My new Benavente

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Biker4Him, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Let me start by saying this is probably not the normal type of work Chris does on his instruments. This was something he conjured up for NAMM, and the detail was most certainly not the same as a custom ordered bass. This is also long… so get a cup of coffee and sit back!!

    The bass arrived late Saturday morning. It was about 33 degrees outside, and my wife & I were getting ready to leave, so I just signed for it, and placed the box in the unheated Florida room we have (it's about 50 degrees in there). When we got back about 4 hours later, I pulled the case out of the box, and put it in my "bass" room to sit for a couple of hours. About 7:00 I opened up the case, and was fairly impressed by the looks of this orange beast, and overwhelmed at how large the bass was. My wife was standing right beside me, and as I looked over the bass I started to get less enthused. I was purposely going over the bass looking for things wrong with it. Unfortunately, I found several. The finish on the bass has several flaws in it, including a half dollar size “orange peel” that looks like a huge thumb or fingerprint in the finish on the back cavity cover. There is a spot of orange finish on the maple fingerboard, and several cracks in the orange finish underneath the clear coat on the back of the neck. That was the worst of the flaws, the rest were very tiny, and almost un-noticeable unless you are looking specifically for things that are wrong (which I was). So.. to say I was disappointed before I even plugged the bass in, is a huge understatement. After all, I think we all expect (and deserve) perfection in a boutique bass. Compared to my two Roscoe's, the difference in craftsmanship was night/day. The Roscoe's had much greater attention to detail than this Benavente. I'm not saying that Chris is sloppy, or inattentive to detail, this bass just didn't live up to expectation of a hand crafted boutique bass. It looked more like it was rushed and hurried.

    I plugged the bass in, set all the controls flat, tuned it real quickly, and turned it up. Wow... was I sick. It sounded like crap. It had a huge buzz on the open E. I was flat sick!! Of course, I was already depressed, so that might have had some bearing on it. But... a MIM jazz I had sitting there sounded better than this thing. I turned some knobs, got to messing with it, and started to wonder... well, maybe it's not SO bad. I was in a hurry for a gig, so I packed up all my stuff (left the orange beast at home) and headed out. On the way to the show I told my wife I was just going to send it back. (Which I thought would make her extremely happy) instead she told me to give it some time, play around with it, and remember it is supposed to be DIFFERENT than what I already have.

    The next morning I woke up early before church. I went in and played around with the bass some more. While I was playing with it, the D string unraveled on me. (No blame on Chris for this) I had a new set of DR low riders I was going to put on my green Roscoe, so I changed the strings on the Benavente. While I was at it, I cleaned the absolutely filthy fingerboard, and then fixed the intonation problems that it had. I played around with it some more, then had to go to church. I again left it home, and took one of the Roscoe's.

    When I got home, I just decided to completely re-set the bass up. After giving it a complete set up, and cleaning, and re adjusting the intonation again (because I raised the strings and gave the neck some very slight relief instead of it being completely straight.) I turned the live rig on ,and plugged it in. WOW... suddenly I was starting to dig the new bass. However; there was still a problem with a Buzz on the open E. Another look at the nut showed a huge burr between the B & E string, (shown in headstock photo) so I loosened the E, and took some fine sandpaper to the nut where the string sits in it. I Plugged it back in, and the problem solved. The more I played the bass the more I liked it. I think I just needed to re-program my brain. This new bass is NOT a Roscoe. It's not supposed to sound like a Roscoe, and that's why I wanted it, to NOT sound like a Roscoe. It also sounded a lot better through my live rig, than my practice rig (even though both were all set flat!) I was amazed at how defined and clear the low end is on the Benavente. It's not a Roscoe "B". It's just not that huge. But it's more defined than the low B (that is dropped to A) on my ash body Roscoe with Ebony board. It's "cleaner" than the naturally compressed low end I get. It's all around a more mid to upper mid bass. The low end is there, and it's big... but the mids and upper mids are killer on this thing. I think they would cut through a steel wall, without sounding "tinny" or harsh, or obscenely bright.

    My slap skills are not the best in the world. I've been working on it though. This bass just automatically slaps itself. Great attack, and the wider string spacing than I am used to made me seem like an old pro. With clean, clear concise notes. My thumb just seemed to instinctively know where to go. Even my dogs were impressed. (and my wife too). After an hour or so of playing around and goofing off with the new bass I was surprised at how well I was able to handle the wider neck. My puny little man hands never felt out of place on the neck, and never fumbled for notes. I put a cd of some new tunes I was supposed to be learning in the PA system, and cranked it up. I started to play along and really dug the tonal variety this orange beast offered me. The push/pull active/passive is really nice... I always thought it would be nice to have on the Roscoe. The pu/preamp combo (DiMarzzio Ultra Jazz and Benavente preamp) offers soooo many tonal options. It really seems geared towards the mids. However there is no want for low end. It’s all there and then some. The treble is even and smooth. It’s not harsh and brittle like I was afraid it might be. There are not any high or low spots. The voice is even all the way across the board. Just the slightest turn of the knobs give it a huge difference in tone. Also after spending a couple of hours with the bass strapped on, it was great to find out that even though the bass itself is HUGE... it wasn't awkward, or heavy, or uncomfortable.

    Sunday nights gig was called off at the last minute, which left me depressed that I wasn't able to try the bass out in a live setting. I did get to try it out last night in a band setting, and wow.. it cuts through like a Ginsu butter knife (if that’s possible) It cuts through the mix superbly and at the same time, it was all buttery smooth.

    We all know that these higher end basses and rigs will amplify the things you do wrong. (as well as what we do right) This bass is exactly that. I’ve found new flaws as well as better ways to control my right hand just in the few hours I have spent with this bass. It certainly accentuates every nuance of my playing. That’s good… but just reminds me that I can always improve. For the first time ever my slapping and my fingering are the same volume. My slapping is already 100% better and cleaner. I’m not bragging, heck I’ll never be as good as the great ones, or probably ever be as good as the average ones. But this bass has already helped me become a better all around player, and I’m finally getting outside the “rock” box and into something a little more exciting. I NEVER wanted a jazz bass, and now I have one I love. Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got to go get the finish off my maple fretboard, and polish up the nut some more. The flaws in the finish are just added character.!
  2. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I started reading that story and got upset, i thought you weren't going to be happy with that beautiful bass!

    I've found that with high end gear, it takes a little while to discover the nuances of it that seperate it for what costs less. Also, you payed more, so you look harder for flaws.

    I'm a big fan of that finish, it's different, but that's why it's cool. You don't see too many high end basses with orange sparkle finishes.

  3. Don't get upset.... I love the bass. I really really do :hyper:

    The little flaws I found were found because I was going over the bass with a fine tooth comb looking for problems!!! And.. they can all be fixed... easily!!! Brian at thelowend has been superb, and offered to do whatever it takes to make me happy. Heck... I am happy.

    This was a one of a kind, something different, build for Chris, and this was basically a used bass by the time I got it.

    But I thought I should take everyone through my thoughts as they occured over the weekend with this bad boy!!

    Oh--- here's another pic. Just please don't call me Flamer. (no disrespect to anyone!!)

  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I'm glad you gave the bass a chance! I've got the same pickups but the older pre... right after I get my fretless 51 (Brian sent me a couple 'in progress' shots last night :D ) I'm shipping my fretted back to Chris for a tune up and preamp change! I hear that new version smokes the old one... and I like the passive option option!

    send me a shot of you with the bass and I'll add you to the family page tonight.
  5. I'm glad I gave the bass a chance to. It really is quite an instrument. It's just funny that I wanted a "jazz" bass to go with my Roscoe's (big phat P bass), and then I was upset because it didn't sound like the Roscoe... gee I'm stupid!!

    It'll be a few days before I can get some action shots... but you were the first one I was going to send it to!!


  6. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm glad you are liking your Benavente. I also just got a new bass and my experience was very positive. I bought a Zon Sonus 5 and I love it. I'm with you though for the big bucks the bass should be as close to if not exactly what you want. Having owned 2 Roscoes in my life I can tell you that slapping for a long time on a Roscoe is going to make slapping on a wider neck a joy. Slapping on my Roscoes made me a better slapper on a wider neck because you have to be really careful to be clean on the Roscoe. Keep on slappin and enjoy your bass.
    Sanch :cool:
  7. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    congrats on the bass, bro!! I guess you will be keeping that Harley since you got a matching bass, no?
  8. Thanks!! Yep, I'm keeping it. Although my bike is Purple... maybe I need a purple bass? Hmmm... that's just going to have to wait... . and really how many basses does one guy need?? Well, one more couldn't hurt :D

    But the Orange w/flames goes well with my normal attire(Harley T, black jeans, black boots & tat's).
  9. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Im glad you ended up liking the bass. Im surprised at the small things though. I just obtained a USED Benavente Vintage Vortex, and it was (and is) perfect in every way. There are NO finish imperfections, etc.
    NO set up issues, and certainly no dingy fingerboard. The thing plays and sounds incredible.
  10. SCT1422

    SCT1422 Supporting Member

    Hey James, can we see the pics of the 51 fretless...
  11. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    :ninja: Soon
  12. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Now THERE'S something you don't see everyday....James being asked to show photos of his Bennies!?!?! :D ;) Something tells me that when that puppy finally lands, we'll be seeing those photos EVERYWHERE....and that's the way it should be. :smug:
  13. biker how much did you pay?? Im interested in benaventes too in a fretless 5.
  14. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    :eek: :bassist:
  15. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer, Builder
    Grove Tools

    Biker bought a NAMM show Custom pint job Vortex. It was a non standard paint job and probably far from even custom that someone might order. It turned out amazing, but was just a Custom Chopper Dream Color with flames, which was the intension. That being said it was sold as a demo or standard Vortex price because it was not a planned instrument for NAMM and just an attention grabber. The custom pint options where not charges, so it was a really good buy.

    Contact JPJ or one of the other dealers from the Benavente section concerning pricing. The Standard Vortex with 3 pc neck Benavente preamp and in a fretless 5 will start out under $2000 just to give you an idea.

    Thanks and Biker, glad you digging the Benavente!!!!
  16. Very nice bass, and a good story with a moral as a bonus. :)

    On a side note, which color is your Dyna Wide Glide?

  17. What Brian said!!

    Don't take it wrong, but I don't think it's ever my place to discuss prices. I bought the bass for a fair price, based on it having the ammenities I desired (I was looking for a pumped up J style bass) and the fact that asthetically it all but incorporates my personality in one nice package.

    I have always loved my Roscoe's and still do. They taught ME how to play. Showing off my flaws, and teaching me better technique. The Bennie takes it one step farther, and I can't seem to put it down lately as I learn even better technique. I only thought I had control before.

    For all you guys that have been playing for tons of years, you all probably found a bass along the way that MADE you play better. In my short 3 years of playing, I have found TWO.... and each one taught me or is teaching me different nuances of being a musician, not just a bass player.

    I'm sure you will be more than happy with your Benavente purchase, and Brian will be more than happy to hook you , and he will take care of you. :bassist:

  18. Thanks for the compliment on my long boring story that goes with a killer bass!! ;)

    My 97 FXDWG was red and silver when I bought it new. 6 months and 7400 miles later an inattentive teen girl decided to run me off the road and the bike went end over end a few times down the street (so did I) The bike was rebuilt and a custom purple with lavender (silver with a small purple tint) is the new color, with a 3D hand painted emblem on the sides of the tank that depict an eagle flying at night.

    I'd would love to post a pic, but I don't seem to have any in digital format.

    I've also been trying to get Adrian of accessbass to trade me. A lifetime supply of basses for the bike. :D
  19. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Last Benevente I played sounded very LOUD and alive, but it buzzed all over the place. I could never get any thick warm tones and everything flat sounded too trebly. I would think that for a bass that sells so expensive those type of problems would never arise. I have been thoughroughly unimpressed with Chris's work, but am still curious if the other basses are better. The one I tried was a vintage vortex.....