1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

TL Martinson "Eye of the Tiger"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by monzamess, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. monzamess


    Oct 22, 2009
    Middle Georgia
    I am now in possession of the TLM "Eye of the Tiger" bass starring in this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=639656

    This bass was purchased by FL Knifemaker direct from the luthier via this eBay sale: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180482578276 (might need to be logged into eBay to see completed sale?)

    FL wasn't too pleased with the quality of the bass, and offered it to anyone for the cost of shipping & handling. So, $50 and a few days later, here it is.

    The bass is a 4-string 34" bass in the "Artist" series. It has a single passive G&B pickup. I see no identifying information on the tuners or the bridge but the pictures will help. It has an adjustable truss rod but I didn't try adjusting it yet.

    I did a comparison of this bass to my Ibanez GSR200 4-string passive PJ bass (newer GSR200s are active; mine is the older passive one). The GSR200 has a street price of around $200, the price originally paid for this TLM bass, so it seems like a fair comparison. I bought the GSR200 used from a guy who bought it new and barely touched it. I do NOT know if it has been set up beyond the factory set up, but it plays nicely.

    I tuned each bass to E-A-D-G using my chromatic tuner, then did some tests.

    Intonation all over the neck: (click on pics for fullsize; sorry, free Photobucket account, expect bandwidth issues)


    The numbers represent the number of cents (1/100th of a semitone) the sounding pitch is above or below the desired pitch. Most people don't notice something is out of tune until it's +/- 12 cents off. Thus, I color coded the results: green = OK, yellow = probably OK, red = bad.

    I measured the neck relief using a technique described on a bass setup website (sorry I forgot). Basically, capo the neck at the 1st fret, and hold down the string past the last fret, turning the string into a straightedge over the fretboard. I measured the maximum distance between the string and any fret using a feeler gauge.
    GSR200: E .20mm @ 11th, A .20mm @ 10th, D .20mm @ 9th, G .30mm @ 9th
    TLM: E .75mm @ 6th, A .65mm @ 7th, D .60mm @ 7th, G .45mm @ 7th

    String height at the top of the fretboard: GSR200 1.5mm-2mm, TLM 4mm
    String height at the bottom of the fretboard: GSR200 5mm-5.5mm, TLM 5.5mm

    I made some recordings. My setup is: bass -> 10ft cable -> unbalanced input on Behringer 1202FX mixer -> PC Soundblaster Live card -> Cakewalk. The Behringer is set for trim +50 and level +8 (about 75% of each) on the input, with EQ flat and no processing effects enabled. Both basses had each knob turned fully clockwise.

    For what it's worth, the GSR200 was about 10dB louder than the TLM overall, so I recorded with the main output of the mixer (into the PC) at 0 for the TLM and -10 for the GSR200.

    I played a simple tune at the low end and then an octave up. NOTE: I am a new player; please disregard technique as much as you can.

    GSR200 sample (alternate link)
    TLM sample (alternate link)

    Subjectively, both basses are pretty quiet regarding noise and hum. I have a Stellar Neptune 5-string that makes more noise than either one. Using my recording settings but with both basses at mixer output 0, Cakewalk was showing noise as follows:
    TLM -50 hand off, -47 hand on
    Ibanez -42 hand off, -48 hand on

    Ok, the pictures. FL packed the bass well; I didn't see any impact damage or any damage that I would attribute to shipping. My kids LOVE bubblewrap.


    The TLM and the GSR200 used in the comparison test:




    Front in harsh light:


    Back in slightly harsh light:












    Bridge closeup (I tried to remove it but didn't feel like messing with stripped screw heads late last night):


    Neck pocket:




    Control cavity:


    Looks like the bridge ground wire was not soldered well:


    When I have time, I'm going to work on this bass and see what I can do. I have incentive to make it fretless as I don't have a fretless bass now. However I still want the fret lines to be in the right place so making it fretless isn't the "easy way" out of fixing the intonation.
  2. Well, i'm interested to see if there's any way you can fix this!
  3. Please let us know if my assessment, description or photos of the bass was in ANY way inaccurate. Tom has all but called my eBay feedback and descriptions in the other thread a lie.
  4. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    If you plan on posting sound clips, I suggest you get a soundclick account. For whatever reason (possibly bandwidth), I could not listen to them.

    I appreciate the pure objectivity in this thread, though. Great post, OP.
  5. monzamess


    Oct 22, 2009
    Middle Georgia
    Moved the sound clips. Been meaning to set up a soundclick account anyway...
  6. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I've been keeping up with the various discussions on this builder and this is an excellent continuation of the previous threads. Just based purely on visual and now audio (clips), there is no doubt that several issues exist with this bass.

    Non-recoverable? Likely not, but the bridge placement, nut height/seating and possible fret placement will require some significant adjustment to intonate this bass adequately. It is very obvious, when listening to the audio, that the intonation of the bass is way out of whack.

    Very nicely done, monza .... looking forward to more details as you get around to them .... :cool:
  7. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    IMHO intonation aside, the tone of the bass is not at all bad. I prefer it to the Ibanez on what you've done. Objective I realise, but how does it play?

    What you've given us to date would certainly seem to support FL's side of the story.

    Looking at the way the bridges are set (reversed) while it looks like you've got a little movement on the saddles, to get the sort of movement it looks like you may need I'd have thought you're either going to have to extend these back by inserting a block or extend the neck forward to get the scale length correct.

    Assuming you've got 17" from nut to 12fret, can you measure from the 12th fret to each saddle for me?
  8. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    IMO, the clips alone support your contentions .... :)
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Nice job...great pics too!
  10. Thanks for the post. This is a very interesting read, as I was following the previous thread as well. That intonation chart speaks volumes.

    I can't wait to see what you are able to do with it.

    I couldn't listen to the sound clips. Anyone else get this error when they click?

    "Please be patient!

    This download hasn't been cleared yet. Please check back tomorrow.

    SoundClick home"
  11. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    jojo - be patient!

    The clips I heard were before monzamess put them on to soundclick.
  12. monzamess


    Oct 22, 2009
    Middle Georgia
  13. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Not sure if the issues are completely repairable.... but I bet it could keep you warm in the winter for a couple of hours. :D
  14. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
  15. Thanks. That intonation is no doubt off. On top of that, it just sounds like it's hard to play.
  16. I hear the same fret buzz as when I played it unplugged which is odd considering how high the action is.
  17. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
  18. monzamess


    Oct 22, 2009
    Middle Georgia
    From a beginner so take this with a grain of salt:

    The strings are way too high due to the nut. They aren't hard to press (like the pictures made me anticipate), but it makes for a more fumbling experience. As a comparison, on my "main" bass I had set the strings pretty high due to fret buzz... a respected luthier laughed (with me) at how high they were--but they were noticeably lower than on this bass.

    I didn't specifically consider the neck profile. Nothing about it struck me as odd but I didn't explicitly compare it to the Ibanez.

    Some of the fret edges are sharp; not enough to cut or anything, but I noticed.

    I like the sound on the Ibanez better but I guess I just prefer the J sound to the P sound.
  19. tk421


    Mar 3, 2010
    middletown, oh
    can you get some close up shots of the shadier looking fretwork?

    when i first saw FL's pix in the original thread, i though it looked like he used a parking lot to level and crown the frets ... at high speed ...
  20. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    I have to see what you can make of this...

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.