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Review: Anaconda Basses Ultra J5 Essence Bass

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A Review of Anaconda Basses Ultra J5 Essence Bass…

By Guest Contributor  Kenery Kent Smith 

As a professional bassist of 40+ years (geez Louise—I said that out loud…), I have owned, played and even built my fair share of a wide variety of bass guitars from many manufacturers. Some have been exotic, handmade and amazing instruments, built by equally amazing small shop luthiers. Some have been very nice, mass-produced instruments which did exactly what they were made to do—make beautiful music; and they did that rather well. And some—let’s just be honest here— some were junkyard dogs that I had to wrestle and fight with on stage EVERY night—just to prove my love (and to prove, despite those instruments shortcomings and challenges—that I could actually play)!

While I have never had a bass collector’s mindset—I have always striven to own enough of the right basses that provided the right tools and the flexibility to do any bass chair job I was called to do; whether it was fitting the sounds of a particular genre of music or needing a beautifully singing fretless to fluidly maneuver a bass line through an equally beautiful song. 

But in all those years, and through all those basses—only a handful have truly stood out as being something REALLY special. Only a few have presented as having that THING that makes a bass perfect for YOU, and that allows you to effortlessly speak in YOUR voice—and not the voice of a brand name or a company sound. Craftsmanship, flexibility, tone, feel, reliability, aesthetics—and a GREAT feeling of communication and support from the manufacturer; these qualities are not always the norm. And even less common, is the ability to find those qualities in a high-end custom bass manufacturer whose entire line of instruments don’t break the bank; yet still has offerings of which you can truly and confidently know that the benefits of their higher-end basses’ build standards, quality, and “trickle down” technology, is reflected in every bass they build—from the top of their line to their more affordable (yet still high-quality) instruments.

Enter Andrew Taylor-Cummings, and his UK-based ANACONDA BASSES. More specifically, enter their latest offering; the amazing ULTRA J5 ESSENCE BASS.

And yes—I am getting to the actual review of THAT specific bass. Please—indulge me for a few more moments—it’ll be well worth it!

I first met Andrew in 2018 at NAMM through a mutual friend and amazing fellow bassist Vuyani Wakaba. This was only a year before Anaconda Basses made its stunning official US debut at the 2019 NAMM Show. And of all the places at NAMM for me to meet an aspiring luthier was on the OUTSIDE of the convention center (Andrew was not new to bass building; he had been doing his thing in the UK since 2013 and was simply in the process of bringing his wares to we low enders across The Pond). It felt very clandestine, geeky, and mysterious to me at the time; but I had great trust in the quality of product of anyone who Vuyani introduced me to; his track record is stellar! And like me, he is a very discerning person and musician, and he doesn’t give his stamp of approval lightly!

And so—outdoors—in the middle of the promenade between convention buildings, I was introduced to Andrew Taylor-Cummings. I was immediately struck by Andrew’s friendliness, character, and humility— not always the attributes of many instrument builders. Yet here, there was an unspoken pride and confidence in the quality of the product he had created. Next, after formal introductions, came Vuyani’s declaration of, “Kenery—you have GOT to try this bass!” Andrew had with him, a lone gig bag slung over his shoulder, in which Vuyani insisted the bass guitar equivalent of Mjolnir or the Infinity Stones was contained. Totally geeked at this point, I outstretched my hands as if awaiting the gifting of a bazillion dollars. What actually got placed in my hands turned out to be equally as valuable (yes, figuratively!) to a bassist like me.

What was placed into my hands, was a beautifully exotic and unique, high-quality, and ergonomically friendly bass guitar.

It was lightweight, yet solid; a well-balanced and resonant groove-making instrument. One that paid a well-deserved homage to the legacy of Leo (all hail Leo!) yet possessed a uniqueness and individuality that separated it greatly from anything Leo—or any other bass builder for that matter—had available for the offering. Without even being able to plug it in, I knew that this bass sounded phenomenal. Playing it unplugged elicited an immediate connection to it via both a comfortable familiarity and a sense of innovation. This bass SPOKE through its beautifully symbiotic choice of woods, its hardware, and its overall master craftsmanship. There was a true LOVE of the bass guitar and music— and a commitment to high standards of quality—that were defined within this instrument. And I didn’t need to plug it into an amp to recognize that.

As it turns out—and validating everything that I felt about that bass when I played it unplugged outside the doors of NAMM in 2018—it was the VERY SAME bass that would later that year, go on to win the prestigious Bass Guitar Magazine “Best Bass of 2018” Award (£1000-£2500 Category; then roughly $1300 – $3300 US). And that award-winning bass, my friends— was Anaconda’s Ultra J4E-Elite. The rest as they say, is bass-ic history (no one really says that, but you get the point). This FINALLY brings us to the present day, and the heirs of that “trickle down” build quality and technology that I spoke of earlier; the brand-new second generation of Anaconda’s amazingly successful import line of basses, aptly named the Essence Series. And more specific to this review, their Ultra J5 Essence bass.

THE BASICS

The Ultra J5 Essence review model is a 5-string, 34.5-inch scale bass, featuring the star of this story IMHO: an amazingly comfortable and amazingly fast 20” radiused, beautifully bound 21-fret Indian Laurel fingerboard, mated to an elegantly grained and “rock solid” Rock Maple bolt-on neck reinforced with dual carbon fiber rods, and a smooth turning dual action truss rod—which is conveniently accessible at the neck heel via a generous but handsomely finished truss rod access slot routed into the body. Other neck options available are a maple fingerboard with black or pearloid rectangular position markers with either black or white binding—and on the Jahmal Nichols Signature Model, pearloid block markers with white neck binding. This lovely satin finished neck also sports a new “C” profile with softer shoulders than the previous generation, making it thinner and easier to navigate up and down the entire neck, even considering that the 1.89” nut, and 19mm string spacing at the bridge may in one’s mind, present as a possible challenge for some who may be used to shorter scales and tighter string spacings. But let me tell you—you won’t even notice! As a player who recently went back to all 34” scale basses because 35” plus began to feel literally like a stretch, the 34.5” scale, “C” shape and 20” radius of the Ultra J5 is an absolute joy and effortless to play. Andrew Taylor-Cummings has found that magical, mystical “sweet spot” for bass guitar necks of strength, playability, feel, and tone. 

The Indian Laurel fretboard isn’t a species of wood I have personally owned on a bass before, but it is a pleasant surprise to play. Without plying the murky waters of the infamous “tone woods do/don’t make a difference” argument; to my ears (the ears of both a 30+ year professional player, an experienced producer and sound engineer, and amateur luthier), Indian Laurel features the best of both worlds; the clarity and brightness of maple, and the warmth and tonal character of rosewood. The increased denseness and hardness of Indian Laurel over Indian Rosewood makes the fretboard woods feel slightly different from one another, with Indian laurel feeling smoother as compared to rosewood. Thus, you benefit from both its warmth and ease of playability. And the perfectly cut and seamlessly inlaid pearloid rectangular position markers, in combination with the flawless matte black binding with inlaid white dot side markers that frames the fretboard, are indeed of a look and quality the belies this bass’s humble price tag.

The body of the Ultra J5 Essence is a wonderfully resonant and back pleasingly light Alder wood. Alder has been the wood of choice for fine electric bass building, in addition to Swamp Ash, for as long as electric basses have been built. It not only looks great as a standalone wood (the grain is quite a bit less pronounced than in ash in most cases, but is still quite attractive), but it also pairs well with almost any figured wood top you may choose to have on a bass. That said, this Ultra J5 flaunts a lovely flame maple veneer, which adds just the right amount of high-end deliciousness beneath the flawlessly applied gloss Cherry Burst finish of my personal model. That flawless finish is protected around the plucking area, by a perfectly transparent, perfectly cut clear pickguard. This allows the full beauty of the flame maple top to be seen in all its glory, while still being well protected from the rigors of normal playing use. Other finish options include Island Blue for the 4 String, and Gen 2 adds Satin Black, and Arctic White (Jamal Nichols Signature bass) to the palette. The available body finish/fingerboard/hardware combinations are listed at the end of the review but include the aforementioned pearloid or black block position markers on either the Indian Laurel or Maple fingerboards, and either black, chrome, or gold hardware.

BUT OH, MY GOODNESS—THAT TONE THOUGH!

Let’s start with acoustic and unplugged; the Ultra J5 Essence has that very same type of wonderful resonance and voice that its fancier sibling had when I played that very first Anaconda Ultra J4E-Elite Bass. The Ultra J5 Essence speaks clearly and authoritatively as an acoustic instrument, which is a portent of all things to come electric. Once I finally stopped geeking out on its unplugged tone and put cord to jack, the Ultra J5 Essence did not disappoint! As a matter of undeniable fact, it delivered in SPADES! And here’s why…

New for 2023 are Anaconda’s very own proprietary AC-TN Jazz bass style pickups for 4-string and 5-string models. The AC4-TN pickups are hum-canceling split coils, while the AC5-TN feature a stacked coil hum-canceling design. Both configurations quite effectively eliminate the dreaded 60-cycle hum that is the typical tradeoff for owning that revered single-coil J bass pickup sound. But the AC-TN pickups deliver a gloriously noise-free playing experience, without sacrificing that trademark single-coil punch, warmth, and clarity. For 6-string Ultra J Essence basses, the AC6SB-TN dual coil soapbar (P2 shape) comes as standard ware (NOTE: the ACSB-TN soapbar configuration is available as a retrofit option for 5 stringers as well when ordering your Ultra J5 or J6). And the ACSB-TN soapbar pickups are of course, traditional humbuckers, having their own unique tone derived from the wider string sensing aperture of two parallel pickup coils. According to the man himself, Andrew Taylor-Cummings: “The 4 string pickups have different resistance values to the 5 strings, so they will sound a little different. To my ear, they are more aggressive, with more mids. The 5 & 6-string ACSB-TN pickups are dual coil soapbars. They don’t sound like the AC-TN pickups. [They have] sweeter mids, less output, a fuller bottom end.” But bringing the focus back around to the subject of this particular review, my Ultra J5 Essence bass came equipped with the stacked coil AC5-TN pickup configuration.

Regardless of which of the available pickup configurations you choose, they all punch well above their weight with a string-to-string evenness due to being designed around their large 9.5mm Alnico pole pieces, which are near perfection in their ability to capture attack and to convey note dynamics clearly and concisely. What you hear is the entirety of the ecosystem of the Ultra J Essence Bass from tone woods to string choices. Most importantly, you will hear YOU as a player—and all the nuances of what you put into every plucked, thumped, popped, and picked note. This bass is perfect for any and every style and technique of playing. And you hear it all with an uncanny clarity and tonal girth that makes you want to play the bass even more. The end result is that the Ultra J5 Essence gives you permission to express yourself as fully as you choose to. Play softly, and the AC5-TN pickups respond in kind with a mellow smoothness and a sweet tonality. Dig in, and they reward you with plenty of high-end clarity, mid-range growl, and low-end authority. There is no musical style these pickups cannot handle, from Rock to Gospel; Jazz to Country; Hip Hop to New Wave and Dance—the Anaconda AC5-TN pickups allow the Ultra J Essence Basses to do it all.

And the sound of every Ultra J5 Essence Bass is all neatly tied together and managed by one of the quietest, most versatile and non-intrusive onboard preamps I have heard in a long time; the Anaconda AC3-TZ Active 3-Band Preamp. On top of giving you the player, and access to your uniquely personal sound and not some brand’s pre-chosen “house sound”, the AC3-TZ’s clean and ergonomically friendly layout is easy peasy to use and allows you to dial in a tone that works in any room, the one that’s in your head, or the tone that gives you exactly what each and every song calls for. The AC3-TZ controls are as follows; Volume/Passive Tone concentric pots, a Pickup Blend, all mated to a push/pull Mid Boost/Cut pot set at 250Hz pushed down or 800Hz pulled up, giving you +/-11dB of range; and a Stacked Treble/Bass pot set at frequencies of 3KHz and 60Hz respectively, both having +/-15dB of boost and cut. Both an optional Bright switch (+6dB @ 8KHz) and a Battery life LED Indicator are also available as add-ons.

Even beyond the apparent benefits of having a bass with articulate and powerful pickups and a versatile onboard preamp system, the Anaconda Ultra J5 Essence is at its heart, a fantastic jazz bass. But it’s a jazz bass that is on steroids, offering a welcome fresh take on a much-loved traditional style. Its pickup spacing seems to split the difference between a 60’s and 70’s configuration: being that the scale length is 34.5”, I would have to do some fancy math to figure out which the Ultra J5 Essence leaned closer to. But either way, the end result is the best of both worlds; clarity and prodigious low end from the neck pickup, Jaco-eques growl and midrange openness from the bridge pickup, and classic, funky modern scoop and thump from both pickups set wide open. The tonal landscape in between is infinite, as it is with most great Jazz Bass pickup configurations. And all of this is available even while in passive mode, with no preamp engaged— because the AC-TN pickups just sound amazing! They possess a rock-solid low end that never sounds muddy or bloated, a sweet but not overly pronounced midrange center, and an openness to their highs that is never too bright or brittle. On their own merit, the AC-TN pickups give you everything you need tonally, that they give you with the preamp engaged—minus of course the flexibility to further shape the sound beyond the basic balance settings and tone control roll-off of a passive J Bass.

But here’s the kicker; depending on where you have the internal volume of the preamp set (adjustable via a trim pot on the preamp board), the Ultra J5 Essence sounds EXACTLY THE SAME in passive mode, as it does when you have the preamp engaged and all tone controls set to flat. THAT is a testament to the beauty of Anaconda’s preamp design, and to the lack of unwanted coloration, the AC3-TZ preamp introduces to the bass. There is none. It really and truly gives you exactly what you ask it for; nothing more, nothing less. And that is how a great onboard preamp is supposed to operate.

View Sounds Samples Below:

It pays off in spades and checks every box most any professional player could ever desire—all in a GAWJUS, solid, well-built, high-quality bass guitar. Pricing for the Ultra J Essence line starts at around $1,110.70 retail USD for the Ultra J4. The retail price of the Anaconda Ultra J5 Essence Bass is $1,352.17 USD with my Cherry Burst Ultra J5 clocking in at around $1600 USD total, including taxes, shipping and import duty charges. With that in mind, the Ultra J5 Essence is THE five-string bass to own if you want or need one of the highest quality, consistent, versatile, and well-thought-out basses on the market, bar NONE. That sentiment extends to basses even well above its price point. And what you get for that price, besides ALL the goodies mentioned above—is the quality, integrity, support, and customer service and satisfaction of Andrew Taylor-Cummings and Anaconda Basses. And in today’s overly saturated cookie-cutter musical instrument market—being able to build a relationship by owning a quality bass guitar from a company that takes its products, its customers, and its reputation quite seriously; a company that even in its meteoric success, remains both personable and professional—is invaluable.

EVERYTHING important which makes Anaconda’s higher-end Elite Series handmade basses so special and highly coveted, is “in Essence”, fully distilled into their Ultra J Essence Series of basses. The feel and playability are really where it’s at. Andrew Taylor-Cummings made certain that the very same build specs he created for the Elite Series Basses were reflected in the Essence Series; feel, measurements, tolerances, and all. He left no stone unturned, no spec to chance. And he created the Essence Series with the same pride and level of performance he demands in every hand-carved bass that leaves his shop. As a testament to that fact, Andrew won’t ship ANY of his Essence basses without his hands having been on them for QC and final setup. THAT’S how much he cares about his basses and his customers. And THAT’S what makes the Anaconda Ultra J5 Essence THE best mid-priced professional five-string bass guitar on the market today. It is also why, after all those years ago, on that late evening outside of a NAMM convention hall—catching my first very glimpse of that award-winning Ultra J4E-Elite, Andrew Taylor-Cummings and Anaconda Basses had me at “here— you have GOT to try this bass ….”

SPECIFICATIONS: 

  • Body: Alder 
  • Neck – Maple Bolt-on 
  • Dual carbon fiber rods 
  • Frets: 4 & 5 string – 21 Frets, 6 String – 24 Frets. 
  • Scale length: 4 string – 34″, 5 & 6 String – 34.5″ 
  • Fingerboard: Maple or Indian Laurel 
  • Fingerboard radius: 4 String – 16″, 5 String – 20″, 6 String – 20″. 
  • Block Markers: Pearloid or black 
  • Binding: White or black 
  • Pickups: 4 String (Anaconda AC4-TN), 5 String (Anaconda AC5-TN), 6 Strings (Anaconda AC6SB-TN) All Hum-cancelling. 
  • Preamp: New for 2023: Anaconda AC3-TZ Active 3-Band Preamp. Vol/Passive Tone, Pickup Blend, Mid 250Hz/800Hz push/pull, Stacked Treble/Bass, Bright switch (optional), Gain Trim Pot, Battery life LED Indicator (optional). 
  • Tuners: Lightweight Gotoh GB528 RES-O-LITE 
  • String Tree: Hipshot 
  • Bridge: Sung Il BB009 Bridge (4 string), Sung Il Monorail Saddles (5 & 6 String). All 19mm Spacing 
  • String Spacing: 19mm spacing at bridge (4, 5 & 6 String) 
  • Tusq Nut: 40mm (1.575”) Nut width (4 String), 48mm [1.89”] (5 String), 52mm [2.047”] (6 String) 
  • Strings: D’Addario EXL165 Nickel Bass Strings 
  • Finish: Range of Bursts, Solid color, Gloss or Satin 
  • Gig bag: Anaconda Gig Bag, 25mm padding 
  • Weight: Approximate weight 4.0-4.4 Kg. (8.818 – 9.7lbs) 

For pricing and more information, visit online at anacondabasses.co.uk/essence-series-basses


About Kenery Kent Smith

As a music industry veteran, Chicago-based Kenery Kent Smith is an accomplished professional bassist of 40 + years. His musical résumé includes performances with artists ranging from Neo-Soul diva (and former Erykah Badu background vocalist) YahZarah, to Acid Jazz pioneers Liquid Soul; from world-famous comedian Bernie Mac to Grammy Award-winning Gospel recording artist Darius Brooks. He has toured extensively throughout both the US and Europe, helmed a successful New Jazz band Detour JazFunk for 15 years, and has left his groovalicious low-end mark on many an artist’s recordings and projects.  Being a world-class musician was not enough self-expression for him, so Kenery has also become a self-appointed “Worderer” as well, sharing words of encouragement and enlightenment as a co-author in the Amazon Best Seller book, “Lessons for The Little Boy” by author Jaime Gill— and he will do so again in his forthcoming memoir and self-help-ish book entitled, “I Said What I Said.”

Visit online at k2sproductions.com

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

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Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Joyo Scylla Compressor: When Quality meets Budget-Friendly

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the diverse landscape of effects pedals for bass guitar, finding a compressor that strikes the balance between performance, versatility, and affordability can often feel like a daunting task. 

However, amidst the sea of options, one pedal stood out as a true diamond in the rough – the Joyo Scylla compressor. Despite its wallet-friendly price tag, the Scylla boasts a great array of features and controls typically reserved for pedals with much higher costs. Let’s take a closer look at why the Joyo Scylla is turning heads and earning praise among bassists on a budget.

Specs: The Joyo Scylla compressor measures in at 109 * 72 * 48 mm and weighs a mere 234g, making it both compact and lightweight – perfect for gigs or studio sessions where space is at a premium. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Scylla is efficient and versatile, compatible with a wide range of pedalboard setups.

Controls: What sets the Scylla apart from its direct competitors is its comprehensive control set, offering bassists a good amount of flexibility in shaping their sound. With six knobs, the Scylla allows for a very precise adjustment of key parameters:

  • Input Gain: Adjusts the amount of signal being fed into the compressor.
  • Output Volume: Controls the makeup gain after compression, ensuring consistent output levels.
  • Compression Ratio: Unlike traditional compressor pedals with preset ratio options, the Scylla features a continuous knob, allowing for seamless adjustment from subtle compression to limiter-like effects.
  • Attack and Release: Determine how quickly the compression engages and releases, offering a range of tonal possibilities from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle.
  • Output Tone Control: A unique feature not commonly found in compressor pedals, the tone knob adjusts the coloration of the compressed signal, adding warmth or brightness to your bass tone.
  • LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal, adding a touch of visual flair to their setup.
  • Performance: In practice, the Joyo Scylla delivers where it matters most – in sound quality and performance. Whether you’re aiming for a tight, punchy bass sound or smooth, sustained notes, the Scylla excels in providing transparent compression that enhances your playing without sacrificing dynamics. The granular control offered by its knobs allows for precise tailoring of compression settings to suit a wide range of playing styles and musical genres.
  • Pros: The Scylla’s strengths lie in its granular control, versatility, and compact design. Its sturdy build quality and diminutive size make it a welcome addition to any pedalboard, occupying minimal real estate without compromising on functionality. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Scylla is its price point. Despite offering professional-grade features, the Scylla remains accessible to bassists of all budgets.
  • Cons: While the Joyo Scylla excels in many areas, it’s not without its drawbacks. One notable omission is the lack of metering, which may pose a challenge for users seeking visual feedback on compression levels. Additionally, the plastic knobs, while functional, may feel somewhat less premium compared to other pedals. 
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Scylla compressor emerges as a great option in the world of budget-friendly effects pedals for bass guitar. Its comprehensive control set, transparent compression, and compact design make it a compelling choice for bassists seeking professional-grade performance without breaking the bank. From its intuitive interface to its thoughtful touches like the tone knob and customizable LED lighting, the Scylla delivers a level of versatility and functionality that belies its modest price tag. For bassists looking to elevate their tone without compromising on quality or affordability, the Joyo Scylla compressor is a clear standout.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/265.html

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Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

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String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

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Bass Videos

Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

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Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

CrystalBright Rombo Picks

PR Sample

Playing bass with a pick is still a touchy subject in our community. I believe you should be able to use whatever you need to get your sound. Even though I mostly play with my fingers, I like to check out innovative new picks that might have something new to offer, sonically speaking.

Judith and Carlos from Rombo recently contacted me about a new material called CrystalBright that they have been researching for the last 12 months and offered to send some prototype picks. After trying them out, I put together this video with my findings.

For more info check out @rombopicks

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