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Bongo - After a month of owning one

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TrickDog, Apr 15, 2004.

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  1. TrickDog

    TrickDog Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2002
    Riverside, CA
    First off - Thanks to Gard at Bass Central. On time and as promised.

    Second - I'm on serious muscle relaxers and pain drugs for a wounded back, so I AM GOING TO RAMBLE......

    I have a 5 string Bongo HH and love it.

    I play the basic classic rock in a bar band every weekend. My main bass has been a Parker Fly 5. I also own a MM Sterling, vintage Rick, couple of Carvins, and just got rid of an Alembic Series I. Owned a bunch of other over the years.

    I have finally found the near perfect bass in the Bongo. Tone shaping is unparalled - fast and flexable. Sure, it is not semi-parametric with adjustable frequencies, but who has time for that while playing live? I LOVE the tones in this bass. Yeah, great bottom and snappy top, but it really stands out from other basses in the lower to upper mids. The neck feels very good and it balances well. The workmanship on the instrument is flawless. Setup was good and of course I tweaked it a bit to make it better. I live in Houston and it always takes a while for basses to get used to the humidity. (Only exception was the Parker.)

    About the looks - I don't care what people think about the looks of my bass. The people who have played it, love it.

    Admittedly, I'm still giving equal time to my Parker - another much 'discussed' bass design - but we'll see how things go.

    Bottom Line - IMHO - The Bongo is great bass.

    (Gard - I knew you were waiting......)
  2. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man

    I know.

    The visual aspects are subjective. You like it or you don't, I get that. But ain't no arguing with how the things work.

    Glad to hear you like it. My Bongo 4 has taken over as King of the Camp Bovine Herd. The 5 is second in command, but that situation changes from time to time. I guess the 4 is more like a hot rod, you know?

  3. TrickDog

    TrickDog Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2002
    Riverside, CA
    Is your 4 a MM? The ONLY complaint I have is that the MM config is a bit difficult to get used to if you slap. To quantify difficult, it may take you about 30 minutes of playing to get used to it and improve your accuracy. Luckily, being in a classic rock cover band (and an original band too) I rarely slap. I mean RARELY.

    As for looks.... well, I own a Parker. Talk about getting slammed. My response - don't like it, then don't buy it. I don't care what other people think about the looks of my bass.
  4. demolition

    demolition Guest

    Jul 5, 2003
    I work at a music store mega chain(sorry,but I need to eat when its to cold for construction in New England)and have played a few of the Bongo's and they play great.
    I just cant get past the way it looks for me to spend that kind of loot,though the more I play it the less I despise it.
    But all in all its a well playing bass,possibly one of the best I have come across at my job.
  5. In fairness, Bongo is not the ugliest bass that I have ever seen (IMO of course). I have seen uglier basses, but they're usually a "one-off" from a small shop. However, for a production bass from a well-known manufacturer, yes Bongo is hands-down the ugliest that I've ever seen.

    Some people don't care about what their instrument looks like, and more power to 'em! For me, however, playing bass is about the entire experience.
  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA

    You seem to be mistaken that ANYONE cares. Aren't you getting tired of looking stupid in public, yet? :rolleyes:
  7. Oh great. This again.
  8. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I found nothing wrong with the statement you mention. I'd certainly classify Aerosmith as "classic rock," and Tom's main bass is a......yep, Parker.

    And, personally, I haven't really cared for any of the Musicmans I've played in the past (with the exception of Muggsy's fretless Sterling). The Bongo is the FIRST Musicman I've ever felt compelled to own. And, since the word from Ernie Ball is that they can't make the Bongos fast enough--somebody's buying them.
  9. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I don't think EB alienated anybody. It's not like they discontinued their classic designs to focus on the Bongo - it's just another feather in their cap. I have never really been into EB stuff until now; I love the way the Bongo looks, and I wouldn't mind owning one if I hadn't already discovered the perfect bass for me: Steinberger XM. The Bongo as actually attracted me to the company, and I'm sure I'm not the only one (Joe Nerve).
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Nope. I like the look. I've seen and played Sabres, and I think they are ok, but it's the Bongo look that first grabbed me, and continues to exert it's influence. I've always been attracted to the looks of things that are a little just left of center, and the Bongo certainly fits that bill.

    I think it was very brave of EB to release the Bongo, knowing it's history of success with more traditional designs. I think it's important that companies to do that; otherwise, they would keep repeating the same designs (perhaps with slight modifications), ala Fender. Fender is pretty much stuck making designs that they introduced 50 years ago - everything they make that varies from that too much is doomed to fail, because their market has been trained to see Fender for what they were, not what they can become.

    It's the same way with cars. Car companies always introduce new radical designs at car shows, some of which are really cool, others not so cool. But they all have features that get incorporated into vehicles in the future, which ultimately is good for everybody in the car business. If they didn't experiment, we'd all still be driving Model Ts.
  11. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Same Boat...

    I thought it looked,, well, err.. Different, but having seen the first hand,, They're pretty sweet looking... Almost a little too synthetic looking, tho.
  12. TrickDog

    TrickDog Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2002
    Riverside, CA
    I love this forum! I now realize the error of my ways. No longer will I use either the Parker or my Bongo in my classic rock cover band. We've been doing it all wrong! From now on , I'll only use the appropriated vintage equipment. I had better dump my Bass Pod Pro XT, Digital Board & EFX, and those pesky modern JBL MPRO cabinets. I suspect I can find my old Yamaha PM1000, BGW and Phase Linear amps, huge JBL PA cabs and horns and junk somewhere on ebay. Lets not forget the SVT with two 8x10 bottoms. My guitar player will have to do a similar equipment overhaul. Oh, I wonder if my old roadies are still available, because I'm gonna need them to lift all this stuff.

    I mentioned the Parker as a point of reference to illustrate that I already use a bass that most people seem to hate and am unaffected by popular fashion trends. I'm a former pro musician (supported my family for 12 years) and now a weekend warrior, who is using decent equipment to make music that is fun for me. This is not Beatlemania (don't know who they are? Sorry.) and striving to maintain the exact look of the era.

    Anyway - can't some people just talk about the good and bad points of a bass?

    Rant off -
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Ok, point conceded. True, it's very hard to add anything new as far as technical stuff is concerned to a bass, but the look does apply. I guess I should have focused on the changing look of cars, not technical improvements. Still, driving a super technical car that still looks like a Model T doesn't seem like too much fun.
  14. They really do look nicer in real life.

    From all the shining reports I've been hearing from Lord Bongo :D and Embellisher, I really think a Bongo will be my next bass. I absolutely love the tones I can get from my Stingray, so if this bass can do Stingray and then go off-road - I'm sold.

    I've been looking for a nice fiver since January, and I'm so glad I didn't rush and let G.A.S. cloud my thinking. After all, the Bongo has a lot of the features I almost insist upon in a bass:

    1) 24 fret neck
    2) Versatile pre-amp (very versatile from what I hear)
    3) Humbuckers
    4) Legendary Ernie Ball quality (I can attest to this myself)
    5) An ergonomic design.

    Threads like this seem to do two things:

    1) Strengthen my admiration for Bongos.
    2) Weaken my resistance to them.

    I sometimes feel like I'm on Star Trek; all my engines are dead and the Bongo sun is slowly pulling me towards it, towards my destiny. :D

    Mike ;)
  15. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member

    Ouch, Bassmonkeee.......be sure to wipe off your sword. ;)

    I have to agree with you here. I have never been a MM fan either, but I am somehow drawn to these Bongos :eek: . I played one at GC.....and then went back a week later to play it again.....and it still sounded as good.

    Is it as freakin' awesome as my Nordstrand? Nope. Does it have the classic vibe, like my Mike Lull? Nope. Is it as drop-dead gorgeous as my beloved Roscoe? Nah. Do I think it's cool and well-made, and does it ooze all kinda tone, and does it sound unlike any other bass I have ever owned? You bet !!!! Will I buy one? Probably will.

    Last time I checked, this is the good ol' US of A (at least for some of us ) and we have the freedom to buy and play any doggone bass we wanna play. What happened to "Live and Let Live"? I like Ford, you like Chevy....so what?

    And guess what? I'm seriously considering ordering a Reverend Rumblefish. An ugly Teal one.....or maybe even a Lava Swirl, or that gaudy Gold Metal-flake. Why? Because I think they're cool-looking, and their reputation is good....but most of all because I simply WANT to. Beauty is STILL in the eye of the beholder......which is lucky for me, because my wife still thinks I'm PURRRRTY. :D

    Anyway, maybe I'm in the midst of a mid-life crisis......but I like the durn things.....and the Reverends, too !

  16. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Heh. Damn--someone caught my post before I went back and deleted the thing. I decided I'm through defending the Bongo. You are either going to get it, or you aren't. No skin off my teeth.

    Some people are going to think it looks ridicuous and it could be the most amazing sounding bass in the world, and it won't matter.

    I think the Guild/DeArmond Ashbory looks like a dogbone, but I play one live because I love the way it sounds. What do I care that it looks like a prop from the Flintstone's movie on my 6"2' frame? It sounds great on jump blues and jazz standards so I play it.

    I'm just lucky that I think the Bongo is the bee's knees. At the very least--you'll never hear anyone say, "Hey--that bass looks like a Bongo." :D

    Maybe SMASH will get lucky, and EB will release the Bongo electronics package in a Sterling, or a Stingray. If that's what SMASH wants, then cool--I hope he gets it. Cuz all basses look the same on tape/cd.

    But, honestly, if they DID do that, I'd still order a Bongo before I bought a Stingray, Sterling, or Sabre with the Bongo 4 band EQ and neodymium pickups. To me, it's just more interesting. I love the classics (heck ,the other bass at most Bongo gig is a 76 fretless maple board P Bass), but the Bongo makes me happy, too. I wouldn't take it to a country gig if the person writing the check didn't like it, but apart from the rare pickup gig here, and there, I only play with my two steady bands. If I can get away with an 8 string octave fretless on Mr PC, they certainly don't mind the Bongo! :bassist:

    I guess the real question is this--Is the Bongo the DeLorean of basses?
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Depends. Are the cavity covers and battery boxes gull-wing? :D
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I am not aware of any other production bass with a 4 band EQ. And not only is it a 4 band, but it is the best active preamp of any bass that I have ever played. As I have said before, it is so good that if Ernie Ball offered an aftermarket version of it, I would put one in all of my basses. It blows away anything that EMG, Aguilar, Basslines and Bartolini offer. And blows away Sadowsky and Fodera onboards, too.
  19. ... Are you sure? I have nothing against Bongos and I don't think there's one in my country but your statement says alot! And if this is really true, I'd love to be the first in Singapore to own one!

    Btw, would it be better if they had Alder or Ash in the Bongo?
  20. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Uh oh... :bag: ;)

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