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Silvia Bluejay

Happy Jack's NBD - Safran Iris 'Big Boss'

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Hubby's a busy man, so I've been tasked with posting a few pics, before it all becomes utterly obsolete. 😉

It's a unique, 5-string semi-acoustic bass that Umut Dal created for Jack to his own specification. It has a stereo output and two pickups (piezo and magnetic) which can be blended into an amp through a splitter cable.

These images are from my own 'propa photoshewt'. Jack prefers the natural, non-photoshopped look, but I found that I needed to get rid of as many of the harsh shadows as possible, at least from the background.45259087174_65d802be47_c.jpg

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Many, many more photos HERE.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
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Umut delivered the bass personally to us in London, and stayed the night after attending a Junkyard Dogs gig at a rather rowdy pub in Hemel. He'll have tales to tell his wife and friends back home! :D

This was taken at our place in the morning.

 

Umut & Jack (1).jpg

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Very cool. 

What's the scale length? Interesting that it uses the Birdsong trick of having longer run of the low B(?) string behind the bridge to change the compliance of the string. Does it make a noticeable difference to the feel? 

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95cm = 37.5"

The low B is a Thomastik Spirocore from a 3/4 DB set. Umut installed the other 4 strings from the half size Spirocore set which doesn't come with a low B, and decided to use the same type of string rather than have a different low B. So he took the longer B string and installed it like that. :)

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Very cool indeed!

When you say stereo, is that separate outputs for each pickup? Is there a preamp onboard for mixing/panning, or is that all done further down the chain?

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18 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

When you say stereo, is that separate outputs for each pickup? Is there a preamp onboard for mixing/panning, or is that all done further down the chain?

The bass is entirely passive, but the output jack is stereo. Plug in a mono cable and all you get is the magnetic pickup (which sounds absolutely fine on its own). Plug in a stereo cable and you get both pickups; feed that through a splitter cable and you end up with two mono inputs to the amp. I'm using an AI Clarus 2-channel amp and that's just perfect for the job.

 

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1 hour ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

Umut delivered the bass personally to us in London, and stayed the night after attending a Junkyard Dogs gig at a rather rowdy pub in Hemel. He'll have tales to tell his wife and friends back home! :D

This was taken at our place in the morning.

 

Umut & Jack (1).jpg

I'm often playing on Saturdays, but if you're ever back in Hemel for gigs, let me know. My hood innit! 🙅‍♂️

Si

P.s. 
Interesting bass! lol

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4 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

The bass is entirely passive, but the output jack is stereo. Plug in a mono cable and all you get is the magnetic pickup (which sounds absolutely fine on its own). Plug in a stereo cable and you get both pickups; feed that through a splitter cable and you end up with two mono inputs to the amp. I'm using an AI Clarus 2-channel amp and that's just perfect for the job.

 

Ah, I see. Rick-o-Sound style!

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1 minute ago, Jus Lukin said:

Ah, I see. Rick-o-Sound style!

That's exactly what I said to Umut, and he replied "Huh?". I had to explain how Rics are wired to him ...

 

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3 minutes ago, Sibob said:

I'm often playing on Saturdays, but if you're ever back in Hemel for gigs, let me know. My hood innit! 🙅‍♂️

 

Yup, but not sure you'd have wanted to be there Si.

During the breakdown after the gig there was a genuine, honest-to-God mass brawl on the dance floor. At least three very big guys on each side (it was hard to tell), sundry womenfolk either yelling "he's not worth it" or berating their men for their behaviour, four enormous bouncers trying to break it up, worried drunks getting knocked over in the excitement, and smashed glass all over the floor. 

Best fight I've seen in years, very entertaining.

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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

Interesting that it uses the Birdsong trick of having longer run of the low B(?) string behind the bridge to change the compliance of the string. Does it make a noticeable difference to the feel? 

I'm not familiar with Birdsong. The string arrangement is purely to deal with the very different length of the low B as compared to the main 4-string set. It's weird but cool, and fully functional, and it sits very well with the carefully worked-out tailpiece configuration designed to give a different break angle for each string.

When playing the bass I am completely unaware of any difference in feel or compliance across the five strings - this is a very nice piece of work by someone who knows exactly what he's doing.

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58 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

The bass is entirely passive, but the output jack is stereo. Plug in a mono cable and all you get is the magnetic pickup (which sounds absolutely fine on its own). Plug in a stereo cable and you get both pickups; feed that through a splitter cable and you end up with two mono inputs to the amp. I'm using an AI Clarus 2-channel amp and that's just perfect for the job.

So two channel rather than stereo.

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If you'd prefer to describe a single 1/4" output socket as "two channel" then that's fine with me, Mike.

Personally I'd find that really misleading!

:lol:

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Is it an Acus amp you're sitting on ?

Nice bass, that said. Hope the fight was worth it. 😀

What about the full review ?

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Yup, 'tis an Acus combo and it's fair to say that (on my brief experience with it) I wasn't impressed with it. Way way WAY too many knobs, dials and functions, and really not easy to get a tone I actually liked. We couldn't get any audible effect out of the on-board compressor either. The video that Umut shot with me playing through it (you can see it on his Facebook page) sounded like a tube train passing through a tunnel beneath us.

It's one advantage, if that's what it is, is that it's a 3-channel amp which allows for magnetic + piezo + microphone and all passing through the same unit.

Review? Well I've already covered most of the descriptive stuff already but ...

It's an absolute beast. It looks great, huge and imposing, and it sounds just magnificent. Its bulk will not appeal to many bass players, but after years of playing a Takamine TB10 I find it strangely re-assuring.

On a strap (Umut thinks of this as a lap bass, to be played sitting down) it hangs exactly the same way as my TB10, with the whole of the lower bout projecting to my right. This looks a bit odd, but makes the bass really very comfortable to play, and rock steady. The great depth of the body also makes a very comfortable arm rest.

The internal bracing is excellent, with two carbon-fibre rods acting as a fixed truss rod and two more carbon fibre supports running under the entire archtop. Although it looks like a set-neck design, it is in fact a disguised bolt-on and the neck is apparently quite easy to remove if I should ever need to do it. The bridge is fully-floating.

There's no access panel, so should any electrical work be needed I would have to remove and disconnect the jack socket and then pull the wiring back through the body to the two sound holes.

Umut had been experimenting with a clip-in microphone system too and he brought that with him. We tried it together but I wasn't impressed by the small amount of 'atmosphere' that it added, even less by the enormous increase in feedback that came with it.

If I'm looking for something to criticise, it would be the weight. The 4-string Iris is ridiculously light, not much more than 2Kg so about the same as a Hofner Violin bass. When I ordered this bass, Umut was sure that the weight would be little more than 3Kg - although I was puzzled by that. In the event, it weighs over 4Kg, which is hardly outrageous but is not particularly light either.

I've had the bass for just three days so far, but something that has already become apparent is that this bass has no interest in being pigeon-holed into one sort of music. I've owned (and still own) basses which are perfect for blues or for rock or for country, but the Big Boss seems equally at home in all of them. It looks like the sort of thing you see YouTube clips of with some very talented bass player doing subtle licks involving intricate harmonics, and you think "yeh, but can you play Brown Sugar on it?".

Well this bass is equally happy playing country, rock, blues, funk, reggae and rockabilly. I'd have no hesitation taking this along to pretty much any gig I play, and no doubt that I'd be able to get the right sound for that gig. 

It's a seriously lovely thing.

 

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Lovely looking BIG instrument! Probably costs an arm and a leg, literally... How about the neck, is it too flat for a bow?

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1 hour ago, itu said:

Lovely looking BIG instrument! Probably costs an arm and a leg, literally... How about the neck, is it too flat for a bow?

I don't think there's any way of bowing that bass easily. We were talking about that with Umut - if we wanted to bow it we'd need to replace the bridge with a taller, curved one, at the very least, but the fingerboard is flat, so bowing wouldn't be easy anyway. It's a good thing that Jack doesn't bow, and I only occasionally dabble on my Eminence, before horrifying myself at my ineptitude and going straight back to plucking... :D

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Yeh, but can you play Brown Sugar on it?

 

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