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This article was originally published in issue #55
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Regarding ‘speaking’, the voice of this particular example with its timeless Maple and Ash combination is absolutely a winner. EMG active electronics lift the bass from a vintage vibe and deliver a crisp modern take on the Jazz bass characteristics.
Custom instruments from a brand with 30 years experience
I can’t see any reason to question the options available
hard rock maple Neck
EMG X JJ Pickups
Dan Veall reviews another bass from the Maruszczyk instruments range in this issue of Guitar Interactive Magazine but what is the verdict this time? Let's find out.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, Adrian Kuban-Maruszczyk, the man behind Maruszczyk instruments, is also, I have to say, an incredible musician. I love his playing and a big thumbs up from me with regard to his demonstration videos of many of the guitars that are evidently crafted with great care.
This is the second from the Maruszczyk stable we have had the pleasure to review. We have looked at a beautiful and natural fan-fret jazz bass, which I really rated highly. Maruszczyk offers a huge range of different bass variations to pick from including such instrument models names as Hellwood, Frog and Sputnik. ‘Jake’ and ‘Elwood’ are Maruszczyk’s nod to the Precision and Jazz brothers.
Today we turn our attention to the Elwood Jazz bass and this is a stunning example that just shouts “Larry Graham” through and through.
The classic outline is recognisable enough but for Maruszczyk it’s those tweaks, those efforts to go the extra mile that really do turn this bass guitar from ‘standard classic’ to ‘modern updated star player’. Once again the attention to detail is there, understated but quality is assured.
In the classic configuration, the body is Ash, and the rock maple neck has a maple fretboard, but the whole lot is wrapped in a pristine glossy white finish along with the body.
The bolt-on neck features a slim profile and a 40mm nut width which for me is my perfect P bass configuration. The 38mm Jazz profile is probably more familiar for others of course, but this felt immediately like an old friend.
Regarding ‘speaking’, the voice of this particular example with its timeless Maple and Ash combination is absolutely a winner. EMG active electronics lift the bass from a vintage vibe and deliver a crisp modern take on the Jazz bass characteristics. This is a great sounding instrument and the active EMG JX pickups do a great job of managing to sound organic with the tone control wound back to 50%. It’s nice to have the xtra zing though for sure, a reason why I love EMGs in general. My sweet spot was about halfway around the dial which is of the passive tone type. Both tuners and bridge hardware come courtesy of Hipshot, so really there’s never going to be a problem there. Excellent, dependable kit.
Then we come on to the small details that really make this instrument stand out from the pack. The edge of the fretboard feels rolled. You can’t even feel the fret edges. It falls comfortably in to the hand. Just wonderful. I’m a big fan of zero frets on instruments. We have one here and it’s perfectly installed as are the rest of the frets. Then we move on to the spotless body: I love to see the controls and jack socket indented into the face. Doesn’t it look smart! Finally, all the fixtures are gold to match the hardware down to the last screw.
On the lap, this particular example Ash body wasn’t at all hefty and the reason for that is that Elwood P here features a chambered body. All the benefits of a solid body from bridge to neck without the additional weight. It balances beautifully, looks great.
Summing up, I should say that the very wide range available from Maruszczyk is totally customisable, but they also keep a very wide range of instruments in stock, also available via their UK dealer, Bass Direct who kindly lent this particular instrument for us to review. The downside to doing this job I have to say is having to give back some truly tasty basses, this entering my personal top ten favourites I feel.
A superbly comfortable bass that I would keep going back to I am sure, if only I could!