ecent Carvins that we've played here at
Towers have
been seriously top notch, and we've said so time and again.
This particular model carries jazz legend Brian Bromberg's
name and the spec is particularly impressive: at a pound
under £1,800, how do they cram in so many topline
features? Read on.
The spalted maple top adorning the Bromberg's alder body is
eyecatching to say the least, w ith its brown and yellow hues and black
figuring, and is reinforced with the headstock cap; the natural look is
further enhanced by the maple and walnut five-piece through-neck
construction. Rear contouring and chamfering make it a comfortable
bass to play despite the thick body depth, and the lower horn grants
perfect access to the upper frets for those patrolling the dusty end
of the fingerboard. The elongated upper horn improves the balance:
weighing in at 3.9kg, this is no backbreaker. Although there is some
evidence of neck dive, this is remedied once put on a strap.
The flame maple and walnut neck has a very slim, Jazz-like profile
and nut width, which gradually broadens as you move up the neck,
but the depth remains slim, making it an easy neck to play. The level of
finishing is first class, with rolled fingerboard edges and no sharp frets:
the bass as a whole is immaculate in every department. Abalone block
markers have been used for navigation across the ebony fingerboard
and they look exquisite against the dark timber, although this
particular example has foregone the Bromberg inlay at the twelfth fret.
I'm not convinced by the mixture of black and chrome hardware, but
the tuners operate smoothly and the Hipshot Piezo bridge facilitates
through-bridge and through-body stringing, so at least the player
has options. The RAD-J single-coil pickups are radiused to match the
curvature of the fingerboard, and are partnered by an 18-volt three-
band EQ, comprising bass, treble and mid controls w ith a mid-sweep
option and piezo blend - so plenty of tone tinkering is available should
you need it. A quick look at the electronic guts shows that the control
cavity is shielded w ith copper foil. The cabling is quite busy but
sensibly laid out, and the batteries for the circuit are housed in fliptop
compartments for easy changing.
A sprightly acoustic performance greets the player upon first picking
up this bass: it's very resonant and harmonically rich, which is always
a good sign. Plug in a n d . wow! Even w ith the EQ set flat, this bass
sounds truly wonderful. Clarity, power, grit, sizzle and depth of tone,
it's all here. It's difficult to know where to start, there is so much going
on - but it's all good. The flat basic tone is very useful as a starting
point, and panning across the pickups shows the level of tonal variation
on offer w ith the obvious differences in tone between both single coil
pickups. If you w ant rounded-out bass goodness, the neck pickup won't
disappoint, but if some brighter mid-range honk is your preference, the
bridge pickup has plenty of that to offer too.
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