My Esh Impact Rocks!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheLarch, May 28, 2003.

  1. TheLarch

    TheLarch Supporting Member

    I just picked up an Esh Impact from the distributor for Esh in the US. I've only had it about a week and haven't even taken it to rehearsal yet. Being that there is so little information about Esh basses in the US, I thought I'd throw in my $0.02 about the Impact.

    The Impact has two Kent Armstrong humbuckers and a shadow piezo under the bridge. Mine is a fretted (24) Hungarian Swamp-ash four-banger with a nice quilted maple top and rosewood board. Build quality is extremely good (but not perfect) with lots of attention to little details - the cavity is thoroughly and cleanly shielded, wiring is tidy, and there are brass inserts for the screws, etc. Demerits for a battery that doesn't have its own compartment and is wrapped in a sheet of foam.

    The neck is truly a work of art. The impact sports a jazz width nut (made of perfectly cut ebony) but has some heft to the neck profile so that you don't feel like you are choking it. The neck has rosewood stringers and graphite reinforcement bars and is satin-finished and is truly one of the nicest necks I've ever played - I sometimes keep playing just because I love the way it feels in my hand. Fret work is also quite nice although I spotted one fret (#22) that was just a hair too high. I think a light tweak on the truss rod should remedy that no problem.

    Balance is perfect with absolutely no neck dive. There are no ergonomic belly or forearm cuts on the slab-bodied Impact but I haven't noticed that being a problem. I think mine weighs about 9 lbs but I haven't put it on the scale - It doesn't kill my shoulder after a few hours of playing, which is the main thing. Hardware is absolutely first rate with a high-mass fully adjustable bridge (with the afore-mentioned piezo) and high-quality tuning machines.

    The electronics are interesting as they use a proprietary system called "Esh-tronics" which I believe are made by the company that supplies Mercedes-Benz with sophisticated electronics. There are controls for volume, tone (No separate treble and bass controls which should be addressed if they upgrade their product line) and one pot with four detents for: bridge Pickup only; parallel, bridge with mid-boost; and, series. The fourth control pot also has four detents: studio (which bypasses volume and tone and is a direct signal from the pickups; passive; passive with piezo; and active with piezo. The piezo is adjustable from inside the cavity and a little dab'll do ya. There are 16 possible variations but I prefer to stay with series/parallel and opt for passive or active depending on the song. Slappers would love the bridge with midboost / active options. According to the distributor, a 2-band Kent Armstrong EQ is an option for approx. $105.

    The Kent Armstrong humbuckers have a coloration that I would characterize as slightly dark / low-middy with a bit of that Jaco nasally honk. They took me a little getting used to as they have a distinctive voice of their own that is different from the Fender / G&L world that I came from. They are articulate and have a strong bass response but are never muddy or boomy, the mids are punchy, and the high end takes advantage of the gloss that the piezos provide to seal the deal. The more I play this bass, the more I like its distinctive voice.

    All told, this bass holds its own against many that are much more expensive and with the neck that is sweetness personified, this may very well be a keeper.

    Esh Impact

    Anybody else have one or played one? Your thoughts? Any thoughts on the Impact vs. the other Esh models that have J-pickups?