modeled after the ubiquitous OBP, with center points right there. The problem, as is often the case with lo-cost imports, is the blend knob. It's more of an ON/OFF switch. Its either 100% both, or 100% one or the other. There is no taper. So at least for me, this pre is getting replaced... in my case with a Seymour unit which I find to be particularly transparent... I do NOT want to alter the tone of this bass at all. The Gig
At this point some of you have likely already written this bass off on account of the weight. DONT. Strapping this guy on with even the cheapest of Hyundai seatbelts one realizes immediately.... this thing balances better than any other bass I've worn. I've played three two-hour plus gigs with no shoulder or back complaints from this bass. It's a winner. I found myself re-eq'ing my Ampeg for the gig, leaving the knobs alone, engaging the Ultra-Low and going for it. This bass does not so much cut through a mix as push through it. You'll have to play it yourself to get what I mean. With the toggle switch on singlecoil and both Pups on full I got a very slinky modern Jazz tone that I slapped the hell outta.
Of course, when talking to a good friend of mine, who knows my proclivities and my wandering eyes when it comes to basses... having seen me go through twenty or more in the last 7 years... he asked me "Are you going to keep it?" I said yes, definitely. For now...