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Silvia Bluejay

Elwray Infinga 4 Bass - Reviews

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Dedicated thread for comments and suggestions while the Elwray Passaround is happening.

This is the bass:

 

ElWray Basses Infinga 4

Type: 34.25" inches scale fretted bass

Weight: 3.6Kg

Construction: Hidden Neck-thru
Body: Half (20mm) Walnut on back,  Birdseye Maple on top (20mm)
Neck: 5-ply Walnut/Maple
Fingerboard: Birdseye Maple
Nut: Ebony adjustable 44mm custom
Pickups: Delano DJC 4 HE bridge, Delano JC4AL neck
Electronic: Passive, Tone control, Volume control, 1 kill neck on/off, 1 bridge series/parallel/single switch
Bridge: Schaller 3D 20mm ss, vintage copper
Tuners: Schaller BM4 90 Light, vintage copper
Currently equipped with Warwick Red strings

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Mick's review follows in the next post.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
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From @TheGreek

 

This is the Elwray bass built by BCer Marco Elwray who's a recent member here. He's putting in the BC community for trial and review.

It may have been a mistake giving it to me first, but being the first to receive and play it I'm being honest in my appraisal and feedback, in the hope that this can be used to enable Marco to build even better basses (should that read "more suited to me"?) in the future. 

Now Marco, as far as I know, is not a professional builder and, for an early attempt, it's very respectable. As I said, he's given this over to the BC community for review and it's a brave man who would do that. Yes, there are a few bits that niggled at me, we'll see how much they niggle others. Overall I liked this bass - I'm not sure how much Marco would charge you for it - but it felt well built - and easily as good as many custom builds I've owned.

I'll be bringing the Elwray to this weekends SE Bass Bash where you'll be able to play it and make up your own mind.

The bass is a custom made European Walnut and Canadian Maple fretted 4 string with antiqued hardware. It's uniquely designed but at the same time gives a nod of acknowledgement to Euro builders who have gone before him. I'm sure it will remind us all, in a small way, of something we've seen before.

Marco is clearly happy to have the Bass critiqued, I don't think that mine amount to much really but here goes.

What I liked:
Aesthetically the bass is very friendly to the eye, reminiscent of some other high end European basses. The slim body (reduced weight) helps with the balance and feel on the strap. I'm not sure of the weight but I suspect about 4-4.5kg?? This made playing problem free - walnut can be heavy, but not with this.The timbers used are, again, very pleasing on the eye and I really like the European Walnut (IMO much nicer than the American on this occasion). I don't understand why we don't see it being used more.

I liked the antiqued parts. The bridge felt very stable and sturdy and compliments the Schaller tuners very well. On this, the antique look works better, in my opinion, than chrome or gold would have and helps the overall look.

There are some really nice design features on this, I especially like how the neck (swallow effect) finishes above the Jazz neck pick up. The satin finish on the body and neck is excellent - my favourite finish - and made the bass feel expensive and classy.

I'm not sure what the pick ups are (Marco?) but they're operated by a 3 way toggle switch which I suspect means each of the twins on the humbucker and then the jazz neck alone. Nice tonal palette and there's something in there for nearly everybody.

The fit and finish on this are probably around the 98% mark - something Marco acknowledges with his accompanying letter - really just a few little bits which would take a few hours to get this up to top standards.

What niggled me:

Neck:
The profile of the neck was too flat for me - I prefer a rounder, classic jazz profile C neck. The profile on this reminded me of the Mike Walsh Zoot bass I used to own, and though it didn't take too long to adapt it's not my profile of choice. That's just a personal thing - I know that others may not see this as an issue. I found the profile around the 5th to 9th frets most to my taste but above the 12th, the flatness really showed. My favourite necks are on SGC Bass Collection Nanyo basses. If you don't or haven't owned one, borrow one check the profile.

Nut:
You can probably see this, the nut sits a bit too high which raises the playing action. Lowering the nut by a few mm would make the bass much more playable (for me). It may suit somebody who plays with a plectrum better - so I'm hoping others will not be bothered by this a give a better review.

Headstock: 
For me, it looks a bit too long for the instrument - maybe an inch and a half? - I felt it should finish on the curve just above the D tuner - which, to me, would be more aesthetically pleasing. I think that, because the body has soft curves, the headstock would have benefited from being more contoured.

Styling:
Some parts of the body feel really nice, smooth and exotic but the lower horn, for instance, has curves which don't really match and I felt that this detracted from the bass. Not something that would bother most and this could easily be rectified in this and any future builds.

Would I buy one? Not this one but I would certainly think about commissioning one, following a detailed discussion, with my specs. As I said, I like this bass and it wouldn't take much to bring this into the "very desirable" league. Marco clearly has a very promising future as a Bass Builder.

If you're interested in trialling the bass for a while add your details to the list - all you need to do is wait patiently for it to arrive near you and give it a review when you're done. Seems more than fair to me.

Mick

 

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She's moving...Richard collected the Elwray bass this evening. We had a chat about what I liked and how, if it was mine, I'd change to suit me. He'll do the same. Don't forget to add yourself to the list.

Elwray Bass pass around

BC User name

Name

Location

Date received

Passed to

TheGreek

Mick Tomazou

Hatfield, Herts

28/9/18

Richard (Grangur) on 2/10/18

Grangur

Richard Bower

Bishops Stortford

2/10/18

 

GaryMac

Gary Mackay

Hoddesdon

 

 

TrevorR

Trevor Raggatt

Staines, Middlesex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TheGreek
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Looking forward to trialling this bass, plenty of gigs over the next few weeks, so should be able to put it through its paces.

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15 hours ago, gary mac said:

Looking forward to trialling this bass, plenty of gigs over the next few weeks, so should be able to put it through its paces.

Hey Gary, good one. I only got it recently, but I'll get it over to you soon. 

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52 minutes ago, Grangur said:

Hey Gary, good one. I only got it recently, but I'll get it over to you soon. 

Cheers Rich. Talk soon then.

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2 hours ago, Grangur said:

Hey Gary, good one. I only got it recently, but I'll get it over to you soon. 

Hi Richard

Waiting for you now ;) enjoy it as much as it could be!

Cheers

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I've had a bit of a play with the bass. Ad Mick said, it feels pretty solid and the finish on the body is mostly good.

To get a smoother finish you could use a sanding-sealer when you're sanding it.

I am a bit confused with the switches for the pickups. Mick was telling me one of the switches is a sound-cut switch, but it isn't. The switches are a bit more complex than that.

The output isn't massive, but that might be increased by raisingthe pickups.

I agree with Mick on the headstock shape. It would be nicer if it were a little wider.  The tuners are confusing as they work the opposite direction to others, as the left-hand ones are on the right-hand side etc. But this might simply be that Marco likes then this way.

The strings could be better if they sat deeper into the nut. This would gold them better and mayne give better transference of sound. Also, the break-angle of the strings at the nut could be better. This can be improved by adding a string-tree bar across all the strings.

The neck radius is very very flat. This means bending strings could be hard. This is interesting, because the bridge has a radius that is greater than the neck radius. The bridge radius means the strings A & D are higher than the E & G. This can be corrected to some degree in the setup.

The flat neck radius is flat in the centre, but has a curve off at the sides. This has meant that seating the frets has been difficult. If, next time you radius the neck with a radius sanding block, the curve will be the same across the neck and you can use curved fret wires to seat better on the neck. Filing the frets at the sides won't be able to fix this because the catchy bits are where the fret wire isn't seated.

The neck is a bit chunky at the headstock end. I measured the depth ad 30mm from front to back at fret 3. The depth of a Squier bass at the same point is 22mm. The depth of my Warwick Corvette, which is deep by many people's standards, and the chunkiest neck I own, is 25mm.

This depth of the neck is still the same at the 17th fret.

The pickup positions are a little further towards the bridge than my taste. The humbucker is centred at 805mm from the nut. On a Warwick $$ this distance is 790mm. This isn't to say it is "wrong", it is just different. So it gives a more "punchy" sound.

The position of the neck pup is the same as that on a Warwick Corvette.

 

The bass sits well on the strap. It balance well. It also only weighs 3.81Kg.

The wood selection is good. The maple is nice as is the walnut. The woods are well put together and in most places they meet up well with no gaps. 

The body is smooth round the edges, with a good curve. As an early bass in Marcos building career, it's a great start.

If I can I'll try to get some pictures taken of it tomorrow.

Many thanks Marco.

Sorry, if this sounds critical, but there is no point in sending it if nobody says anything meaningful.

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Marco, Do you have a fret-bending tool?

These cost a lot, but you can build your own. I have a lot of the parts spare. If you want them do let me know, and I'll pack some for you.

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I thought I was already on the list ?

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1 hour ago, Grangur said:

1. I am a bit confused with the switches for the pickups.

2. The tuners are confusing as they work the opposite direction to others, as the left-hand ones are on the right-hand side etc. But this might simply be that Marco likes then this way.

3. The strings could be better if they sat deeper into the nut.

4. The neck radius is very very flat.

5. The neck is a bit chunky at the headstock end.

6. The pickup positions are a little further towards the bridge than my taste.

7. The body is smooth round the edges, with a good curve. As an early bass in Marcos building career, it's a great start.

8. Many thanks Marco.

Indeed Richard, it's a bit hard to hear all of that in one straight piece. But I learned with age to take critics as a benefit for my knowledge and for those little things I will never change. To answer some wonderings;

1. I didn't had enough to time to put a schema. Higher (towards neck) switch is neck pickup on/off. Lower switch (bridge side) is the quad coil on/off. Middle one is the series/parallel/single selector. Seems logical to me, but I don't have the best point of view. I like switches, once you get it, it's easy. IMHO.

2. Yep you're right. I decided to put the machine heads reverted. There is no real benefit, maybe it's a little bit closer to the player... Just for fun.

3. Yes, this nut isn't totally "fitwise". I still have to change that. My bad.

4. It is flat. I see no point, at my tastes, to have a radius. It's a bit angled on the side to prevent the "concave" optical illusion of flat radius. The bridge was supposed to be a Hipshot, but I wanted to match the finishes of the hardware.

5. That's the most popular remark people say after trying my basses. Personally, I love it, especially for slapping. I do not feel any pain in long playing sessions. But as it's not for a "customer", I did it my way at this point. Easy to change during building process.

6. As you said, at your taste. I try every combination possible, in this case I like the punchy sound of the twin jazz.

7. Thanks, a real pleasure to hear that because I carve the body by hand, touching it with my bare hands, changing the radius all along the contour of the body, to make it smooth and unique. It's a detail important to me and I think a lot of luthier didn't pay enough attention to that. (Thanks Randall Fullmer for that)

8. No, thanks to you, it's my great pleasure. I will answer the other details by PM.

@The Greek and Richard, your reviews are really good and relevant, but you didn't say what you think on the overall sounding?

Cheers

Marco

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On 02/10/2018 at 21:19, TheGreek said:

She's moving...Richard collected the Elwray bass this evening. We had a chat about what I liked and how, if it was mine, I'd change to suit me. He'll do the same. Don't forget to add yourself to the list.

Elwray Bass pass around

BC User name

Name

Location

Date received

Passed to

TheGreek

Mick Tomazou

Hatfield, Herts

28/9/18

Richard (Grangur) on 2/10/18

Grangur

Richard Bower

Bishops Stortford

2/10/18

 

GaryMac

Gary Mackay

Hoddesdon

 

 

TrevorR

Trevor Raggatt

Staines, Middlesex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geek99

Simon

J22 m1 happy to wait turn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Marcoelwray said:

Richard, your reviews are really good and relevant, but you didn't say what you think on the overall sounding?

Cheers

Marco

I picked up the bass Wednesday night. Last night I was humping logs cut from trees felled, for 2-3 hours. So reviewing it last night was a bit rushed as I'm expecting to be passing it on today, as I know @gary mac has a gig Friday night.

However, I've had a bit of time today. Messed about with the amp - I had it plugged into an input on the amp marked "Active". So now I have it in the "Passive" input the sound is much better. I've tweaked the Truss rod and lowered the nut.

I play finger-style. I can't slap to save my life, but this bass is amazingly easy to slap in different ways and get a variety of slapped sounds from it. On finger-style, there's a good growl and there are some really good tonal variations available.  The feel reminds me of a Wishbass I owned and did up years ago - and that is a compliment. The neck has a rustic feel that comes out of the thickness. It is a good bass. It would be good to have it longer. Maybe Gary will have to wait a day longer.  :D

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Just now, gary mac said:

Happy to wait Rich, no rush at all.

Another thought is, I can have it back from you after you're finished, as I sometimes travel near Staines. So maybe I can drop it in to @TrevorR... besides, I've never played a Wal.

No, no that would be far to presumptuous.

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22 minutes ago, gary mac said:

I'll be happy to do some set up work to it, unless of course, Marco would prefer that it stays as is. :)

Do as you wish! No problems with that.

@Grangur aah feels good to hear. I don't want to throw myself flowers, but the basses I build are like "oh my god it is so bizarre" and when you play it a while, some things appears to be so nice... Weird, isn't it? Because it's made withe more love than skill 🤣

Anyway, glad you enjoyed it, for the passaround, do as you want, I don't mind some planning changes! Thanks Richard

Cheers

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PS: please if you have some minutes, just capture yourself playing it… I really prefer videos feedback ;) if you Don't want to others see it, just send me the link in PM ;)

cheers

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2 hours ago, Grangur said:

Another thought is, I can have it back from you after you're finished, as I sometimes travel near Staines. So maybe I can drop it in to @TrevorR... besides, I've never played a Wal.

No, no that would be far to presumptuous.

Sounds like a plan. I'll be happy to pop the kettle on! :)

Any while you're here it would be a shame not to have a whizz around the Wal!

 

Edited by TrevorR
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4 hours ago, Grangur said:

Another thought is, I can have it back from you after you're finished, as I sometimes travel near Staines. So maybe I can drop it in to @TrevorR... besides, I've never played a Wal.

No, no that would be far to presumptuous.

That would be good and you'll be in for a treat playing one of Trev's Wals. :)

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4 hours ago, Grangur said:

Handed on to @Gary mac

 

20181005_162735.jpg

Thanks for bringing it over @Grangur and staying to listen to the band. I'll take it along to tonight's gig and give it a blast :)

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When I get it back from Gary, I'll try to get some more "location pictures". Not certain yet what, but I'll see what I can do.

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