Wish Bass II Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassic83, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Hey all, I decided to go ahead and put up this thread for those of us in the Wish II group- only those who have a review should post here. It will concentrate all the reviews in one place. So, if you've already had your turn, please post (or repost) your reviews. Be honest, be open, but keep it on-topic. Thanks!
  2. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    So I was next on the list, and I picked up the Wishbass from coffee-sipper on Friday afternoon. I noodled around with the bass on Friday evening using my practice amp, and then took it to rehearsal Saturday night and played it through my rig. I'm going to be brutally honest here in my review, but I hope I won't skew anyone elses opinion before they get a chance to review it themselves.

    Let's start with first impressions. Everything you've heard about Wish build quality is right on the money. There are runs in the brushed on finish, glue all around the edges of the fingerboard, 80 grit sanding scratches visible in the body wood, rough and uneven edges on the headstock and pickup hole. and the thru-body string holes are not evenly spaced from the butt end of the body. The fret markers are brad nails that are unevenly spaced on the side of the neck, some are in the side of the fingerboard, others fully in the neck wood. The pencil line markings are still on the fingerboard to mark where he installed the nails. The cavity cover is a rough cut piece of unfinished sheet metal.

    So, now on to how it feels to play it. The neck is very thick, like an upright. There is some buzz in the neck, and sighting down it shows that there is a hump around the 15th fret on the E string side, and then a bit of a bow around the 9th fret on the same side. The G string side was fairly straight along the entire length. It's somewhat playable and has an acceptable feel overall, given the lack of consistency. The back of the neck is somewhat uneven along the length, not a real uniform taper or shape along the back from nut to heel. The deep cutaway is very cool, and access to the highest octave is unreal.

    Now, time to plug it in. Lots of hum. Either there is a bad ground or there's some other grounding issue. With my Hartke 2000 head and VX115 cabinet, I could not get a decent bottom end with this bass. I think it's due to the pickup being immediately next to the "bridge", rather than a bit further away to get a fatter tone. It could also be due to the bass having half-rounds installed rather than flatwounds. It was difficult to get an acceptable tone, and I couldn't use it on any of the normal tunes that I usually play fretless on during rehearsal. Playing up and down the neck, it becomes obvious that the intonation is waaaaaaay out of kilter. At the 15th fret, the fret markers are about a half step higher up the neck than where the correct note is "fretted".

    So in summary: poor build quality, poor tone, lots of hum, out of intonation, etc. Not so sure that it's worth $200, at least not to me.
  3. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Okay, just played a blazing set of.... well, mainly noodling around the room-o-doom. All other flaws in the bass have been pointed out so I won't rehash everything....

    Hot humming pickup seems to jump in volume at random when playing, it apparently reacts somehow to one's fingers on strings.

    The native tone is kind of thin, as would be expected with the lone bridge pickup, but it's not bad. It's got a slight growl to it, not as aggro and mean as my ol' Warwicks could get, but I dig it. Put thru my iAmp with a little boost in high mids, and the Thumb preset engaged, I actually enjoyed the tone. Also used a little compression from my ME50B. I'd say maybe "anemic Stingray", maybe "Jazz in a cardboard box"?

    Speaking of effects, I think this is where the Wish shone. Its treble bite really lent itself well to being veiled in overdrive, and made the chorus lush and airy, and envelope filter quack like crazy.

    Playing the Wish was kind of difficult. The lacquered neck was stickin' like glue, and the string spacing felt a mile wide. (???) Good for slapping, bad for popping, thanks to the fretboard right underneath, but it may just be my technique.

    All in all, I wouldn't be angry if I spent a couple hundred bucks and got this, although there are a few things I'd change if I had one myself. I did have a Wishbass a couple years ago, remember, and it had frets and an adjustable bridge, plus it wasn't lacquered.

    Cheers and my apologies for being horrible at describing tone.
  4. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I hope I wont get anyone mad for posting even thought I've not seen it, but

    This sounds very much like a ground issue. Actually, not a ground-issue, but a not-grounded-issue.
    Did anyone open up the cavity cover so far? That might be one more interesting thing.

    Sorry for the little review-derail
  5. coffee-sipper


    Jul 10, 2003
    Raleigh NC
    For my official review I am going to reiterate what I said previously: sb69coupe has the Wish now.

    When I put the order in for mine it will be
    a model with just a 2 octave fret board
    no side markers (you'll see)
    no pick up
    no controls
    string ferrules
    possibly a truss rod (we will see how it holds up)
    maple fret board
    ash body
    2 octave fret board (the 3 octave was way too long for me)
    either his hyperbass or something one off. To be safe I would go with something he frequently builds. At these price points Wish can't afford to eat little mistakes like the big builders do, they become the character of the piece.

    I am going to mount a pezio to accentuate that upright tone - I use an volume pedal so no need for that - as long as there is a rear routed control cavity to run the piezo through. The simpler the better - though I wish I got to try the tape wounds on the Wish - he was out and use half rounds or something.

    Anyway, I really like the neck on this thing - huge and chunky just like an upright. The sound is fantastic. If you buy one get it in the raw version - you will avoid the things that some have complained about and maybe even save some cash too. Personally I'd use a tung oil finish to finish mine myself. The ash on the back of this is very nice and resonant and is probably my favorite wood for a bass. All in all I like the simplicity and ergonomics very much. For 200 dollars it far surpases my expectations of playability, sound and feel. I new what to expect finish wise. Also, I don't play fretless but I have done pretty well on this one. The only other fretless basses I liked were the Jaco relic and a 5 string Pedulla penta-buzz.

    I'd like to see what the independant bridge looks like on this. I bet it changes the sound but the added adjustability and stability would be worth it - IMHO.

    One more note: Wish said he was moving out of his shop and back into his home shop so he could be able to increase the quality of each bass (bottom line, I guess when you rent space you have a quota unwritten or not). When I place my order it'll be when he has settled back into his home shop.

    Some of the items in Wish shop were excellent and very drool worthy. His apprentice was working on a Ric style bass that looked superbe! The bloodwood bass he now has on eBay is stunning and very well crafted. Remember how much this thing costs when you play it - for an American hand made custom bass with exotic woods for 200 dollars that sounds fantastic and plays great and isn't a cookie cutter bass! I'll take one and if you get it raw and do the final steps yourself, (the finish usually doubles the price of a bass) like I said earlier, you will have an absolute gem of an instrument - just try and avoid the things that have gone awry on this one.

    One more note: before I sent it off to Jammadave, I plugged her in to check on the hum issue- and it is certainly there. Out of habit, I was plugging the Wish into the Active input on my amp and hence, didn't notice any hum. However, when I plugged the bass into the passive input on my amp, before sending it off, I distinctly noticed the hum that sb69 mentioned. It looks to me like a ground issue since the hum becomes noticible when I took my hands off the strings.
  6. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    It's in good shape, and was packed well, in a bag. My first impression is that the finish and construction is...um...how do I put this...polite-like..."less than stellar"...nah, that's not it..."subpar"...no, that's not it either...I know, "has a certain child-like charm"...yes, that seems to work! Looks every bit as good as the projects my 7th-grade woodshop class put out! The pickup is upside-down, and looks like it was routed with a chainsaw. The control panel has a certain "third-world utilitarian, semi-MilSpec 'efficiency' to it. The position markers look to have been achieved by a drive-by attack with a nail gun. The finish looks like a kid had at the body with a paintbrush and a quart of spar varnish...

    The tuners function well, and I didn't pick up much hum at all. The Corian bridge is functional to some degree, but the bass would benefit from an old-fashioned, semi-ferrous, mechanically adjustable bridge. The fingerplank is level, and actually feels like it was sanded. Ipe is a tough wood, much tougher than ebony, IMO, and requires carbide-tipped tools to machine. The nut is well-rendered, and I actually like the headstock. Lest you think I don't like this bass from reading my first impression, read on....

    The tone of this bass is great, and the thick, upright-ish neck is actually very comfortable! This bass has tons of "mwah", and I was able to achieve variations of the tone by finger position and attack. The body style is cool, it's actually smaller than I was expecting...but don't let that 3-octave cutaway fool you- getting those top notes, you gotta really WANT IT!!!

    Overall, it's a nice bass, and fells and sounds better than it's workmanship and $200 pricetag would belie. Would I order one? Probably. But- you knew that was coming, huh? - I would order it "in white" (unfinished) and without the nail gun aTTack that renders the position markers "useless as teats on a bull". They're only there to lend an air of legitimacy to the instrument. I would put my own bridge on it, and do my own markers based upon the resulting scale length. I'd have the artistic freedom to design my own finish as well- personally, I think either fun fur, or leather tuck-n-roll would look cool. Not too bad, considering the price.

    There you have it, that's my review. You get what you pay for.
  7. vcat


    Jun 2, 2004
    Charleston, SC
    Today I received the wishbass. It looks like finally it has made it's way to the last person on the list. Everyone involved can now take pride in having proved my wife wrong who predicted that I would't ever see it.

    I won't repeat what other people said about the construction, abundant inadequacies and other lousy aspects of this bass. Unfortunately I have to agree with all that.

    The sound is really nice at low levels, but the louder you play the worse it gets. I plugged it into a Vox T-25 practice amp, which actually delivers a very clear and even sound and it had a very nice mhaw, but you could hardly call it "rich" or "sophisticated". It is very basic. Very young, unexperienced and confused mhaw Of course there is always a possibility that I simpy need to adjust to this instrument.

    After having played with it for a little while I am still very perplexed with the playability issues of this less than stellar creation of Mr. Wishnevsky. Maybe there are people who like telegraph-pole sized necks, but I am definitely not one of them. I have relatively large hands, but this neck is simply out of proportion. It is very uncomfortable. And the third octave is just for show. It kind of reminds me of a movie "This is spinal tap" where a guitar player had an amp, which had 11 markers on volume control, as opposed to sandard 10.

    I have always thought, that my first bass - an italian no-name -, that I started learning on was undoubtidely the worst bass I have ever laid my hands on. This wishbass made me rethink my theory.

    I am sorry for being so critical, I'm just sharing my first impressions. Maybe they will change when I play it for a little longer. But so far it simply made me appreciate more my other basses.

    However, all this experience and adventure of this thread was definitelly worth 10 bucks. It was fun! And enlightenig as well - at least I know one brand to avoid at all costs

  8. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Ummm, I forget. Here's what I said previously...
    The Wish came today; you guys are too cruel. I've played worse, made by big companies. I've played a number Gibsons that was worse, all Kays, a couple of Fenders that were worse and a Copley. It isn't as ugly as I was expecting.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Here is my review.

    Freakbass, Juneau and myself had a mini get together, along with a few other people. We were going to each take the Wish for a couple of days, but I deferred my turn after seeing it in person, and playing it for about half an hour.

    I was planning on playing it at church. After seeing it in person, and playing it, there was no way. I would have been embarrassed to walk in my church with it.

    The intonation on the E string is almost a half step off from the other strings.

    The position markers(nails!!!) are only approximately in the right place.

    The pickup rout looks like it was cut out with a dull butter knife, or a chainsaw.

    The bass has large sanding marks and gouges. The back of the bass actually had better sanding and was more even than the front.

    The fingerboard had a couple of small humps, but they weren't bad enough to cause any major playability problems. The fingerboard was sanded pretty evenly. I really like the wood that it was made from, it feels great and looks as if it would wear for a long time.

    The neck was huge. Made a Warwick feel like a Gibson EB-0 or Hofner. It was sanded a lot more evenly than the body, which is nice. It would have been bad to get splinters from doing a slide.

    The finish was a joke. When I was 16, I defretted a bass and used polyurethane on it. It turned out very bad, but it was about 100 times better and more even than the finish on the Wish.

    But the bass sounds pretty darned good. If I were given one, it would make a nice piece of wall 'art'. I might even pull it down and play it occasionally. But my cheapo Electra Westone fretless sounds just as good, and looks a whole lot better.

    Fit & finish - 1
    Playability - 2
    Sound - 3
    Value - 1

    Overall - 1.5
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Are you saying this bass could be described as "God-forsaken"?
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Almost. The tone redeems it. Barely.:D
  12. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    so where's the sound clips guys?