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New Luthier- JP Winters-First Owner-Me

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlmightyPancake, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Well, It's been long in waiting, but as the first person outside of JP's family or friends circle to get the chance to play one of his basses for an extended period of time, the first review falls on my shoulders. I could not possibly be luckier...

    This bass will be reviewed harmony-central style: Features, sound, action, fit, finish, reliability, customer support, overall rating, and additional info of any sort.

    Now then, to start off... THIS WAS A TEST BASS. As such, the woodworking is not up to par with the standards JP would set for himself, although I find it beautiful. There are some flaws, but both he and I assure that there would NOT be any flaws in a standard-production bass. JP has also told me that should anything go amiss, I am welcome to bring the bass to him for repair.

    Features: Wow... where to begin... The basic body specs are as follows: Standard DiMarzio pickups, 6 piece laminate body, Walnut top and back, Alder core, Cherry and Mahogany body laminates, Cherry neck/body separator stringers, Winters 5 band EQ, Schaller roller bridge The wood choices are incredible. The sound is big and beefy, yet still maintains upper and mid level definition, all without any EQ adjustments. The looks are georgeous, and it's smooth to play. The pickups are just what they say- standard- not much tone coloring, and the five band EQ is completely amazing; The knobs are (from right to left) treble, mid, bass, frequency, and (JP help me out here... i can't remember). The (i forgot what it's called) knob has a switch that gives two different sounds- the "on" position, when coupled with turning the frequency knob, gives a really really cool WAH effect during a sustaining note or if you don't mind left-hand-tapping a few notes. In the "off" position, the frequency knob will take you from big and beefy to piano-like tapping to trebly twang to... need I go on? I have yet to find a sound I can't really capture... except for that of a truly active pickup. I do still have my peavey though, which is plenty modern and aggressive-sounding for me. Each of the pickups has a Series/off/parrallel switch, and that just increases tonal options even MORE. When I order another bass, it will doubtlessly contain a Winters EQ. The bridge is another standard- it's not what he usually uses, but it's what he had lying around when he was building this test bass (keep in mind he never intended to sell it)- his standard is a Hipshot bridge. The brass nut gives it a great sharp attack, too.

    Sound: The sound of this bass, is, for lack of a better word, round, full, meaty, and well defined. I've found about 20 slap tones I like, from trebly twang of the J Pickup to the boomy sound of the P... and all those just by turning the frequency knob. If you'd like to hear it, just click te following link:


    Listen to Scarab Soundclip.

    Unfortunately, however, I did not have time to do several soundchecks. This was simply the first sound I settled on and went with it- thus the few bits of clipping and lack of true high end. It's still a decent example of what this bass can do direct into the computer and with old cheesy strings, even. I'll put a few more clips up there before the day is out.

    Action, Fit, and Finish: The action and intonation was simply brilliant when he gave this bass to me. What shocked me the most was how easy to adjust it was- a few tweaks and it was at the perfect level for me (i prefer mine to be a bit off the 'board as not to get too buzzy when i'm playing quick lines or slap bass). In less than 20 mins, I had adjusted all of the strings and intonated them perfectly. The strings on it are obviously from at least two different sets- the E and A are dead as can be, while the D and the G are still a bit twangy- the unplugged sound of this is a bit odd, but the EQ evens that out (the unplugged sound is still brilliant; I'm just not a fan of old strings). The bass is light, but not so much that you feel like you're going to break it. The neck is fatter than my peavey, but somehow just as comfortable. I find myself moving up and down the frets with ease; the bass is just as comfortable standing up as sitting down. As for the finish... there are some flaws, and in some places the woodwork could be a little better, but JP acknowledges this and I remind you yet again- THIS WAS A TEST BASS- THE REAL PRODUCT WOULD NOT HAVE ANY DEFECTS IN THE WOODWORK OR FINISH. Even with the "flaws," the bass still makes everyone ooh and aah at first sight. The snowflake insignia at the top is just plain classy, and the brass inlays on the BEAUTIFUL rosewood fretboard (where the hell did you get that rosewood John?) give it a bit of an aged look.

    Reliability- This bass has been played for quite some time and has gone through several different tunings without a single action change or neck bend- a BIG difference from my peavey. Nothing in the bass seems to be unreliable, and tomorrow i'll have a look inside the p-up cavity for good measure. As for now though, 24 hours may not be long enough to tell, so more on this later.

    Customer Support- JP has already told me that he'll be happy to fix anything that may go wrong, and he's already developing a power source that'll protect me from having to use 9vs.

    Overall Rating: 9.5/10 The only reason it's not 10/10 is because it was a test bass and as such, there are a few chips in the woodwork and finish. The sound itself merits a 10/10, as does everything but the actual looks. The looks are still killer, though, and the prices he charges are unbelievably low for a full custom. I'm hooked already, and a Winters 6er is in my future.

    Final note: I could not have hoped for a higher-quality bass. The scarab exceeded all of my expectations. My only hope is that he'll not make everyone's 5-band eq in the shape of a smiley (I want to make it a trademark of my own!!!).


  2. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    the sound reminds me a lot of my wal mk1
  3. It does have that certain bell-likie wal tone, but this bass can get growlier than a wal if i give it the chance.
  4. The thread's a bit old, but I finally got some better pictures: