DeArmond Pilot Deluxe 5 - Cool or Crap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm finding both the ash and walnut bodied, neckthru DeArmond 5 string Pilot basses out there on the cheap. Very tempting, but I've never tried one. I've tried one of their lower end, poplar bodied, bolt on models years ago and thought they were okay, but nothing to write home about. However the Deluxe neck-thrus are foreign to me. Any owners out there want to give me the scoop?

  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I've never played the DeArmond, but I know the Guild pilot is a very nice bass. I wish I still had mine, a GAS addicts refrain! :rolleyes:
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I had a DeArmond Pro five string - same as the Deluxe but not a neck-through. It was a decent bass, but nothing really to get excited about. It was a good entry-level type five string for the money, but I think maybe looking for a comparably priced Yamaha would be a better bet.
  4. I have a Pilot Deluxe 4-string. The Ash bodied one (there's also a Mahogany body one).

    It was my first real bass and still my #2 bass today. Sounds great and plays very well for such a low-priced bass. I think their list price was around $900 before DeArmond was bought by Guild and then Guild was bought by Fender who had the production of that line stopped. Now you can find them for $300 or less and it's a really great deal I think. They look great too.

    Some pics of mine



    I'll dig up some soundclips for ya too :bassist:
  5. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Did you upgrade the bridge yourself, or was that stock? It appears to be much more substantial than the one on my Pro.
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    When I was pondering the jump to 5-string, I wanted something relatively inexpensive to learn on, and I found a NOS Pilot 5 Deluxe (ash body) for a song. It turns out that I liked it a lot. The fit and finish were quite acceptable, and the onverall feel was good. But, I did not really care for the pickups and electronics. So, I ended up throwing in a pair of Barts and an Aguilar OBP-1, and I really feel like it bumped this bass up several notches. The problem is, that once I decided to pick up a "real" 5-string, I kept playing more expensive basses, but prefering my DeArmond! Eventually, I reached a point (and, to a large extent, a price range) where I found superior instruments (Skjold, Sadowsky NYC, MTD), but I must say that my modified DeArmond certainly holds its own against or bests many basses in the sub $1,200 range.

    Here is a shot of it with my Skjold Custom 5:

  7. The Bridge is stock. I bought the bass brand new for $300 :)

    Alright - Here's a cover I did of Jaco's Portrait of Tracy:

    And here's a re-amping test I did with it. Basically the 30 senconds or so is straight through a DI and after that I recorded through my new (at the time) Ampeg SVP-CL Preamp while messing around with the settings. Part of Metallica's King Nothing played with a pick (and a new set of strings). :cool:
  8. Very cool Tombowlus!!!

    Did the Bartolinis drop right into the pickup routes? I had thought about replacing the pickups/electronics in mine but it seemed like the pickups were an odd size (very wide for a 4-string) and nothing would really fit. Maybe it's different for the 5 string model.
  9. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yup, the Barts dropped right in. I can check on the particular model, if you like.

  10. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    My friend has a 4 string de armond, and I'd say they're some of the best of the really cheap basses out there. On par with the Yamahas and Peaveys.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Cool. My brother has a "pro" bolt-on. It's great. Another brother has the basic one. Great also.
  12. Nah, that's alright. I've got my Ken Lawrence and an Elrick NJS (just got it today :D ), so unfortunatly the DeArmond doesn't see much use anymore. I've got it strung up as a tenor bass now actually and have been thinking of turning it into a piccolo bass. At least that way I'll play it every once in a while :)