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NBD Chowny Retrovibe Evo Davie504 Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BeefPie84, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    Hi, fairly new here but I've picked upon what NBD means and thought I'd post my latest pickup.

    I had been intrigued with this brand for a while and had a chance to pick this baby up locally in a color I actually wanted. I am not a davie504 fan but the bass looked interesting. And it's not really a signature bass in the way that I could just remove and replace the truss rod hole cover should I want. The bass is clearly a take on the Stingray but it does a lot of things better including the body style which I much prefer.

    First, I'm normally a wider nut guy. If they are making this bass to appeal to a Stingray player I think they would do wise to widen them to 40mm instead of 38mm jazz. It would attract both sides of the aisle that way (MM nuts are 42mm). Instead they are just limiting themselves to the Jazz Bass crowd. In their favor, it's not a standard Ibanez style but it has a little more beef around the edges and that makes it more pleasurable for me. I have tried a bunch of brands including Spector with 40mm nut and they are fantastic even for me as a regular P bass player for the last 15 years, so I would recommend that switch. But this is more of a preference than a complaint.

    My only real criticism is the quilt maple top. Definitely has a little bit of texture in the view from a small distance away, but up close it doesn't look very "quilted". Still, I love the greenburst which has always been a desire of mine and the purple, blue and red they also offered it in are all really good looking, and are custom style colors outside of bigger manufacturer ranges.

    There are many positives. First of all this bass is super light, mine is easily under 8 lb. Red cedar body. I love the matching head stock. Also, the neck has a lot of attention paid to it. Every fret is crowned perfectly, every edge is rolled perfectly and I have no complaints about any of the neck construction or feel. It seems obvious that whatever money Chowny has put into making this bass, he's done so from a quality and playability perspective. The body also balances perfectly on my knee or on a strap. It's also string thru the body. The black hardware all over also a big plus, and usually hard to find, but I switched out the all black knobs to something with a white line on them so I could see where my settings were. As is was, I couldn't see anything. Another minor thing I like is that the battery compartment allows you to just put the battery right in and connect to the terminals instead of a dangling connector which I hate. Cavity is even paint shielded. Although I prefer the jack on the front of the bass instead of the side (easier to put down), it does feel a tad flimsy and I'm considering adding a small jack plate.

    Now to the best part, The sound and playability. The pickup sounds incredible. It has a power all it's own and easily comparable to a music man aftermarket pickup. It is very authoritative. Fingering the strings was fantastic. Also there is not a bad sound to be had from this preamp. As I understand it, this preamp has their own design based on an original Stingray and it delivers, and make no mistake, this is a serious rock and funk bass with a super deep but cutting tone. The "77 Stinger" preamp is boost bass only but cut and boost on the treble. Even with the bass all the way back I could not find a bad tone with the treble in any position. There was a wide variety of sounds, but almost every tone fits right in the wheelhouse of funk, rock and reggae. I played it for 4 hours straight w my jam band and loved it. It also still sounded good in my R&B project, although i'd prefer using another bass for that.

    I've owned both a real Stingray and a Ray34. At $600 or so bones....this is a real contender IMO. I would absolutely take this over any Ray34, IF you love jazz nuts. Depending on your goals there are a few more things to consider between this and a used real USA Stingray.

    I'm a believer in that quality can come from all over the globe and this Indian bass is as well made as any bass I've had.







    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 5:21 PM
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Nice looking bass.
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  3. Joybass


    Jun 22, 2015
    Leidschendam, NL
  4. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    There was a time I'd buy one just because the pickguard looks so much better than MM ones!
    pudge and BeefPie84 like this.
  5. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    Very nice.

    Looks like a cross between an EBMM Bongo and a Dean Hillsboro

    Which is not meant at all as a bad thing
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  6. AudioTaper


    Sep 23, 2018
    Great bass! I follow Davie504 but I would get the basic model EVO in black (just my preference of the available colors). Glad to hear your opinion on it, makes me want one even more.
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  7. I owned an original Evo, this was before Chowny handled production and Retrovibe was just the designer David Konig. Great bass and loud as get out :) Next to it is another Retrovibe,that one was the Zygote.
    Retro EVO.
    B-Mac, BeefPie84 and AudioTaper like this.
  8. AudioTaper


    Sep 23, 2018
    I remember seeing this pic posted before and I spent a lot of time looking for one of those Zygotes. Cool bass, I like the upper scroll.
    kodiakblair likes this.
  9. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    I played it today by mistake in my R&B band (thought I had switched it out) and again...felt great. I took a pic of the back...for the attention to detail, look at the nice countersunk neck bolts instead of simple over the plate fender style.


    J_Bass and AudioTaper like this.
  10. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    The blocks look awesome. And that headstock!
    chowny likes this.
  11. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    There is attention to detail all over the space, and if you like jazz necks, I don't think you can go wrong. I'm a traditional P bass player and I still like this bass!
    AudioTaper likes this.
  12. AudioTaper


    Sep 23, 2018
    All my other 4 stringers are Jazz Basses. Thanks for the pic of the back, first time got to see that. Good to see through the body stringing.
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  13. pudge

    pudge Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  14. chowny

    chowny Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Official Chowny Representative
    I'll take this as a criticism - as it sounds like more of a preference than a criticism. ;-)

    It's a quilt - not a flame. :)

    That's correct. The pre-amp is boost only on bass and cut and boost on treble. The newer ones we're making now (from the next batch we're releasing) have a midpoint on the treble knob.

    Thanks dude! We wanted to make something that sound like a vintage ray, but without the back problems, offering 24 frets and with a slimmer neck. Really appreciate the review! Can we quote bits of it as needed?
    J_Bass, ctmullins and AudioTaper like this.
  15. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    Absolutely. Great bass. Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see what you have lined up for the future.

    Also, having a mid sized nut at 40mm still keeps the neck slimmer, but perhaps would get more Stingray type players interested was my idea.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 6:29 AM

  16. Love the look of your basses! But I too prefer chunkier necks. Any plans to offer models that appeal to Pbass players? Something with at least 41mm+ nut widths?

  17. BeefPie84


    Mar 29, 2019
    They have a model called the Volante that has a P style nut. Based on this bass, I have no doubt that'll be a pretty solid instrument.

    J_Bass likes this.
  18. chowny

    chowny Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Official Chowny Representative
    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Volante is also a Jazz Neck.

    The Vantage Bass is a P-Bass neck, but less thick.

    We're also looking into making a Medium Scale 51-style P-Bass as our next bass.
  19. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Thanks for posting the review. I'm a huge fan of Stringray-esque bases, and I love the pickguard and the points on the horns on this one. And it has a jazz neck width. And it's actually available LEFT HANDED!

    That Retrovibe Vantage looks pretty cool, too...

    I think I have a new favorite brand.
    BeefPie84 and Morrighan like this.
  20. chowny

    chowny Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Official Chowny Representative
    I have some of the old Chinese made Vantages in stock in left handed for clearance..... just saying. :)

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