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My trip to Luthiers Access Group today

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tslicebass, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Took a trip out to Luthiers Access Group today with my friend and fellow Chicago bassist Ian Stewart. Got to play a ton of ridiculously awesome instruments. I was definitely geeked out :bassist:
    Here are some of my impressions of some of the instruments we got to check out.
    Wood and Tronics 5 string singlecuts
    pi_48_364_p1040101_2. pi_49_370_p1040074.
    These basses definitely interested me. I have been hearing a lot about them lately. The first thing i noticed especially about the alder body bass was that these things are LIGHT. I was shocked when I picked it up. I believe the bodies are chambered. Beautiful design and construction. Really nice natural finish. I could definitely notice the playability difference between the 34 and 35 scale (I am a 34 guy). Neither of these basses were super impressive, overall kind of underwhelming. Nice instruments but just not for me. I did really like the John East Preamp. The sweepable filter mids were super cool.
    Citron "Red Swallow"
    This thing was very cool. I spent a good amount of time playing it. Sounded beautiful. 36 scale was a little much for me. The tone of the instrument was great, very clear, full and tons of shine on top. Simple controls, no frills. Playing this bass without muting the strings yields a nice natural reverb. Mute the strings and it is dead quiet. I can see why Steve plays these. This one was with a High C and it was a lot of fun to play chords on. I wouldn't be able to use this bass on most of my gigs but if you are looking for a hollow body bass, check these out. Loud enough to play unplugged.
    Aries Basses
    pi_22_173_p1000668. pi_23_180_p1000661.
    I also asked to check out these basses. The fretted 5 sounded very close to my fretted Bordwell. Ian agreed. Very modern sounding, punchy, full tone. The string spacing was tighter than what I am use to but it didn't bother me as much as I expected. Ian dug the tight string spacing and commented on how fast it was. I wasn't a huge fan of the finish or the 35 scale. The neck was gorgeous and the overall construction was very nice.
    The fretless was my favorite bass of the day. Very unique tone. The semi hollow design really brought out the subtleties of the fretless sound. The notes really sang and the tone was very full. The controls were simple and easy to use. The piezo was very impressive. Most piezos IMO are way too harsh and tinny. This one was perfectly dialed in. It was very easy to get a nice balance between the magnetic and the piezo. I really liked the design and the neck felt great. This bass just spoke to me. If it was a 34 and if i wasn't completely content with my Bordwell fretless I would seriously consider making a move on this thing.
    Ken Smith 6 string
    I didn't actually play this one but Ian did for quite a while. Ian is a 6 string guy and he was definitely geeked out by this bass. It is definitely a Smith. Very present and punchy. This bass had a tone that was very in your face. Beautiful instrument and killer tone.
    Ken Lawrence 6 String
    Ian played this one for awhile as well. It was the bass that he came to see. Gorgeous instrument. This bass had the nicest fingerboard I have ever seen. The snakewood figure was ridiculous. I played this thing for a bit but it was not my cup of tea. I am not a 6 string guy and the 33 scale was too small for me. It took us a minute to get the eq and preamp dialed in but when we did this thing killed. Clear and punchy, nice breath in the notes. I can see why some people say never to play a Ken Lawrence because it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Personally, I didn't have this problem. But Ian very well may be cursed :) I can see why Dan keeps this one as a personal bass. This thing is a work of art visually. Dan had another KL in stock, a 5 string with a High C. I definitely liked that one more than the 6 but the 33 scale was still throwing me off.... but just as impressive of a build
    Leduc 5 string fretless
    This thing made a brief appearance. I didn't play it but Ian did. The tone was a little too brittle IMO. The piezo was very bright and the natural tone of the bass was nothing spectacular in either of our opinions. This thing sure did look cool though. Interesting bass design. Simple controls.
    Jerzy Drozd Basses
    Sequel V
    This thing made a late appearance but i am glad it did. This bass sounded great. Very punchy and unique tone... very full and lots of breath to the notes. The dual volume as opposed to blend control was a big plus with the two pickups being as close to the bridge as they are. The semi hollow body is probably most of the reason this thing is so unique. The tone was versatile and very functional. I could see taking this thing out on a gig and it cutting thru real nice. The 35 scale was pretty comfortable... didn't bother me as much as some of the other basses. Beautiful construction and finish. I can see why Dan keeps this one in is personal stash.
    We played three of these. One was tuned E-F. One was tuned B-G and one was tuned like a guitar. All three were jaw dropping instruments. I played the E-F and the B-G... was too scared to tackle the EADGBE. I played a bunch on the E-F. Amazing tone, clear and punchy... with a ton of low end. Versatile controls and beautiful natural tone. I wouldn't have much use for the high C and F string, but it sure was fun to play some chords on that thing. The finish on these basses was very eye pleasing. These were tied for my second favorite basses of the day behind the fretless Aries. Truly amazing instruments. Would buy one if i had money. Would definitely gig one but would probably get a fair amount of weird looks :)
    Oh how did that get in there!:bag:
    Still love my CB basses. I was glad to get to play all of these great instruments today but more than anything else they made me feel even more grateful that I have my current CB's.
    We also played out of a very cool small AER bass combo. It sounded really good for the size of the amp and would make a great little combo for small/quiet gigs.

    All in all it was a great afternoon. Dan is a very cool guy and very knowledgeable about all of the basses he has in stock (check out his descriptions on his website... much better than mine). We had a great time talking about the basses and noodling around. If you are in the market for a high end bass you should definitely check out Luthiers Access Group. I cannot recommend him enough!
  2. jibreel


    Apr 12, 2005
    Thanks for the reviews!!
    I periodically scroll through this site and lust over the basses.
    Curious to hear about the LeDuc. Being a piezo guy, I thought this bass would sound amazing.

    So many amazing basses...............
  3. j.kernodle


    Nov 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    very informative! thanks for sharing.
  4. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    It was an interesting bass. When Dan pulled it out we both kinda were like "what is that?". But it just didn't seem to deliver in the tone dept. like some of the other piezo sportin basses. Like I mentioned before, my favorite piezo sound came from the Aries bass. But the piezo on the barcelona's was nice too... just not as subtle as the Aries and definitely less harsh as the Leduc. But to be fair... we didn't spend a large amount of time with the Leduc.
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Thanks much for the reviews! I have wanted to hear about the Citron Steve Swallow bass for some time...and was curious about the Drozd Barcelona too.

    Cool stuff! It's always nice to go to places like that and still feel great about your own gear.


    Sep 6, 2007
    Thanks for reviews, true that Aries fretless sounds amazing, tried it a year ago, Arian is a great guy and a great luthier....
    And you are right about piezo, it doesn't sound like a piezo we all know, it has much deep and fatter sound, like it has a pick-up.....
    Also played Citron same model, with high C, that's a lovely bass too....
  7. Nice! I had the treat to spend a Sunday morning with Dan a number of years ago after a gig I did in Chicago prior to heading home.

    It is quite an experience... piles of Drozd's, Fodera's stacked in cases on the floor, etc., etc., and at the time, a beautiful high end Glock rig to try everything through.

    Great guy, great shop, and always an amazing selection of basses you rarely see anywhere else.

    Thanks for the reviews and post!
  8. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    What a great thread, thanks for the reviews! There is something about the Wood and Tronics basses that I really dig. In your opinion, what was lacking with these?
  9. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Two of my all time favorites there, the Citron and the KL. I dream of having a 6 from both builders.

    Dan's such a great guy. I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago through Chris Stambaugh.
  10. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I got to hang w/Dan a 3rd time just this past Saturday. Great guy for sure. Played that fretless 5 Leduc and agree about the tone, but it's remarkable in every other way.
  11. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
  12. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Great stuff any 4 string basses by chance?
  13. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Indeed....that's just about perfect for me...add two frets and make the string spacing more narrow and I'd be selling my car.
  14. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Dude my car is worth about $1500... Don't think it would make a dent in the price of that thing. :)

    Cool bass review. Dan's taste in instruments is a little different but it's cool to get a "trip report" from such a good player as Tim...
  15. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
  16. Tslicebass

    Tslicebass Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Wanted to bump this thread again. Made it back to Dan's shop last week and hung for a bit and tried out some basses.
    The Drozd Oracles were a highlight for me. The White 6 string was especially money. The flat radius fretboard took some getting used to but it played really smoothly overall and sounded very clear and articulate.
    I also tried out a couple Clements. My first time playing on of his instruments. Impressive builds especially considering the price but just couldn't get comfortable on them.
    Played a couple Marleaux basses that were very cool but felt weird to me. The first was a headless. I had never played a headless bass before and the lack of that extra something at the top of the bass really messed me up. Other than that it was a very nice instrument and sounded very quick and focused. The other was a Votan Deluxe. Once again, not really comfortable with the neck on this one but a very cool middle ground between the old school vontage vibe and modern slick luthier work.
    Dan also has a KILLER Watson bass in stock. A really nice 5 string that looks amazing and sounds every bit as good. I really look the Watson basses I have played and this one is no exception. Great feel and neck profile, amazing construction and truly a beautiful bass.
    The Jaco Signature was nice but a little over priced in my opinion. The relic'ing looked top notch and nothing makes me happier than a fretless 4 string jazz bass but I just can't see paying that much especially considering some of the stuff Dan has there that is comparatively priced.
    And speaking of pricing, finished the day off with one of Dan's personal basses, a E-C 33" scale Ken Lawrence. This thing was ridiculous. I had a hard time putting it down. I hear a lot of bassists talking about good B Strings, but to me a good C string is even more rare. Too many C strings sound to thin and tinny to my ears. This thing was perfectly even all across the 5 strings. What a bass.
    Instead of posting pics this time I just encourage you to visit his website. Dan is a stand up guy and great to hang and talk bass with. Although I have never done business with him, I can only imagine it would be a excellent experience.
  17. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    None of those basses appeal to me at all.
  18. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    That's nice, because they obviously appeal to a whole bunch of others.

    I really dig the Wood & Tronics single cut shape. The Aries are cool too.

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