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My visit to Oddio's House of Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Viking, Jul 21, 2007.


  1. A few nights ago I went to TBer Oddio's (Andy) place to try out his basses. Holy schmoley, what a smorgasbord of gear! Very impressive even though, as Andy told me, the basses had dead strings so I didn't get to hear them in their full sonic glory. My head is reeling from bass overload but I've made a few short observations. Check Oddio's blog site for photos and more details on his gear. I didn't spend a lot of time messing with the tone controls as there were many instruments to try, but Andy did give a crash course on some of the more complicated ones (Wal). I've bolded the ones that really stood out to me.

    Kubicki X Factor (4 string with drop D extension): this one was a real standout! The neck and action were just great, very easy to play and low action, and the sound is the one I hear in my head. Smooth, piano-like, balanced.

    Vintage Fender 62 P bass: I've long wanted to see what all the fuss is about vintage Fenders and I finally got my chance. The finish is nicely worn off the neck, which felt noticeably wider after playing some of the other basses. This one sounded good, the classic Precision sound. The rosewood fretboard was very dark, it almost looked like ebony. I still don't hear much difference from more modern versions but I'm sure P bass aficionados would disagree.


    78 Jazz: Lots of checking on the body and the neck felt thicker than other Jazzes I've tried. I didn't play this one for very long. There is more info on Oddio's blog spot.

    Music Man Bongo: Excellent, clear B string. Lots of controls which I didn't get into. Played with the piezo. I can see why people like these.

    Peavey Cirrus: I understand why people love these things! I've tried the 4 string versions, and was impressed, but this was my first fiver. Played great. Really liked the sound and it had a very nice B string. I kept coming back to this one.

    Warwicks:

    -Streamer Stage 2: The first and nicest of the Warwicks I tried. The notes rang out cleanly up high, piano-like, very cool LEDs. Very solid feel! This one is special.
    -Thumb: This one had the classic midrangey Thumb sound. I also experienced the classic Thumb neck-dive. I think it would have benefitted with new strings. Eclipsed by the Streamer.
    -Infinity 2000 LTD: Similar in tone to the Thumb but minus the neck dive. Eclipsed by the Streamer.
    -Dolphin Pro 1: Aggressive tone. The boire top reminded me of my teak coffee table. Action was a bit high.

    -Tobias Signature: Beautiful workmanship! Multiple laminates. Played nicely but Andy commented that this one really needed fresh strings. I did find this one duller sounding than I expected, no doubt due to dead strings. B string wasn't as nice as the Bongo or Cirrus but Oddio says on his site that it has a solid low B so new strings would no doubt fix that. But the construction was fantastic. This bass is significant because it's the last one built by Michael Tobias and his team before Gibson started building them.

    Wals:

    -Beech: Very versatile with a powerful tone.
    -Fretless: flat fingerboard, smooth playing, nice mwah
    -Black: this one felt and looked like it had a graphite neck.

    Truly amazing instruments. Andy has lots more to say about these on his blog site.

    All the basses were very nicely set up with low action, except for the Dolphin's which was higher. Interesting that the ones I liked the most weren't necessarily the priciest.

    I played them through a Millennia preamp, Crest amp, and Accugroove speaker cab. I later tried an Aguilar amp through 2 Acme cabs. Nice full, rich, bass sound.

    I also brought 2 basses from my relatively meagre collection. Andy really liked my Afterburner and is currently GASing for a Prima. He also liked my Warmoth frankenbass and complimented me on my workmanship.

    It was a great experience to actually be able to lay my hands on these basses instead of reading about them. Thanks again Andy and if you have anything to add or correct feel free to post.

    By the way, Andy plays in a very fine Little Feat tribute band called Feat First. Check out their website at http://www.featfirst.com/
     
  2. Hey - thanks for a kind post and for dropping by. I'll pick up some new strings and we'll do it again soon. It will be interesting to see how this affects your opinions. Also, thanks for supplying some great chops, BV!!! I loved your Afterburner!

    I'm still collecting my thoughts from the Toto concert in Orillia. What a trip to meet and talk with Leyland Sklar!!! Once I collect myself and come back down to earth I'll post something appropriate.

    Cheers,

    Andrew
     
  3. 82Daion

    82Daion

    Nov 14, 2006
    43085
    :cool:

    I'd love to play that beech Wal-it's one of my favorite basses looks-wise, and I imagine it's got tone to match.
     
  4. You met Lee Sklar?! I didn't realize he played with Toto. Did you ask to play his Dingwall?
     
  5. Hey Andy! Sounds like a fun hang. My buddy Mikebass said that Sklar was smokin' with Toto last week in Detroit. I wish I could have seen that!

    K
     
  6. Hi all! Thanks for the kind comments. Good to see you, Ken!

    Toto was really smokin' and Mr. Sklar was restrained, likely so as to not steal the show, but every lick and line was tasty. Mike P injured his hand and has not been on the circuit with the band for the last few months. Mr. Sklar's red sparkle Dingwall sounded great through the EA backline although the bass mix where we were sitting was missing a bit of definition. Nonetheless his solos sounded fabulous and were truly inspiring!

    I was staying in the casino hotel and after the concert I went back to my room to change clothes. On my way back from the room who should I spot shuffling along with his entourage but THE Mr. Sklar himself, returning from the gig. It must have been pretty comical. I started walking towards him with my hand extended and said "oh, please..." No doubt he was filled with dread at this point as he had absolutely no avenue of escape, but he shook my hand anyway. I told him "Section - Ottawa Civic Center, 1972. I have been your biggest fan since I saw you back then". At that point he stopped and turned around to face me with a broad grin and a sparkle in his eyes and said "oh, WOW!". He reached forward and grabbed my hand in both of his and gave it a serious shake.

    I find it very easy to understand why his gig list is so extensive. Not only is he a monster player, but a seriously warm and caring individual. To be honest I was almost totally speechless at this point :help:. I believe I did have the presence of mind to blurt out that seeing him in '72 had inspired me to take my instrument very seriously. Anyhow we had a good chat and then I thanked him for his time and for the opportunity to hear him play again.

    The only "meeting" that tops this one for me was the lazy afternoon I spent fishing with John Entwistle, Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey on a lake in Quebec. I still have the "Who Are You?" toque that John gave me, but that's another story.

    Yes BV, that Tobias really is "all that" but really needs strings from this decade to do it proper credit. Legal woes (separation from live-in girlfriend, read "legal fees") have put a serious crimp in my budget over the past 10 months or so.
     
  7. If you ever make it up this way you are welcome to take "blondie" for a spin. The beech MkIII sounds a little different than a traditional Wal due to the different pickup placement, with the neck pickup in the "P" sweet spot. It requires a little more finesse to play, but greatly rewards any effort to do so. Once you get that figured out it sounds much better than it looks, IMHO.
     
  8. Hi Ken! You're always on the invite list if you ever make it up this far. Failing that I do still owe you a beer and visit to Club Bass.
     
  9. Unfortunately he didn't have his Dingwall with him when we met or I certainly would have!

    Also, thanks for the time you put into posting your impressions. It really was different for me to not be in the drivers seat and to hear someone else playing my instruments! I found a new respect for the Bongo, especially hearing your great chops on it (let there be no doubt!) The next time you wander by I'll have the Tobias and Dolphin set up and I'll put new strings on the beech Wal. It's worth mentioning that the Streamer had brand new strings which I believe is why you appreciated it as you did. I'm one of those guys whose very acid sweat kills strings deader than dead and, having my string budget go to my lawyer this year, most of the basses were wearing strings had been boiled to the point of having nothing left (yes - I do boil my strings).
     
  10. Thanks for the compliments. You're no slouch yourself (there's no room for that playing the music of Little Feat!).

    Next time we get together, I can even bring some new strings if you like. This is a great environment to try out gear, it's like going to a bass boutique without the sales pressure.

    You met the Who? There must a story behind that. Where was Keith Moon?
     

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