This is my second Godin A4; this one has the synth output, which is superfluous for me. Besides the synth output, is essentially the same as my old one, except that the thumb rest has returned.
I love this bass, and I don't understand why people criticize it for lacking the punch of a P-bass or a J-bass. Strung with the right strings and properly eq-d this bass is plenty punchy. It's not slow to speak if you play near the bridge, trust me.
As for clack, I have the fretless version, so it's no problem.
Technically, the fretless A4 demands your best, and if you can play a rock gig without a glissando on it, if you've got your tone set right, no one will complain about the lack of punch. The new Godin strings mine has are splendid -- an improvement on most flats -- and have plenty of presence.
I would never buy the fretted version of this bass, but for your main fretless axe, you could do far, far worse for the money.
- 4.3/5, 4.3 from 11 reviews
The A4 and A5 basses produce acoustic bass sounds from instruments that are only slightly larger than a standard solid body bass and much lighter.
Great tone, good looks, nice patina on the wood
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 22, 2011
- Build Quality:
- + Great tone, good looks, nice patina on the wood
- - Ergonomics (balance and positioning)
Rotosound 88 (nylon)
The A4 has beautiful inherent tone... But, I'm finding that there is an art to getting more out of it. It feels like a different creature to any of the other bases that I have (Upright, Acoustic, etc.)
I've had it for a few months now and use it as a secondary instrument, so I'm still discovering more about it.
As others have observed, the balance is... tricky. I've yet to find a configuration that makes complete sense to me. The sharply defined edge means that it's uncomfortable to rest my forearm on.
The "floating thumb" thing also takes some getting used to. But, I've tried the ones with a long wooden thumb rest... and they're just lame.
The on-board EQ is a complete mystery to me. The instructions from the manufacturer are hopeless... And I just can't get a sense of what the bloody things do, let alone what sounds best.
That said... I love it.
It's all about the tone - And most of the issues I'm dealing with are due to the player (me) not the instrument.
Doesn't have a magnetic pickup
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed May 23, 2011
- Build Quality:
- + Playability, sound, appearance, weight.
- - Doesn't have a magnetic pickup
I traded a Martin B-1, a Samick L-5 clone and a Fender Blues Jr NOS plus a little cash for this new Godin A5 natural fretless. I've been strictly a Precision guy for the last few years: Classic '50s, AV '57, and a Standard FSR with a fretless Warmoth neck, all played through a Mesa/Boogie Walkabout Scout 1x1k5. To my mind, the AV '57, especially, through that amp was the voice of God (when God chose to play bass). For convenience at smaller venues, I picked up a Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0-10t and added another 10t speaker to get above the drums. Recently a friend told me he had lent his A5 fretless to a mutual friend who plays upright and who has a G-B similar to mine. He added that the friend raved about the sound of the combination. Since I recently started playing with a new line-up, I decided to check out the A5 fretless, which would give me a fiver, also.
I practiced at first through a small Ibanez amp at another friend's home, and got really comfortable with the bass right away. The neck is very nicely shaped for a P player, wide and a little chunky. The fingerboard has small lines that are visible at the edge and lap over the top to just past the B string. These are supplemented by side dots in the usual places -- there are no markers on the face of the ebony fingerboard. The preamp controls are on the upper bass bout, and consist of a couple of MIDI switches and a phase reversal switch at the top, then a volume slider, then treble, mid and bass sliders followed by a MIDI volume slider. Very compact, but unlabeled, and the bass came without a manual or other instructions. Of course, a little familiarity makes it easy. There is an 8" strip parallel to the strings on the B string side, apparently to use as a thumb rest, since there are none of the usual protrusions found on a conventional electric bass. By the same token, there is nothing to interfere with your right hand. The scale is 34", with apparently fixed string saddles, and the last marker is at the 20th fret point of a fretted bass. It came strung with unknown brand flat wounds and has a well made, robust gig bag.
With the markers it is a snap to play with good intonation. The fingerboard radius is flat enough that you don't run into the usual parallax error of trying to predict where the higher strings are in relation to the "fret" marker. I can easily play in tune about any place on the fingerboard I try. For faster passages I'll have to practice, but that's my limitation, not that of the bass. Action is easy -- I didn't measure it, but I had no problems with it. Ergonomically, the bass works whether you play standing or sitting down, with good balance on a strap or on your knee -- although I use a strap sitting down to keep the bass from moving around too much. The controls are easily accessible.
I plugged the bass into my G-B, with everything set flat on the bass and the amp, and experimented. I ended up with some treble rolloff on the bass, everything mostly flat on the amp, with "tone shaping" knob on the amp that gives a shelving boost to the treble (if you have one of the larger Genz-Benz amps, you'll find a lot more options and knobs). The result was a convincing, fat upright "mwah," especially above the 9th "fret" position. This is a killer sound that I've been looking for for a long time. It won't fool an upright player, but we're talking a much smaller instrument and a puny amp! I don't expect it to replace my Precision/Mesa-Boogie for rock or dance hall gigs, but now I've go a really cool alternative for the other music I play. If it had a P pickup it'd be perfect.
- No. of Frets:
- No. of Strings:
- Body Material:
- Solid Cedar Top
- Neck Material:
- Rock Maple
- Body Finish:
- Natural Semi-Gloss
- Nut Width:
- 1 1/2" (4 string), 1 13/16" (5 string)
- Fingerboard Material:
- Rosewood (Ebony on Fretless Version)
- LR Baggs Ribbon Transducer and custom preamp
- EQ / Controls:
- volume, mid, treble, and bass controls.