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Rob Allen MB2

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nyabinghi, Oct 19, 2000.

  1. nyabinghi


    Oct 16, 2000
    Any opinions? Reviews are good, sounds good, feels good, looks good. Any reason not to get one?
  2. bassgeek

    bassgeek Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Recently I was in the New York Bass Boutique, and its owner heaped praises on Rob Allen's basses. He said it spanked the Renaissance bass by Rick Turner hands down. I see that bass as one of the few competitors to the Rob Allen. I played a Rob Allen at Bass Centre in L.A. a few years ago and it was a very individual instrument. It had the "alive" feel of an older, well-crafted, cello or bass. While it might not be good for a lot of situations, the bass spoke in a way that was very unique. It was one of those basses that played itself. I'd like to get my hands on one again.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Rob Allen's are almost hypnotic. They have one basic sound, but it's a great sound. Not for all situations but when you need a deep, warm, articulate almost acoustic vibe it's at the top of my list. Almost too easy to play. Unfortunately it's not a bass I could see doing an entire gig with. I still keep my eyes open for a used one at a good price, they're a lot of fun to play, much more than an ABG.
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I've only had a couple of opportunities to pick one up off the rack at a store here and there in Chicago. That's the only bad part.

    Actually, when I picked it up, I had a difficult time putting it down! It was a great feeling and sounding bass!

    I don't think I'd make it my main bass, but I could definitely see using it in various situations. And, I didn't think it was all that expensive, relative to other, great basses. That's probably due to the fact that it's not as versatile...it's better as a second or third bass in a collection.

    I do hope to purchase it one day, however. It's near the top of my list!
  5. I have one. I have had it for getting on for a year now, and it is the best made bass I have ever owned. Not the most versatile. But I have never had a bass which played so well.

    It does not have the punch I need for rock and rock and roll...it uses a piezo and needs, IMHO, a hifi amp (and a large one) to bring out the sound. Or, through the PA. My PA experiences suggest that it is too bassy for easy use. I found myself running it through a EQ to cut slightly around 50hz. But that led to loading problems, despite the preamp so I found myself loading up the chain with other preamps. I agree it cannot be a main bass.

    Without modification. I have taken the plunge, and I am putting a couple of Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pups on the thing. Desecration, I know, but for me to be able to use the bass I need more detail in the midrange and more punch.

    But the bass plays so well, and sounds so good acoustically , that I am sure it will work. Believe me, I have been thinking through this extra pup project since spring, and only committed myself when I was sure.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

  6. I have performed major surgery on my MB2.

    This should probably go in setup, but to me makes more sense as part of this thread.

    I put on two DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickups, and took out the Fishman preamp, just leaving the piezo. I have tried it through my Sadowsky preamp, and the results are very promising. For the thing to work properly, I will need a dual channel preamp, and I have duly ordered a K&K preamp from Bob Gollihur.

    I tried it with a Shadow preamp. Total failure. The shadow is not only junk, but doesn't boost the piezo signal (which the K&K will, I gather) making balancing impossible.

    I changed the strings to Thomastiks, which work better, IMO, with magnetic pups than the LaBellas that are standard on the MB2.

    Basically, what I have is an MB2 with greatly enhanced functionality. It will have the punch I need for high volume rock without losing the wonderful piezo sound.
  7. MarkW


    Oct 31, 2000
    I own a beautiful mb-2 fretless and highly recommend it if you are looking for a bass with an earthy upright tone.
    The feel of it is incredible and plays quite effortlessly.Not only does it sound and play amazing -its the lightest bass i have ever played(under 6 and a half pounds). I think they are going for around 1800 now which is really a good deal for a handmade instrument of this caliber.Unfortunately i havent found a place for it in the rock band i am currently in but for jazz/blues gigs this thing would be right at home as your main axe. I am not so sure i agree with people saying its not tonally versatile as i think alot of your tone is in your hands and this is the perfect instrument to develop it with. I also have never received more comments about the appearance of a bass i have owned(the mb2 has a striking flamed maple top). I compared it with a turner renaissance and it kills the turner imo...anyway its definitely a great addition to your arsenal especially if you playing calls for more mellow tones..

    ps had a chance to play my mb 2 through an ashdown and a euphonic i amp through euphonic cabs...wow
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I tried an MB-2 fretless recently at Rudy's. It had a flamed koa top and was beautiful to behold. Very light in weight and flawlessly constructed (there was some grain pitting on the top, but this seemed to be the deliberate result of the oil finishing). IMHO, it is something of a one trick pony, but its tone matches its appearance. It produces effortless mwah with an acoustic "stringiness" that is very well suited for solo fretless work. I wouldn't go as far as to say it can emulate an upright; it has its own distinctive tone. On the minus side, it is very quiet when played acoustically, despite the chambered body. Also, as Andy mentioned, a high-end amp is probably requisite to exploit the full range of this instrument.
  9. Right. My MB2 now has a set of DiMarzio Ultrajazz pups, and a Fishman piezo. I mix them through a K&K dual channel preamp that I got from Bob Gollihur, who posts here.

    In short, it works. It took me some time to tweak it, and for a hybrid bass guitar, like my Rob Allen, a mid control on the preamp would have helped me tweak it more easily.

    But I am very happy with the results. My final set up is to use the piezo (from a Fishman acoustic matrix set up) set quite bassy and mid treble. This gives a LOT of top and a full but unmuddy bass. I have rolled the top off the magnetics (DiMarzio Ultrajazz) almost completely. The piezo gives me all the top I want. So I EQ the bass by playing off the magnetic and piezo pups against each other. I cut the treble just by turning down the piezo a bit.

    The resulting sound is very different from the original Allen sound, but more useful for me. The Jazz bass pups give me the punch I need, and the piezo that fine tracery.

    I was beginning to get worried that I had cannibalised the Rob Allen to no effect. But now I am happy. The system works well.

    I went back the the LaBella strings from the Thomastiks I had been using. The resulting sound is less URB like than the Allen, but more fruity.


  10. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    I got my MB-2 fretless a couple of years ago (#115) and am
    very happy with it. I dealt directly with Mr. Allen,
    a great guy!, and paid $1500. They now LIST for $1750.
    When I first contacted Mr. Allen he was starting 3 new
    MB-2's. One with a tiger maple top, another with
    quilted maple and a third with a Bluegum top.
    I didn't know anything about Bluegum but when I heard
    it was one-piece, I went for it. A minor cosmetic point
    sure (maybe acoustic as well?), but a one-piece for the
    same price?

    I agree with the other posts that it is a one-trick
    pony, but WHAT a trick! Pretty darn close to a
    doghouse tone minus the travel hassles. I cannot keep
    my hands off that cocobolo fretboard. Mr. Allen even
    made a fancy wood thumb-rest for it. Like the black
    plastic ones on a P or J, but made from maple.

    They come strung with either LaBella 760N tapewounds
    or phosphor-bronze whatevers. I got mine with the
    LaBellas but switched to Rotosound RS 88LD tapewounds.
    A little heavier gauge, a little more thump and thud.
    I run it through either an Ampeg B-15r or Mesa "Buster"
    head with the mids boosted for maximum growl. A piezo
    pickup through an all-tube amp?!? Don't knock it `til
    `ya try it.

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