La Bella Olinto Club

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by taylor16, Aug 19, 2015.


  1. Just ordered one of the Mas Hino-created Olinto basses from the great guys at La Bella. I had the chance to try a pair of them out at the Chicago Music Exchange a few months ago and was very impressed. I love the feel and "vibe" of a nitro-finished vintage-style Precision bass with 7.25" radius and 1.75" nut width. I was intending to purchase a Fender AVRI '58 but the Mas Hino hand-crafted bass just called for me. After corresponding with Eric over at La Bella, I was able to pick out one of a few basses he had in stock. The bass should be here by Friday and I'll post my (hopefully favorable) impressions shortly thereafter.

    Mas was able to restring the bass with "standard" gauge FS (0.045-0.105) Deep Talking Flats (instead of the Jameson version) and even replaced the bone nut to accommodate the difference in string width which I thought was a very cool touch.

    I know that there hasn't been much written about the Olinto series of basses. Some friends of mine hold Mas Hino in very high regard as a luthier and I have had the opportunity to play an Atelier Z (not to mention the two Olintos at CME) which was amazing. There is some degree of risk involved but the two Olintos I was able to play at CME were just fantastic in every way. Looking forward to Friday.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
    Oddly, One Drop, smperry and 9 others like this.
  2. Nice very nice, I just ordered a gold pickguard for a white P bass I'm receiving tomorrow.
     
  3. Tbone76

    Tbone76

    Aug 24, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I like the indian head coin that's used as the string tree. It's a cool touch on an already cool bass. Congrats!
     
  4. image.jpg Ed Friedland did a favorable review of the Olinto in the August 2015 issue of BP. Since I am the owner of an original 63 P Bass, I'd be interested to see if Ed is correct when he says the Olinto captures the "holy grail vibe" of the 63.
     
    crucislancer likes this.
  5. Just took receipt of my Olinto bass from UPS at work and haven't yet had a chance to plug it into my amp/cab setup (Mesa/Boogie Prodigy into Aguilar 2 x DB210). My initial impressions are very favorable. The bass is light at 8.5lbs and very well balanced. The fretwork is essentially perfect and nitro finish feels very much worn in (similar to how my Fender AVRI 63 feels after several months of regular play). The neck is the "traditional" early 60's width at 1.75" which works great for my hand size. The radius is also 7.25" but seems somewhat flatter due to the narrower depth of the neck which is certainly less "deep" than my 63 AVRI. In fact, the neck feels the same size as many of the Mike Lull Precision-style basses I've played with a similar nut width. The rosewood is incredibly dark and moderately figured. I'm not too familiar with relic jobs but this example seems relatively subdued (see Sandberg). Upon finally plugging the bass into my amp, I quickly realized that Mas' hand-wound pickup sounds incredible. The tone (along with the the strung La Bella Deep Talkin' Flats) sounded air-y with a defined grind in the mid-frequency that made me smile right away. The passive tone control was very much usable from one end to the other.

    Overall, I am quite pleased with the purchase and the bass compares favorably to the two that I had the opportunity to try out at Chicago Music Exchange earlier this year. Dealing with Eric at La Bella over the phone and by email was great. While costing only slightly more than a mass-produced Fender AVRI Precision bass, one gets an essentially hand-made and unique passive instrument. Eric even through in some case candy including a baseball hat, t-shirt and four extra packs of strings. The soft/hard-shell case is very similar to the one that Sadowsky ships their basses in and is high quality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
    punchdrunk, Oddly, bholder and 2 others like this.
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I'm not a fan of the blemish on the forearm contour, but I like the bass overall. I bet it is a great P bass.
     
  7. Had a chance to practice several times and gig twice in the last few weeks with the Olinto and my impressions (as well as that of my bandmates and musician friends) are that it is a pure tone monster. The bass has the most amazingly comfortable neck and almost plays itself. The video from Chicago Music Exchange doesn't do the Olinto justice. Absolutely the most comfortable and balanced Precision-style bass I've played. Moreover, Mas' handwound pickups are just incredible.

    I'm mostly posting this update as there is so little out there regarding the Olinto series. Hopefully this will motivate others in the market for a killer vintage-style ('63) Precision to try it out themselves.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
    punchdrunk and zbigniew like this.
  8. Time to revive this thread with the very happy news that I'll be acquiring my second Mas Hino-built La Bella Olinto.

    Notes from Eric Cocco:
    Olinto #1977 RELIC
    1.69" nut widths
    Fiesta Red, Inca silver base coat matching headstock/ thin single ply white guard (amazing look)
    Flat sawn maple neck/Maple finger board
    Classic 2 piece Alder body

    I'm such a fan of my first one that I just couldn't help myself with a second. I've always been a fan of a "vintage" fiesta/Fullerton red (which P bass player wouldn't be!) and this one should exude that vibe and more. Bass quality aside (Mas is legendary for a reason- fretwork alone!), James Carbonetti's custom work on the finish and relic'ing is stellar. Killer killer recently released album by Caveman, by the way!

    Pics to follow a few weeks from now when the bass is ready to ship. Until then-
     
    JiroBass likes this.
  9. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello. Congratulations on your first and imminent second Olinto bass. I knew Mas Hino years ago, when he was at Rudy's working with John Suhr. Mas was a great guy and craftsman, but also a maniac. A crazy man!

    I would like to challenge your assessment of the street price of an Olinto bass compared to that of an AVRI. Maybe it was otherwise a year ago, when you posted that. Today, however, the asking price for a new Olinto bass is $3000, but the asking price for a new AVRI bass is $2000.

    33 percent more is not "slightly more" in most financial dealings; certainly not in retail. So I would say that, though the Olinto may be a good deal if it is that much better a bass than the AVRI, it is simply in a much higher price bracket.
     
  10. "Slightly more" can and will mean different things to different people. Olinto's are certainly, at the best, going to be at least $400-500 more BUT to me the different is rather regligible. This is due to the fact that the difference between a Japanese-produced Sadowsky vs US-made will be significantly more than that. Same for Lakland Skyline vs US-made products. I'm not comparing Fender AVRI basses to a Skyline as I have two of them and think they are fantastic but they are technically mass-produced non-custom shop instruments. Again, depending on the relationship with the store or La Bella, for a premium of 20-30%, one can "upgrade" to a completely hand-made, hand-carved, hand-wound instrument. Considering Alleva Coppolo's go for nearly twice the price of a Mas Hino instrument, the asking price is quite reasonable. But no, an Olinto does not sound 20-30% better or make you 20-30% better than if you played an AVRI (I wish it did!).
     
  11. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    To be clear: I was not questioning your values, or anyone's values. My only point was that a 33% difference between any two samples is not a slight difference. That is fact, whether considering sea temperatures, road race times, or retail prices.
     
  12. Yeah, ok. I mentioned 20-30% more. Not 33%. In my particular case, I was able to get my newest Olinto at the extreme lower end of that range.
     
  13. Talkbass likes pics. Here are some pics of the build in action. Should be ready to ship out by next week.
     

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  14. More pics.
     

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  15. Final pics before shipping. 8 lbs on the button.
     

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    basses55, nonohmic and scourgeofgod like this.
  16. Ooh, bet you're getting excited now :) Here's hoping it's exactly what you wanted in feel and sound quality.

    I played one of these (a P&J) version here in the UK this week - It was seriously nice, although for me, the Mike Lull P4 with Mike's own pickup and that amazing thickening tone control roll-off would be more useful.

    Best of luck with your new bass!
     
  17. Olinto Magic.
     

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  18. JiroBass

    JiroBass

    Jun 13, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Congratulations on your new acquisition(s)! For anyone who's interested, here's a detailed video review of the Olinto P-bass. The review is by Steve Araujo of "The Bass Hang." Steve does all kinds of reviews on bass-related gear.

    I had a chance to play this particular bass. Oh wow. I just couldn't put it down! That hand-wound pickup has lots of creamy lows, even going through a 1X12 cab.

     
    basses55 and StevieMac like this.
  19. Felt inspired to take some pics of my Olinto Precision after realizing how fortunate I am to play one last night. Tone and playability aside, this instrument just slays.
     

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  20. Decided to change the title of the thread and turn it into a proper Olinto club. Post pics and comments if you've gots some.
     
    punchdrunk 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

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