Opinions on the Victor Bailey Jazz V?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kwesi, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. I'm thinking about getting one of these and I'd like to know how they sound. Really, I'd just like a 5 string jazz bass with a natural finish and this is just that but I'd like to know if the active electronics and different woods make that much of a difference. How do they sound in general?

    This is the tone I'm looking for:

    I know that 90% percent of Uriahs tone is in his super heavy attack and I can actually pull it off to a degree on my Euro 4LX and Roscoe. I'd appreciate any opinions.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Victor Bailey basses are great, but a bit more mellow than the average Jazz. I think a Fender Jazz Deluxe would be closer to the tone you want.
  3. +1 for the jazz deluxe and the right EQ. I've got a 5 string deluxe
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I've played a few VBJ5s at GC, and they play and sound a lot like my Jazz FMT V. I was able to get buku (Viet Nam era USMC for beaucoup) growl out of it. I tried to buy one, but they wouldn't come down to the right price for me (which is what they ultimately sold it for at a blowout sale).
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    There's a used one at Atomic. Check it out, Kwesi. We checked it and a Marcus Miller five out on Thursday. They're cool for what they are. The consensus was that while they looked cool, they weren't up to taking on a regular Jazz Deluxe 5. Let alone some other basses. YMMV

    It was a strange day, at one point there were 5 or 6 Brubaker owners (and maybe 7 or 8 Brubakers) who just happened to stop by around the same time with basses. Wish I'd gotten a pic of that.
  6. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    I grabbed one a few months ago and my first impression was it was a bit too active sounding, real zingy and not very organic if that makes sense. But I played it through a different rig with a horn band and man it just slices through. Since then I've played it a bunch and it's a great bass and I would say real agressive sounding. I have plenty of J's and this is the most aggro sounding one of the bunch. It's great in a louder setting and I prefer some others in a mellower context. What rig you play through really makes a ton of difference with this bass.
  7. MixBass


    Feb 23, 2006
    L.A. Harbor
    Co-founder. GrabAxe
    ...And as far as that tone, it will do a fair job, especially if you octave it, but that to me sounds a bit more 60's style J and I wouldn't call the VB a 60's vibe.IMO etc.
  8. Man, I grabbed my keys, wallet, and cell phone, googled Atomic's address hoped in the car and before I pulled of I called...

    It sold aleready :bawl: :p

    I was really hoping I could try one out but the only other one I can find is in a Sacramento GC and that's quite the drive, lol. The price they have on it is a too high imo so I'll wait a bit before calling back. The generally consensus seems to be, like you said, a good jazz deluxe is a better choice and they seem to be cheaper as well. I may just end up getting a bass that doesn't have a natural finish, but I'm sure if it has the tone I'm looking for I'll get over it soon enough.

    But, I can't do anything until my Spector sells so I'd like to direct everyone's attention to my sig :D
  9. +1 That Bailey model is a strange spec for a J bass, and IMO takes the tone, look and even feel in a direction that many J bass fans are not that interested in going. I heard Victor live recently playing his personal model, and it was WAY not happening... muddy, polite, and relatively dull sounding.

    PS I've only played the 4 string models... not sure if the 5 is different.
  10. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I haven't seen him live with that particular bass, but listening to the clips of him on that axe versus the time I DID see his band play the Wichita Jazz Festival and he was rocking hi Pensa Suhr 4 through EBS gear, its night and day.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Calling first is always a good move... gear can move very quickly at Atomic.

    If history repeats itself, it'll be back:D. I know of at least three people who bought it and didn't keep it. Actually IIRC a friend of mine was the original owner so make that four. This one looked great and sounded okay. A bad combination in my book.

    The first time I saw it a friend of mine immediately bought it. I think part of it was a pre-emptive buy before someone else could get it:D. A week later it was back... he said he a/b'ed it with his Jazz Deluxe 5 and according to him, no contest. It does have this light "coffee with lots of cream" colored top and all of the hardware is gold (OEM? I don't know). I'll let you know if I see it again.

    On Thursday, after the impromptu Brubaker convention, Preach and I were sitting in the bass area when a guy we know came by holding the bass and smiling. Preach asked him if it was his, he said yeah. Preach had already played it so he looked over at Mark, who was holding what we've jokingly referred to as the singlecut jazz. Preach said play something, Mark did a couple of things, it sounded great, Preach said that's a Jazz bass. Then we plugged in the VB5.

    At that point the guy said it wasn't his bass.

    Here's the "singlecut jazz... Mark traded it to me yesterday for one of my Brubakers. He's more of a four string player and I had an older Brubaker with a narrower neck so he's happy. Just some of the frivolities that go on at Atomic.

    Attached Files:

  12. JRB

    JRB Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Oakland, CA
  13. datsaxguy

    datsaxguy Supporting Member

    Oct 28, 2008
    I tried that same Bailey model at Atomic. The bass is nice but very "polite." Good looking bass though. I think that thing is suited for the studio, very warm and just solid. Finger style players might like it, slappers might find it lacking that edge.
  14. I forgot what type of wood combo the VB is, but perhaps it was the pickups? What kind of pups are on that bass?

    The sound you heard live [VB] and your own test drive were similar?
  15. Koa, Rosewood, Mahogany, hum cancelling pickups, and a 'pre EQ curve' built into the active preamp. Nice bass, but that spec combines to make it warm, fat, and VERY polite compared to what most of us are used to hearing in a J bass. It actually sounded OK in the store, but that kind of dark, mellow tone (that I heard when I played one), sounded even darker, more polite, and less articulate when I heard that bass on the gig with Victor playing it. And, the room I heard him is typically sounds great with bass.

    Pure IMO... not my thing. It's another one of those 'make a jazz bass sound 'not like a jazz bass' type spec's to my ear.
  16. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Sounds like it'd make a great smooth fretless, uprightish, thumpier, non mwahhy style. :meh:
  17. flypejose


    Sep 2, 2009

    "I tried that same Bailey model at Atomic. The bass is nice but very "polite." Good looking bass though. I think that thing is suited for the studio, very warm and just solid. Finger style players might like it, slappers might find it lacking that edge".

    Very polite probably because of the onboard preamp, which is purposefully transparent (except for the mids). That's why it sounds more fingerstyle-oriented. So, your type of equipment plays a great role in making that bass sound excellent slap wise, much like a passive instrument. other than that, the bass is naturally warm sounding
    Here's a short clip of the VB5 played fingerstyle:
  18. AndroWal


    Sep 28, 2003
    Ojai, CA
    It sounds great!

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