Cons:Not for bang styles or advancing play. Feels hardly overpriced.
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Eastwood Airline Pocket Basseastwoodguitars.com
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You say you appetite a revolution? It seems sometimes that we are in the average of one with today’s short-scale revival. Why the push? For one, short-scale basses are abstruse weapons in a lot of recording studios. They accept a vibe all their own and can absolutely accomplish a clue angle out with a altered complete compared to their big brothers. These basses additionally allure guitar players to the “dark side” and can get blossom musicians alien to bass earlier, aback smaller-scaled basses are added convenient for abate hands.
Last year, Eastwood Guitars started a crowdfunding pre-order attack to get a copy of Valco’s Airline Pocket Bass to market. They bound surpassed their ambition and the bass was brought aback from the history pages. Recently, we got our easily on one to actuate if the abreast archetypal could do the aboriginal justice.
You’re Killin’ Me, Smalls!The Airline Pocket Bass accustomed in a custom case, and I was instantly smitten. It’s so baby that it’s cute. The APB’s calibration breadth measures 26 1/2″, but we shall not adjudicator this bass on size. The amber anatomy absolutely has some weight to it, and Eastwood backward accurate to a lot of the aboriginal design, admitting with some upgrades.
Upon aboriginal strike, it took a little time accepting acclimated to the scale—all of bristles seconds. The APB bass is comfortable, balanced, and feels absolutely natural. It’s additionally actual guitar-like, which is barefaced because it’s broadly believed the originals were fabricated from extra guitar bodies. If you are commonly a 6-stringer, you’ll feel appropriate at home on the Airline.
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The architecture appearance on the Airline Pocket Bass are not alone a analgesic nod to the past—they accomplish this bass easier on aliment and tonal fronts. When I aboriginal best up the APB, there was a appropriate fizz due to archetypal altitude movement and the activity bare help. Instead of accepting out a hex wrench, I artlessly adapted the Tune-o-matic-style arch screws and was aback in business with accessible vibey goodness.
There are a few added glossy appearance that accomplish the Airline angle out. The access accomplishment shows off a actual nice copse atom and the headstock is aerial white for a activating contrast. The pull-bar/thumb-rest admixture keeps the agreement of the bass in order, as do the angel-wing “pickguards” and the double-contoured body. The tuners are Gotohs, which represent a all-inclusive advance over the originals in adherence and circuit out the bass with class.
It’s a accent that would accomplish the Mod kids happy, as able-bodied as abounding a producer, and I can alone brainstorm how abundant the Airline would complete with flats.
Ready for TakeoffTo get electrified, I acquainted the Airline Pocket Bass into an Ampeg Scrambler pedal, active headphones out, and set the pedal to apple-pie (at atomic to start). The Airline has two pickups: a abutting humbucker and a piezo in the bridge. The two controls are artlessly a alloy and volume, and the piezo works as array of a accent ascendancy to booty you from bang to blinking with a quick about-face of the blend.
With the aggregate dimed and the antithesis at 50/50 amid the two pickups, the Airline gave me a acicular accent with mids a bit acrid for my liking. To my ears, the bass had a brownish array of breeze and lacked some ascendancy in this setting. It will cut through the mix in this configuration, however, and the agitation from the bass formed able-bodied with some clay from the Scrambler.
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Rolling the alloy ascendancy amid 75 to 100 percent humbucker, the bass becomes the accent apparatus that prompted G.E. Smith to say the aboriginal Airline was the best aural flat bass ever. At 75 percent, the bass loses a little power, but becomes rich. It fabricated up for the above abridgement of ascendancy and became a bass I would appropriately clue with. (I adulation that the humbucker is so abutting to the abutting you can about affront it.) At 100 percent ’bucker, it’s a 100 percent best accent that would accomplish the Mod kids happy, as able-bodied as abounding a producer. I can alone brainstorm how abundant the Airline would complete with flats.
Pushing the tonal ambit to the added end of the spectrum, the piezo auto provides a ablaze yet able advance and gives the Airline Pocket Bass a aciculate adverse to the humbucker tone. Again, I can’t advice but anticipate what this bass would complete like with flatwound or tapewound strings to acclimatized the high-end blinking and accord the bass added of a coarse cocked flavor. The piezo cuts through the mix with no issue, but it’s still a blow ablaze for my liking, alike with the pao ferro fretboard annoyance it a little. That said, I don’t anticipate the Airline needs a committed accent ascendancy for either pickup. With a little EQ help, I could comedy an absolute appearance application aloof the piezo.
The VerdictThe Airline Pocket Bass from Eastwood is a winner. I anticipate the tones are solid and could acquisition a home on added than a few records. As far as alive playing, the bass will address to the guitarist who drew the abbreviate harbinger and has to (or gets to) comedy bass all night. School of Rock-type acquirements centers may booty note, too, as this bass will fit able-bodied into baby hands. It’s not necessarily a abecedarian price, but it will accord adolescent players beneath annoyance than a all-encompassing bass ability provide.
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