Monday, August 9, 2010

MusicMan Month: Dargie Delight Bongo Bass

MusicMan Bongo basses are perhaps the least well-known basses around. They were designed in conjunction with BMW, and were introduced in 2003.

Obviously, the shape is distinctive. Ergonomically, they are very comfortable to play. The bodies on these are made of basswood (bass wood!), because it gives good tone, and because it is a bit lighter than other woods. This is helpful because the electronics package is pretty heavy.

The pre-amplifier and pickups are where these basses make the biggest impact on me. These can be very aggressive basses. They have an 18-volt pre-amp, and the pickups use neodymium magnets. With the 4-band equalizer, almost any tone can be dialed in. There are plenty of pickup choices, including single humbucker, double humbucker and a Humbucker/single coil combination. You can also throw in a piezo bridge as an option.

These basses are used by gods of the bass community, including Tony Levin, Cliff Hugo and Dave LaRue.

The bass we are looking at today is a very nice California-made 2007 MusicMan Bongo 4 HS Dargie Delight limited edition bass guitar. MusicMan only built 277 instruments with this finish, and this is one of only 5 Bongo 4 HS basses made in this color.

The craftsmanship is exactly what I expect for an instrument that comes from the folks in San Luis Obispo. It is first-rate. As a big plus, this one weighs in at around 8 ½ pounds.

The humbucker/single coil combination is my favorite on the Bongo. The single coil has a very precise tone, and it can be blended with the humbucker to get any kind of tone that I need.

It is a shame that these do not sell very well, because Bongos are some of the best basses around. I guess too many players are stuck in 1960, and cannot get past the whole Precision/Jazz bass mindset.


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