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This article was originally published in issue #27
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Unlike the NS range, which most bassists will be familiar with, Spector's Coda series, which features both USA premium models and Korean-built examples, have more of a super-jazz vibe to them. The Coda 5 we had in for review down in the Bassment is one of the Korean-made ones. Like the Performer models we've looked at in the past, this one I think will please you, too.
To get straight to the point, this is a crowded market sector - a lot of companies make super-jazz style basses, so we knew the Spector was up against some serious competition. But to save you scrolling through to the end, we reckon it's pretty good and certainly one to put on your shortlist if this is the style of bass that appeals to you.
For our test, we hitched the Coda 5 up to the Aguilar Tonehammer and SL112 cabinet that we also had in for review in this issue and I can tell you they work very well together.
The Coda 5 features a one-piece rock maple neck and a rosewood fretboard. It's not a skinny neck by any means and it felt a little wider than I was expecting. That said, the fret job was tidy with no sharp edges and the frets were nicely dressed. The Coda models have bolt on necks and this version features a solid alder body that I feel works well tonally with the maple neck. It also boasts a very tasty, figured top, the quilting of which is really eye-catching under the transparent black stain finish you can see in the video.
The only downside we could find was that the action on our sample was a bit high on the lower strings and could have benefited from a set-up. Then again, this is one of the reasons why you should always buy from a shop if you can and try to negotiate a set-up to your personal taste - everyone is different!
Electronics on board come courtesy of a pair of EMG HZ single coil pickups that I think sound great. They're wired to Spector's two band active Tonepump Jr circuitry, powered by a 9v battery. I'd recommend looking into the Tonepump series of pre-amplifiers as they're a little more than your average EQ, but for the sake of this review, all you need to know is that they produce a lovely rounded tone and when pushed hard they have a subtle compressing effect not unlike a valve preamp. Bass and treble controls offer boosting of those important bass guitar frequencies and I think the instrument nailed a sought-after tone.
Hardware is all by Spector and is more than adequate for a long life on the road. You get a solid, locking bridge and Spector's own brand of tuners - all of which worked very nicely. Colour options include the black stain you see here as well as a black cherry stain and a natural finish all coated in a clear high gloss.
As you can hear from our video, this is another great sounding bass from Spector. It's aimed at non-boutique buyers but still delivers quality features and tone. It's particularly good to see EMG pickups on board and I think that pre-amp adds a warmth and character that accentuates the instrument's voice.
Although the market for this style of bass is crowded beyond belief, the Spector name adds a certain something and this well made, well specced, bass manages to deliver a bit more than many of its more run of the mill competitors. It's a quality you need to hear and feel for yourself, so do try to get your hands on one and see how it works for you.