Read the full article
This article was originally published in issue #18
To read the article in its entirety, view the digital magazine
A Spector bass at a very affordable price? Dan Veall gets to grips with the easy going living legend.
This latest Spector bass to have been loaned to us down at the Bassment really does nail the 'no nonsense' tag. It's clean, useable, a great looking instrument and, most important of all, it delivers a superb bass tone.
I've always loved the Spector designed headstock of these models and that sleek body outline. A clean black look on the headstock, complete with the Spector logo and those small, light weight black tuning keys that lend the bass to good balance when sat down and offer no additional stress when stood up with a strap. It's just neat.
The neck itself is a pretty standard three-piece maple type, laminated for strength - a traditional formula that has certainly stood the test of time, so no issue there! Likewise, a rosewood fingerboard with a 16" radius, home to 24 well dressed frets. Dot markers are also simple, clean pearl dots marking up the 34" scale length fret positions.
The neck is nicely rounded, not chunky, with a slim, fast feel that I think will appear effortless to play - particularly with a set-up as good as that on the review bass we had. That's a lovely low action and I hope they are all like that!
Moving on to the body, there's more to enjoy, but it posed us a few problems trying to identify! According to Spector's website, the version we had was solid maple with a maple top. However, mistakenly, I referred to it as quilted in the video (though I must admit I had my doubts) because that was what had been suggested. After much digging around, however, it seems that the model we reviewed had actually has a solid maple body with a bubinga stain. Apologies for the misunderstanding - the pressures of when that red light is on in front of the camera, hey! (stop making excuses - Ed)
Anyway, on to the mystery body is fixed a nice chunky quick-release bridge and of course pickups and electronics in a separate cavity. EMG provides two 'Stuart Spector Designed' passive dual coil pickups. They are similar to the EMG HZ range but feature more mid-range frequencies - added 'growl' you could say! They are paired with a Spector TonePump Jr active pre-amp, featuring cut and boost for bass and treble frequencies. Like the TonePump pre-amp, there are no centre detents. I remember reading somewhere that Spector encourages you to find your own settings without having a 'centre zero' position to be guided by. Be that as it may, personally I'd have liked to have that centre click to use as a guide on a bass that has unmarked knobs.
The Spector SL4 CLBB highlights a problem we are running into increasingly on Guitar Interactive. There really isn't much around these days that isn't pretty damn good - certainly compared with the standards of the past! If you ever wonder why so many products get similar ratings, it's because what separates them isn't anything physical - it's just whether they suit your personal taste. This Spector Legend is typical. It's a very good bass that arrived perfectly set-up from the UK distributor and there is really nothing at all to find fault with. It's a no-nonsense instrument where everything just does what it needs to. You may feel a bit limited if you are after a wider tonal palette, but the core sound with both pickups on is full with the option of a little rasp if you dig in hard. If you are looking for a gigging bass which gives you that little extra happy swagger of a prestige name on the headstock, this has got to be on your shortlist.