Epiphone Jack Casady: what's the wrap?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Raman, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    I'm surprised that I've never seen the varitone option on any other bass.
  2. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    I recommend buying one and trying it out. As you've noted, prices are stable and it should hold its value, so if you decide you don't like it you should be able to get your money out of it.

    I bought a nice used one last year, I've been really happy with it. It will be going to gigs (along with my #1 fretless) once that becomes a thing again.

    The pickup is "DC to daylight" - very wide range (thank Jack Casady for that). I use a Broughton high-pass/low-pass filter to tame the picking thump and finger noise (I have roundwounds on it). You can EQ out frequencies you don't want, but you can't put them in if they're not there in the first place.

    I like to cop a little bit of psychedelic feedback every once in a while. With tubes in the signal path and a little reserve on the volume control on the bass, it's very controllable.

    The ergonomics take a little getting used to. That big body! A strap with a non-slip back does wonders for the neck dive. The neck reminds me a lot more of my Rickenbacker than my Fender - 1-5/8" at the nut, not a lot of change in width up the neck. I like it, but I'm not too fussy about necks, your taste my differ.
    halech54 and Raman like this.
  3. Eric Huber

    Eric Huber

    Aug 20, 2019
    I to have a love hate relationship with my JC. I love the tone and the spacing but hate the placement of the top strap button. I do love playing it the tone is amazing. I don't find the bridge to be to troublesome as I have repaired mine. I think I will take a look at the Hipshot bridge in the future.
    Raman likes this.
  4. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    I also play solid body 5 mostly, but I have (another black) Casady. It gets close to the point of being sold (usually when it needs adjustment from change of seasons) and then I do the adjustments and write something on it, there's something about the tone and resonance that's inspirational. Mix a P sound with a piano. That PU is also magic with some pedals, like drives that like a low impedance. if I sell some day I should give the old Mess Drive Hybrid along with the deal because it sounds especially smooth with the JC.
    Raman and MynameisMe like this.
  5. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Commercial User

    Of those 3 choices, I’d go with the Casady. The Ray 35 is an active nickel-banger and you already have one of those. You can pick up a used Squier P anytime anywhere.

    The Jack is a good bass. I had one for a while. It sounded and played great, but I needed to thin out my bass collection and I couldn’t justify keeping it.

    I had an Epi Mod Bar installed on the bridge. It helped a little with the neck dive and fixed another problem with the crappy 3-point bridge; the wrapping on the strings extends over the saddles.
    Sorado71 and Raman like this.
  6. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Personally i don't get the appeal of hollow or semi hollow bass guitars, and really dislike neck dive (see our previous discussion of the L2500).

    The ray and the p are kind of one-trick ponies (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    If I were in your shoes, I'd consider a 5-string jazz.:thumbsup:
    Raman likes this.
  7. JohnnyBottom

    JohnnyBottom Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    I have a pair of Jacks. A 1999 Gold Top and a 2020 20th Anniv. Great basses, fits in great for acoustic sets or my kick ass Jefferson Airplane tribute band. Im sure anything in between from Country to Rock. From smooth and round to down right fat and nasty. Very reactive to how you attack it.
  8. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    The switch on these basses allows you to select the impedance at which to run the pickup, via three different taps on the passive step-up transformer.
    Traditionally, a "varitone" would be a swich with various capacitors, resistors, and inductors that provide different tones. I'm a big fan of those on passive basses. Just recently fitted my Hagstrom bass with a KellingSound varitone that you can pick up pretty cheap on ebay and they easily replace most standard tone controls on any bass -- as long as there's enough room in the cavity for the rotary swich, which are a little fatter than your typical potentiometer.
    In terms of basses that come stock with them, some of the old Gibson EB-3 basses are the first that come to mind.
    Raman likes this.
  9. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    I thought that's how they named that impedance switch.
    mellowgerman likes this.
  10. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
  11. burpgun


    Jun 29, 2015
    I got a Pelham Blue JC in January. The color is absolutely beautiful, but I've never had a bass arrive to me in such a horrible set up state, which was doubly lame because it's not a cheap bass and I got it from Sweetwater, which usually look things over pretty good.

    After a setup and fretwork, it plays very nicely with low action. The stock bridge is an abomination and not easy to deal with. I'm not sold on Chinese instruments: the finish is a little rough around the f-holes, especially for the price. It's a very bright bass and heavier than I would have thought. I've mostly been a Fender guy and the body is large, but not uncomfortably so. I've got rounds on it but have wondered whether flats would make more sense. I also like the fact that they seem to retain value, so if this experiment doesn't work out I should be pretty good on resale.
    Sorado71 and Raman like this.
  12. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Thanks all for the feedback and info. I was really impressed by the tone of the JC whenever I heard it. And that impedance selector coupled with that pup seem like a killer combination, very unique.
    I had come away with the impression that they were not top notch in built, from reading different user reviews. (And as I'm typing this, @burpgun just added a comment that goes exactly in that direction!) I read many comments concerning problems such as the impedance switch breaking or falling off, either right out of the box or later, and different other defects. I'm also surprised about the general dislike for the bridge.
    All this is what made me expect I would eventually hit a 2nd-hand one for much cheaper than they go. I rarely see one for sale that's less than 900-1000$ (CAD). Hence my wondering why people hold on to that bass that much. I guess its qualities, such as you all describe, vastly compensate its defects...

    To answer @Esteban Garcia and @Freekmagnet :
    Among my 3 choices, a Ray35 would actually be a contender against my G&L, as they're indeed in the same ball park. I'm sure I would sell one of the two after a while.
    The P and the Casady would be better choices for a complementary bass. One of the cheaper basses that I now own is a Squier Affinity P. It feels very cheap and sounds ok. But it teases me: Letting me glimpse what a higher quality version would be! Oppositely, I wouldn't go for a Jazz. Not that I don't appreciate them, but I find it'd be closer to what I already get tonally with the L2500. A P gives me the warmth that the L2500 doesn't have.
    And yes, the Casady would definitely be the most interesting contrast to the G&L. The only thing kind of drawing me back is I'm really a 5 string player. If there was a 5 string version of the JC, I think I'd own one by now.
    Sorado71 likes this.
  13. I love my JC, but its definitely a "YMMV" subjective love. They don't go down in price because they sell pretty fast (especially if you have a limited color). I will say that it's one of those that sounds great going directly into the amp. I see your confusion because at face value you see a mass produced Epiphone.
    Sorado71 and Raman like this.
  14. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I had one for awhile. Loved the tone but I really couldn't play it standing up. For me the balance was all wrong.
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    It's funny, I don't even know how to categorize the L2K; I feel like in passive mode I can get plenty of P-like thump with the neck pup soloed, and also a pretty good J sound with both pups passive, and a reasonable ray-like sound with the bridge pup active, etc. etc. I've got a J, a P and a ray and hardly ever touch them to be honest.

    That said, the P sound is probably the most elusive, and best achieved on a P, so sounds like you're on the right track. :thumbsup:
    Raman likes this.
  16. leonard


    Jul 31, 2001
    A better nut is definitely worth it. The original one is soft plastic.
  17. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I had one, and while it was cool, and sounded good, I just wasn't feeling it. To me it seemed like it really wanted to be a short scale. As it was, it was pretty p-bassy as others have mentioned, but I just always ended up grabbing my P!
    And I owned two L2500s, and as others have mentioned, you really can't get those to sound like a P--close, but for me, not close enough.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
    Raman likes this.
  18. I've had one since 1998. I haven't seen a better bass for any price. I think they are under priced.
  19. Raman, I see you’re in Montreal, just an hour away from me. If you’re still interested in the Casady bass after Ontario lifts the current lockdown, you’re welcome to give mine a front porch test drive. It might even be for sale.
    Portamenti and Raman like this.
  20. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Nice offer, thanks!

    I'll have to wait until work picks up before I can even think about it. I just spent around 800$ on gear for my pedal board and little home studio, when I initially thought I'd spend 200$...
    But I'm taking note. Possibly at the end of the summer...

    Max Bogosity likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 23, 2021

Share This Page