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Bacchus Bass - finally decided. Maybe. (lots of unpopular opinion inside)

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

  1. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    I have a problem. I know I have a problem. I've owned over 50 basses. The longest I ever kept a single one of them was my Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 5 at 62 months. My Lakland 55-02 will eclipse the record in November). Average lifespan is about 30 days. Standouts were the 90's Warwicks, the MTD 535 and the Spector NSJH2. I've spent more than $50k on basses in the last decade and recouped maybe $20k of it. My friends in the community pick on me about it. Bandmates facepalm reflexively. It's bad.

    So I've decided to try and put a stop to it. All of this exposure has brought me to several important conclusions. A treatise almost. They are (in no particular order):

    1) Above a certain price range (roughly $1,200), most basses are of exceedingly good quality, and the quality of the imports goes up every year.

    2) The world of basses between $1,200 - $2,000 is simply a higher-build-quality level of the world of basses between $400 - $1000; there's thousands of choices available to reflect your preference in tone, build, options and aesthetics. If you find one that has EVERYTHING you want, stick with it, if not, get ready for number 3!

    3) Most of the "Custom" builders in the $2,000 - $4,000 market are not, in fact, custom builders. Most offer a choice of 3 or 5 body styles, a limited number of tops and standard or standard and premium electronics package. Want a different bridge? Tough luck. Want custom string spacing? Sorry.... Want a satin finish neck? Maybe next year. Ibanez offers more choices. Not all of the builders are like this... but most. This is made up for by a seemingly endless variety of 1/4" tops, none of which appeal to me. Pedulla makes a great bass. They make them one way. Choose your body style, choose your color, remit $6,500. For an all-maple bass with no options.

    4) The $4k "Custom" Fender styles just aren't worth it. (To me..) I'm a Lakland endorser. STAUNCH. Lakland Skyline makes a better Fender than Fender ever could. Lakland USA makes a better Fender than Fender's custom shop ever could. But the difference in the two Lakies are not huge to a person like me... a great choice for the folks for whom the difference between a grand and three grand is like the difference between spare change and coffee money, but that isn't me. Sadowsky makes sweet-playing active jbasses for north of $4k. Alleva Coppollo makes a bolt-on, passive jbass copy for like six grand. Nice basses? Sure... there are a half a dozen guys within 100 miles of here who can make a bass to rival any of these for $2500. Is the $2,500 custom jbass from noname guy as good as the Sadowsky? YES. And it has the weird "V" neck profile you want.

    4) If you can afford a Fodera or Alembic, get one. If not, you're not really missing much. I've played a bunch, owned two, and wasn't thrown off my seat with inspiration to play or awe of build quality on either. Awesome basses? Sure. In an entirely different league than the $4,500 bass from Mike Tobias you could buy 3 of for the same price? No way.

    5) I can be very, very happy with import basses in the <$2k range, and will not ever be any happier with anything, regardless of price. So find the one that LOOKS and PLAYS the way you want in that range, and you're good.

    All that (whew!) being said.... I've been driving myself nuts deciding on my next fourbanger. The decision gets much harder when you know you've set aside or saved enough money to get pretty much anything. It's down to a Lakland 44-02 that will have all of it's electronics replaced, or a Bacchus TF24 (Sadowsky M24 style) that will get the same treatment.

    There's plenty of opinion on the Laklands here, and even if I could afford the Sadowsky M4-24 I still wouldn't buy it, because it's just an insane price to pay for what it is IMHO. Argue all you want, that's how I feel, having played em all. So I guess what I'm coming around to here is.... I'd love to get the opinion of folks who've owned the Bacchus basses, especially those who's basis for comparison include USA Laklands, Sadowskys etc.

    If you feel a wrenching urge to lambaste me for my opinions above... feel free, as long as you ALSO have something to say about Bacchus :D

  2. pogipoints

    pogipoints Custom User Title Holder

    Dec 5, 2005
    I'm in the same boat, currently considering a Bacchus TF24 5-string - mainly because it's the only 24-fret 5-string jazz bass in my price range.

    I tried the Fender 24-fret 5-string, but I just couldn't get used to that 2" nut width. Otherwise it would've been my ultimate "beater/everything else" bass.

    Not quite sure about your comparison to the Sadowsky M4-24 though. The pickups in the Bacchus seem to be closer to the 60's/70s position, while the Sadowsky has both pickups much closer to the bridge. That would yield a very different tonal result, even with the same electronics in both.
  3. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    if he can be the god of wine, i'm sure he can make a good bass
  4. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Indeed he can.

    I have a 4 string 24, it's a fantastic, light, very comfortable instrument. I've one of their Standard 5's too. In my opinion, Bacchus' build quality compares with anything in that price range, they're consistently excellent. I quite like the electronics in mine, very versatile, their pickups are high quality and most come with Bart preamps. The 5 has a standard two band, think Sadowsky. The 24 has a three band pre, but it's not +_12db or whatever, you can actually filter each frequency band out completely, which leaves a huge amount of tone at your disposal.

    A lot of them come with oil finished bodies which mark up very easily, so that may be a concern. The glossed bodies are nitro finished, as are all the necks.

    By way of comparison, I haven't played USA Sadowsky or Lakland, but I have owned and sold a Metro and a 55-02,. I have also owned/own Alembic, Warwick, G&L, EBMM, Fender USA, Hotwire, Rickenbacker and the Bacchus takes a back seat to none of them.

    Dave Neal likes this.
  5. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    I recently bought a Bacchus Jazz bass, a cheaper model though, a WJB-330. Including import charges from Japan to Canada, I paid about the same as if I would have bought a Squier Vintage Modified Jazz locally. In terms of quality, based on my hand-on experience with previous Fender basses, I would say that my Bacchus is somewhere between a Fender Standard Jazz MIM and a Fender Highway One Jazz. A great bang for the buck!
  6. guitfrank


    Apr 24, 2010
    I'm a Bacchus-only player, having traded off all my instruments (SG, LPs, Strats, Teles, Jazz, V, Explorer, Precision, fretless, 5-string, you name it) to correcponding Bacchus counterparts. The bottom line is : you simply get more out of every dollar. a 300$ Bacchus will blow out of the water any 300$ model by any manufacturer. Same goes for a 1300$ or a 2800$ Bacchus. There is NO comparison.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    That was an impressive amount of brand bashin' with only one post... and it didn't piss off any TBers... I am impressed.

    *tips hat* Well played, sir.
    BassikLee likes this.
  8. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I'm in the same boat as you with GAS. I guess all I can say is I agree with most of your opinions, but not all. To me, the Sadowsky Metros are a GREAT value for the quality of bass you get. I agree on the uber priced basses though. I can't imagine spending the money on a Fodera, etc.. To me, I can't see a Fodera (or other ultra high cost bass), being that much better (several times over) than a Sadowsky NYC or Metro, a USA Lakland, etc.
  9. english4bw


    Feb 5, 2011
    I just bought a Bacchus DX5 in black. Cost me just under $1900.00 (CDN) and was shipped by a distributor near me in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
    All I can say is... WOW! What a gorgeous bass.

    I have owned all of the high-end fivers including; Fender, Ibanez, Lakland, Yamaha.
    If I were to compare the build quality of this bass it better than my Lakland Skyline DJ5 that I used to own, and equal if not better build quality than my Fender ADJ-V.
    I'd compare it to my two Ibanez's (that I still have) but one is the ATK-805e (wicked bass but full active) which one can't really compare to the Bacchus because it's a passive pickup bass. My other Ibanez is an SR4005e Prestige which is, in my opinion, one of the best all-round basses I have ever owned. Completely different basses again.

    As far as Jazz style basses go though, this Bacchus is undoubtedly the best looking and sounding bass I have owned to date. It's amazing. I'm shocked at how good this bass is actually. I'd put this up against a Sadowsky in the studio any day. This is a definite keeper, and I'm like you, I go through basses quite regularly. If this were a major name brand bass of this quality it would probably cost over $3,000.00. No joke. It's that good.


    Hard to beat my Prestige though (below). Another gorgeous bass in looks and play-ability.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
    dralionux, wmmj and Doctor J like this.
  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i just got a Bacchus 24DX4 - only 12 made.

    best bass i have owned.

    DeviseR is a killer manufacturer (STR, Bacchus, Momose...).

    I have an STR Sierra.

    About to replace my Strat with a Bacchus Imperial 24 fret, black oil/nitro finish.

    good stuff.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
    wmmj likes this.
  11. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    oh, i just ordered a Bacchus Universe series fretless to replace my Vintage Modified Squier.

    The Bacchus fretless has a REALLY flat board, which i like.

    i'll be dropping in my J-Retro Pre and Aguilar hum cancelling Js ... boom!


    video is pretty funny. Danny really doesn't have high hopes for the budget Bacchus Universe series.

    but, you will see, he slowly changes his mind a bit. for the money and with a couple of upgrades.

    KICKER! it's nice cuz i already have the pre and pups.

    my daughter gets the Squier.


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