Marcus Miller V7 Bass from Sire Guitars…
This is more than just a review on a bass. It’s also about getting quality instruments into the hands of players of all ages.
Even though we had talked via email for a couple weeks prior, I first officially met Mickey Cho of Sire Guitars outside the Anaheim Convention Center, during NAMM. We had a great talk. The whole concept behind Sire Guitars is to offer instruments of a high quality at a reasonable price point, making it easy for everyone to afford one. But don’t take my word for it; here’s what the Sire website has to say.
“SIRE is making effort to share corporations’ profit with the entire community by giving it back to society. It is SIRE’s mission and dream to enable anyone, regardless of location, to lead life with music without environmental or regional discrimination. Through MES (Music Everyone School) project, SIRE is reaching out to children to be healed and grow with music. Currently, we have founded schools in Cambodia and Laos and are teaching music to children. In the future, we hope more and more children in many more countries are healed with music.”
So how can they do it? Mickey explained to me that Sire owns the factory where the instruments are manufactured. This allows them to oversee the entire operation and ensure that they get the best quality possible. Also, by partnering with bass legend, Marcus Miller, they were able to utilize Miller’s immense experience and expertise to create an instrument that has all of the modern features players are looking for, as well as the playability that they have come to expect.
Okay, enough of that. What about the bass?
First impressions were favorable, and this was when I’d only seen the gigbag. It’s got more support than your standard bag, with enough support and rigidity that it maintains its shape well. Plus, it’s got a HUGE neck cradle (that is also removable) to support the instrument inside. All in all, the gigbag itself sets the tone for how high quality this instrument will be (and it did it’s job beautifully on the flight home, supporting the bass while in the overhead compartment). Then with a smile, Mickey opened the bag.
Honestly, I was blown away by the V7. The finish on the bass is impeccable, the neck felt amazing (it was one of things that they spent a great deal of time and care on) and the resonance of the bass was great. In short, even acoustically this instrument played and felt like it should cost AT LEAST triple or more what it does. And we haven’t even talked about the electronics yet.
Sadly, I had to wait until after NAMM to plug it in. Normally this is where you find many manufacturers cut corners to save money, but also where many musicians (myself included) start upgrading. However, the electronics in the V7 are amazing; active/passive with an 18v preamp for plenty of headroom. While they look a little intimidating (the control plate has five knobs – two of which are stacked – and a switch), after a little time with it you can dial in great tones quickly and easily. I personally like how they fit it all, because while Marcus’ iconic Fender has the gigantic pickguard on it, this looks much more clean and elegant. Plugging it in with everything flat yielded a signature jazz sound, that was a bit more forward voiced than just a standard passive jazz. Compared to the 1975 Fender Jazz that I have in the office, the V7 is a little more growly and/or aggressive sounding. The active preamp does a lot with little movements, so it’s very easy to get a thick tone (that still retains definition and focus) or a killer slap tone.
The addition of a sweepable midrange was a feature I hadn’t used before, let alone thought was possible at this price point. As Marcus explains in the video, this was a crucial part of the electronics and something that he is planning on making a how-to video. This was the only part of the preamp that took a little time to get used to and feel comfortable dialing in, but once I did it became much easier.
All of these features combined meant that there were no qualms about taking the V7 to a couple of gigs. So, how did it hold up in the real environment?
I used it a handful of times at church, where my setup is completely ampless, relying on a Pigtronix Bass Station to provide me with some slight compression, and a solid DI. The V7 sounded great in this setting, and blended in very well. Notes were clear and well defined, and the signal the soundman was getting was solid, if a bit hotter than what he’s used to getting (it IS 18v after all). The other gigs had me using a Phil Jones Bass Double Four amp in a smaller, intimate environment. Again, the V7 sounded beautiful and responded very well to the variations in right hand technique I was using.
The Marcus Miller V7 bass from Sire Guitars is a game changer. The concept of putting quality instruments into everyone’s hands is extremely well thought out, only eclipsed by the thought that went into the V7 bass. Available in 4 or 5 string versions with swamp ash or alder bodies and starting at $399, there is something for everyone with the V7 bass.
My only complaint is that Sire Guitars wasn’t around when I was starting, as I would’ve killed for a bass of that quality.