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This article was originally published in issue #69
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Rock out like your classic rock heroes!
Accessible price point.
The design of the bass will mean that it could be neck heavy when seated.
Mahogany Body & Neck
Set Neck Design
2 Volume/ Master Tone
It’s true that the best basses are built from the inside out, and Vintage enjoys a well-earned reputation for building great basses. Working with acknowledged guitar industry guru Trevor Wilkinson, Vintage has created a fantastic line-up of Wilkinson-equipped Vintage electric basses and with the Vintage VS4CR bass, this looks to be no exception. Here is Dan Veall with the full review.
There are some names in the industry whose reputations proceed them and in the case of our next review, with the man in question, comes a well-earned acknowledgement of his services to music and musicians across the world.
Trevor Wilkinson is the man and together with the UK John Hornby Skewes distribution company have put their respective strengths to good use in a partnership to oversee the Vintage brand, alongside Trevor’s “Fret-King” brand and JHS’ bountiful product catalogue.
The Vintage VS4 comes from the “Reissued” section of the Vintage catalogue. I don’t think that this particular example needs much of an introduction as to where it’s inspiration lay! I am instantly transported to footage of yesteryear with classic bands of the ’60s playing those iconic instruments.
Here’s a great way to get into the feel and sound of those now very expensive vintage instruments at a touch more reasonable price and of course taking advantage of modern tooling. Indeed, Trevor himself is quoted in an interview as alluding to the fact that the background of the Vintage brand is to be able to focus on creating products that don’t have wild price tags but more to put the attention on to making a totally useable instrument.
The Vintage V4 is an all Mahogany instrument; both neck and body underneath the well applied and smooth Cherry Red finish.
Oozing iconic design, the headstock is a typical 2-aside fair with four large elephant ear tuners. This is quite a lot of metal on the headstock of this short 30 inch scaled bass. In fairness though, I don’t think we would be looking at a “Reissued” design if the headstock was sporting some ultra-modern aircraft aluminium keys with go-faster stripes! Looks good and the tuners themselves are Wilkinson’s own WJBL200 style.
Moving down the fingerboard which I believe is Rosewood, the fretwork in tidy and I feel no uncomfortable edges, though having massive hands, I did have to get accustomed to the scale length!
The set neck mates with the body neatly and navigating it feels nice. I would not call this a thick neck. It’s one of those of “just right” proportions.
The 20 frets end at the body just ahead of a lovely great big humbucking pickup. Its position and design offers up a big warm pillowy bottom end that in tandem with the short scale length makes the bass sound fat in the low end with a subdued top end when soloed. Conversely, the bridge pickup, also a humbucking design is brighter but still not as sharp as some bridge models we have reviewed on other basses. I actually prefer that anyway as some can sound brittle and shrill; I would shy away from using those on their own, whereas there’s enough in the mids to give this one a nice little honk!
The joy for me is in winding that front pickup all the way open then using the bridge pickup to dial in or out the favour that it brings when combined.
I’ll say it again, warm with a low-end bloom in standard tuning.
Vintage have gone with a more standard bridge on this bass rather than the expected two-piece design; this type that gets the nick name “bent bit of tin”, but of course that is not to be taken as defamatory as lets face it, we all love the tone of the old classics and the bridge is a mainstay on those.
Topping off the bass as I point you toward my video review, we have a three ply pick guard, matching black knobs for the Volume, Volume and Master Tone (only one on this design) controls, with white legends and of course the brand logo in gold upon the headstock.
If you are looking for the classic stylings and tone, this one should be on your shopping list to try out and certainly for those of a smaller frame; youngsters starting out, then this might also be something to check out.