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Review: Anaconda Basses Ultra J5 Essence Bass



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 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.


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 ….”


  • 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

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

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass



Gear Review: Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass Review…

Throughout the evolution of music, bass players have sought tools to sculpt and enhance their sonic landscapes, and one indispensable ally in this pursuit has been compression. Origin Effects, a name synonymous with premium audio craftsmanship, introduces the Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor, a pedal that pays homage to the legacy of compression and brings forth a new chapter in bass sonic mastery.

As we delve into the world of the Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor, we’ll explore how Origin Effects seamlessly weaves together the heritage of compression and contemporary bass demands, promising a pedal that not only honors the past but propels your bass playing into the future. Join us on this sonic expedition as we dissect the nuances of the Cali76 Compact and uncover the secrets it holds for bass players seeking the perfect blend of vintage warmth and modern versatility.

For Starters, the Cali76 is a studio-grade FET compressor pedal, based on the classic Urei 1176, but with some features optimized for bass guitar. For those of you who are not familiar with it, a FET (Field Effect Transistor) compressor is essentially a solid-state tube compressor emulation that allows for fast and precise control over the attack and the release parameters; allows for extreme compression ratios; and finally adds the typical 1176 color and character to the sound.

Together with the common controls we see in most compressor pedals – Ratio, Attack/Release, input (just like the original 1176, the threshold in this pedal is fixed), and output (makeup gain). The Cali76 offers two more controls dedicated to us bass players.

A Dry control – This allows us to mix in our dry, uncompressed signal to the pedal output. This is great for when we want to add back some of our playing dynamics to the compressed sound or for when you want some volume back in situations where the compression starts taking away the volume.

A High Pass Filter control – Low frequencies on a bass guitar signal normally overwhelm compressors. This high pass filter allows the compressor to only react to higher frequencies, which helps preserve the natural dynamics of our playing while keeping the low end intact.

Metering on this pedal can be a bit hard to get used to at first. There’s a single LED light on the pedal, that not only serves as an On/Off light, but it’s also our meter. It glows red when no compression is applied and orange for active compression. The brighter the light, the greater the amount of gain reduction. Yellow signifies that the gain reduction reached 27dB and maximum reduction occurs around 38 dB.

In practical terms, it’s all about working with the input and the LED to find the sweet spot (turn the input to zero, start playing and slowly increase the input level until you start seeing the LED glowing orange, which means there’s reduction going on).

With 6 highly interactive knob controls, this pedal implies some degree of compressor knowledge and also some amount of tweaking and experimentation to find the perfect settings. The good news is that it is very hard to make this pedal sound bad…

It can go from very subtle compression settings to very extreme, and it can do everything in between. Also, the team at Origin has been kind enough to add a couple of sample settings in the manual to get players started and to help us understand better how the pedal works.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Dynamic Control is a setting that provides natural compression, balancing dynamics between various playing techniques. It is a subtle compression that will work almost out of the box almost all the time. Having a medium setting for the High Pass Filter ensures an honest translation of the lower string dynamics.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Parallel compression is a popular studio technique, where both compressed and natural signals are blended. We get the sound and feel of hard compression while retaining the natural playing dynamics.

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass

Percussive, lively & Fat is a setting that uses a slower attack time to accentuate the start of any note. Then using a fast release allows the compressor to recover between notes so that the phrases sound more percussive. Ideal for slapping and other percussive techniques.

Finally, I would like to mention the classic 1176 tonal coloration. It’s not a secret that engineers all around would sometimes use the 1176 compressor, without applying any compression, just to get the tonal coloration into the instrument sound.

And the Cali76 compressor is no different, it has such a rich, warm, and full coloration that’s super pleasing to the ear and makes you want to have it ON all the time. So be aware, that if you want a transparent compressor, this pedal is not for you!

All in all, it is easy to understand why this pedal became a favorite of so many bass players around the world. The Cali76 Compact stands as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and thoughtful engineering that Origin Effects is renowned for. It seamlessly navigates through the rich history of compression, offering bass players a gateway to the soulful resonance of the past while empowering them to sculpt a contemporary sonic future.

Whether you’re a seasoned bass maestro or a budding virtuoso, the Cali76 Compact invites you to embark on a sonic journey where every note is held in a delicate balance between tradition and innovation. As we bid farewell to our exploration, we do so with the realization that the Cali76 Compact is more than just a pedal; it’s a sonic companion that elevates the artistry of bass playing

For more information, visit online at

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Gear Reviews

Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review



Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review

Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass Review…

Not long ago, I did a review of the Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass and I have just been given the honor and privilege of reviewing the Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass. I have to say, another great bass from Spector that is hard to put down! While there are some similarities between both basses, there are also some noticeable differences which is why I believe having both is essential to any bass arsenal.

Spector, widely used by many rock and metal bassists like Ian Hill, Alex Webster, Colin Edwin, Doug Wimbish, and many more, just to name a few, has a long-standing in these genres. Well, that’s about to change! The bass I used for the review, didn’t see any of those genres, matter of fact, I used it on a few classic country gigs and at church too! However, when at home in the studio, I let the funk out. The NS Ethos HP 4 Bass is an all-around great bass for any genre and will not disappoint.

Let’s get into the specs about the bass, and here we will find the differences between the HP 5 Bass and the HP 4.

Forget that one is a 5 string, while the other is a 4, while that is a difference, that’s not one that I feel needs to be noted as both models are available as 4 and 5 strings. The Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass has a 34” scale, 24 fret, 3 piece maple neck through construction with solid alder wings, ebony fingerboard along with centered and side dots and the 12th fret Spector logo inlay with a brass nut.

While the pickups are different as the NS Dimension HP 5 Bass uses the EMG 45DC and the NS Ethos HP 4 Bass sports the EMG 35DC pickups, they are the same pickup configurations, the difference being, one for 4 string, the other for 5 string. The electronics are the same, consisting of a Darkglass Tone Capsule preamp which consists of +-12dB @70Hz for Bass, +-12dB @500Hz for Mids, and +-12dB @2.8kHz for Hi Mids. Controls for Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass consist of Master Volume, Blend, Bass, Mid, and Hi Mid controls. The electronics are powered by a 9-volt battery.

The bridge is a Hi-Mass locking bridge with intonation screws and the tuners are sealed die-cast. All hardware is black. Same as the Spector NS Dimension HP 5 Bass, the HP 4 Bass is available in 4 different finishes, White Sparkle Gloss, Gunmetal Gloss, Plum Crazy Gloss & Black Gloss. The bass also comes with a very nice and well-padded gig bag.

Check out the Spector NS Ethos HP 4 Bass at a Spector Music Retailer today near you or visit online at

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Gear Reviews

Review: Italia Leather Straps



Review: Italia Leather Straps

Italia Leather Straps…

Whenever I get a new bass, I like to get a new strap to christen it and I also like to find one that is “color coordinated” to my new instrument. I recently had a 6-string fretless bass created by a local luthier named Frank Brocklehurst, which started my search for a new strap.

There are a few points that I always look for when searching for a new strap. 

3-Great color

My most recent quest put me in touch with “Italia Leather Straps.” Italia has been in business in California for about 20 years and has been selling factory direct for the past 18 years.

When you order your strap it begins its “made to order” build process and after shipping more than 50,000 straps they certainly have it well in hand!

To answer my 4 questions regarding comfort, Italia uses some of the most comfortable and luxurious leather in a wide variety of colors. I was able to match almost perfectly the color of my bass and the color of the leather.

You can order it in either a 2.5” or 4” width as well as a standard and long model for tall players. I prefer the 4” for all of my basses. 

I received my strap and I must tell you, the leather was soft, supple, and truly comfortable when I attached it to my bass.

I must commend Italia Leather Straps for their attention to detail and beautiful selection of leather. I would say that when you go looking for a new strap, these guys should be on your shortlist.

Call or visit Italia Leather Straps online:

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Bass Videos

Review: The Fuchs FBT-700 Bass Amps



Review: The Fuchs FBT-300 and FBT-700 Bass Amps

Fuchs FBT-700 Bass Amps…

Much like our original ODS amps were initially inspired by the legendary Dumble amps, the new Fuchs FBS-1 bass amps have found their inspiration from the iconic Walter Woods © bass amps, but with Andy’s own enhancements.

Andy tapped his years of experience as a working musician, as well as servicing and tweaking guitar and bass amps for many famous clients as diverse as Carlos Santana through jammers like Jimmy Herring, including jazz legends like Dave Stryker for over 40 years as inspiration for our new bass amps. Fuchs’ 20-year list of reviews and endorsers is truly impressive to say the least.

Not unlike the iconic Walter Woods © amps the FBS-300 and FBS-700 amps are designed for maximum power at minimal size and weight. For years, the rare and coveted Woods amps have built a following amongst industry professionals. They were literally the first switch mode class-D style lightweight bass amps ever. Due to Walter being reclusive and now retired, these amps found their way to Andy’s shop to be repaired. While servicing them Andy was able to reverse engineer the preamp and power supply. Mated to a modern lightweight ICE power digital power module we have produced an amp that Woods owners agree, is equal (if not better) than their predecessors.

The FBS-1 bass amps (and our FBT tube bass amps) share identical panels and chassis and are available in 300 and 700-watt models, they feature a solid-state preamp inspired by the infamous Walter Woods © amps, but with improvements like a steep-slope subsonic filter and a DI output using high-speed audiophile op amps and a regulated power supply. The DI output is electrically balanced pre/post switch, ground lift, DI Phase, and a global mute switch.

Small and light, (downright diminutive) at less than 5-lbs and 12 x 3 x 9, they are loud and clean. Want some dirt? Raise the input gain and lower the master volume. Want total clean, lower the input gain and raise the master. They are super easy to operate, and the FBS-1  amps will easily fit in a gig bag, run ice-cold, and feature a well-thought-out, simple configuration for the working musician. A Fuchs gig bag designed for all models is coming soon.

These amps feature an input gain control allowing both passive and active bass use, Baxandall (shelving eq) high and low controls, a parametric rotary midrange control with level and frequency control and an output master volume. With the midrange pot in the ‘0’ position the circuit is flat. In this mode the bass and treble pots emulate the classic Woods and B-15 style amps we know and love. Use the mid circuit for boost and cut of up to 20 db at a fully adjustable frequency.

All models use the industry-standard Ice power modules, which are known for their rock-solid reliability and excellent cool-running, audio performance. These amps feature a buffered patch loop between the preamp and power amp. All amps offer worldwide automatic line voltage selection. Wherever you are, they automatically set their own line voltage. All amps are CE and RoHs compliant.

FBT-300 6 lbs 12 x 3 x 9 chassis. FBT-700 6 lbs 12 x 3 x 9 chassis.

FBT-300: 300W at 1% THD+N, 4Ohm • 260W at 0.1% THD+N, 4Ohm • 380W at 10% THD+N, 4Ohm • 450W at 1% THD+N, 2.7Ohm (Approximately ½ half this value at 8-ohms).

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Bass Videos

Review: Ampeg V12 Bass Amp & VB 115 Cab



Review: Ampeg V12 Bass Amp & VB 115 Cab

A video review of the Ampeg V12 Bass Amp & VB-115 Cab from the new Venture Series.

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