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Mike Lull - ash/maple M5V build

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by VroomVroom, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Ok, for those of you that know me, I'll do my best to keep this short and on point. :D For those of you that really know me, I'll likely fail. :rolleyes: Here we go.

    I absolutely love my current M5V.

    Alder/rosewood, Duncan SC's, Bart NTMB...it's an outstanding instrument. Plays as good as it looks, and it sounds even better. It's become the favorite of a number of band leaders, producers/engineers, and fellow musicians ("Hey...you bringin' the red rocket?"). Plus, for many years I've been a big fan of Mike, his artisan craftsmanship, and the way he does business. I'm definitely what you'd call a proud owner.

    Over the past nine months or so, I've been on the hunt for an ash/maple Jazz bass - one that speaks to me the same way as my alder/rosewood beast - and it took me longer than it should have to consider simply ordering another Lull. I'm lucky to enjoy a great relationship with Gelb Music, and their bass guru, Ed. I've been doing business there for 19 years now, and it took me longer than it should have to realize that Ed knows more about my sound than I do. (Are you seeing the pattern here? I'm both slow and stubborn. :D)

    Last week I had a long chat with Ed. We took a lot of notes. Ed then had a long chat with Mike. Paul kindly chimed in, and here we are. The order is in, and Paul has graciously agreed to shoot progress pics my way. I'll keep updating this thread, so if nothing else, my TB brothers and sisters will have something to help them sleep at night. :oops:

    So, what the heck did I order, already? Well...in the whole scheme of things, it's certainly not a wild custom. First and foremost, it's definitely an M5V...with just a few tweaks to make it my M5V. :) Here we go...

    Ash body, maple neck, maple board. I did ask Mike to work his mojo in selecting these pieces...whatever he thinks will provide some serious beef to the sound. My only other request was aesthetic - as little figuring as possible on the fingerboard.

    Here's where I strayed a bit. We're going with Bartolini J single coils. I've always loved the sound of these, and I'm really looking forward to hearing them against these woods. If I don't like 'em? As Ed put it..."They're pickups. We rip 'em out and put in others." The Fralins were a close second, and there's always the known commodity of the Duncans. I figure I'm taking a small gamble with the Barts, but that it's worth it - I'm hoping I'll have a semi-unique voice that will still be versatile.

    The pre-amp was an easy choice. 18v Bartolini NTMB. This is my all-time favorite pre, and I'm certainly a creature of habit. Four of my current basses have some flavor of this pre-amp, and in this bass my guess is that it will add some smoothness and maybe a few extra table manners to an otherwise pretty
    aggressive sound.

    The control layout will be Vol - Blend - Mid (Pull freq) - Stacked Bass & Treble.

    Looks, baby...looks:
    Black hardware & control cover. Pearl guard. (But I'm ordering a black one too, just in case. :ninja:) No face dots on the fingerboard. Matching headstock. Finish? Saved the juice for last. Candy. Apple. Orange.

    There we have it. If you've stayed with me thus far...thank you. I'll add updates as info becomes available. Captain Obvious checking in here, but...I'm excited! One final note of thanks to Ed @ Gelb and Paul @ Mike Lull Custom Guitars...my goal with this thread is to have a bit of fun with the process, and that certainly couldn't happen without their nod of approval.
  2. CliffD


    Jan 27, 2008
    San Diego/Seattle
    Holy schnikies Jerry! Those are some killer specs, but I thought you were Mr. "I'd never buy a bass I couldn't play in person", taking a chance eh? Your wood and color choice is killer!
  3. Damnit, Cliff...you called me out immediately. :D You couldn't be more right. I lot of thought went into this decision and I'm definitely going against my own intuition a bit. You know what, though? It feels right in this case.

    But if I'm wrong, you wanna' buy a Lull? :D :D :ninja:
  4. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Oooooohhhhh! This is gonna be awesome! Orange and Black ftw!

    Why ain't you trying Bardens......... :bag::D:bag:
  5. CliffD


    Jan 27, 2008
    San Diego/Seattle
    My 0.02 Jerry, make sure the ash body isn't too light, just my opinion. The main reason I sold my NYC Sad and my first Roscoe was that the ash bodies were way to light (or chambered in the Sads case) and while they sounded killer in the slap department, they left me wanting more focus and meat when playing finger style, just me and my 0.02 cents...
  6. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Oh, is it Swamp Ash, or Hard Ash?

    Trust me, there'll be no worrys about it being too light if its Hard Ash! :D
  7. Cliff, your two pennies align perfectly with mine. :) Thanks for the validation! One of my man Ed's questions was, "How much do you want this thing to weigh?" My answer...

    "I don't care. Make it sound good." Obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as I don't want something that sounds great yet weighs in at 17 lbs :D - but the point is well taken.

    Doh...Sorry, Bill, forgot your comments. LOL @ Bardens, although I did briefly consider them. The unknown was how they'd play with the Bart pre. I really just have a long-time love for those Bart J's. Snarky & clean at the same time...I'm really thinking they're going to sound terrific in this bass. On the body, Mike uses swamp ash, so Cliff's comments are definitely well placed...and hence the trust in Mike and his magic eye.
  8. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Sounds great! CAO will be sweet...I considered getting that color for one of my upcoming basses.
  9. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ah, cheers!

    I knew the Bardens weren't what you'd want, really, but I'd be remiss not to [DEL]take a jab at you[/DEL] suggest them. :D

    I had guessed swamp ash too, but, heh, had to ask anyway!
  10. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Will it be 35inch? or will he make a 34 scale?
  11. Nice! I assume 70's pickup position? I didn't see that in your specs.

    I would be MUCH more specific about your weight requirement. Ash basses can really end up being 'boat anchor' weight if you aren't careful. I agree that very lightweight ash (like under 8 pounds) can sometimes sound a bit thin, but IMO there is NO reason on earth to go much over 9 pounds on an instrument like this.
  12. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Cool Jerry! I love reading the verbiage on your post! So much good info communicated with just the right amount of subtle humor!

    For what it's worth, I love the sound of your Lull on the clip that you posted the other day (Twisted I think). If you're aiming for a notch above that tone I definitely want to hear it.

    Candy Apple Orange! :cool: Dude! You're going to be the center of attention at those gigs! :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  13. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    My Lull has this electronics configuration. Set flat its one of the darker, warmer sounding basses I've owned, and I've owned probably 15. Doesn't sound like a typical Jazz to me. Being a prototype, mine's not your typical Lull. It weighs in at 10 lbs and has a neck thickness that could give Warwick a run. But I love it.
  14. Thanks for all the comments, folks.

    Weight... I'll be chatting with the fellas some more, and Ed @ Gelb definitely has my back on this spec....Ken's comments pretty much echoed what Ed had to say. I'm confident they'll get me in that sweet spot - oomph to the sound but without being a boat anchor.

    Pickup placement...standard M5V, which I've come to understand is Mike's own take, sort of a 'tweener between 60's and 70's. (Can you tell from the pic in my first post?) Great question, though - I'll follow up on that, if for no other reason than to have the knowledge.

    Scale...ditto, 35"...standard M5V. (I probably should've been more specific, but essentially this bass will conform to Mike's standard spec except for where I've noted otherwise.) I really like the M5V form factor...playability, balance, etc., so from that perspective this was an easy choice.

    Joe - thanks so much, as always, for your comments! The alder Lull is a beast, and with this one I'm hoping to capture that ash/maple vibe with a slight twist. We'll see how it turns out!
  15. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    Very nice Jerry. Can't wait to see it and hear your amazing chops.

    A very good friend of mine has an ash/maple M5V and it is truly one of the best sounding and playing basses I've ever had the pleasure to play. He has the Bart pre and Duncan singles. I also think it's one of the most comfortable basses I've played. With the tighter string spacing, I didn't even notice the 35" scale.
  16. Hey, Chris! Awesome to hear about that M5V...I'm really excited about this one. I hope I don't get into a loop of pickup swapping, but at the same time it's reassuring to know that the Duncans are always there, lurking for great tone. :)
  17. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I think that you'll really like the tone of the Bart/Bart in the alder Jerry. I setup an older alder body Warmoth jazz a couple weeks ago that had the Bart/Bart combo in it and it just smoked. Killer tone! Add the excellent playability of the Lull and you should be all smiles! :)

    ....and let's get real, I don't think there's a bass out there that you wouldn't be able to coax a great tone out of!;)
  18. bdgotoh

    bdgotoh Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Pacific NW
    Sounds like a very nice bass. Mike's personal M5V is ash/maple and sounds really great.
  19. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Oops! Somehow I got turned around and thought that you were building an alder Lull. After reading the original post again I see that you're building an ash Lull and the one that I heard in the studio clips is alder! :oops:

    I'll blame it on the Allegra D! Probably the same reason that I'm I'm up posting at 3:15 AM on TB. :help:

    We'll the alder Lull that you have really sounds great in your sound clips. I know that TB'er Basso Gruvitas loves the sound of his ash Lull w/maple finger board and I'm sure that you'll really dig the sound of the ash. IMO the Bart/Bart combo in the new ash Lull w/maple finger board will probably provide a nice alternative to your current alder Lull with the Duncan SC's.
  20. Thanks, folks! Joe - I hope you're feeling better.

    So, Paul confirmed that the standard pickup placement on the M5V is 60's...but it is slightly skewed by the 35" scale. 70's placement is an option, and I'm strongly considering it. Any thoughts from veteran Jazz bass fans? 70's + ash + Bart SC J's = too much? Thanks in advance...

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