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This article was originally published in issue #27
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If you're an avid reader of Guitar Interactive's rolling news bulletins on our main website (and who isn't? - www.iguitarmag.com - Ed) you may well have spotted our recent post about the latest models available from Vintage. It seemed only fitting that we should get one in for you to check out, so here we have the single pickup V80 model.
Straight off the bat, it's a simple, well made, no-nonsense design which is still capable of a range of usable voices.
Underneath the solid coloured finish is a basswood body onto which is bolted a Canadian hard maple neck featuring a rosewood fingerboard with 23 1/2 frets. The 34” scale bass is incredibly light and given the Wilkinson hardware is well balanced, with no real neck dive. The profile of the neck I would suggest is more akin to an early P-bass, having a bit more 'meat on the bone'. It's a bigger D shape carve, to my mind. The bass felt well put together and finished and the set-up was good.
As I say, in terms of electronics it's a pretty straightforward affair. The bass is fitted with a single passive Wilkinson WJMB-B pickup. It's a dual coil model and I like the inclusion of a pan control so that you can mix between the two coils in varying amounts, thus showing off a wider range of sounds than you'd get from a single on/off switch. I did however find that the front coil is much louder than the rear, so you need to find that 'sweet spot' on the pan control as well as being aware that there is a volume drop when sweeping around to the coil nearest the bridge. You've probably noticed already the front coil features big 1/4” pole pieces, whereas the rear coil has the familiar pairs of pole pieces per string found on many Fender-style basses. The sound from this passive device is nicely rounded, with punch and clarity, though not as meaty or loud in output as some. Topping off the controls are a master volume and master tone control.
Incidentally, if a single pickup strikes you as potentially a bit tonally limited, Vintage also offers a V90 version, which offers twin pickups.
All in all, this is a well finished instrument that could undertake a lot of duties. It would be a fantastic starter bass but it's plenty good enough to serve as a gig spare for a more experienced working player, too. In fact there's no reason why it couldn't be your main instrument for that matter as you find your way in music.