Brubaker Brute Singlecut - - finally mine, finally reviwed

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pablomigraine, Sep 14, 2013.


  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
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    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...:smug::smug:

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  2. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Sweet bass. Great review. Enjoy it....... for now.
  3. a2zbassman

    a2zbassman Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    Location:
    West Fargo, ND
    Awesome! Love the matte black finish. Glad to see these are finally getting into the hands of the players. Also, very good review. Please post a follow-up after you install the new pre.

    BTW, the body wood is supposed too be ash. That's what they've been saying all along for the SC's . . . And haven't heard or read anything about that changing.
  4. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member

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    Feb 9, 2005
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    Verified. It is in fact hard ash.
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  6. millsbass5

    millsbass5

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    Logan,W.V.(not up some holler)
    Nice. Just for kicks, I'd just like to see one with black, or gold hardware. That gold would definitely give an air of class to one of those. Brushed gold hardware would look really great.
  7. millsbass5

    millsbass5

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Location:
    Logan,W.V.(not up some holler)
    Nice. Just for kicks, I'd just like to see one with black, or gold hardware. That gold would definitely give an air of class to one of those. Brushed gold hardware would look really great.


    So, anybody lurking on here with photoshop skills?

    :bag:
  8. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member

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    Lol I dunno about that... I think gold would cheapen then look, but that's my opinion....

    Of course as soon ads I've resolved to leave the pickups along I've got a line on a set of Bart CBCs in J / MM lol
  9. millsbass5

    millsbass5

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
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    Logan,W.V.(not up some holler)
  10. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
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    Endorsing Artist: Brubaker Guitars, Tecamp Bass Players Gear
    Congrats man on a nice axe. I would love to have a Matte Black with a maple board.
  11. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member

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    UPDATE:

    Installed a Seymour Duncan STC3 Preamp and MAN OH MAN does this thing kick my ass now....

    I upgraded the pre in order to have a better blend knob, as the stock pot is functionally a toggle switch and not linear at all. However, after playing it at rehearsal and one gig since.... I've found the mid and especially the bass controls just WORK for this bass... Boosting the mid knob and cutting treble very slighty..... this thing just CUTS! I've been running it with my Ampeg SVT-7Pro and now the only EQ I touch on that amp is engaging the Ultra-Lo for certain tracks. This bass continues to impress me. There just is nothing to compare it to under $1200.

    Originally I was planning on keeping the stock pickups, but seeing how really amazing this bass has turned out to be after the preamp upgrade, I hear a set of Bartolini CBC's calling me....

    :D
  12. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

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    I would agree that the SC's are voiced differently than the DC MJX-5 and that they are heavy. Still both are nice and I'm glad I have the two different models. I'm keeping mine. My MJX-5 is stock and I think I'll keep it this way as a reference. I too am thinking about maxing out my SC with high end Pups and pre. Love the flat black paint on back of the neck.
  13. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass

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    Danke Schoen Mr. Pablo for the great review.

    The nut is actually BONE! A decision made by Kevin at the factory after trying several different nut materials to find the best one for Brute/Brubaker Tone.

    Yes, the bodies are chambered. Still not exactly where we would like it, but chambered. Balance is still the key. Also, many people have never played a single cut bass so they would not understand that the extra wood does add a ton of mass overall.

    Kevin also designed these basses with players like you in mind. Guys who will use the bass as a working bass and mod it to their liking, as he is requested to do in his shop even with his customs all the time. So they are built to accept just about every pickup and pre you can get your hands on.
  14. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2001
    Location:
    New Hope, Alabama
    Where can these things be bought? I cant find them anywhere online. The Brubaker site has a lot of dealers listed but none seem to have any in stock.
  15. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass

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    Jun 3, 2009
    Location:
    The Real Jersey Shore
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    Mark, there are about two dealers with single cuts in stock at the moment, as most have sold out quickly from the ones we shipped to dealers in July. A large shipment of single cuts will be in the shop here today or tomorrow, and will be going to dealers almost immediately. PM me for more info.
  16. Ponsonby_Britt

    Ponsonby_Britt

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2013
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    Found a couple "merlot flavored" basses on eBay, but I'm in the same boat, can't find them anywhere. Quite intrigued by them.
  17. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Supporting Member

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  18. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
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    Endorsing Artist: Brubaker Guitars, Tecamp Bass Players Gear

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