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My Marchlewski Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dirty Road Cola, Dec 20, 2004.


  1. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    Hey ladies and gents, I now feel comfortable to voice my opinion on my Marchlewski that I recieved last wednesday. I'm going to go into a lot of minutiae about the bass, so I hope it doesn't bore you.

    Specs:
    5 String headed/less
    Ebony fingerboard bound with Padouk
    Walnut Body
    Quilted Padouk top
    Wood pickup covers
    Neckthrough
    ABM Single bridge tuners
    Nordstrand Fat Stack pickups
    Demeter 3 band pre-amp
    Ebony Knobs

    Construction:

    The bass is put together very well. Most glue joints are very tight, the accent laminations are pretty uniform and there aren't any raised spots on the back of the neck between laminations. There are also 26 frets, when I thought I ordered 24; so thanks Jake!

    Pro: Meticulous sanding/wood joining, feels very solid
    Con: 1 slight top imperfection; negligible.

    Sound:

    The sound is very, very clear. It's modern sounding in that you can hear all the notes, but not in the abrasive-treble-no-lows sense. It's a very open bass that requires little EQ. Carey Nordstrand warned me at NAMM that there might be some signal to noise ratio problems with the Demeter preamp his Fatstacks, but the only problem that I've encountered with it thus far is when I solo either pickup there is a slight hum; not as bad as I was led to believe. I usually play with both pickups on and flat, so it doesn't really bother me. The Demeter preamp is a great sounding preamp: it's very subtle and the boosts don't muddy up the tone, if that makes sense. It's all very usuable. The sound is exactly what I wanted. The control cavity is shielded and wired very well.

    Pros: It sounds the way I wanted, clear and articulate without being harsh. It cuts without being overly mid-rangey or abrasively, a very supportive sound.
    Cons: Slight hum when pickups are soloed.

    Comfort:

    This bass is one of the most comfortable basses I've ever owned. The headless design prevents any neck dive, so I don' have to exert any left hand/arm energy to keep it up. The body fits me very well and my right hand falls in my ideal plucking position. It's like this bass was built for me. I mean, I know it was, but I'm talking from an ergonomic point of view. The padouk neck is exqusitely carved and smooth; my favorite neck wood and shape to date. The 0 degree radius is also quite great, it's very quick. I have no qualms about anything as far as comfort goes. I will say again that this is the most comfortable bass I've ever owned.

    Pros: Feels like it was built with my body in mind. Well executed design.
    Cons: None.

    Summation:

    This is the best instrument I've ever played. There are a few small things about the instrument that could be improved, but as it stands right now, this bass rivals many of the boutiques that I've played for half the cost. Jake is also one of the most accommodating and kind people I've come across in the Custom Bass realm. He didn't shoot down my headless idea with an "oh, that's dumb" or "oh, I won't do that." He accepted it and my quirky requests and executed them beyond my imagination. In closing, Jake will probably become very reknowned very soon and I'm going to need to order my fretless from him soon!
     
  2. SharkB8

    SharkB8

    May 29, 2002
    NorCal
    DRC,
    I'm glad you are happy with your bass. Sounds like a winner! I know what you mean about ordering sooner than later......he's gonna get real busy, real quick....
     
  3. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
    Excellent! I'm still working on posting sound clips of mine. The holidays and the need to work like a chimp on speed in order to pay for them, have held me back a little. I'm so glad you are happy with your instrument. I am sending you a PM on a related subject so keep your eyes open for it.
     
  4. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Ehm, eh... Radius is measured in length, e.g. mm or inch. I guess you mean infinite radius = flat?

    I love flat boards, myself. They really fit my playing. (OTOH, the extreme radius of an upright FB is also very comfy - in that elevated arm position).

    DRC, thanks for the in-depth review! :hyper:
    No offence intended above, just being picky. OK? ;)
    But where are the pictures? :ninja: :rollno:
     
  5. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    TalkBass Rule #1: No pics, no new bass.

    ;)



    ...having actually seen and played DRC's new baby, I can concur 100% with his review - excellent instrument, a few minor cosmetic flaws that have zero effect on the stability or playability of the instrument, wonderful playability, and great tone. It also is visually stunning. :) DRC's right on the money with the balance/comfort issue, this bass makes an undeniable statement on the validity of getting the chunk of wood & metal at the end of the neck OFF the bass.

    It's good enough that I will very likely be contacting young Mr. Marchlewski very soon myself, with a wild, hare-brained scheme...

    :hyper: :ninja:
     
  6. Cola,
    Thanks for the great review. Good details. What styles of music do you play? The reason I ask is that the woods you selected would produce a more "woody" earthy tone with mids emphasized.

    Since Jake doesn't have pics up in his gallery yet, the weight of responsibility for pics falls on you! :eyebrow:
     
  7. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    I play rock and metal. I didn't want an "aggressive" sound so much as I just wanted a good, clear fundamental bass sound. I've found aggressive basses don't fit in the kind of music I WANT to be playing (ie:funk, jazz, world music stuff). It works in the rock setting very well.
     
  8. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    California
    How much did you pay for this bass and how long did you wait? Call me a nitpicker but i don't think I would accept any flaws. I'm glad that you are happy with it.
     
  9. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    I waited around 6 months for it. If you truly want to know how much I paid for it, PM me. The only flaw is that there is a 1-1.5mm gap between the neck and the top where it joins the body. It looks as if the top was cut to fit a slightly bigger neck pocket (if that makes sense).

    That said, I've seen bigger flaws in much more expensive and famous basses.

    PS: Pictures coming soon, either tonight or tommorow.
     
  10. I think that stuff like that could be classified as part of the "custom instrument" experience. A hand made ANYTHING could have some slight flaws or irregularities. Even machine-made basses have some flaws.

    Now if the knobs were crooked, or the fingerboard was warped, or if the finish looked like a kid fingerpainted it, THEN you've got some quality issues where perhaps that builder is not "ready for prime time." Looking at your instrument Cola, it looks like an otherwise excellently crafted bass.

    It doesn't have any bearing on how the instrument sounds, so is it a big deal? (rhetorical question)
     
  11. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Perhaps the flaws could have been avoided if he used a CNC machine? :D

    Agreed!
     
  12. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    California

    I know it is hard to wait six months only to send something back. That being said that is exactly what I would do. Anyway, I am glad that you are happy and may that bass bring you years of joy! :D
     
  13. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    California
     
  14. SharkB8

    SharkB8

    May 29, 2002
    NorCal
    I agree with BG (right on brother!)...

    I hope this doesn't debase into a handmade vs CNC diatribe. Suffice it to say, I've seen instruments at 3 times the price of mine that don't look as good. Price does not delineate quality, and only a reputable builder who stands by his products and has a keen eye for detail would even venture down a road such as DRCs bass. No handmade instrument is going to be 100% perfect, neither will CNC. CNC is not a magical panacea, if you're a sloppy programmer/operator you come out with junk really quick, but on a much larger scale. I for one relish the little things that differentiate handmade instruments, one from another. These are creations; each one won't be the same.

    And I like that....

    YMMV, FWIW, IMHO, et. all
     
  15. Tfunked

    Tfunked

    Dec 30, 2003
    I agree, I mentioned his gluelines on another bass awhile back.
    I could see them just from the pictures here on TB.

    I disagree, my Fodera and CB are flawless and I would
    guess that a Nordstrand would be the same way, perfect.
    Along with many others.
    Now if you put the bass in the same league/price range as a Warwick, I've seen Warwicks with fret jobs that looked like a 3 year old did!
     
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  17. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I do recall someone being concerned about the quality of the glue lines on the in-progress shots of my bass. I can say without a doubt that the construction and finish on the finished product are flawless.

    I did in my review point out a couple nits. They were of even lesser magnitude than the ones DRC found. (a burr on an edge of the pickguard, one area of inconsistent gap on the control cover) but there was absolutely nothing wrong with any of the joints (and there's a lot of joints) on the finished product.

    Peace,

    James
     
  18. Wolfehollow

    Wolfehollow

    Jan 21, 2003
    Pensacola, FL
    Great read! Im glad you like it. I never saw what you mentioned when I looked it over, but I didnt have more than 30 minutes with it... everyone looks for different things I guess. Ill check my pics. The glue line comment is absurd... but thats what I get for posting all access pics I guess. :)