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The Mighty Knuckle

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vanselus, Aug 13, 2004.


  1. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    I've had the pleasure to taste a Knuckle bass for a week or so, soon to debut on Basstasters.com. I thought i'd share my initial thoughts and a couple pictures on the venerable TalkBass first...

    Those of you that know me well also know that I don't get excited about gear very often. I love trying out new things, but most of what i've tried hasn't been truly innovative, just different variations on a theme. While the Knuckle is also a variation, it's got some incredible differences - things that made me say "WOW".

    First of all, here's a pic:

    http://basstasters.com/images/basses/knuckle_full.jpg

    1. Low F#. Cool, great for wow factor, especially among non-bassists, but for ME in the styles of music I play, not something i'm gonna use. That said, it really speaks, about as well as a B string on a nice 5.

    2. 39" scale. Woah. That's 5" longer than a normal bass. Strangely enough, I played it at practice last night and other than the increased weight & reach, I never missed a note. The 39" scale apparently makes the B string speak like your normal everyday E - it's tight, clear, in tune, and usable EVEN up to the 12th fret and beyond. None of that flappy stuff either.

    As I stated before, I'm sure I won't use the F# string, and I rarely use the B, although this one sounds so tonally similar to the other strings it's amazingly usable. The thing that's much more meaningful to me personally about the 39" scale is how the other notes speak. The "regular" strings, E through G sound incredibly juicy! If you've played an electric upright with roundwounds, it sounds very similar - HUGE heft and weight to the notes, no excessive brightness - yet still clear and punchy in the mix. Incredible dynamic range too - and no preamp whatsoever. Just vol/tone for each pickup. The strings almost sound fretless in a really cool way, very textured and dynamic, even though this Knuckle is fretted.

    Picture a 20' tall Les Claypool playing a similarly scaled Rainbow Bass. That's the sound the Knuckle reminds me of. Just huge tone that packs a whallop - if you want it to. Play it delicately, and it responds well. Definitely a great studio bass, the tone sits in the mix like an MTD, but has the passive thump at the same time.

    3. Pickups - can't remember where he got these, possibly Danish? Those red stripes you see in the pictures are actually the windings, which face the strings. I've never seen that before - the magnets are actually on the sides of the pickups. You can also raise and lower the magnets with a series of screws to increase brightness.

    Would I use this as my main bass? Definitely not with the gigs i'm playing now. But it's very addictive to play, and sounded equally good by itself, with acoustic guitars, and with a slammin drummer. I initially stereotyped the Knuckle as a bass for metal, or just for people that want those super low notes, but it's flexibility and unique touch makes it a definite must-try for all bassist looking for something a little different.

    Sound clips coming to www.basstasters.com soon. For now, here's a couple quickies:

    http://www.basstasters.com/aug04/knuckle1.mp3 - Slap riff on the B string
    http://www.basstasters.com/aug04/knuckle3.mp3 - F# scale

    Glamour Shot:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Yes, I got to play that bass at NAMM a few weeks ago!!!! Great bass and the FATTEST, PUCHIEST tone!!! Those pups rocked!!!
     
  3. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    w/o even reading this, I gotta say, that's one weird looking headstock... The rest looks nummy tho... now, I'll go read/listen.
     
  4. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    No slam on vanselus, but the clips don't do the bass justice!! I played that monster through a full AccuGroove rig!!!! "Earthshaking" is an understatement!!!
     
  5. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    That all depends on how big your computer speakers are :D

    These clips are just for comparsion. Compare to most of the other basses on the site, and you'll see how earthshaking the Knuckle really is...
     
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  7. Bloody

    Bloody

    Aug 13, 2004
    Everett WA
    I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the Knuclke basses since pretty close to their inception. I've used the bass in a recording atmosphere and my band won't let me use anything else. Live, they are a little heavier, but I'm 6'6" and 300lbs. so they look like a "normal" bass on me! These basses ARE, in my opinion, the pinnacle of low end technology today. :D
     
  8. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    Portugal
    The ending low F# sounded very clear trough my headphones tough! :eek:
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Great googa-mooga!

    That's how a B should sound.
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Looks like the coverings are just clear plastic, instead of black.
     
  11. Looks like one of those Q-Tuner pickups. Harmonics city!


    Johann
     
  12. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    What a beautiful instrument. How do the higher strings feel, given that they're at such an abnormally long scale? I know that Dingwall uses the fanned fret system to allow longer scale length for lower strings while maintaining the normal scale length for higher strings. The 39" scale makes sense in terms of compensating for the low F#, but I'm curious to see how it affects thinner strings.
     
  13. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Yep, that's what they are..
     
  14. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    Totally - why are the harmonics so much more present with those pickups?
     
  15. You'll have to read the blurb on the site... I did once, a while ago, but it hurt my head and I've forgotten now...
     
  16. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    The upper strings feel really smooth and easy to play. It may be the scale length or just the strings, but even though the tension is really high, they are really easy to bend. They feel a little bit organic, like they move with your fingers instead of resisting. Much like an electric upright with rounds.

    If I were to buy a Knuckle, it wouldn't be due to the fact it can handle detuning an octave on EACH STRING. It would be because the tone of the upper strings (aka. normal bass strings) is so chewy and addictive.
     
  17. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Would you put those Q-tuners in a 35" scale sixer? Did they sound amazingly different, or is it more like "hmm, that's pretty cool...now where did I put those Barts?" I know part of the magic is the bonzo scale length, but allowing for that, do they put out?
     
  18. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Do they put out?????

    YES, YES, and YES!!!

    They put out!! I was amazed at the output with only passive controls!!
     
  19. That is a really cool design and I could only imagine what it would be like hearing that bass through an AccuGroove rig!!
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Do they have a sister?