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Italia Bass Guitars

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thunderitter, Aug 9, 2007.


  1. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    USA
    Anybody out there own or played an Italia Bass Guitar?

    I am looking for something with a bit of retro feel and have come across the Italia Maranello Z, which looks the part - question is how well are they made and how do they play?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I got a Mondial bass a couple of years ago and it unquestionably was the worst stringed musical instrument I've ever seen in forty years of buying, selling, repairing and playing guitars. Period.

    Absolute junk in every way it could possibly be junk, particularly the self-destructing body design, which was in the process of breaking up when I got it. I had to take the top cover off before discovering the body folding up on itself and splitting up into three pieces because of bad wood and unsupported stressed areas. The body pieces were assembled with bent box nails.

    I recently saw a picture of the current Mondial and it looks substantially different, so perhaps it's been re-engineered and farmed out to a different builder, but I would never, ever get an Italia without a very close bench inspection.

    You've been warned!
     
  3. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    USA
    Bongolation - I appreciated the warning. Initially I thought Italia basses must be made in Italia and therefore they'd be reasonable.

    Then of course I found out they are made in the Far East, which did set of some warning bells.

    (I'm not saying everything in the F.E. is badly made, but there are a lot of substandard guitars and basses out there!)
     
  4. The only Italia I've ever seen in person is the Rimini guitar the drummer in my band purchased a few months ago (he plays guitar in his own band). The thing looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, and plays beautiful. I don't know if the build quality differs much from model to model, or if they've upped their quality over the past few years, but definitely check one out in person if possible, and search for reviews online....
     
  5. lefty007

    lefty007

    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Although I'm lefty, I fiddled with one at a studio, about 2 years ago. I was a silver Maranello (solidbody). They are pretty substantial, not light (maybe aroubd 10 lbs) and although I didn't strap it in, it seems the reach to the first position is really long, because the small LP body.

    The construction seemed pretty solid, and they sound surprisingly big, like a Hofner if you will, but with a quicker attack and more sustain. Very nice with a pick. Those pickups are hot.

    They look awesome in person, I just think they will be very umcomfotable to play live, unless you wear your basses very low, like a true rocker, and don't mind the weight.

    Can't comment on reliability, but again, that one tried was pretty solid all around. The Maranello Z is a chambered solidbody, so it should not have any problems related to the Mondial described above.
     
  6. JeffSki

    JeffSki

    Apr 18, 2007
    My lead singer has an Italia Maranello and it plays very well. I like the feel much better than her Epi Les Paul bass.

    I have the same complaint as lefty007. It's a bit uncomfortable to wear at my normal heights and more comfortable in the below the waist rocker position, which is how she wears it.

    As for the weight, I found it to be lighter than an Epi Les Paul with less neck dive.
     
  7. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    I have owned a Italia Maranello bass. It was very unusual in certain ways, but the build quality was good, and the tone was ballsy.

    It was visually stunning, with the glitter blue top, and pearlized neck and back -- a real attention getter. But they are a bit heavy.
     
  8. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    No, there's absolutely nothing (0) Italian about Italia instruments. They were neither designed or built by Italians.

    I don't know what factory made the originals, but it was apparently a very minor Korean builder, certainly not Cor-Tek. As I said (and aside from the amazingly clueless self-destructing design of the wooden portion of the Mondial's body) the materials and build were absolutely dreadful, The fretwork was crude with razor-sharp ends, the body sections hammered together crookedly with split pieces and bent-over box nails (imagine Homer Simpson's hammer skills), the wood full of bad spots that were parting under stress, alignments were off everywhere, very crude machining and what looked like rough, semi-improvised parts. I mean, it was just a shocking exhibition, like a beta prototype from a backwards Indonesian shop.

    Other Italia instruments were less complex and more conventional in design, so they may have been less awful, but even then, if they came from the same builder they can't possibly be well-made. If Italia is still in business, they must have changed production drastically.

    I wrote to Italia (including pictures of the defects) to try to get some kind of remediation, but they refused to reply.
     
  9. sandmangeck

    sandmangeck

    Jul 2, 2007
    Colorado
    Any other experiences?
     
  10. mr.mow

    mr.mow

    Feb 11, 2009
    Melbourne
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    My local guitar tech said to me one day 'mate, if you ever bring in an Italia guitar.. you're banned for life'.

    :D
     
  11. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    Yeah, I have a blue sparkle Maranello as well. Definitely an attention getter! Very deep tone, it does not do "bright".

    My only complaint is the bridge is tough to adjust to get it where I want it for low action. I also noted that a screw on the plastic control plate was loose and I overtightened it (apparently) enough to make a crack in it.

    Overall, I think you get it for looks. The tone is limited but great at what it does. I got mine several years ago and I don't have any issues with the build quality of the bass, all the fretwork is good.
     
  12. I know this post is a little old but ill stick my two cents in anyhow. I have only played a few of there basses seemed to be built well. They all kinda rip off ideas from older vintage model guitars i have seen that they no longer make anymore. I owned a speedster guitar. The one with the strips and the dual pick ups and all i have to say is if i still was a guitar player i would still own it or i would buy another given the chance. Pick ups in all those guitars are hot! and the build quality was better than all my new gibsons.
     
  13. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I got to play a handful of Italia basses that one of their endorsers had. I was totally blown away! Great tones, decent construction and they just ooze 'cool'.

    The only thing I disliked about them, in general, was the piezo pickups. 2 of his basses had the piezo & they were both pretty useless (the magnetic pups sounded great, though).
     

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