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Today's visit to GC.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SalmonCubes, Oct 18, 2013.


  1. Today I had some time to myself, so I decided to take a trip to my local guitar center in Chattanooga, GA. It had been a while, so I assumed they had some new basses in stock. I browsed the store and for those of you who would care for a review of my experience, here goes.

    First, I picked up a Squier VM 70's Jazz 5. Aesthetically speaking, it was nice. I always have enjoyed black and maple. Plugged it into a Markbass 2x10 combo they had out. Perhaps not the best judge of the bass, but I set the EQ flat and gave it a go. Very good stuff for a $300 bass. Not my pick for best low price bass, but more on that later. Controls were solid. Action was high, but I made do. To me, it sounds very, very similar to a MIM Fender jazz, albeit easier to play (really nice neck and lightweight. No neck dive.) and a bit brighter. Soloing the bridge pickup gave a growly low-mid heavy tone.

    Next was a Yamaha RBX170EW. It was a surprisingly light bass. The main feature of this base was its mango wood top. It looked nice, but almost fake to me. Not important though. PJ pickup combos always have been my favorites, so I was eager to test it out. It did not disappoint at all. Nice fat tone from both pickups. The bridge pickup was a little weak to me, but the overall construction was very solid, and in my opinion, this would be a perfect beginners bass. It just sounded so mellow, like the kind of sound where you'd want to sit back, relax, and jam it all day long.

    I then spotted a EBMM SUB Stingray 4. Man oh man. I could go on about this thing for days. At only $300, it had a great, aggressive tone and sleek neck that could compete with basses twice as much. It's just a one trick pony either! Depending in how. I set the bass and treble, I could get any number of nice sounds from it. The walnut finish was pretty attractive as well when coupled with a black pickguard. It may just be because I'm primarily a six string bassist, but that neck was the fastest I'd ever played, hands down. SUB's are great values, no doubt. I'll probably pick one up myself as a matter of fact. Add a thumb rest about halfway down the pickguard, give it nice and low action, and it'll be a keeper.

    And lastly, perhaps the most interesting part of my experience was with the Warrior bass they had. They said they had just got it in. I was amazed to find something like a custom Warrior 6 string in such a small shop. Plugged it in and went to town. The previous owner had been a little cruel to such a beauty, and the end of the fretboard was chipped up. Regardless, it played unlike any other bass. Action was amazingly low with no fret buzz. The control scheme was a bit unorthodox in my opinion. Took me a minute to find out what did what. After a thorough rundown of it, I can say that while it was absolutely gorgeous, and would definitely compete with the best of them in a beauty contest, the tone was a bit lacking for a $3000 bass. The preamp was powerful, but it suffered from some really erratic sounds. The mids just sort of jumped all over the place. They stood out, but in a bad way. It was comparable to nothing I've really played before. It didn't sound like the worst mud I've ever heard, but it didn't have the clarity or defined lows I would expect from a custom instrument. I think it's about as good, but very different when compared to my Spector Legend Classic 6.

    And that, my low end friends, is the conclusion of my mini-review. If there are any questions or topics I didn't cover, ask away.
     
  2. Worshipbass12

    Worshipbass12

    Feb 23, 2013
    Nw georgia
    Visited that gc on a weekend vacation in febuary this year, wasn't a great experience, very small bass section and the staff wasn't very friendly. But that sub stingray sounds sweet i may have to check one of those out
     
  3. Great reviews, thank you.
    However I live in Chattanooga and it is most definitely in Tennessee!
     
  4. Ah, my mistake. I live in Georgia. Slipped my mind!
     
  5. SpasticTastic

    SpasticTastic

    Dec 22, 2012
    Louisiana
    Gawdamn, all this praise for the SUB series is really making me want to pick one up. The mint green and white SUB Ray4 look really nice. I was looking into getting a G&L Tribute JB-2 but since these go used for like $150 - $200, I can deal with it.

    Also wouldn't mind pickup up the Silo3.
     
  6. Yeah, staff wasn't great, as expected. The guy I was dealing though was at least knowledgeable about basses. Didn't BS his way into selling me something. We had a nice conversation.
     
  7. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I haven't been to GC in months, so yesterday I went to one seeing how I had the time to do so.

    Tried out a 2012 Fender AM STD 5 string P bass. This was the first time I'd ever seen one in person. Sunburst body with a rosewood fretboard. I was very surprised as to how well it played. I have a 2011 AM STD 5 string Jazz bass and the neck on mine feels a bit bulkier compared to the P5's neck. The P felt just as wide but not quite as deep from front to back which made it very comfortable. Fact is it felt more comfortable than mine. String tension (even the B) felt very good. The pickup on the B side seemed like it should be raised a bit, but after doing some adjustments on the amp the B really didn't sound too lacking compared to the other strings. I played it for about 20 minutes and was quite impressed.

    Then I tried out a Sterling SUB 5 string bass. Black body with a maple fretboard. I played this bass for about 20 minutes as well and my general impression was....this is only $300.00?!?!? Unreal!! I don't know how it would hold out in the real world, but as best as I could tell after 20 minutes it seemed like a pretty good deal. The string spacing itself felt like it was just a tad wider compared to an SR505, but the neck itself was a bit wider and deeper. The bass and treble knobs seemed to have real good response to them with quite a range, but the volume knob responded like it needed to be replaced. As far as sound this bass didn't seem to have that weak G string like Music Man basses in the past did. I found I was rather tempted to buy this bass and once again I told myself "you don't need it."
     
  8. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    Thanks for the review.
    I'm curious as to why you felt the Markbass combo wouldn't be a good judge of the bass.
    I was in GC last year, having never played through one, and I was blown away about how good a Sterling Ray34 sounded through it. Then I saw the price tag on the amp...
     
  9. happyg

    happyg

    Sep 17, 2011
    I saw that Warrior last weekend. Pretty shocked it was there. I almost didn't see it all tucked away in the corner.
     
  10. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I actually tried the P5 and the SUB 5 thru a Markbass combo that had 1-12" speaker. I thought it all sounded pretty good and of what I could tell those two filter knobs could come in very handy. But yeah, those price tags!
     
  11. ack

    ack Why Can't We All Get Along?

    Nov 19, 2006
    Somewhere near Raleigh
    I was using the CMD 102P (2x10) combo - I thought the Ray sounded great through it...but $1,200! I waited until I found one used locally for a lot less before I bought one.

    About GC: I feel that they are trying (at least here in Raleigh) to get better at the "Customer Experience". I used to hate going in there, but they seem to be doing the small things a bit better, like keeping a few cables in the bass room (you used to have to go ask a salesman for a cable), and then they don't seem to stand over you while you try a few things. My biggest gripe was the BS that used to come out of their mouths when they don't know something. That has improved greatly at this GC.

    Their online shopping portal is OK, although I wish they'd include the specs for the equipment they're listing, and their in-store selection is pretty good. They tend to get a few interesting used basses in from time-to-time.

    With both of my sons heavy into music (guitar, vocals, bass, drums & recording), I need to buy stuff locally, but I need to trust the store where I'm spending my dough.

    Thanks again for taking the time to review the basses.
     
  12. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    You're welcome! Yeah, you're right about a few things at GC. As mentioned, I hadn't been there in months and was surprised how the salesmen kept thier distance...and I was in the bass room for a good 45 minutes until one of them came in. Plenty of cables around as well. In the past those salesman were pretty bad. I know they got a job to do, but I couldn't even look at something without one of them practically humping my leg for cryin' out loud! And when I'm considering something it's like..."please leave me alone. Let ME play and decide." So yeah, it's much better.
     
  13. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    A couple comments on GC. I occasionally visit one that has a couple really nice new Fender Am Dlx basses hanging on the wall. Each time I have looked at them, I find more new dings, and damage has occurred. I assume inflicted by customers. I often get to hear various young men play, (often badly) loud distorted guitar parts from Sweet Child of Mine, (a song I always hated, from a band I never liked). Sometimes the GnR ear torture is augmented by another individual loudly slapping the daylights of a bass at the same time.
    There is an independent shop just down the road from this store that stocks a lot of very pricey vintage instruments, and amps. In this store, you are likely to hear more mature shoppers playing some nice Joe Pass style jazz riffs on a vintage Gibson L5, (at a reasonable volume level, as well). I have bought stuff from both shops, but I feel more at ease, and spend more time, and money at the independent shop.
     
  14. Soonerbldr

    Soonerbldr Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA

    I agree with you. There is a great boutique guitar shop in the town I live in. I buy strings and such at Sam Ash or GC and little incidentals. Most my money goes to the boutique store though just because the service is great and the know your name...
     
  15. I've always found Markbass to be heavily "colored" in sound. I use a Carvin half stack at home, which IMO is very neutral. It may just be the floor models, but they all sounded boomy unclear to me.
     

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