The VD Bass by Marco Bass Guitars
About 6 months ago I saw my first Marco Bass. Instantly I was impressed by the wood work and attention to detail in his basses. He uses choice woods and his finishes only accentuate the beauty of the wood. I am fortunate enough to live about 2 hours from Marco and after a bit of chatting he invited me to check out his workshop. I was like a kid in a candy store. Bass bodies and necks were hanging from the beams and it smelt of varnish and saw dust. Perfection. He took me through the stages of how he builds his basses all the way from wood blanks to the finished product. After talking for a few hours and gaining an understanding of what Marco puts into his basses I had to have one. He has several different models that he builds and they all differ in their styling, tone, and purpose. Marco explained the VD bass as his "experiment". All the attributes that go into his other basses are pulled from his VD basses. The VD is not part of Marco's product line up but rather it's his playground, his frankenstein, and his best creation. I am one of the fortunate few that own one so let me tell you a little bit more about the VD Bass by Marco Bass Guitars.
The VD bass is compiled of several different types of wood. The neck is made of Flamed Curly Purple Heart and runs the length of the bass. Actually the bridge is mounted onto the same piece of wood that the neck is made up of. This allows for excellent sustain. The wings are made of Red Cedar and are sandwiched between a Red Leaf Maple Back and a Flamed Red Leaf Maple Top. The fingerboard is made up of Brazilian Rosewood and the top of the headstock with Wenge and Maple Burl. The bass is extremely resonant and sounds wonderful when played acoustically. Along with being a great sounding combination, visually this bass is stunning! After looking at it you would think there is no way it's looks would be outdone by it's playability or sound, but then you would be wrong.
When I first went to pick up my bass I had no clue what it would play like. I was actually yet to play a 4 string fretted version of my bass. I play 4 string exclusively so anything else feels foreign to my hands. As I mentioned I was blown away when I looked at it but then I played it. It was an unreal experience. It played itself. And I mean literally. Every little nuance that I have to work on when I play bass just came rolling off the ends of my fingers. Thumbing and Plucking was effortless and some things that I had struggled with before were made easier on this neck. I won't lie. I do prefer a thinner neck and the neck on my VD was a bit rounder and thicker front to back than I prefer but the action was just right and it still felt great in my hands, just to some getting used to. The scale is 34.5 inches and the string tension and liveliness is perfect. The 1.5 inch nut was familiar and overall the bass played very easily. Access to the 24th fret was not as easy as it would be on a bass with a higher cutaway but for the few times I go up there it is not much of a problem. The bass is wonderfully crafted and to the touch feels great. The fit and finish was spot on and what you would prefer from a luthier of Marco's caliber. I didn't think this bass could get much better, that was before I plugged it in.
If you don't get anything from this write up, GET THIS. This bass sounds like nothing else on the market. I have owned over 100 basses and played several hundred more and I have never played a bass with the clarity, punch, and tightness of this one. It is truly something you have to play and experience to understand. Marco makes his own pickups and that is a very, very good thing. These particular pickups are stacked humbuckers and boy do they sing. It is paired with a Glockenklang 3 band preamp which is a perfect pair for his pickups because of the transparency of the Glock preamp. The preamp has a push pull volume pot for active/passive switching and when in passive mode the treble knob acts as a tone control. This bass can take you from a super modern tone that is unrivaled for slap into a fretless like subdued nasal tone when put into passive mode with the tone knob almost rolled completely off. It is truly the most versatile bass I have ever played and the best part is that every sound you pull out of it sounds like it was meant to be. No processing or overdone voicing just great tone through and through.
A Rough Sound Clip https://soundcloud.com/daniel-meichtry/marco-vd-bass
As you may have guessed, I LOVE this bass. It is wonderful down to all the little details. The pickup covers, the crazy acrylic pickguard, the detail in the headstock, and the perfect weight and feel of the knobs. It inspires me as a player and allows me to be more creative and express myself better than any bass I have played before. I am interested in playing some more of Marco's basses and am sure that this will not be my last Marco bass. I will be writing about his new Single Cut design shortly and am happy to field any questions anyone may have about the VD. On top of Marco being an incredible builder he is an extremely kind and genuine person. His work is inspiring as a player and as an enthusiast. Thank you for reading up on my new VD bass and check out more of Marco's work at: www.MarcoBassGuitars.com