NBD/Initial Review Valenti #173

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fettbass, Apr 10, 2014.


  1. fettbass

    fettbass

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    Hey everyone, just received my Valenti 5 String custom and thought I'd do a quick write up after using it for one rehearsal. My first 5 string was a Musicman Stingray 5 that I never really got on with. It's truly one of those basses that I love hearing other people play, but it really didn't do it for me. I spent the next several years after that playing 4 string jazzes, and I really identified with the active jazz tone. I currently have a modded to heck Marcus Miller 4 (john east preamp, pickup wizard pickups etc) and I just love the tone and response of that particular instrument.

    The band I'm currently in uses alot of synthesizers and keyboards to thicken up the sound, I actually double on synths in the group, playing a bunch of analog synths for pads and synth bass. I played my 4 string Marcus Miller for a while, but I quickly felt I needed another 5 string bass to stand up to the extended low notes I was sometimes using my synths for. For those of you who are curious, I'm using a Roland Juno 60 and a Dave Smith Mopho X4. I tried the 5 string version of the Marcus Miller out at a couple of music stores, and it was very nice, but I felt I wanted something a little bit different from what I already had.

    I got in touch with Nino and we spec'd out the following.

    Swamp Ash Body
    Olympic White Finish
    w/Black pinstripe
    Graphite Reinforced Maple Neck
    Maple fretboard
    -Vintage Tint Finish
    -Gloss Board and headstock
    -Satin back
    Black Pearl Block inlays
    1-3/4" Nut Width
    34" Scale, 12" Fretboard Radius
    Nordstrand Pickups 3B Preamp
    Nordstrand Big Single Pickups
    Black Hipshot Products Inc Hardware
    A Style bridge
    -19mm
    UltraLites
    Schaller straplocks
    Contoured Heel

    It came in a couple days ago, here's what I think

    Fit/Finish
    This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Valenti basses (I wasn't), but the fit and finish on this bass is superb. Although it's a bolt on instrument, it really does feel like the neck and body are coupled together as one unit. Neck pocket is super tight (not that it matters, but it's nice to see), and the bass is light and balances very well on a strap. For the last year, I've been using an epiphone tbird pro V for 5 string duties, and let's just say it's nice to not have to focus on keeping the bass from diving to the floor, and focus on playing. The electronics were neatly wired and squared away, and there was a nice shielding job on the electronics cavity. All the hardware was great, really top notch stuff, and the frets were even with no sharp edges. The nut is also well cut, and allows the bass to set up with a nice low action. You can check out some of the pictures below, the bass arrived looking and feeling fantastic.

    Playability
    The bass arrived with a very low action setup. Probably a little lower than I'm used to, but it did make the bass effortless to play, without cutting into the sustain or resonance of the instrument, as I find basses with super low action tend to have. It plays evenly all across the fretboard, with the usual slight deadspot around B-C on the G string. Nothing you'd notice at all in normal play though. Overall it's very resonant acoustically. I wanted to mention the contoured heel area as well. The heel of the neck tapers off at an angle, with some extra contouring on the back side of the lower horn, In practice it makes the neck heel alot less noticeable and upper fret access easier. I went with a vintage style Valenti, so upper fret access is a bit more limited than in some of his other models, but it's still a big improvement over most standard fender style. Also, the bass is quite lightweight at around 8.8 pounds, according to Nino. I usually play pretty heavy basses, so this was a nice surprise.

    Tone
    This thing kicks ass. The easy playability combined with the Nordstrand electronics make for a deadly combination. At rehearsal today, I played through a Genz Shuttle 9 coupled with an ashdown ABM 410, and the tone was clear, focused, with a hint of snarl behind everything. I found I could hear myself much more easily than with the epiphone I'd been using in the band previously. Boosting the highs slightly on the preamp gave the tone a nice little bit of grit and aggression. I left the preamp flat and mainly played with the pickup blend throughout the rehearsal. Fully towards the neck and played aggressively with the pick revealed a great midrange roar that put a smile on everyone's face, and both pickups on full gave a really great powerful modern jazz bass tone with a little more midrange content than usual, though I'd still consider it a slightly scooped tone. It sat in great with the kick drum, I'd describe it as focused and a bit wiry sounding down low, if that makes sense., with some upper treble content going on adding sparkle to the tone as well. I'll have to play around with it a bit more, but let's just say it's very easy to find great workable tones that sit in well with the music, while still having an innate aggressive character.

    Value
    This one's tougher to quantify. This is the most expensive bass I've owned, but to some it might not be a lot of coin. If you factor in what it would cost to have a bass like this made by another builder, in the US, with the quality of parts being used here, it's a fantastic value. Getting a similar bass built by Lakland or Sadowsky would probably run in the 5K range. Let's just say the valenti was several thousand less. I used to be one of those people that thought basses in this price couldn't justify their expense, and I'm still perfectly content to play MIM pbass at a gig. I'd say the biggest difference, that you can only really tell by playing and feeling an instrument of this caliber, is the cohesiveness of the instrument. You'll never feel like you're fighting with the instrument to get an idea out or play a certain part, like you might with a lesser instrument. Also, alot of less expensive instruments tend to feel kind of cobbled and bolted together, and my Valenti does not. In the long run it'll probably keep me from buying and flipping a bunch of 500-1000 dollar basses over and over again, so in a way It's probably saving me money! Thanks for reading my (long winded) review, I'll probably do some updates with sound and video clips etc after its first gig. For now, check out the pics below (courtesy of Nino)

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  2. JEDI BASS

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

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  3. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

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    Killer!!!

    Congrats!

    :bassist:
     
  4. fettbass

    fettbass

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    Thanks guys. The real test will come on the gig, but I'm pretty confident it'll be more than up to it. After one of our songs about 3/4 of the way through rehearsal, the guitarist said "Please promise me you won't play any other bass. ". He described the tone as having a fat and clean bottom but with a little dirtiness to it. I. Almost felt like saying that was how he likes his women!
     
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  6. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

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    WOW!!!! :eek:

    Beautiful bass! Congrats!!
     
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  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

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    that's killer.
     
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  8. Kevdel

    Kevdel Supporting Member

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    Nino really builds a wonderful instrument. The more I play mine, the more I appreciate how well it all works together. Congratulations on the new bass.
     
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  9. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

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    That is awesome!

    Congratulations on such a beautiful bass.

    I'm SERIOUSLY considering a Valenti myself.
     
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  10. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL A Hard Rockin Lover of GREENBURST Supporting Member

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    Congrats, rock it hard! :bassist:
     
  11. Jepus

    Jepus Supporting Member

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    That's a beaut.

    Nino never asked me whether I wanted a gloss or satin neck on my custom build! :(
     
  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

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    Two things here:
    1) Pretty much all Valentis are custom builds unless you bought used. He very seldom builds basses to "keep in stock," he's just too busy.
    2) You didn't specify what finish you wanted??? :eyebrow:

     
  13. Jepus

    Jepus Supporting Member

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    To be fair he never asked me!

    I'm adaptable anyway. Just waiting now.
     
  14. RSmith

    RSmith Supporting Member

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    Wow, sweet! Nice review too, Thanks!
     
  15. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

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  16. fettbass

    fettbass

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    Thanks guys. I have a big gig (1000 person room) coming up on the 25th. I'll let you know how it does.
     
  17. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

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    Yes please!

    Can't wait to hear the gig report...
     
  18. Greg Jones

    Greg Jones

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    OH MAN!

    Big news to share but I'll make my own thread ...
     
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  19. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti

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    My neck have satin on the back. Maple fretboards get gloss, rosewood boards are raw. The headstock on all basses are gloss.
     
  20. Jepus

    Jepus Supporting Member

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    Cheers Nino,

    Looking forward to getting this new monster!
     
  21. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks. Supporting Member

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    If you have the time, would you mind putting up a soundclip? That bass is too pretty not to be curious about how it sounds!
     

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