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The neck is beautifully sculpted and feels super fast. I am actually really surprised! If you watch my video, I suggested that I thought the neck was a jazz profile - well, the nut is actually a 43mm width! It really doesn’t feel like it! :)
Top of The Range Quality
Nice and Light
Some basses are made great, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Well, something like that anyway. Dan Veall gets to grips with another glorious tone machine from Polish master builders: Mayones.
Imagine a bass that you pull out of the case and it literally can do no wrong from the moment you play it. Ok, everyone is different and we all find an instrument that speaks to us personally which certainly won't be the same as another player. I can tell you, however, honestly, out of the 250+ reviews I have made for Guitar Interactive over the years, it’s still only a moderate handful of instruments that have been truly incredible off the bat, out of the case. Interestingly, as we are talking about Mayones here (and I apologise if I pronounce the company name incorrectly in my videos) two models we have reviewed make that list. The BE 4 and now this, the Viking 4.
These models occupy different ends of the Mayones pricing structure I suppose but that I feel is pretty telling. Let’s get away from my ‘list’ for now, though I should probably attempt to make up a top 20 for readers in the future.
Opening up the review the Viking outline I understand was one of Mayones’ first production designs back in 1997. Well, I am pleased to see it back as it is already a firm favourite for me in the lineup. I like the Patriot but found the BE model very comfortable and eye-catching when we reviewed it back in issue 40. Check it out, the back issues are online!
The Mayones models are to a point customisable, but as I mentioned earlier I think there isn’t a thing I’d change about this example save for my usual curiosity over pickups and electronics. They really don’t need changing though!!
The Viking here features a profiled swamp ash body and its neck thru’ design is made up of Maple and Wenge in a 5 piece sandwich. This along with the stained top offers a visually striking level of detail and on closer inspection, there is a layer of wenge underneath the Ash top presenting a dark border that really makes the top ‘ping’. Whilst we’re talking about the top, this particular ‘fade’ is known as Jeans Black Purple Horizon. Mayones offer a blue fade too as well as three other ‘trans’ finishes that show off the darkly stained wood grain for the tops. Body back and neck finishes are ‘natural’ for Swamp Ash and ‘transparent’ for the necks I understand. You do have the option of Gloss or Satin as an additional charge to your order.
Ash facing and the stain is matched up on the headstock too which I think is just brilliant. Continuing the dark contrast, the fretboard of this model is Ebony, as is the nut! Yes, I like that!
The neck is beautifully sculpted and feels super fast. I am actually really surprised! If you watch my video, I suggested that I thought the neck was a jazz profile - well, the nut is actually a 43mm width! It really doesn’t feel like it! :) Genuinely caught off guard with that one! The fretboard radius is fairly flat at 20” but I think this is superb as is the exemplary fretwork. Ferd Wagner 9665 installed in this case that hasn’t even the slightest suggestion of rough edges.
The whole instrument acoustically has a lovely woody tone that I knew would translate given the onboard electronics offered.
Speaking of which, in the neck and bridge positions we have a pair of Bartolini 72M45C pickups that from memory are dual coil models. A configuration I am a fan of. I like the top end zing. In my video I have demonstrated the passive pickups isolated using the EQ bypass switch, but things got really exciting when I punched in some extra flavour from the Aguilar OBP-3 three-band EQ. They equaliser centres of this preamplifier I feel it complimented the natural bass voice but this was especially noticeable when the bass was kicked up a notch. I wanted to slap that bass! I monitored through my Bergantino rig (Mic’d and DI’d) and it was a wonderful tonal match. Mayones offer other brands of electronics and pickups but be aware that an extra fee may be required for those options.
If it isn’t already apparent I am immensely impressed with the Viking 4 - I’d especially like to have some time with the five-string model too as I expect that low B will be inviting. Summing up then: Is the Viking 4 expensive? Well yes, it is in comparison to mass producing manufacturer’s musical instruments, but this particular example is demonstrating that it is as good as if not better than the competition costing much more. Therefore it is value for money.
Let’s not forget that Mayones instruments are handcrafted in Gdańsk, Poland.
Carved Ash body, Wenge Laminate
5 Ply Maple, Wenge Neck