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DiPinto Belvedere vs. Epiphone Jack Cassady?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by santacruzom, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. I've been thinking a lot lately about picking up a hollowbody for under a grand. I recently tried a Jack Cassady at a local store and certainly enjoyed it, though I didn't quite understand how the impedence dial worked. Since then, I've read several great things about the DiPinto Belvedere but the store I'd like to buy from (I have a 150 dollar credit there) didn't have one in stock at the time. They *are* listed as dealers on DiPinto's website, but it's only available via special order and I'd have to pay for it in advance.

    Quite a few things I've read about the Belvedere appeal to me. For one thing, I've read that it can get a wide variety of tones and can sound downright mean. It also looks great and I've read that it has good balance and playability. And, of course, it's very affordable.

    I've currently got two great Laklands: a Bob Glaub Skyline and a Joe Osbourn Skyline. I'm looking for a bass that will provide a character of sound my Laklands can't quite get, and I'll admit it... I want one that looks dramatically different from either one too. The Cassady certainly satisfied both requirements.

    Can someone who's played them both please chime in with their opinions?
  2. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I haven't played the Epi, but I love my Belvedere. And my other basses are Fender's equivalents of yours, American Series P and J, the J with Fralins no less.

    If you run a search, you'll probably find my reviews of the Belvedere, which I also reviewed on Harmony-Central. It does look incredible, and has very good playbility. But the amazing tone is what separates it from the pack.

    The pickups are very hot single coils, and it has an ebony board, which help it cut right through a dense mix, while still having some "thud." This depends a lot on strings too, as it can get pretty mellow with flatwounds. In general, it responds more to variables like strings and technique more than solid bodies IME.

    On the neck pickup, it sounds a lot like a single-coil P-bass, and with both pickups it's a little like a Jazz with both pickups on full. The bridge sounds a little like a Jazz bridge, but less nasal to my ears. Of course it always has that extra resonance and heft from the semi-hollow body, and can sound VERY heavy as a result. It records great too.

    My only dislike is that first position is a pretty long reach on a strap, because the upper horn doesn't reach to the 12th fret. It still plays great, and this hasn't hampered me at gigs, but for rehearsals I usually play my Fenders for the extra comfort. While sitting, this isn't an issue at all.

    Another advantage, which isn't advertised much, is that it has 24 frets. I actually had to play up there once when subbing in a band, and I couldn't use my 20 fret Fenders for one of their tunes. The DiPinto sounded fantastic up there.
  3. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I've never played either, but for style alone, I have to say the DiPinto.
  4. bino


    Jun 27, 2002
    Orange County
    I've got a skyline JO and Glaub and a DiPinto. I'd agree with Nedmundo on the sounds you can get, although I don't really like the bridge pickup soloed. Other than that, the bass packs a big punch.

    But if you're looking for a very different tone from your skylines or a true HB vibe you may be happier with the Epi or Skyline HB. The Lakland HB w/flats is downright incredible. The Dipinto sounds good, but more like a really fat solidbody. It can certainly get mean, but not as sweet as the Epi or HB. My reason for buying it was mostly for the wild looks and low price.

  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I agree with Bino that the Lakland sounds sweeter and warmer than the DiPinto. It really has gorgeous tone, and if I could have a large collection, I'd want one. But it's a little too mellow for most of the stuff I play. I also don't like the DiPinto's bridge tone much, because I want more BOOTY! But I've used it a little more lately on the DiPinto and my Jazz.

    Oh, and Bino that's one awesome Belvedere! Was it a custom order?
  6. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Do you reckon that the DiPinto would be a candidate to be Dark Starred, I think that would give it even more booty and just general immenseness. I'm kinda interested in a hollowbody but I want something deep, agressive and dark sounding and also not too expensive. Reckon the DiPinto would fit the bill (espesically with Dark Stars?).
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Absolutely! I've thought about getting a black one (mine's gold) for that exact purpose (i.e., the "general immenseness" :bassist: ). In fact, I e-mailed Chris DiPinto a few months back suggesting that he issue a special run with Dark Stars. The Belvedere's pickups, like Dark Stars, are hot single coils. They sound pretty monstrous already, especially the neck. But from what I've read, the Dark Stars might take it even further.

    Chris DiPinto is a luthier and all-around awesome guy, so if you ordered a Belvedere directly from him and sent him the Dark Stars, he might make the mod for you.
  8. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    This I may have to look into :D
  9. Thanks all for chiming in.

    Ned, I did happen upon a few of your DiPinto posts in the archives and your Harmony Central review was very helpful. At this point, I'm leaning more towards the DiPinto. Unfortunately, it may be a while before the local music store for which I have a gift certificate gets any in stock.

    I am a bit concerned about the E-string gauge issue you and Bass Player mentioned. I definitely prefer 45-105 gauge sets at the least. I may even get a set that goes to 110 at some point. That just wouldn't work with the DiPinto?

    That raises a general question I have regarding both the DiPinto and the Cassady -- are the bridges a pain in the butt? I've read that some Cassady owners have superglued their bridge. I don't want to be doin' that.

    A few have mentioned the Lakland Hollowbody. While I'm obviously a Lakland fan, it's a bit out of my price range. I also would like a bass that can get a bit more aggressive.
  10. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'm not sure if it's the gauge that matters; it's probably how thickly it's wound down near the ball. I bet some .110's would work, but some certainly wouldn't. Taperwounds would probably work, but I only use .100 E strings so I don't know. You could contact Chris DiPinto about this, because he might know which strings will work.

    I don't think the bridge is a pain, but I think on H-C I described the vibrating tailpiece, which for a while was a pain. Easily fixed with felt pads though. I would probably prefer a conventional bridge, but no biggie, and the trapeze looks cool.
  11. momo


    Oct 22, 2005
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I had a dipinto for a while, but I ended up selling ie because it was TOO much like a jazz bass sound. I wanted a hollow body thud, but I never bothered to try flats on it. I am now kicking myself for that. I must say, the thing did play like butter.