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Played a Skjold yesterday...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Hollow Man, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    So I wandered down to Jive Sound yesterday to continue drooling over his IP112/EX112 combination (which I WILL own one day), and it came out that he had received his first Skjold a few days before. I'd never played one, so I figured that this was as good a time as any to check out a new instrument. It was a 35" scale 5-string Pro Series (of his four series, the second-lowest line) with a mahogany body, no top, and two Skjold Design SC-1 pickups (split coils). The electronics were active, with bass and treble cut/boost pots and a four-way rotary knob made famous by Dingwall that gives you either pickup soloed or series/parallel configurations. It had a bolt-on three-piece maple neck with a maple fingerboard, 24 frets with a zero fret. The neck had a very comfortable shallow C profile with a satin or natural finish (can't remember which), which suited me just fine.

    Let me tell you... I was blown away! This bass left a marked first impression on me. It had a ridiculous range of tones, and playability was outstanding. Here's a semi-review of my time with it (for what it's worth, Jong told me when I left that after I was done with it, he'd have to mark it as used):

    Sound: I was really impressed with the way that the pickups and preamp allowed my playing to come through (not that my playing is anything to marvel over). The pickups sounded clean and even across all 5 strings (which interested me since Pete's website describes his pickups as being 'vintage'). With everything flat, the bass had a very pleasing, fairly modern sound (probably largely due to the maple neck and fingerboard and brand new steel strings on it). It had a sweet upper midrange, and low end was softer and warmer than I would have thought. One of the main highlights of this bass was the preamp, though. Let me tell you... this is one LOUD preamp. Without anything in the signal chain boosted very high (IP112, mixing board, bass preamp), we were pumping out some serious volume. The bass and treble boosts were super powerful too, and their frequency centers were at very comfortable positions. I'm really weird with treble boosts... I have found very few that I feel comfortable using because I never seem to like what they do to my sound. This treble was different... it was pretty much exactly where I wanted it to be, and it felt really natural and musical. The bass control really made the bass low end come alive. Set flat, the natural bass wasn't overly present, but with the boost, the low end could go from round in-the-mix to way over the top. All in all, it was easily one of the most usable preamps I've ever run across. I didn't like the style of the knobs, but that's certainly not a deal-breaker for me.

    Playability: The setup on this bass was top-notch. The neck had a hair of relief, and the action was set perfectly at medium-low. The neck profile was very nice, and my stumpy little fingers weren't limited by anything except my own ability. The fret ends stuck out by the slightest amount, but that's common here in Virginia, where we often have three climate shifts per day. It wasn't anything that Pete could have helped at the shop, and it's nothing that would have even given me a second thought about purchasing the bass. The lower cutaway is pretty massive, which looks kind of odd in pictures, but it was the first bass that has what I would call truly unobstructed access to EVERY fret... even the 24th fret on the low B. In pictures I'd seen before yesterday, the jury was still out on the Skjold body design (this one was the Offset '92 body style), but after having my hands on it, I'm totally sold. The bass is perfectly comfortable to play and is fairly light (I'd guess 8-9 lbs.), and it balanced wonderfully on a strap.

    Fit/finish: Flawless. Couldn't find a problem anywhere, with the exception of the fraction-of-a-millimeter fret ends that stuck out along the bottom of the neck. Like I said, this happens a lot in Virginia, and it could happen to any luthier's work. The glossy finish showed every detail of the beautiful mahogany body, and I couldn't find a single factory flaw anywhere. The headstock still looks kind of funky to me, but I wouldn't hold that against the bass... it's not important enough to me to change my opinion of the instrument.

    It's been quite a while since I've come across a bass that has amazed me as much as this Skjold. Jong said that it would go for something in the neighborhood of $2000, which sounded like a bargain to me. If you get the chance, definitely take a long, hard look at Pete's work. I've been thinking of getting a custom for a while now, and I hadn't looked much at Pete's work at all. Based on what I saw yesterday, I couldn't justify dropping the dough for a custom without thoroughly investigating Pete's operation. Hopefully this review has been somewhat helpful, and feel free to PM me with any specific questions!
  2. If Pete made a C6 pickup... I would be all over a six string Stage model.
  3. wow hollowman-
    Great review and I'm glad you dig the bass, Pete sure can built em.

    IIRC the preamp is a modified version of a john east pre(u-reto type) that Pete has voiced for his woods and basses.

    Like you, I too was blown away the first time I played a Skjold for the very same reasons, great tone, amazing playability and top quality craftsmanship. I did things a bit different than you-- i went out and ordered one, a custom pro-series and your right the bass is fantastic at that price point.
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Glad you had a great experience! Pete's basses are among my absolute favorite instruments out there, and I am just amazed by how much bass he gives you for the dollar. :)

  5. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Glad to hear how much you liked it! I had a very similar experience visiting Pete's shop and playing a variety of the basses he had there.

    I too was blown away! Not only are the basses incredible, but Pete himself is a great individual to work with.

    Anybody thinking about a new bass should seriously check out the Skjold web site and find a dealer near them. Pete makes several different models from the very affordable up to the totally exotic custom.
  6. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    Yep, this thread checks out. Everything seems to be in order...

    Can't wait to get mine!
  7. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I made the "mistake" of playing all of Tom's Skjolds while at the GTG. Well, let me put it this way, I bought Tom's (much older model) Stage 4 from him, and currently have a 5 on order. I dumped a bunch of my gear to cover it, as well, including a KILLER Lakland 55-02 Deluxe, so you know it's gotta' kick ass.

    At first, I was kinda' "ewww" about the headstock, but now I'm totally diggin' the unique almost "Norse" look to the whole theme of his basses, and it fits great.

    Two things blew me away about these basses...

    The B string on the 5. IMHO, Roscoe's have a deadly B string on them, and I A/B'd my LG-3005 to his Skjold EC5, and IMHO, the Skjold had a stronger, and at least as (if not more) focused B.

    Tone/playability. It took a while to get used to the preamp, but once I "got it" it was unstoppable, and like HM said, the notes were really even and alive from top to bottom. I own some pretty cool basses, so I know what an "alive" instrument feels and sounds like... IMHO, Pete Skjold NAILS it.

    P.S. I was playing the EC5 through a Berg IP310, and it was DESTROYING the place with thick sweet buttery tone... I almost had to ask someone to pinch me... yeah, it was that good...
  8. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    well, i have not had a chance to check out Pete's newest designs, but it won't be long now.. and with all these glowing reviews, i better brace myself. Good for Pete ! a really, really good guy that deserves the success.
  9. Hmmm, Jivesound is open on Fridays...
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    You are waaaaaay too modest.

    Excellent review, thanks! I'm way overdue for a visit to Jong's shop.
  11. Topless!!!
    ....lucky boy, you are.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'll see you there!

    Yes you are!

    There's an IP112 that's yearning for you to check it out.
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Mmmm... Skjolds and IP Bergs go together VERY well. :D
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    ...yes they do...
    DARN YOU TOM! ;)
  15. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    Any chance you could share a pic of this bass in your inventory? It sounds like a great bass.

    I've been playing Pete's basses for the past 2 years now (used to own one as well), and they continue to get better and better. He had a 7-string at the Dallas Guitar Show that was just "the ultimate bass." "Mojo" is not sufficient to describe this bass. It played like a Ferrari drives!:bassist:
  16. GRoberts


    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I would imagine everything sounds good through an IP Berg. the IP112 is truly on my short list. But financially, it's on my looooong list. sigh. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Skold Praise thread. You guys are wetting my whistle to check out a Skold. They look AMAZING. Gary
  17. wujuu


    May 28, 2006
    i gotta try one :( :( :( :( :(
  18. bassthumpa


    Aug 31, 2004
    Austin, TX
    Holy thread ressurection, Batman!
  19. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    You have NO idea!!;)

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