This Article Was Originally Published On: February 3, 2015 #Issue 15.
The MTD Kingston Saratoga is an imported Jazz Bass copy under a venerable name plate that delivers great performance for its price point. Its $600 street price is very attractive, and you are getting a lot of bass at that price point. Much better than what I started on.
The lumber starts with a one-piece, slab-cut maple neck. It has a volute and a scarf joint for the peghead. The rosewood fingerboard has a nice dark figure. The body is made from basswood, and the overall weight of the bass is reasonable. The hardware has a modern finish, and is serviceable, but unremarkable. This bass is passive and very much a J-bass. It employs inexpensive pickups, pots and jack, but they are installed well, with full shielding paint. Overall, it’s a great mix of inexpensive stuff that together rises well above its price tag.
The finish is a nice burst in polyurethane. Everything is reasonably well executed. The fret ends are a little rough. This sometimes happens if there is a drastic change in humidity, relative to when the frets were installed. There is a zero fret, which is unusual, but a good idea. 111×57 vs 100×45 remaining frets as it should be.
The bass is a now classic design with typical Jazz Bass appointments. It plays well and can adjust for the most part where you’d like to play it. What’s really great here is the bang for the buck. It’s an excellent starter bass that – for under $600 – delivers sound and performance you’d expect from something a little more expensive.
MTD Kingston Saratoga 5
|Body Dimension:||20” long x 14" wide at lower bout|
|Neck width at nut:||1.762”|
|Neck width at 12th fret:||2.722”|
|Neck width at joint:||2.974”|
|Neck thickness at nut:||.993”|
|Neck thickness at 1st fret:||.818”|
|Neck thickness at 12th fret:||.929”|
|Neck thickness at joint:||1.001”|
|String spacing at nut:||.333”|
|String spacing at saddle:||.761”|
|Descriptor for neck shape:||asymmetric flat D|
|Peghead break angle:||14 deg|
|Bridge break angle:||12 degrees|
|Afterlength at nut:||1.6 – 6”|
|Afterlength at saddle:||1.46”|
|Truss rod type/access:||Double Action, body end|
|Fretwire:||100 x 45|
|Pickups:||Dual single-coil, passive Jazz-style|
|Pickup location(s), from the 12th fret:||11 7/16”, 14 9/16"|
|Controls:||Volume, volume, tone|
|Preamp circuit voltage:||N/A|
|Neck Woods||Maple (1-piece)|
|Strings:||OEM D'Addario stainless steel roundwounds|
|Gauge:||.045, .065, .085, .105, .125|
|Bridge/color:||MTD Quick release / black chrome|
|Nut:||Zero Fret with shelf nut|
|Tuners/color:||Proprietary Gotoh-style / black chrome|
|Knobs/color:||Metal / black chrome|
|Control cavity cover:||Plastic|
3 Lauren Ct
Kingston, NY 12401
|County of origin:||China|
|Price:||List Price: $735.00; Street Price: $599.00|
|Options:||4 or 5 string, fretted or fretless|
|Available colors:||Trans Black and Tobacco Sunburst|
|Acquired from:||Dana B. Goods|
|Locals:||Las Vegas, NV, Columbus, OH|
|Test gear:||Gallien-Krueger Neo 212-II, Markbass F1 and Carvin BX 1500|
1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)
|Ease of Use:||4|
In-hand Score 3.85average
On-bench Score 4.00average
|Fit and Finish of adornments||3|
|Quality of finish work||5|
|Ease of repair||4|
|Potential range of setup||4|
|Balance on knee||4|
|Balance on strap||4|
|Overall electronic quality||4|
|Solder joints, wire runs||4|
|Quality for Price Range||5|
Mids: Punchy and aggressive
Highs: Brilliant and responsive
Today’s bass players demand a big tone that cuts through and at an entry level price you get that tone with the MTD Kingston Saratoga.
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