Saturday, February 13, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Slim Bawb and the Fabulous Stumpgrinders – Gristle and Guts

Hello!

This CD review was originally published in the October 9, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at www.bluesblastmagazine.com

Slim Bawb and the Fabulous Stumpgrinders – Gristle and Guts

Self release through Swampgrass Records

www.slimbawb.com

11 tracks / 46:30

When thinking of Sacramento, California, high-test swamp music might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but this is where Slim Bawb cut his teeth with the Beer Dawgs, playing five nights a week for 20 years. Their take on swamp rock and blues was a powerful force, enough to gain them entry into the Sacramento Area Music Hall of Fame. But all things change over time, and Slim Bawb (also known as Bob Pearce) moved to Austin, Texas eight years ago, where he founded Swamp Studios and his latest band, Slim Bawb and the Fabulous Stumpgrinders.

Slim Bawb has released six albums, the latest of which is Gristle and Guts. The new Fabulous Stumpgrinders line-up for this CD includes Jay Warren on drums and “Lil” Howard Yeargan on accordion, keyboards, and harmonica. Pearce takes care of the vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, mandola, and the boot bass. The latter is a custom foot-operated bass pedal assembly that Slim Bawb uses to bang out the low end. It might seem weird on paper but it works very well in the real world (and on this disc).

Gristle and Guts includes 11 original tracks, all of them penned by Pearce and Yeargan. This is not unusual, as Slim Bawb has been playing his own music professionally for the last 35 years, which is an impressive feat in this era of used-up cover tunes. And when the first track “Job Job” starts, it is hard to believe that Pearce is a California native, as this song is straight-up Cajun country. Piano and accordion are used to set the mood over some heavy-sounding slide guitar work. Bawb’s voice has a pleasant whiskey rasp, and the lyrics are clever and use good rhyming techniques. By the way, the song is not referring to the Biblical figure, but rather to the idea that “She wants me to get a Job Job.”

One of the standout tracks is “Down to the River,” a gospel-tinged Cajun tune with some super sweet vocal harmonizing by Pearce and Yeargan. This is a fun song with good interplay between the squeezebox and the resonator guitar, with a kicking snare drum driving the way. Bawb also throws in a well-placed mandolin solo, which lends a little folk feel to the proceedings. This is backed up by “Bottle is Home,” a swamp blues track that provides a grim contrast to the hopeful feel set by the previous song. What album would be complete without a song about the misery of the hard-drinking life?

But the Fabulous Stumpgrinders do not limit themselves to bayou music, as they serve up some hearty funk with “Last Call for this Fool,” which features hard-core syncopated electric guitar from Pearce and terrific harp work from Yeargan. They also put together a beautiful ballad, “Redneck Riviera” which may be the best track on the album with its gorgeous melody and laid-back vibe that paints a vivid mental picture. This band is not a one-trick pony by any stretch of the imagination.

The title track, “Gristle and Guts” was written to honor Slim Bawb’s grandson Jon, who was hit by a drunk driver when he was 15. This swamp blues song tells the story of that night in chilling detail, accompanied for the first half by a somber guitar ostinato and a simple kick drum to hold the beat. After this, synthesizers are used to add to the mood and then all hell breaks loose to end the tune on a positive note. By all accounts it was a terrible accident, but fortunately Jon is recovering and getting stronger every day.

Though the spooky accordion-fest “Bayou Shine” is listed as the final song on Gristle and Guts, there is a hidden reprise of “Job Job” for track 11, and it is a jangly 60-hertz snippet with glorious feedback and hiss. It is not exactly something people would buy all by itself, but it is a fun closer and gives and idea of what a neat spirit Slim Bawb has.

Throughout Gristle and Guts, Slim Bawb and the Fabulous Stumpgrinders keep coming up with new musical approaches for each song so that the album never gets dull and it remains consistently entertaining. These guys have made their own niche of Louisiana-style rock and blues, and it works well for them. They are gigging regularly, and their shows are well-reviewed by critics and well-received by their fans, so check out their website for their schedule if you are anywhere near Austin. Also, if you are in the Sacramento Area, Slim Bawb comes back each year for a Beer Dawgs reunion show, so keep your ear to the ground or you might miss it!

Mahalo!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ESP Standard Series Phoenix II B Electric Bass Review

Howdy!

Today we are looking at the ESP Standard Series Phoenix II B bass guitar, which is their take on the Gibson Thunderbird. There were sold from 2009 through 2012 with little success in the US market, though their cheaper LTD version seems to still be doing pretty well. I recently had the chance to pick up a few of these for short money, and cold not resist, as they are really wonderful instruments.

For starters, this is a real live ESP bass, not an LTD model that was made by craftsmen in Japan, not by little kids in some third world country. And every ESP bass (or guitar) I’ve had has been a great player with no cosmetic or functional flaws.

And the Phoenix is no exception: this is a super smooth-playing neck-through bass, and the build quality is first rate. The neck is spot on, with perfect fretwork, and a great action is attainable with a minimum of fussing around. The 2-tone burst finish (black was also available) is deep and gorgeous, though the white pick-guard is a bit too much of a visual contrast for me.

The body is mahogany, and with a modified reverse Thunderbird shape. As I said it is neck-through, and the 34-inch scale maple neck has a bound ebony fretboard. The neck has a thin-U profile with 21 extra-jumbo frets and a 40mm (1 9/16-inch) bone nut. I like the inlays, especially the ESP inlay at the 12th fret, which hearkens back to the ESP 400 models that really made a name for the company.

The hardware is excellent, with a custom high-mass bridge and large-base cloverleaf tuners. Like I said, the white pickguard does not do much for me, but it is a quality multi-ply piece.

The electronics are first-rate, as ESP sourced a pair of EMG 35DC ceramic magnet pickups that are powered by a single 9-volt battery that is hidden by the coolest battery box design that I have ever seen. The wiring and joints are very neat, and the cavity is nicely coated. The controls are two volume pots and a master tone control.

The bass plays wonderfully and sound amazing, and can everything from jazz to blues to rock to metal which only minor adjustments of the knobs and your playing style. It balances much better on a strap than any Gibson I have ever played, which might be due to the 10.5 pounds of fine hardwoods they crammed into this package.

These basses shipped in a black ESP deluxe tolex hardshell case, which is to be expected at this price point. And that price is probably what killed this bass in our market. As you may know, the dollar was really weak around the time these were being built, and ESP needed a lot more dollars to make the same amount of Yen. The list price for the ESP Phoenix II bass was a nut-shrinking $2750, with a street price of $1900. That was Sadowsky Metro series money, so you can see why ESP had a lot of trouble moving these.

Anyway, they are great basses that are as rare as hen’s teeth, so if you see one make sure you get a chance to try it out. You might just like what you hear!

Mahalo!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman – Set Me Free

Hello!

This CD review was originally published in the September 4, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at www.bluesblastmagazine.com

Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman – Set Me Free

Delmark Records

www.stevefreund.com

www.delmark.com

14 tracks / 53:31

Delmark Records has done blues fans a few favors this year as they re-released classic blues records that have previously been unavailable in the digital world. First there was Queen Sylvia and John Embry’s Troubles, and now we get Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman’s Set Me Free, both of which were originally published by Chicago’s Razor Records. This 1983 Freund/Hardiman album has been hidden for too long, and it is quite a collector’s item.

Steve Freund is a legendary Bay Area bluesman, guitarist, and producer, but he was based out of Chicago when he cut Set Me Free, his first album. It was also Hardiman’s vocal debut as she jumped into the music scene after the birth of her twins, and her chemistry with Steve was magical. They were backed by a killer team from the Windy City that was made up of Ken Saydak on piano and organ, the legendary Sunnyland Slim on piano, Sam Burckhardt on sax, Bob Stroger and Harlan Terson on bass, and Eddie Turner on the skins. Those truly were the good old days!

Right from the first track, “You Got Me (Where You Want Me),” it is apparent that Freund had left his Brooklyn upbringing behind, as only a Chicagoan can make this kind of blues. His guitar work is razor sharp and his timing is impeccable, things that would make him welcome in any blues band. The other eye-opener is how unbelievable it is that this is Hardiman’s first album because her voice is powerful and sassy, with a confidence that is contagious.

Sunnyland Slim makes his first appearance on Jimmy Rogers’ slow-rolling “That’s All Right.” Freund was Slim’s guitarist back then, and this is fortunate as his presence on this disc is a real treat. It is neat to hear this song sung from a woman’s perspective, and Gloria nails it. Also, Freund’s guitar is played with perfect phrasing and feel over the rock solid backline of Stroger on bass and Fred Grady on the drums. These guys also pitch in on the Slim’s other songs: the original instrumental “Jammin’ with Sam” and Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used to Do.” Surprisingly, this last song is the only time that Freund takes the vocals on this album, and he does Guitar Slim proud with his wailing tenor.

Hardiman gets to shine on nine of the tracks, though, and her most notable contribution is on King Curtis’ “Let Me Down Easy.” Gloria had a strong gospel background before she hooked up with Steve, and she brought this with a heart dose of soul as Ken Saydak rolled out a gospel-inspired piano accompaniment. A close second is her respectful take on Aretha Franklin’s “Dr. Feelgood,” which will give you goosebumps.

Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Kidney Stew Blues” is the final song from the original release, and this instrumental is one of the standout tracks of the album. Harlan Terson holds down a solid bass line on this one as Saydak and Freund trade leads with Sam Burckhardt’s sublime tenor saxophone. This is some of the finest instrumental blues that you will come across.

The original album had ten tracks, but the CD re-issue lists four bonus songs that include the previously unreleased “Homework” and “Kiddio” and two songs from a Ken Saydak 45 record (remember those?), “Shoppin’ and Snackin’” and “Swanee River Boogie.”

It must have been a hard choice to leave the first two songs off the original cut of Set Me Free, but perhaps their 1960s sound just did not fit in when all was said and done. Gary Heller and Freund get a few good guitar licks in on Otis Rush’s “Homework,” but Hardiman takes the lead with a firm hand and gorgeous supporting vocals from Diane Homes and Gail Washington. And Brook Benton’s “Kiddio” is extra tight with honkytonk piano from Saydak and hard drum fills from Eddie Turner. Both of these tracks feature the extra cool harmonica stylings of Mr. Ron Sorin, and it is a shame that this is the first time his work on this project has been available to the public.

Chances are good that you never heard the two Ken Saydak songs before, and this is a fabulous opportunity. “Shoppin’ and Snackin’” is one of the funniest songs you will find, and Saydak goes all the places musicians fear to tread, singing about patriotism, race and religion in his pleasant tenor range. Of course he does it with his piano supporting him, not to mention a solid guitar performance from Bob Levis. “Swanee River Boogie” brings the disc to a close, and Saydak does a wonderful job on this instrumental that turns out at least as good as Fats Domino’s version. His piano work stands on its own in this solo performance, and he can certainly throw down a serious boogie that could shake a piano to pieces.

Set Me Free is an incredible album, and it is easy to see how it propelled Steve Freund into a stellar career that includes seven of his own albums and production credit on dozens more. But it is also a wonderful snapshot in time, with heart wrenching vocals from Gloria Hardiman, phenomenal keys from Ken Saydak, and a chance to hear Sunnyland Slim accompanied by a certifiably dangerous band. There is a good reason why the original LP is so collectible and this CD is a must-have for any blues collection. If you are a fan of the genre I guarantee that you will listen to it more than once!

Mahalo!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sennheiser HD 218i On Ear Headphones Review

Howdy!

Ear buds are the most convenient way to take your sound with you, but they are usually uncomfortable, especially for extended trips. But there are some nice options for lightweight over the ear headphones, such as the industry standard Koss Portapros. I recently picked up a pair of Sennheiser HD 218i phone, and they are working out to be a good compromise for travel. I already own a few pairs of Sennheiser headphones – the HD 228, HD 299, HD 280 and HD 380 models, and they are really a phenomenal value.

The HD 218i headphones have a compact over-the-ear design, and fold flat to make them a little more portable for travel. They are only available in black (as far as I can tell), and come with a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) Apple-style jack on the end of a 4 foot (1.2-meter) single-sided cable. It does not look like the cable or the vinyl ear pieces are replaceable, so these will probably not last for the rest of your life.

These cans are very lightweight (under 4 ounces), and with the padded headband and swiveling ear cups they are super comfortable. They are springy enough to stay on at the gym or while walking, but not so tight that they hurt. I have worn these for hours on end (including a few 10 hour flights) with no problems.

Neodymium magnets are used for higher output, and specs-wise, there is nothing unusual going on with these dynamic headphones. They have a frequency response of 19,000 to 21,000 Hz and they are capable of putting out 108 dB. Total harmonic distortion is supposed to be less than 0.5% with 100 dB at 1000Hz. These phones have 32 Ω of resistance, so they are loud enough for travel, (32 ohms is as high as I would want to go with headphones for an iPod).

The biggest difference between these and the other low-end Sennheiser headphone is that these are designed for use with Apple products. There is a module built into the cable that has a microphone and controls for volume, play/pause, and skipping to the next track. It works very well, and I have used it with iPods, my iPhone, and my newer Macbook Pro with no problems at all. Pretty much none of these features will work on an Android phone, so keep that in mind.

I have burned them in for around 100 hours, and they loosened up quite a bit and sound much better than they did out of the box. I use them or traveling on planes and at the gym, and though they do not have big ear cups, they provide pretty good isolation and not much leakage to annoy my neighbors.

Sennheiser says that the HD 229 phones “bombastic bass-driven stereo sound” and are “optimized for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and CD players.” Well, they sound good with my iPhone and my laptop, but I would not say the bass performance is excellent. I did try them with a few different headphone amplifiers and they really perked up, but that is not really the sort of use these phones were designed for.

They do, however, have a nice crisp tone with good enough bass. I hear some mid-range resonance, and they are not nearly as good as any of my over the ear Sennheisers, but they were never supposed to be as good. The HD 218i are cheaper, more portable phones so I did not expect miracles. All-in-all, they are a good value.

The Sennheiser HD 218i headphones have a list price of $64.95 and they sell for around 30 bucks on Amazon. For the price range and portability they are very good, but if you want heavy sound, spend another 50 bucks and get a pair of HD 228 Pro headphones (but they will be bigger). But, if you crave portability and comfort, these are a great value.

Mahalo!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2015 GS Mini-E Mahogany Acoustic Guitar Review

Hello!

I have spent a lot of time trying out travel guitars, and have played everything that Martin and Taylor have to offer. A while back I picked upa mahogany-topped GS Mini-e acoustic, and thought it was about time that I shared the results with the world.

Taylor guitars are fantastic instruments, and though the sound of their full-sized guitars is not my cup of tea, they have untold numbers of devotees that will say that I am full of it (and maybe I am). Most Taylor guitars are built in their San Diego, California factory, but some of their lower-priced instruments are built just across the border in Tecate, Mexico. These include the 100 and 200 series instruments, as well as the Baby Taylor and the GS Mini models.

For a travel guitar the GS Mini is awfully big -- most parlor and travel guitars are called ¾-sized guitars, and I call this one 7/8-sized. It has a 23.5-inch scale, and it measures almost 5 inches deep with a 15 inch wide body. For me, this disqualifies it as an airline travel guitar.

But, the Taylor GS Mini is a nice instrument, and it has a definite role to play in the musical world. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at how this thing is put together.

GS Minis are available with either a spruce or a tropical mahogany top, and I chose the one with the solid mahogany top. The top has X braces to keep everything together while still allowing it to vibrate well. The back and sides are made with a sapele laminate, which ends up looking like mahogany to me. The body has a tasteful black and while purfling, a simple rosette and a tortoise shell pickguard. The whole this has an even coating of matte-finish varnish.

The neck and heel are also made of sapele, and the fretboard is hewn from ebony, which is surprising on a guitar at this price point. The nut is a bit narrow at 1 11/16 inches width, but combining this with the shallow V profile of the neck you end up with a guitar that is nice for those with smaller hands. There are 20 frets standard-sized Taylor frets, and you will find 14 of them free from the body. The headstock has a simple overlay with a screen printed logo, and sealed-back chrome tuners. They are unbranded, but seem to be good quality, and they hold tune well between practice sessions.

The craftsmanship is up to Taylor’s high standards, with an even finish and a truly terrific job with the fretwork. The Tusq nut and compensated bridge are perfect, and this GS Mini came out of the box with a surprisingly playable low action with the OEM Elixir medium gauge Nanoweb strings.

Playability is also top-notch, taking into account the narrower neck, which makes fingerstyle a little more difficult for clumsy chaps like myself. This is a very easy to play instrument. This one came with a slightly higher action, so it was easier to dig in and I really like the way it plays.

The sound is amazingly big for a smaller guitar, living up to the GS in its name (Grand Symphony). This is helped by the big soundhole and the rounded back, the shape of which eliminates the need for back bracing. Of course the bass is not terribly thunderous, but it certainly has an even tone across the strings when playing with light to medium intensity.

The sound is big, and is a bit more sterile than the spruce top model. It lacks the warmth that I like in my little Martin, and it definitely sounds better plugged in, which is where the “-e” in the model name comes from.

The electronics package for the GS Mini-e is the Taylor ES-T system. This is an under-saddle transducer with individual elements for each string. The onboard preamp is powered by a 9-volt battery, with a battery life LED power indicator (which is lit when the battery is being used). The pickup also has a phase switch for feedback control, which is located on the preamp board inside the soundhole. It has a very clean and natural sound, and I have not run into any problems with feedback as I have experimented with it.

In case you were wondering, these guitars ship in a surprisingly sturdy padded soft case. Like all Taylor soft cases, it is that terrible tan color than gets dirty as soon as it comes out of the factory shipping box. It does a nice job of protecting the guitar, though

So, where does the Taylor GS Mini E fit in if it is too big to take on the plane? Well, it would still be great for a car trip, or if you have to lug your guitar around on the subway or bus. But where it really works is as a modern day parlor guitar. Its small size makes it great for kicking around the house, and as I said it would be a good guitar for smaller people. If you set it up with light gauges strings, it would be a great instrument for lucky kids and beginners.

The Taylor GS Mini has a list price of $828 and a street price of $629, which includes the aforementioned gig bag. Though I do not consider it to be the world’s greatest travel guitar, it is a very nice instrument that would be great for smaller-statured players, or for general playing around the house of campfire. Try one out, and see for yourself!

Mahalo!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Chris Bergson Band – Live at Jazz Standard

Hello!

This CD review was originally published in the August 28, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at www.bluesblastmagazine.com

Chris Bergson Band – Live at Jazz Standard

Innsbruck Records

www.chrisbergson.com

www.innsbruckrecords.com

15 tracks / 62:45

It is not hard to find a great blues or rock guitarist, and tracking down a good singer and front man is a little harder, but they are out there. Songwriting clinics crank out more than enough new writers every week, and some of them can actually pen really nice tunes. But, finding a talented guitarist that is also an effective leader, singer, and songwriter is not an easy task, which makes Chris Bergson a true find!

Bergson is a New York City native who has lived in the tri-state area for his whole life, and who has been recording his music for the past 20 years. Chris’ playing has deep roots, and he is more than proficient in all genres of music, and he is even a faculty member of NYC’s 92Y (serving the community for 140 years), teaching jazz, rock and blues guitar. He has worked and played with the big names in the business, including B.B. King, Etta James, Norah Jones, The Band’s Levon Helm, and Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist, Hubert Sumlin. He has recorded six studio albums, including the award-winning Fall Changes and Imitate the Sun.

This time around the Chris Bergson Band gives up a dose of their stage show with Live at Jazz Standard. This New York City club has been his home base for the past 10 years, and he drew these 15 tracks from two shows last summer. His usual four-piece group was up front, including Chris on vocals and guitars, Craig Dreyer on keys, Matt Clohesy on bass and Tony Leone behind the drum kit. They were joined on these gigs by the fine horn section of Ian Hendrickson-Smith and David Luther on sax, and Grammy winner Freddie Hendrix on trumpet. Roman Klun recorded and mixed this CD, and acted as co-producer with Bergson.

The first track on the disc is “Greyhound Station” and the band opens strong. Even though the club is called Jazz Standard and Chris was appointed the U.S. Jazz Ambassador by the Kennedy Center, this show is nothing but killer funky blues. After the guitar-heavy intro Bergson launches into the vocals and he belts them out convincingly with harmonies courtesy of Tony Leone. Chris also tears out a hard-hitting solo and lead licks throughout. This is one of the seven songs he co-wrote with his wife, Kate Ross – in fact this album was mostly written by Bergson, with eight all-new songs, and five older tunes that have been extensively remodeled.

After the horn-heavy “Mr. Jackson” (with horn arrangements by Jay Collins) the band is joined by special guest vocalist Ellis Hooks for “The Only One.” Hooks’ glorious voice pairs well with Bergson’s, and there is a Sam and Dave good times vibe at work here. The backline of Clohesy and Leone is spot-on but never goes over the top as this show is all about the songs, and the musicians are there to help tell the story, not to show off.

There is a touching moment as Chris puts Tennessee Williams’ poem “Heavenly Grass” to music. He plays a mean delta-style acoustic guitar against a sparse backdrop of bass, drums and just enough Wurlitzer of Craig Dreyer. This slow roller features extended solos from Bergson and Dreyer and is a nice partner to the next track, the soulful and inspirational “High Above the Morning.”

The two non-originals on Live at Jazz Standard are the harmony-heavy traditional “Corinna” and Ronnie Shannon’s “Baby, I Love You.” The latter is an instrumental that allows Bergson to spit out sharp lead licks on his guitar over the punctuation provided by the ultra tight horn section. The vocals leading up to this point were so compelling that the musicians were appropriately playing a supporting role, and it is nice to hear the band cut loose a little!

The heavy funk of “Christmas in Bethlehem, PA” makes sure that this is nothing like any holiday song you have heard before. Dreyer’s 1970s organ sound, Bergson’s processed guitar and Leone’s massive snare set the stage for Hendrix, who channels his inner Maynard Ferguson. The lyrics are full of hard luck and longing, and Chris sings them with all of his heart.

The final two cuts on the album are “The Bungler” and “Gowanus Heights,” both Bergson/Ross songs from his acclaimed breakthrough album from 2008, Fall Changes. Listening to these cuts is a reminder of what a well recorded, mixed and mastered album this is. The sound is clear, no instrument or voice seems too loud or soft, and there is a logical progression to the songs with natural sounding breaks in between. Kudos go out to Klun for his recording and mixing, and to Chris Gehringer for his mastering work – professionals like these guys make all the difference in the world.

Live at Jazz Standard is a fine piece of work from Chris Bergson, providing a realistic overview of his career to date, and it is much more relevant than any “Best Of” or “Greatest Hits” album could be. Most artists would be content to rehash old stuff, but the Chris Bergson Band stepped up and provided more than enough new material for their old fans to enjoy. For those who were not fans before, this disc will convert them into believers and it may convince them to seek out his catalogue and maybe even inspire them to catch a live show the next time they are in New York City!

Mahalo!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fender Japan JB75B-100US Jazz Bass Review

Hiya!

I have always been a big fan of Fender of Japan, and today we are looking at one of their 1975 re-issue Fender Jazz Basses, model JB75B-100US. This model was never intended to be exported into the United States, and my friend Bruce in Tokyo found it for me. This is a fairly recent example, though later ones have been hard to date, as the serial number prefixes do not seem to mean much anymore. I figure it is around 5 years old, for what it is worth.

A casual look might lead you to believer that this is a Geddy Lee artist model, as it is a black Jazz with a black blocked and bound neck, but it is not. It has a conventional bridge, no signature on the back of the headstock, and a normal profile neck. It also has US pickups that are a definite upgrade from the Geddy models I have owned and played.

I have been unable to find specifications on this model, but chances are good that the body is alder, though ash is a possibility as this thing is the heaviest bass I have ever owned. Really – it comes in at over 13 pounds!

The original black poly finish is almost perfect, and there are no signs of playwear. The bound neck and frets are also in great shape, and the frets are level and well finished on the edges. The neck pocket fit is tight, and this is one of the cases where the fit and finish of Fender Japan instruments is indeed better than the US-made ones. With its full-sized chrome tuners, this one has just the right look and it is a doppelganger for Geddy’s 72 Jazz that he picked up from a pawnshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan for $200.

It plays absolutely killer, and sounds incredible. It far outshines any of the Geddy Lee Artist Model basses I have seen and played. These are hard to come by, and I have never seen on in the states. If you are looking for a good Jazz Bass, it would be worth importing one of these. Just be sure that you ask how much it weighs first.

Mahalo!