The Strandberg Boden Bass Prog model was developed for bass players who seek a more modern and aggressive sound that can be fine-tuned with the utmost precision. Featuring a lightweight chambered Swamp Ash body with solid Flame Maple top and roasted Maple neck, the natural acoustic sound is balanced with plenty of low-end but with a bright cutting edge when needed with the bass's onboard preamp equalisation. Dan Veall reviews.
Finally! After a rather long time, I get my bass playing hands on what has promised to be a real performer; 'A bass of cutting edge technology, pristine workmanship and tone to die for.'
Slipping this incredibly lightweight machine out of its professional padded case, it was immediately obvious we were looking at a quality instrument … sometimes you just know, after all these years studying and reviewing instruments! (I've quite literally been geeking out for over 30 obsessed years, but that's a story for another day!)
It's an all-star cast when it comes to the components that make up this instrument long before we pop the thing down for a quick spin plugged in. We used the super GR Bass Dual 800 for this review paired with my Bergantino cabinets, mic'd, and DI'd.
Of course, you will notice the body shape and its contours and, for note clarity, string-to-string balance and tone, the fan-fret multi-scale neck.
The Strandberg Boden Prog 4 we have here is crazy light - this is I believe one of the lightest instruments I have ever reviewed. I think the Hofner 500/1 Greenline Bass I reviewed may be in competition for feeling like it is helium-filled!
The Specification of the Boden Prog 4 is impressive; the lightweight Swamp Ash body is carefully chambered for additional weight saving without detriment to tone and deep arm, torso and heel carves aren't just about looking striking, they are ergonomic too. I would already recommend this instrument to those with long term back and shoulder issues even before we plug in and play! So well balanced.
The top is both modest with its semi-gloss polyurethane finish yet at the same time stunning as the book-matched solid premium maple is on show without shouting for attention. The neck is of interest to me; as you know I welcome luthiers pushing the envelope and this roasted maple neck, a 12 ply example features carbon fibre reinforcement. In my video, I take a much closer look at the neck profile, so I would recommend watching so that you understand what the 'EndurNeck Profile' is all about. At first, I was unsure, I mean, I have really big hands and found that my thumb didn't naturally sit on the 'plateau' of the profile all the time - So I'd wonder if it was of massive benefit to me personally? I'd love to try the 5 string bass for a prolonged road test to see if this would better suit me. As you know, I've been playing extended-range basses for many more years than '4 stringers'. So, maybe it's just me - but, after a few days with this one, I really began to enjoy it. The set up of the 24 Jescar stainless steel frets on a 20" radius board is so comfortable! - The neck relief is very close to being flat on this example making slurs of any sort easy; thus legato and fast-playing feel effortless.
The deep contours aren't just about sharp looks, it feels to me that a huge amount of thought has gone into comfort and ease of access where it really is needed. Yes, I had to adjust for a short amount of time to become more familiar with the instrument, but by the time it came to roll the cameras I was starting to feel like I could go out and gig the bass without any issues. I've already owned a few fan-fret instruments, so I have a head start on feeling comfortable with those.
Comfort was a huge thumbs up, but what about tones? Electronics?
Prog 4 comes equipped with a pair of very high-quality pickups from Nordstrand. These are the Big Rig models that have a super clear and open sound to them when paired with my own Bergantino reference rig. Strandberg has opted to install the Darkglass ToneCapsule preamplifier which I rather like due to its eq centres that better match bass guitar. The master volume has an EQ bypass too for passive operation should you wish. I pushed both the bass and mids up just a small amount and kept the treble backed off just a little on the EQ and found that the 50/50 blend on the mix pot was spot on for a big sound from a smaller-bodied bass. Nothing is lacking here!
Strung with D'Addario NYXL strings as standard, the hardware is all Strandberg too. I don't need to say that it operates smoothly and accurately as well as looking super cutting-edge. You may already know that I am a fan of headless basses and see the benefits of the design. Can't wait to try the five-string version!
Topping off the instrument, we have 'glow in the dark' green Luminlay inlay markers to help you on dark stages, a really nice touch.
A very impressive instrument that demonstrates that this brand is thinking about comfort and playability without forgetting tone.
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