A few Bongo questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RunngDog, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I've been reading a few of the enthusiastic Bongo threads, but haven't really been able to find answers to a few questions:

    1. Neck profile / feel - closer to a Stingray or to a Sterling? Or different from either (and if so, what does it most resemble)?

    2. 5-string Bongo -- how is it? Same question v/v neck profile & feel, plus I'd like to hear about the B string.

    3. Fretless -- comments, comparisons to other fretless.

    I'd be especially interested to hear from anyone who's played a fretless 5. How does it compare to others you've played?
  2. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    Is there any way that you could find one in a music store that you could try out? Are you looking to buy one?
  3. RunngDog

    RunngDog Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    It's about an hour's drive to the nearest GC (which is the only place I might try one), and I really don't want to go through the hassle if it's got a Stringray neck (which I don't like) or a mediocre B on a 5.
  4. I've played bassmonkeee's fretless 5-string Bongo. While I'm not primarily a 5-string or fretless player, I can tell you that this particular bass has the most comfortable 5-string neck I've ever played, a very well-defined B string, and great, singing tone. If I was in the market for a fretless 5, I would get one yesterday.
  5. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    From my experience, the neck is not as bassball battish ( is that a word) as the stingray. It is closer to a jazz neck than anything ( though not as narrow). The B was better than I thought it would be and the balance was nice too. I have not tried a fretless , I have only tried the fretted. The most amaziing thing about them is the sound, you can dial in tons of textures to suit your playing. If the Stingray is a one trick pony, than this is a jack of all trades.
  6. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    What the others said. The neck profile is definitely not Stingray-ish, but it's not exactly Sterling-esque, either. Can those be widely accepted adjectives now?

    But then we're talking about a fiver, right? So it's not that far from a Stingray 5....but sleeker.

    Now the four stringers, I'd say the neck is much more similar to a Sterling profile. But we're not talking four bangers, right?

    The B string is fabulous. I've had a load of fivers, Laklands, Modulus, Reverends, a mix of 34" and 35" scales, and I even have a Wal on loan here at Camp Bovine. The Bongo B string is as good as any of those basses and better than most.

    I should say that I believe the "feel" or "tightness" of the B string on any given bass can be greatly influenced by string selection.

    Can't tell you about the fretless Bongo, but bassmonkee can.

    Good luck. You need to play one. While I and many others love 'em, only you can say if you will, right?
  7. Faded


    Dec 26, 2004
    Santa Barbara
    I've heard that basswood sucks up a lot of low end, it that true at all with the Bongos? Be honest.
  8. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004

    I don't think so. My only gripe with basswood is its soft nature.
  9. Thats a bit of a stereotype.

    Usually, what you will see is basswood being used on lower priced instruments. Alot of players will pick them up, play them and be all:

    "BAH! damn this basswood!!!"

    Sometimes, poor pickups and electronics, low quality components, dead strings, etc, etc. factor into the complete package that is 'tone'.

    G&L have been using basswood for years now, Also known as tilia wood, and they make fantastic basses, but thats just my opinion.

    Lastly, i dont think ive heard of any Bongo owners complaining of no-bottom end.

    there ive used up my iq for the rest of the year :D
  10. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    I may be interested in a bongo in the future, and I have a question. If it is the jack of all trades, is it the master of any?
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    I love my fretless Bongo 5. In fact, I haven't really played a bass I've liked more in the 18 years I've been playing. Combining the 4 band EQ with different combinations of Single Coil, Humbucker, and Piezo, I can get any sound that I want out of it. I don't need any more fretless basses. Want is another story, of course....

    I haven't played many other Music Man basses outside of Guitar Center, so I can't really compare the Bongo neck to others with any authority. I have owned a wide variety of neck profiles though, and the Bongo 5 neck is extremely comfortable. It doesn't feel as chubby as some 5 string necks I've tried, but it isn't the sleekest thing, either. The spacing is plenty wide to not get crowded without being too wide for comfort. I had my 5 string fretted, and pretty much immediately ordered a fretless when they became available. So, obviously I like the profile.

    The B string on my Bongos are as good as any I've played, 34" or 35" scale. I've got TI Superalloys on my fretless, and Sadowsky light flats on my fretted, and both B strings sound as good as the other four. Like Bovine said, the strings you choose are an important component, and I've used TI Powerbass, TI Superalloys, D'Addario Slowounds, Labella Black Nylon Tapewounds, and Sadowsky Flats on my fretted bass, and I was happy with the low B on all of them. The Sadowsky flats are some of the best sounding strings I've ever heard, but that's the subject of a different thread.

    I've had no problems with sound of the basswood bodies. Here's an mp3 of my fretted Bongo through a Fishman Pro Bass preamp, piezo pickup soloed with the EQ set flat. This is what Basswood sounds like with no EQ played near the neck:


    No lack of bass.

    Here's another clip of piezo only, but with the Bongo EQ coming into play:


    And, lastly, here's an mp3 of the Bongo through my old Phil Jones Briefcase:


    The first half is the rear humbucker with the piezos with high mids bumped to about 75%, and low mids at around 60%. The second half is the same EQ setting with both humbuckers. The Phil Jones is set flat, and the optical compressor is on a very low setting. Forgive the sloppiness.

    So, as you can hear, the Bongo has a pretty wide availability of sounds. I thought I had some fretless samples online, but apparently, I don't. If you have any more questions, let me know.
  12. doogenbomb


    Oct 25, 2004
    You will not have a problem getting low end out of the Bongo. I can get the best Dub sound with my 4 HH Bongo.
  13. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I've heard that basswood is light and great for metal, and i guess low-end is good for metal? I dont really know anything about high and low end so i should not speak to much 'bout it... :D