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Epiphany at Guitar Center

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shirojiro, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    Ever take a trip to music store, only to find that your bass or basses at home are rally the right ones for you? I found this to be the case after a trip to the NYC Guitar Center on 14th St.

    I moved here about 9 mo ago, and I’ve been meaning to check out the store, but I haven’t really had the time or inclination until this past weekend. First of all, it’s a nice, large store with a specific bass room at the back. There’s a decent selection of basses, ranging from Fenders, Schecters, Ibanezes, Warwicks, Pedullas, and a handful of other companies’ offerings.

    Oh, and there was an NYU student named Mitch there who was just killing on a Pedulla Pentabuzz. He is a ridiculous player – just outstanding.

    Anyhow, I tried out a number of basses. I played them all through and Ampeg Rocket B100-R. I wasn’t as blown away by this amp as I had hoped to be. I like a “vintage” tone, but I really prefer the sound of my Fender Bassman 25 for practice and home volumes.

    Pretty much all of the basses need a setup. Most had too much relief, except for the Yamaha, which had too little.

    Cort Curbow 5
    Great finish. Light. Smooth neck. Tight string spacing at the the nut. Active tone controls really change the tone a lot. The slap contour switch seemed to defeat the tone controls, and boosted the lows and highs noticeably. The rear control cover had holes to allow access to 2 trim pots for overall gain and slap contour. Over all, this seemed like a nice bass for the price. I would consider on if I were in the market for a new 5 string, and it’s really the only one that I’m thinking about buying.

    Yamaha RBX 5string, active.
    Great neck. Wide and flat, the way I like 5 strings. The “3D” headstock isn’t my cup of tea. Medium sized, exposed pole piece humbuckers. Controls were Blend, vol, bass boost/cut, treble boost/cut. The body feels thin, and a little budget minded. Tone was nice, though.

    Stingray 5
    I expected more from this bass. It looked great with the cherryburst finish, white pickguard and white pickup cover. The neck was great, and the fretwork was really nice. However, the pots felt gritty, and the 3 way switch felt cheap and vague. I don’t know what the settings are for the switch, but I liked the tone best with the switch all the way toward the bridge. But really, the feel of the electronics were cheap.

    Fender MIM Precision
    Rosewood fretboard. Standard Pbass tone. This may have been the nicest sounding bass through the Ampeg B100-R, but I guess that’s not a huge surprise since both are geared toward vintage or standard tones. The neck felt a lot narrower than I remember Pbass necks. I suppose it was more of a B neck than a C.

    Pedulla Rapture 5 string
    Bartolini pickups, 2 band active eq. This bass has been played by lots of tire kickers, and the bass tone control pot was damaged. The neck had too much relief as well. If it were setup well, this neck would have been super though. It had a really thin front to back profile and nice rounded edges.

    So overall, the Cort and Yamaha exceeded expectations, the Fender met them, and the Stingray was a bit below expectations. I’m not really looking to spend enough money to afford a Pedulla. The Rapture is certainly a sweet bass, but I don’t need it right now.

    Strangely enough, what I learned was that my Ibanez RKB900 is a really nice bass, with a great neck, and great tone. My Bassman 25 is a great little practice amp too. I really get a great tone from the Ibanez with the Bassman. It ranges from classic Pbass with the velvety mids to the growl of the Jbass pickup to a nice, scooped slap tone with both sets of pickups wide open.

    I should just be happy with what I have, I guess. I just wish that my other basses were here with me in NYC. I really miss my ATk 300 and my Heartfield DR5.

    Thanks for the bandwidth!
  2. steve4765630


    Feb 27, 2006
    It's funny how you never know what you like until you play it. While I think that a custom setup is always required before you buy anything, you might try another of the basses you didn't like and see if it was just a bad setup, dead strings or low battery. I work music retail and will rarely refuse a customer request for a tweak here or turn there. I am glad to hear that you are content with what you have. I wish I was, but I want everything NOW!
  3. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    I was in there Friday night. They didn't have as many amps as they used to. They used to have a better selection of basses, and a much better selection of amps. But they did have a used SWR 8X8, too bad there was nothing good to power it.
  4. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    i was just there a couple weeks ago over Spring Break. we made a specific trip to 14th street just so i could go to the Guitar Center :) . i really like the Pedullas. i might have played that same Rapture you were talking about, what color was it?
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Dont judge basses by playing them at Guitar Center. I can guarantee you if i bought a Squier, put new strings on it and gave it a setup, it would play better than every bass in guitar center.

    Why? If you have to ask....
  6. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    It was black with a white perloid pickguard.

    The strings felt like it had been there a long time.
  7. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco

    While I have to agree that , in general, the instruments at aGuitar Center all need attention, even the Squires have crummy setups, so at least the playing field is equal so to speak.

    I've been playing bass for over 25 years now, and while the poor setups definitely hamper some of the playability of the basses, I still think that one can gain a lot of insight about a certina bass by sitting down with it, plugging it into the same amp, and putting it through it's different settings.

    And I really think that even with a crummy setup, the Pedullas will sound better than a well setup Squire, but then it deneds on what you're looking for.

    As it turns out, I like the standard, Fender bass sounds that we all grew up with in the 70's, 80's, 90's, and now the 00's. To me, our instrument is still defined by the standard sounds of a Pbass, Jbass, and now Stingray.

    Now I have to try not buy an OLP Tony Levin sig bass...
  8. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    One can certainly gain insight, but when people have strifes about 'loose knobs' and stuff , generally that is GC's fault. Especialy fret sprouting.
  9. g00eY


    Sep 17, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    i think that was the one i played, but i also played the other ones they had there (4, i believe).
  10. Wonderful post Shiro, but my epiphany was slighty diferent.

    Friday i went to the Guitar Center (Arlington Virginia) to get out of the house and unbeknownst to me there was a Ken Smith BSR6 string there for $1,799.00.

    I never gotten into the hype of Ken Smith Basses (as their ususally riducoulousy priced and rarely in the stores to demo, let alone a Guitar Cener) but low and behold one of the salesmen walks past me as i'm fooling around with a 5 string scheter bass, grabs the Smith off the wall, and hands it to a potential customer to demo. The Smith was hanging there right admidst the Warwick Bass Guitars, camaflouged, so i didn't even recognize it.

    The guy was very apprehensive to plug it up, sheepishly saying that the manager of Guitar Center called him to let him know that they have one in and he just came to see firsthand the condition it was in for that price. (it was mint, btw)

    Me and the guy holding the Smith get to talking shop, he lets his guard down and blows a little on it then passes it to me to blow a little, we pass the bass back and forth prasing and extolling it virtures. He asked if i was intrested in buying the Smith as he informed me that he already owns 2 Smith's, a Roscoe, a Warwick Thumb, a Pedulla Thunderbolt and an Ibanez. He got to telling me about what he would have to let go of in his stable to make room for the Smith if he was to purchase it, which he reassured me that he wasn't. He said that the Warwick Thumb bolt on would go, due to it's heaviness and it only being good for 1 tone, among other things.

    To make a really long story short me and him both left out of the store, slept on the matter but he evidently arrived at the store the first thing Saturday morning and purchased the Smith, as i called around noon time to see if they could hold it for me until i could come down there but the salesman informed me that the Smith was sold first thing that morning and that they had taken a Warwick Thumb bolt on as a partial trade.

    My epiphany was/is, is that a Ken Smith would be an ideal bass for me!

    The end.
  11. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    In response to Fig's post about guitar store setups... I've actually found that the set up and maintenance on the basses at the 14th street GC is pretty good. Once in a while there's a bass that needs a change of battery or a set up, but those rarely last long. Ron (manager? cool guy) seems to keep a well run dept.

    I have a Fender Bassman 60, and I found that the other Ampegs they have there (like the BA115 they SHOULD still have ... it was their last one but I just returned it) sound preeetty good if you like the Bassman sound. Then again...I dont really know what the 25 sounds like in comparison to the 60.

    you should also check out Manny's up on 48th street. Now.. THEIR basses are set up QUITE terribly, IMO. They do sell some real garbage there sometimes (they have a used peavey cirrus where 90% of the finish on the top was sanded off. It leaves a kool effect.. but... what?!?!? They also have a Kubicki where they swapped out the electronics and plugged the extra holes where there used to be knobs with cotton. :scowl: ).

    Anyways... you should also change the "location" part of your profile.
  12. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    The Guitar Centers around me have a pretty poor selection.

    Aside from the omnipresent plethora of Fenders (some of which are quite good) and Musicman basses, they might have a Warwick or two (not my personal thing) or a Pedulla, but never anything very interesting. I usually come to the conclusion that most of my basses are (to ME) better than most of what they have in stock. Add to that the fact that many of their basses are often abused and poorly set up, and it's all in all a rather unimpressive experience. However, I did get my Bongo on a ridiculous sale at a GC . . .

    The big surprise I had recently at a local music store (not GC) was playing an Ibanez Artcore hollowbody. For the money (under $400), it was a rather nice bass, with decent construction and a pleasing tone!
  13. ElBajista


    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL

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