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This article was originally published in issue #40
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Polish guitar and bass manufacturer Mayones (apparently the name is pronounced Mayon-ez) has been around since 1982 and has built a considerable reputation for itself, becoming particularly well known for using truly stunning top woods on ultra playable instruments that cater for all styles, including extended range (six strings plus) basses. Indeed two of my best friends, professional players, use Mayones as their instruments of choice.
Success seems to be on the cards for this manufacturer as its instruments (guitars as well as basses) seem to be more widely available now, in many countries, including the UK, USA and Canada. One or two of the big names should be taking a look over their shoulder at Mayones!
Beyond the custom instruments that Mayones offers, the company makes a wide series of 'off the shelf' instruments - though they are a far cry from the obvious traditional basses we all grew up with! Take the BE 4 we had in for review, for example. There are three models in the BE series. The Exotic, the Elite and this, the BE Ash, all of which come with varying specifications. As the name suggests, this bass features a swamp ash body with matching swamp ash headstock facing. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?
The highly sculpted body curves are bold and follow the outline of the bass scooping through accentuating angles. Ultimately it makes this an extremely comfortable instrument to play as well as one that is wonderfully eye catching. I felt that the bass had a downsized body - and yes it’s smaller than a slab Precision of course, but those scoops and cutaways make it feel even more so. That’s a plus point for sure with those who don’t share my 6’3” stature! The BE 4 won’t dwarf you. The whole instrument is super light and so well behaved on the knee. No neck dive, it sat perfectly still.
Taking a close look at the bolt-on neck, I can tell you that it feels really slim in hand with a familiar and natural profile. It feels like bare wood that has just been played in for years. I am a fan of mahogany anyway but more so as it looks great with the pin stripes of maple making up the five-piece laminate construction. The neck is reinforced with twin graphite rods internally too, for stability.
Over on the front, it’s a sparse affair with no inlays on the rosewood finger board, save for some dot position markers on the top edge. I think it draws attention to the body grain too. Keeping things simple with a clean look, the BE 4 features black hardware, lightweight keys for the headstock and a quick release top loading bridge takes up string anchoring duties. Mayones has selected the articulate Aguilar DCB dual coil (dual rail) pickups for neck and bridge positions. These are a great balance between J style pickups and add a certain amount of the 'zing' you’d find in a Musicman style humbucker, with a great low end. Both are supported by a great sounding Bartolini pre-amp featuring a three band EQ. Additionally, the circuit has a passive tone control too and the ability to bypass the EQ circuit totally.
A small attention to detail that I really liked was that the truss rod cover is the same outline as the headstock itself.
This was just a super bass from start to finish with a really great tone and great playability. What's more, you can choose a four, five, six string, with fretless options.
This was our first exposure to the Mayones brand and it has impressed us so much so that we are going to start looking at the company's six string guitars, too. If you are in the market for a modern, up-market yet still affordable bass, you need to take a look.