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My trip to Jerzy Drozd

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mr M, Feb 28, 2004.


  1. In the beginning of February I had the chance to visit Barcelona. Beside the beauties of the city I was happy to try my chance to visit Jerzy Drozd.

    Jerzy Drozd workshop is a little bit out of the city center. But with a good map and chance you can get there :). I took the ferro and than the metro (discovered that the Ferro tickets were not valid for the metro and don't ask me what is a Ferro :), it also goes under the ground as well) and had a little walk. It's on a dead end. Well to make a long story short, I skip my soap opera and jump directly to the real story:

    I met with Jerzy Drozd, he's a very friendly and helpful person.

    I found that I was pronouncing his name right (this is the first thing I asked to him :) something like Jerr-zy The-rosed

    He was very busy because they were preparing for Frankfurt Musikmesse but he took a good time to answer my questions and show the basses. Thanks to him. He said that if I let him know before, that I would come, he could make more basses available for me to try. First I learned that I'm going to Barcelona just 3 days before I had this trip (you know, or maybe you don't know, the bloody visa issues for non-EU visitors). And most importantly I was not expecting to meet such a great and friendly guy. I've read here before some comments about some other luthiers and their attitude to visitors and I prepared myself to the worst and it was a surprise to have such a good welcome.

    I tried two basses: a 36(!?) fret bolt-on hollowbody 7 string Obsession Legend and a 28 fret neckthrough 7 string Obsession Prodigy

    For Obsession Legend:
    36 fret? Yes and although it's a little strange to reach those upper notes, it's a different and very nice instrument. You can tap those upper notes or play finger style or with a pick. I tried all :) The pop-slap is a little strange, because I normaly do the pop between the last fret and the neck PU but here there is only one PU (in fact two PUs, because bridge has a piezzo but you got the point) which is very close to the last fret so I popped between the PU and the bridge and it's was a little strange to do so for me. The slap is not different though.

    Piezzo? I'm not really into that kind of sound but it was nice, clear and alive sound. Bartolini PU is nice for both from the lower notes 'till those upper notes that you usually don't expect to get from a bass.

    The neck joint of this bolt-on was very nice and smooth, it doesn't prevent you to reach the ultra-upper notes.

    Workmanship? It's perfect from the edges of the frets to the abalone binding. Jerzy Drozd is very good for details.

    The hollowbody? First of all it changes the sound but I'm not very good in telling the difference. It also weighs less, which can be an important issue for a 7 string bass (at least for me).

    It balances OK -if not perfect- on the knee while sitting. I would expect a neck-heavy and non-balancing bass with such a big and deep cutaway and small leg-rest(lower horn) but no, you can normally play it while sitting. So thumbs up.. I didn't tried with a strap so don't know how it balances playing standing but with such upper horn I think it won't have a problem.

    I really liked the shape of their bridge (instead of a rectangular stock brige) which follows the organic form of the bass.

    Anything I would change? I would change the tuning pegs to ultra-lights because the less it weighs, the better it is for me (as I said before), I think even 100 g is important. I would also draw an inlay shape to fit the fretboard. He offers this as well.

    I also tried the Obsession Prodigy for a short time. Mostly same opinions. The neck-through was very smooth when reaching 28th fret.

    My overall opinion:
    Well first of all I'm not an expert but I try every bass that I can find from a 7 string Conklin to a B.C. Rich Beast, from a Rickenbacker 400x to Zon HyperBass. I really liked the basses. I like their shapes, their sound were cool, the wood were like a dream, the workmanship was perfect. So shortly I liked them a lot. The only think that I don't like is that I don't have enough money to order one :)

    And some fresh news:
    He is preparing another bass, other than the Obsession serie. He said that he was planing to have the new design ready earlier but as he is very busy he had to postpone it. He said that the new serie that he will offer will be a classical bass. I said "like a Fender Precision?" (the word classical reminds me a Fender P or J or a Ric or maybe a Gibson) he said no. But the new bass will be different than the organic round shaped Obsession serie with a straight shape (OK I don't recall his words but this is what remained in my memory).

    He was also building a bass for the bassist of Paco De Lucia (sorry again don't know his name). I saw that one but didn't take the picture as he asked. There were some different things about that bass. It features an upper horn joining the neck. I mean something like the Ken Lawrence Brasé but a little different. The neck PU has got another shape -that follows the shape of the bass- than the usual rectangular stock PUs. The strings were bloody close (because that bassist has a different playing style and wanted so). And the scale was someting like 32-33". I believe that it can be a good piccolo bass (But this one that I'm talking has got normal gauge strings so it's not a piccolo). There are not so many piccolo basses offered so it can be a good difference to offer such an instrument from a high-end instrument maker. He said when he will finish building it he will announce this bass as well at their website.


    Those are just my opininons. Whose signature was it: "As always I can be wrong". Cheers!
     
  2. malthumb

    malthumb

    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Mr M,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive review of what had to be a most exciting visit. I've been a fan of the Jerzy Drozd designs since the day I saw them.

    I actually got to put my hands on one last year at the Michigan Guitar Show (Luthier's Access Group brought 3 or 4 to the show). I agree with everything you say about the quality of the woods and workmanship.

    Doesn't surprise me that he was as nice and accomodating as you have apparently found him to be. Seems like that is a requirement for the REALLY good, small volume custom luthiers.

    Peace,

    James
     
  3. munkyboy

    munkyboy

    Feb 1, 2004
    Did you take any photos?

    Those basses are tooooo cooooool!
     
  4. 6-3-2

    6-3-2

    Sep 20, 2003
    I've played one of those basses too, unfortunately though i had no idea what any of the controls did, and i all i got was this slap tone, dissapointing to me because i like a nice low thumb, still it played nice, and even though the tone i got i don't prefer it still sounded good. The neck was too flat for my taste, but I'm sure i could get one with a rounder neck. Most noticable was the amazing craftsmenship, and I really look for problems, nothing, plus man they look soo cool.
     
  5. By-Tor

    By-Tor

    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    I know what you mean about the craftmanship and detail.
    These basses are a work of art.
    I own an Excellency IV/28. Greatest bass I've ever put my hands on.
     
  6. dragonbass

    dragonbass Commercial User

    Feb 17, 2003
    N.Y.
    Owner/Builder of LoPrinzi Basses.........................................EX-Sadowsky Guitars Builder

    By-Tor,

    So your the one who owns that!
    If you ever want to sell, (or trade)......let me know :D

    Mr. M,

    Thanks for the review.
     
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Mr M,

    I haven't seen a Jerzy Drozd bass I haven't liked. I would very much like to play one for myself one day... but in the meantime, I greatly enjoyed reading your impressions. Thanks for the review!
     

  8. Thanks to all!
    Yes I did take a few pictures but as with this new forum I can't attach them :meh:
     
  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    send them to my email within a zip file if you like...

    jp@jpbasses.com

    I'll host them and post them here for you.


    Peace,
    JP
     
  10. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    here you go

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Peace,
    JP
     
  11. Wow you're faster than light JP.

    BTW Thanks a lot JP!

    The first bass is the Legend that I play at the third pic. In fact as easily you can see with my hands positions I rather hold the bass on my knee rather than playing :D. It's Mr Drozd who took this picture.

    In the second pic you can see the Prodigy that I've played and another Obsession featuring the Lightwave PU. Although I'm dead curious about the tone of Lightwave (I've never played one) it was run out of battery and had a minor problem. Mr Drozd suggested me to prepare it but I thanked him and didn't want to take more of his time...
     
  12. good to hear you had a good trip!
    those basses are sha-wingin'ngly sha-weeeeet! :smug:
     
  13. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    on my very short 6 string list, Jerzy Drozd is HIGH on my list. :cool: great stuff, Mr. M!
     
  14. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I agree...Jerzy Drozd makes fantastic basses! Here's a shot of mine...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. By-Tor

    By-Tor

    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    That 7-string is just awesome.

    Thanks for the review Mr. M
     
  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    That hollow body is sick! I'm very curious to see the bass for Paco's bass player. Anyone have the web site?
     
  17. jusplayinmybass

    jusplayinmybass

    Apr 17, 2003
    Conyers, Ga
    Keith McMillan Instruments, SIT Strings, Accugroove Cabinets
    Thanks for the review. I was in Barcelona last year, but it was only for a day. I called Mr. Drozd, but didn't get to see his shop. I so desperately wanted to get there too because like other's have said, I have been in love with his basses ever since I first laid eyes on them. I guess I can live vicariously through you. B Easy

    Myron Bennell Carroll
     
  18. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    wow,

    its been a long whle, but holy crap, LOVE the website from mr. De-Rosed. love the morphing body shapes flash window on the left frame. :cool:

    and sure, i gots me MTD, but a neck thru JD wouldnt hurt now would it? ;)
     
  19. What makes me proud is that Jerzy Drozd is Polish :D.
    Also, i recommend you another great luthier - Jacek Kobylski
    www.nexus-guitars.com.
    I think thery're the few in Europe, who make necks even out of 24 pieces of wood.
    Interesting thing for Nexus is that he uses granite for fretboards in his instruments.
    Nexus basses are also cheaper than Jerzy Drozd's.