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NBD!! Douglas Sculptor 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Plucky The Bassist, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Sort of going to conduct this post like a mini-review and commentary to give an honest opinion on what to expect out of the bass.

    So if you've never seen one before, this is what they look like:

    When I ordered it, I heard a close friend of mine who is a guitarist talking about the Agile series of guitars. I've read on here about the SX line and thought since I needed a toss-around 5'er, I might as well give this a shot for $189.

    First Impressions:

    Believe me, I wasn't expecting the Fodera treatment, but don't expect much when you receive it. Was decently wrapped and came with some allen wrenches to make adjustments (gave me an instrument cable too). When I plugged the bass in to tune, I noticed I wasn't getting anything. After fiddling around for a minute or two, I checked the 9v battery...dead as a doornail. Replaced it and everything worked fine, no biggie. Strings were actually pretty gunky and there were some dried globs of glue on the fretboard. Wasn't shaping up too well so far lol.

    Strapped it on and holy crap...actually fits pretty well. Decently balanced with a good strap on and the neck surprised me too. While the body of the bass is glossed to blue heaven, the neck is a nice, smooth satin type finish that was quite well done. I'm typically into UBER thin necks (Ibanez SRs) but I have to say this one was well shaped too. Reminded me of the USA Peavey Cirrus 5'er I had, with a comfortably wide and flat neck, that was my favorite feature about the Peavey. Spacing and the pickup placement was good too, nice places to rest fingers and definitely room to slap.

    Keep in mind, with these freakin nasty and dead strings on, this thing still managed to sound very good. Took a little tweaking, but there are some nice solid tones so far with the 2-band preamp. I like the output of the pickups, reminds me of my Bartolinis where it's got some bite to it when you dig in, but is still malleable. Through my Traynor YBA200 and 2x15's it actually sounds pretty good...again, EVEN WITH THE GROSS STRINGS. I actually like its sound better than the Peavey with brand new D'Addarios on it lol

    Build Quality:

    Well, I'm not going to get on here and tell all you guys with Warwicks and Spectors that you totally wasted your money lol. For $189 it's a force to be reckoned with. If you're not obsessed with perfect woods (this has a few knots in it) and just want a bass that looks decent and sounds/feels good then for $189 this is a steal. Tuners all seem solid and everything feels nice and tight on it, nothing loose or janky in the least. Some minor fret sharpness, but nothing you wouldn't feel on a MIM Fender or equivalent bass.


    Ok here's where I'm going to be uber mean. I really wonder if any thought goes into it at all when they do it at the factory. This really wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the bridge and nut. The neck is actually set up just fine, with the right amount of relief in it right out of the box. The nut is waaaaay too high and the bridge is completely useless. Almost all of the saddles came bottomed out where you couldn't lower them at all, and the action was a mile high. Having owned two 5'ers, the Peavey and even the Ibanez SR305 had far better and adjustable bridges on them. This is a problem I ran into with my Warwick Rockbass as well, where the G string saddle was totally bottomed out and wouldn't go any lower. I DO realize there is a locking screw on there, it has been loosed and I also took the saddle completely out of the bridge to adjust it, it's bottomed out. I did plan on changing it out eventually (I HATE gold hardware, that's all they offered with the natural finish though) but it would have been nice to be decently playable out of the box or after some adjustment. This is really my biggest gripe on the bass by far.

    Despite all this, it IS a $189 bass...and with how much a dollar will buy you today, that's not too bad of a deal. I've heard great things about the SX basses, not sure how theirs panned out, but this Douglas one really needs a new bridge and nut pretty bad. Other than those issues, I have to say it's actually pretty nice. A non-gloss body would have been spectacular, but the neck is actually real comfy for a 5'er and the string spacing is good on this. With a little more elbow grease and less whining, this bass will be a great player in time. If you are a tweaker, this is a great 5'er IMO. Just be prepared to do some modding!
    HTSMetal likes this.
  2. Red Cell

    Red Cell

    Jan 31, 2004
    Springfield, MO
    I know this is digging up bones here but have you had a chance to do anything with the saddles and with getting the action lowered?
  3. daveihde


    Jul 17, 2006
    I have the fretless version I picked up cheap used and it plays pretty well. I like the unlined fingerboard. Having done a bit of modding myself (I made it headless), the problem may actually be the neck angle. Get the nut as low as you want it and then if the strings are still too high, take off the neck and add a little shim in the neck pocket to increase the angle and drop the strings. I've had to do that on a few of mine and it makes a big difference for not much work. Gary Willis' page has a tutorial on it, I believe.