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Eshenbaugh J series 4 string = My HOLY GRAIL!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AJ Love, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I've gone through many many basses over the years (especially recent years) trying to find just the right one, there was always *something* not quite right about a bass, for me, and I kept searching. I truely believe that this new Eshenbaugh J series 4 string I bought is a *HOLY GRAIL* type bass for me...

    now I do believe that there could be many Holy Grail basses for any one person, several styles might work well, and this is it for me...without hesitation I will say that this bass is every bit as good as the Sadowsky NYC and Fodera basses that I have played and owned and, to me, even better than those basses....now whether or not an Eshenbaugh is better than a sadowsky or Fodera for other people will vary, but there is no question to me that this bass is at least every bit as good as those basses. Mark Eshenbaugh is not an "up and coming" luthier, he is a great luthier

    truely the bass that I think is closest in quality to this Eshenbaugh bass is the few Carl Thompson basses that I've played. (Mark Eshenbaugh worked with/for Carl Thompson for a few years recently, and the influence is there). The perfect balance, the handcrafted quality and the incredible playability that one expects from a carl Thompson is all there with the Eshenbaugh

    as you can tell, I have completely flipped over this bass...

    the slap tone on this bass is the punchiest, most beautiful thing I've heard. Seymour Duncan Antiquity II's plus a very cool "Silhouhette" preamp (designed by Mark and friend of his) combined with an incredibly thick rosewood fingerboard (another thing that reminds me of a Carl Thompson bass) makes for incredible articulate and responsive slap tones and fingerstyle tones....this pre-amp isn't the typical sounding "modern Hi-Fi" sound of an Aguilar or Sadowsky but more a very natural sound pre that accents the tones...sent through my Aguilar DB-924 pre-amp pedal this bass sounds like a "Sadowsky on steroids" in much the same way that a sadowsky sounds like a "Fender J on steroids"...Blaspheme around here I know but thats what I hear

    took it on a gig last night and this thing just KILLED

    I'm not here to say that this bass is the best bass in the world. For one, I haven't tried many great basses including Brubaker and Nordstrand, and for others "best" is just a personal opinion. But I will say that Eshenbaugh ranks up at the top among the very best bass builders in the world

    then consider: this bass cost $1875 BRAND NEW and has the best tone I've heard in a Boutique bass

    more later.....
  2. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    Congrats on the bass man, that thing looks beautiful. You know though, all this talk means that we're gonna need to hear some sound clips.
  3. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I'm due to record in about a month, I'll post soundclips then...

    in looking for negatives: well for one this bass was shipped with a gig bag. thats being nit-picky but in my opinion a bass this nice should ship in a hard-shell case....if you crank the treble on the pre it gets a little hissy... other than that this bass is perfect for me. for someone else they might not dig it

    it weighs about 8 pounds or so. definitely light but very solid feeling
  4. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    How does the neck feel in dimensions if you compare to a nice thin Fender Jazz?

  5. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    more details: J Series 4-string, alder body, crotch walnut top and back, flamed maple transition block, 3-piece maple neck, madagascar rosewood fingerboard, Gaboon ebony neck binding, two Duncan Antiquity II single coil pickups, Eshenbaugh 3-band preamp...tung oil finish on the back of the fingerboard (feels like natural wood with no finish but Mark says its there), Tung Oil with an extremely thin Poly finish on the body...

    I spoke with Mark Eshenbaugh yesterday and he was really cool to speak with, gave me all kinds of detailed info about the bass, said that his basses all have a Lifetime Warranty...

    here's a couple more pics (I'll get better pics soon, these pics don't even do the bass justice)
  6. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    the neck is thicker than a Fender Jazz (and a Sadowsky) front to back, its a fairly thick chunk of wood, but has the 1.5 inches at the nut and 2.25 inches at the 12th fret dimensions

    another *slight* negative for some (I don't want to just be flipping out here I want to give objective descriptions) is that there is no active/passive switch on this particular bass. Mark said that an active/passive switch is standard on his J series basses but this one in particular doesn't have one, but that he could easily put one in for me...I'm gonna keep this bass as is though

    the pickups get hissy when out of phase but thats to be expected with these type of single coil Jazz pickups

    not to get all Mystical on you guys, but similar to a Carl Thompson bass, theres a sort of "perfection in the imperfection" of this bass: it wasn't done on a CNC machine, while its incredible in every way its not "perfect" if that makes sense....the playability is sensational and the tone both when played plugged in and acoustic just freakin' rocks
  7. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    Nice looking bass, I really like the style of his basses! :hyper:
  8. Jeff Rader

    Jeff Rader Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Congrats!!! It's always great when you find "the one" you can best connect with.

  9. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Excellent choice! I know what you're saying. Here's the one I had!
  10. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Good to hear that you're really diggin' that J4! :D I was amazed that is stayed under the radar as long as it did, but am happy that I was able to hook you up with "your"bass. ;) As I mentioned on my site, I really enjoyed having that bass around awhile and played the heck out of it when it first came in. I eventually had to put it down for fear of killing the strings. :smug: Nevertheless, I've often said that the Eshenbaugh J Series basses are EASILY some of the best deals going right now in the lower end of the high-end market. I'm heading off to NAMM tomorrow and am looking forward to meeting up with Mark at the show. Hopefully we can turn on more people to his amazing basses!!! :hyper: :D
  11. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    $1875?? The lowest bass on his pricelist is $2052.99?

    What gives?
  12. with your penchant for having a new perfect bass tone every other week and not thinking marcus' tone comes from a late 70 jazz, i give this marraige a month :D
  13. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    What's Mark's website address?
  14. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    :hyper: a good point considering my history. Time will tell. I have a feeling that I will be keeping this bass for a lifetime, unless someone steals it from me. This is a much different feeling than the various other basses gave me. This bass is "the one", for me. I can only hope that others are able to find the same kind of feeling with their #1 basses, which ever bass does that for them. This is a killer killer bass though. Freakin' amazing :bassist:

    its not the end of GAS for me though: besides needing badly to update my amp/cab situation, my next bass purchase will be an additional Eshenbaugh

    those prices on Mark's website are list prices. Typical dealer discount applied here, from Blueberry Hill Bass... with the fancy top and with the fretboard binding and all, the list price was $2400 on this bass, street price of $1875

    I should say something about Jay Lewis (JPJ) at Blueberry Hill: he was very cool to deal with and went the extra mile (literally) to get the bass to me on time. He definitely gets a thumbs up from me as a cool dealer, never undersold or oversold this or any other bass, just gave me honest feedback about the various basses he had in stock and came through on a great deal. Thanks very much Jay!

    Eshenbaugh's website is at: http://www.eshenbaughguitars.com
  15. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I thought I should clarify here: when I said "another slight negative" I was refering to a negative in addition to the 2 I mentioned eariler in the thread (no hard shell case and the slight hiss when the treble is cranked). In no way do I see the neck as a negative, the neck on this bass completely kicks booty---the fingerboard is well over 1/4 inch thick and adds to the ever so slight chunkiness of the neck...but with killer playability and fantastic resonance

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member


    I hope you find the bass that makes you " Giggle on the inside ", nice bass. :)
  17. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    For some reason I just assumed you went direct, not sure why. That was dumb!

    That's a seriously killer deal on an amazing looking bass...
  18. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    What's up with the neck joint? Is it set, or neck through?
  19. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    its a set-neck

    more detail on the neck shape: I realized playing it last night that the neck is shaped very similar to a Fender Jazz or a Sadowsky, its just that the fingerboard is so much thickier that it gives the bass a slightly chunkier Carl Thompson neck type feel
  20. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    looks like a dovetail joint- Fodera does them as well