This Article Was Originally Published On: July 1st, 2014 #Issue 14.
Less and less musicians are putting on tuxes for weddings, or coat and tie for jazz gigs or private parties, compared to thirty or more years ago. There are still many who do, though, and if you play bass for a living in a tux one night, and on a bar stool the next, but only want one bass, this one should be on your short list. The top is figured burl maple laminated to a swamp ash body. The body has some great joinery where Elrick sliced off the control cover area before joining the body, to get a great grain match on the cover. Nice work. The neck is 3-piece maple billet bolted on well, with a really cool and solid scarf joint for the peghead, which was also nicely done.
No surprises in the electronics: very classy Bartolini humbuckers into a Bartolini NTMBF. The neck pickup is almost exactly in Precision bass territory for the scale length. The bridge pickup is slightly closer to the neck than a ’60s Jazz Bass, and the aperture is closer than you’d expect. But this placement works very well and still sounds reminiscent of a J-bass, albeit a touch darker. Great choices. The (proprietary) Elrick bridge is made by Hipshot, and it’s very nice. The tuning keys are also from Hipshot (Ultralight), and the bridge and keys are both in black.
The sides of the control cavity weren’t shielded, but the top and back were nicely treated with foil (with foil “runners” connecting the two). I prefer to fully shield the control cavity, but in my limited time with the bass, I did not notice any RF or EMI interference or noise. In repair work, we have found that the side-mount barrel jacks don’t hold up well and need replacing exponentially sooner than other kinds of jacks. I’d recommend all high-end builders use either the classic open-frame Switchcraft, or something comparable, to reduce downtime from jack failure. Oh, and I’d not recommend leaving the gain trim pot to just flop around where it wants to in the control cavity, I’d double-stick it somewhere, so it doesn’t move around.
As I mentioned, the joinery the carving of the bass are great, and darn near perfect. It’s very light for its size and components, which is great for the gigging workhorse. Considering that it’s not chambered, we are talking about exceptionally light lumber. The fret size is vintage and great, and the fretwork is competent. The finish is very thin and well applied, drawing no attention to itself via color or other additions. It lets the wood be the star.
The balance is great and the instrument feels good in playing position. It sounds great, plays even low B to highest C like a high-end, well-built bass should. It’s an expensive bass but probably worth it, especially if you are looking for one good workhorse in the $3,500-$4,500 range.
|Overall Length:||44 1/2”|
|Body Dimension:||20" long x 14" wide at lower bout|
|Neck width at nut:||1.880”|
|Neck width at 12th fret:||2.669”|
|Neck width at joint:||2.933”|
|Neck thickness at nut:||845”|
|Neck thickness at 1st fret:||.863”|
|Neck thickness at 12th fret:||.901”|
|Neck thickness at joint:||.933”|
|String spacing at nut:||.386"|
|String spacing at saddle:||.742"|
|Descriptor for neck shape:||Wide flat D|
|Peghead break angle:||11 degrees|
|Bridge break angle:||14 degrees|
|Afterlength at nut:||2.34 to 5.689"|
|Afterlength at saddle:||1.524"|
|Truss rod type/access:||Double action / neck-end|
|Fretwire:||79 x 42|
|Pickup location(s) from 12th fret:||11 5/8”, 14 ¾”|
|Controls:||Volume, blend, treble, mid, bass, active/passive switch, 3-way switch for mid frequency|
|Preamp circuit voltage:||9 volts|
|Body Woods:||Ash/burled maple|
|Body Finish:||Natural satin|
|Neck Finish:||Natural satin|
|Strings:||Elrick Fundamentals, stainless steel roundwounds|
|Gauge:||.045”, .065”, .085”, .105”, .130” (tapered B string)|
|Bridge/color:||Elrick / black|
|Tuners/color:||Hipshot Ultralight / black|
|Knobs/color:||Rubber/plastic / black|
|Control cavity cover:||Body wood (ash)|
|Company:||Elrick Bass Guitars, Ltd.
ph (386) 517.6823
fax (386) 439.4446
|County of origin:||USA|
|List Price:||$4,100 ($5,100 as tested)|
|Street Price:||$3,280 ($4,080 as tested)|
|Options:||: Pāua abalone block inlays (+$750), soapbar pickups (+$250)|
|Options:||Various body designs, preamps, controls, neck joints|
|Acquired from:||Elrick Bass Guitars Ltd.|
|Test gear:||Gallien-Krueger Neo112-II, Gallien-Krueger MB 800, Aviom|
1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)
|Ease of Use:||4|
In-hand Score 3.71average
On-bench Score 4.59average
|Fit and Finish of adornments||5|
|Quality of finish work||5|
|Ease of repair||5|
|Potential range of setup||5|
|Balance on knee||4|
|Balance on strap||5|
|Overall electronic quality||4|
|Solder joints, wire runs||4|
|Quality for Price Range||4|
Low: Fat and full
Mids: Punchy and warm
Highs: Smooth and clear
This bass is a great example of a modern bass with the classic soapbar tone. Its feather weight and ease of use make it a great option for those with stronger budgets and a broad range of music to cover.
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