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NBD: Hammersmith PJ4

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimmyM, Mar 11, 2016.


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  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Apologies for not doing one of my own shots but it's hard for me to shoot stuff at home with any quality. Hopefully I'll have a couple gig pics from over the weekend where the lighting is better.

    HammersmithBass_zpsnsg5yotc.

    Already showed this off in the main Hammersmith thread but decided to do an NBD thread since I get a lot of PM's and email asking me about them since mentioning that Marko was kind enough to send me one on spec (thanks man!). So here you go...

    First thing I noticed is this bass is very light! Marko said it was 7 lbs 12 oz and I believe it. And this is despite having his high-mass Smartass bridge on it, a Hammersmith exclusive. Similar to a Badass II but with top loading for ease of string changing. Comes in all brass or aluminum with brass saddles, and this one's all brass. The aluminum one loses another half pound, but a bad experience with aluminum last year soured me on it, so brass. Moves very well, easily adjustable. Not a huge fan of high mass bridges, but the bass is under 8 lbs with it plus the bridge is very nicely made, so I'm finding it hard to care. Aside from being light, it's also well balanced and I notice no tendency toward neck-heaviness on a strap. My spec model came with very cool knobs, too. They're Fender style, but instead of knurling, they're smooth and have 3 bands of hard rubber around them so you can get a grip.

    Part of the weight savings is the downsized alder body, which is very comfortable in the hands and not out of line with the trad P look. Another part would have to be the downsized headstock with Hipshot Ultralite tuners. So far so good with them...they seem to hold a tune well and they work smoothly. Also on the headstock is one of those G-D-A string retainers, which I think should be standard on all Fender-style basses with downsized tuners like the Hipshot. On my 09 AmStd Precision, I have to wrap the string around the A post several times before I get a good break angle over the nut. Not a big deal but a bit of a PITA.

    The neck is a J width, but he can do a P width if you'd rather. Satin poly finish, 21 frets, truss rod wheel standard, bolt-on with no neckplate, bone nut. Neck radius is 12", which is my favorite. Love the truss rod wheel, although I had a couple issues with the little adjuster stick that comes with it. No problem...I subbed out a 2.5mm Allen wrench and it had no problem dealing with it when it started getting a little tight. Took me a few tries to get the action tweaked to my liking, as I'm a big fan of pretty low action with light strings (Dunlop Super Bright Nickels, 40-100, which are not only light but very low tension), but I've got it pretty much where I want it. The frets are a little on the large side for my tastes, but they're not ridiculously large and they seem to be well dressed with no noticeable uneven frets or anything. Lost my long straight-edge so I can't do the acid test on them, but it feels like a quality job to me. I do reserve the right to get them shaved down a bit in the future, though :D But this is all a matter of taste and not a reflection on the quality of the work.

    How does it sound? Sounds like a PJ to me. Doesn't hurt that it's got a set of Geezer Butler PJ's from my friends at EMG on it! I can't directly compare it with my 09 P with the GZR since the strings are like 3 months old and the strings are new on the Hammersmith, but I'm liking what I'm hearing so far. Not noticing any obvious dead spots, tone seems quite weighty. I can't report fully on the sound without a couple gigs under my belt, but it sounds great in my amps at home and so far I'm not complaining.

    While I can't say it would go head-to-head for overall quality with a really high end Fender-style bass like Alleva Coppolo or similar, it's a very good professional quality bass, and it's a lot less money. Comparisons to American Standard and Japanese Fenders are more appropriate IMHO. In that realm, I think it's a very fine option, and considering that you can get them with a lot more options than a Fender, they're certainly worth taking a closer look. This review will be incomplete until I gig it a couple times and really get a feel for it, but I'm really enjoying it at home.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  2. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
    Let us know. I like supporting small builders and companies
     
    cableguy and JimmyM like this.
  3. christle

    christle

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Very elegant looking. Great review JimmyM. I may have to check these out.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  4. superdick2112

    superdick2112 Mile High Bassist Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    The Centennial State
    Good looking Hammersmith, Jimmy.
    The Geezers are great pickups.
    Congrats, and Enjoy!
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  5. stonewall

    stonewall

    Jun 14, 2010
    ontario,Canada
    Looks good .
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  6. Finding the guys online is a pain. I remember trying before and you still get a UK co. When googled. Do you have a link? It would be nice if they could get Google to find them instead of the U.K. Company. And on a brighter note, I know you like your Lyte bass as do I. So the downsized body is a plus and a sub 8lb. bass is a huge plus. These sound like winners to me and I'm interested again. I like the looks, the bridge looks solid, light tuners check, small body check, are the geezers replacements or standard? I wasn't quite sure from what you said. What's not to like? Not much as far as I can see. Sounds like they'll give the Sires a run for their money. What's the street on the bass you have?
     
    MarkoYYZ and JimmyM like this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yep Kirk, my chronically sore shoulder likes a light bass. Haven't been playing the Lyte much these days since getting the 09 P but I still have it. My 09 P works for me but it about maxes me out. Around 8 1/2 lbs is all I can take, and that's about what it weighs.

    As for seeing what's up and contacting him, I've been using his Facebook page. Just search on Hammersmith Music and it pops up. Don't know much about the website but he's definitely working on it. He offers a bunch of options...pickups, finishes, fretless, etc. He told us on FB that the base P model is $999. Other than the Geezer setup, mine is a very basic model, and I believe he said the Geezer PJ option would be like $1080. I never played any Sires so I can't comment on their quality, but this Hammersmith is pretty uptown IMHO. Definitely feels more like a bass in the $1000-1500 price range.
     
    Matthew_84 and STANSHEMI like this.
  8. Nice review, thanks!

    I like the truss rod wheel but anything Black and maple with a PJ set up is a win for me, beautiful bass!
     
    bassstrangler, MarkoYYZ and JimmyM like this.
  9. Bass Growler

    Bass Growler

    Jul 10, 2015
    Holland
    cool bass, congrats JimmyM.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  10. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Toronto
    Hammersmith Music
    Just to offer a clear response on your questions...

    The timelines for the company's launch and marketing have been thrown for a loop. I had planned to have product from first batch ready to sell from Jan 1, which we did, but in December it was decided last minute that we'd bite the bullet and go to NAMM. So instead of spending January building the website, we built a dozen basses, a booth, and dropped a bundle on doing the show and 9 days on the road - mostly to get much needed feedback on the product from as many people as we could, to prove we're real (so to speak), create content for marketing - and maybe make a bit of a splash. This pushed the website work back, and the guy we hired to do it had less time available to me in Feb than he did in Jan. We flew him to NAMM to help make him part of the team and take pics, vids, etc... but he has been unable to do what was planned (divorce now under way), leaving me in a tough position. So here we are, using FB to be the public face of the brand. It's still very early days and the company is not an 8-5 every day thing yet, so while the first gen website is very close, TB and facebook are it right now.

    As for pricing... assembled completely in Canada with superior components = no intention to be in the Sire value range. Every single model has a base price under $1000 (black or white body, rosewood or maple neck w/ dot markers, standard level Seymour Duncans), with upgrades available from there. Jimmy sent us the pickups, strings and straplocks since he is an EMG/Dunlop guy, otherwise the model would have been $995 PJ base price + Geezer upgrade = $1075.
    .
    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  11. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I'm assuming that's quoted in USD?
     
  12. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Toronto
    Hammersmith Music
    Correct, but we'll have some Canadian friendly measures to help offset the drastic exchange rates presently in place. Not having to prepare customs documents, deal with brokerage, lose on the exchange, save on shipping... all will make it easier to sell domestically.
    .
     
  13. Peepaleep

    Peepaleep Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    Las Cruces, NM
    Thanks for the review Jimmy. Sub'd.
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I absolutely love the slim body my 93' Jazz Bass Plus has a similar design and it's so comfortable. I really dig this bass from the headstock design and string tuners to the high mass bridge I would like a fretless Jazz.
     
    JimmyM and MarkoYYZ like this.
  15. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Entering a thread and seeing @JimmyM with a bass other than a Fender P is like coming home unexpectedly from school only to find your Pop canoodling with the neighbor lady.

    Must unsee...can't unsee!
     
  16. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Vegas
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    Can't wait to see some gig pics and reviews. Is the opposite side of the pickguard tort?
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  17. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    I don't know how to break it to you, but I don't think that's a legit Fender.
     
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I just checked out that link to the NAMM basses my goodness those are nice! I like number #1 but with a lined fretless neck what are the stock pups?
     
    MarkoYYZ likes this.
  19. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    YYZ - Out of Toronto? Any 5-stringers in the plans?
     
    smperry, MarkoYYZ and Matthew_84 like this.
  20. soflbass

    soflbass

    Mar 2, 2013
    S Florida
    Nice bass Jimmy! Enjoy
     
    JimmyM likes this.

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