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This article was originally published in issue #38
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Once again Spector delivers another great instrument, this time from the Legend range, the Classic 5 in a rather sumptuous Black Cherry finish. The Spector Legend Classic range brings high quality instrument build and tones to a mid range budget. More than just beginners' instruments, judging by previous models we're seen, these basses are great work horses for the money.
Getting up close and personal with the body, yes, that is a genuine quilted maple top and it definitely isn’t hiding any old plank underneath either. We have a solid maple body in classic Spector body stylings. The body itself is less sculpted than some of the premium range instruments but don’t take this as having any less care lavished on it. These models feature a bolt on neck and we are treated to a three piece maple neck with a Rosewood fretboard. This model does not come with a maple fretboard option. Upon the 16” radius fingerboard 24 frets are neatly installed and considering this instrument is meant to be more to the budget end of Spector’s product range, the fretwork is very tidy with no sharp edges. The neck itself has some more meat on it in profile than some skinny counterparts from other companies. Having discussed this with Stuart Spector himself at a recent show, I know that he prefers a little more mass on the neck to aid in creating a better tone. He’s right of course. I recall in conversation with Doug Wimbish that Stuart was a little reticent at first to take so much wood off the neck of Doug’s prized Spector bass to get it to how Doug wanted it for that very reason! I’ve played that very bass and have to say that Stuart had nothing to worry about and that’s testament to the rest of the build quality!
That ethos carries through to the Legend series but at an easier to reach price point for those on a budget. Certainly a good place to start in working up the range!
Hardware is sturdy and ‘very black’ as they say. It’s glossy and looks great with the featured finish. Pickups come courtesy of EMG and are of the dual coil type. These are, however, the passive SSD ‘Stuart Spector Design’ models which feature more mid range punch than that of the standard HZ models. I am familiar with both and that mid character is certainly obvious in this example. In fact, I know that this model and the four string version are available as a fretless bass too. I am certain that the accentuated timbre of these pickups will really bring out that fretless ‘mwahhhh’ tone we all know and love.
Tone sculpting impressively boosts breadth of available sound via Spector’s own Tone Pump Jr pre-amplifier which provides Bass and Treble shaping. I think the circuit works well with the SSD pickups; a good match. Expect a long life from a 9v battery that powers the active circuit.
Topping off the four controls is a master pan that mixes the front and rear pickups together, which is smooth in its transition and a master volume so you can turn yourself up some more.
The bass, as you’ll hear in the review video, has a big modern tone naturally. There’s a girth to the low strings that is apparent all the way up the neck, especially when the bass control is notched up a little to that sweet spot I found through our studio rig. The character of the Legend Classic comes through in the mid range which is presented without sounding too hyped. This means the top end has an unobstructed pleasing edge even with the Tonepump Jr’s treble control pushed up.
The Spector Legend is a well balanced instrument on the knee due to its body sculpting and short small headstock. This means that the neck doesn’t dive annoyingly.
I really like the curvy body and design that means Spector tends not to get pigeonholed in a particular music genre yet it is more than capable of being in any and all.
As sometimes happens, there was some debate about how to rate this one as it sits slap bang in the middle of a very competitive sector of the market but you have to say that, especially given the quality of woods used (look at that quilted maple top!), this bass offers really excellent value for money.