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Celinder J Update (1998)

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This 34” scale instrument was made in 1998 at the Celinder workshops in Copenhagen, Denmark. I bought it from fellow Basschatter, Flanker. The bass has 21 frets and 4 strings with an black plastic pickguard and is finished in solid black. The instrument was made originally for a player called Thomas Skarbye who used it to record a sample library of sounds which have been marketed with some reasonable success.

The bass is active and has an Aguilar OBP1 preamp powered by two 9v batteries. The controls feature one volume per pickup, a treble and bass control. The bass can be put into passive mode by pulling the bridge pickup volume control and in this situation the active treble control acts as a passive treble cut. The pickups are by Lindy Fralin. The body is made from alder and the neck is a single piece of graphite reinforced maple.

The neck dimensions are typical of a jazz bass in width although perhaps a little more shallow than a genuine 70’s instrument. The neck is still remarkably easy to play however and feels very rigid. The bass is finished in a durable polyeurathane finish and the body style is jazz inspired with a slightly more rounded shape. The bridge is made by Badass with two dimensions of movement and top loaded stringing. The tuners are modern Hipshot, cloverleaf, normal geared types typically of the design associated with Fenders. The E-string features a Hipshot D-tuner which is useful for either quick changes to a low D tuning or for increasing the number of notes available when playing open harmonics. The bass came with a gig bag rather than a hardshell case.

I guess the sound of this bass could be best described as bright and very full with crystal clear highs and huge lows. It was designed to sound like a 70’s Fender Jazz and does the job superbly. A few choice notes evokes a number of acid jazz, house disco numbers and, in particular, Marcus Miller. One thing I noted is that it doesn’t growl on the bridge pickup as much as some preCBS type jazz designs in active mode. I can only attribute this to colouring in the Aguilar preamp. When in passive mode, the mids sound much more prominent while the lows and crystal highs are less emphasised. Personally, I prefer the sound of this bass in passive mode. I’ve also experienced hum while using either pickup on its own but together the pickups act like a humbucker.

At the moment I use the bass with Gallien Krueger and Trace valve amps through Gallien Krueger and EBS neo 2x12 cabs. It sounds superb through all amps but probably sounds a little too brittle through the Gallien Krueger amp at flat settings. I’ve put this down to the Lindy Fralin pickups and would prefer to play it through the Trace V8 + EBS Neo212 given a choice.

In terms of the variety of sounds, the bass is pretty versatile as most jazz basses are. However its a little more aggressive than a genuine 70's jazz and a little less aggressive than a Sadowsky so I tend to use it for disco, RnB and modern funk covers. I've also tried an all white Celinder Larry Graham Signature jazz and found it to be a lot softer in character too.

[b][i]Action Fit and Finish:[/i][/b]
The action of this instrument is excellent. The finish of components is superb and flawless and the fit is also excellent and faultless.

The bass has proven very reliable in live situations, the hardware is robust and the neck stable. I don’t recall ever needing to do any major adjustments or significant tuning to it. There have been no issues with the performance of the instrument whatsoever.

[i][b]Customer Support:[/b][/i]
I have dealt with Chris Celinder on one occasion and found him to be relatively easy to deal with although I have yet to make any real demands of him. I understand that others have had less than satisfactory experiences with him. I’ve heard from the Bass Gallery that Chris has had a series of serious personal and business situations that may have affected his mood at times.

[i][b]Overall rating:[/b][/i]
I own a range of other bass gear including Smiths, Musicmans, an Alembic, a Celinder Update P and Pedulla, plus more stuff I’ve sold on. I’ve been very satisfied with the bass since owning it, its managed to hit the right spot every time I’ve used it. Generally this is my bass of choice for funky 70’s or acid jazz/house disco type bass sounds.

Check out other reviews here:
[url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=15451"]Smith BSR5GN[/url]
[url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=15452"]Smith BSR5GN fretless[/url]
[url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=15450"]Celinder P Classic[/url]

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I played this bass the day Flanker went to see it in the Gallery. It barks! In a good way...

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Oh well done, Sir! :)

I had Aaron Armstrong rewind new pickups on Ol No.2 along a more vintage spec and I can't tell the difference from a 70's Jazz now (although it doesn't have the Marcus Miller edge yours does). Super oomphy though.

Glad the Skarbee bass is back in ol' Blighty though.

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