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Overwater underrated or overrated?


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I think it depends on the instrument, there's lots of different models and some are more interesting than others depending on your PoV.

I used to own two 5-string Originals (the one with the part-Thunderbird shape) one of which was a historically important instrument being one of the earliest 5-string (low-B) basses made. Both sold for what I considered to be a fair price that covered the cost of buying them originally (second hand) and took into account how long I had owned each for and the amount of use I had got out of them.

Some of the more conventional style Overwater basses might not attract so much interest.

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3 hours ago, chris_b said:

Overwater are exceptional instruments. I would love to own one of their 5 string Jazz basses.

My problem is their weight. These days I can't carry a 10+lb bass for 2 sets anymore.

One of my tutors at uni has an Overwater signature model that’s based on a jazz bass. The first one they built for him caused him to have back problems, he let me hold it the once, it was ridiculously heavy, though my 7 string was something like 15kg.

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To be honest I don’t think they do generally sell for a ridiculously low price. No different really than Seis, Shukers, Jaydees Etc. 

I used to spend a fair bit of time at Overwater, years back. Chris is a lovely, lovely  man. Showed me round the whole place once. I’ve always been reasonably indifferent to their basses though. From the conversations I had with Chris, it was plain that the sound they were generally after was a neutral one, hence why many session guys favour them (and also their championing of EA, which I hate). Unfortunately that’s the opposite of what I like. Also, I like “guitar action”, as Chris put it, which doesn’t match their general setup principles. I suppose really I’m a guitaristic bass player, rather than a “real” bass player, so not really their demographic. 

Many Overwaters are very heavy, but they’ll build you something lighter if you ask and the instruments are very well made. I respect their ethos and product a great deal, the instruments just don’t really grab me; which isn’t to say they couldn’t build something that would.

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so I own both a 4 string and 5 string custom jazzes stunning in every respect

weight wise my four is lighter than my status and the five is not much more

they by far give me all I need,for me they are just fantastic basses well made and a fantastic range of sounds

chris and Kirsty from overwater are always just at the end of the phone if needed,

there is a overwater get together this sunday at the joint at kings cross,chris and Kirsty will both be there and there will be a few basses for people to try 

finally my overwaters are my go to basses aboveall else


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I like them but as mentioned they generally have a very neutral sound. Its good for many things but typically not rock music that i usually play. They will however make you a bass that will fit better with rock music with your choice of pick ups and pre-amp if that's what you want.

I have a 6er fretless custom that i bought for my 50th before i started playing in bands again but i rarely use it these days.

I would never dream of selling it as it has a pearl inlaid name on board and its just to nice to sell. I like occasionally playing around with it. Great for that Tony Levin Chapman stick tone tho :lol:

I also have a contemporary J4 that was built at Overwaters workshop rather than at Tanglewood. Overwater name but no serial number. It was finished very well by Chris and Martin. Think it was made from the pre-production parts they used to demo for Tanglewood. Lovely bass to play but i just don't like the pick-ups or pre-amp or both. They don't have any warmth or growl but they don't talk to me in a way that my other basses do I'm thinking of changing pick ups and pre-amp at some point as its a nice bass to play otherwise.

Overall i like their basses but i think a change of pre-amp or pick ups would certainly offer more for rock bassists giving a little more growl or warmth depending on what you want.

Always fancied the original 4 stringers with that T-bird shape going on.


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I have owned 3. I traded the first (original in Purple Burst) for a pair of EMG Jazz pickups. What an idiot. The second was a 6 string 36" which I picked up and had Chris totally refurb. It was just sublime. Quite the most even bass I have played but the extra string made my head go soggy inside. So I sold it. I have just picked up another 6 string 36" from the same era which will go back to Chris for another refurb. I will practice with it because the sound on the 2nd was genuinely something else. It will be strung bottom F# to G and will speak with the voice of thunder.

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7 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

I'm going to go with 'that's a typo' ...


It’s not, it really was 😂. I did a gig with it in Paris and got lost trying to find the venue, after trudging over the same bridge for the fourth time in twenty minutes, I came so close to taking it off my back, and throwing it in to the river 😆.

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31 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

My two Originals were big and heavy (36" scale) but they balanced beautifully on the strap so that you never noticed the weight.

<goes off to plan a 36" 6 string original with bottom F#>.............

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I have my green Overwater Jazz for sale at the moment - not because it isn't a great bass, if anything the opposite - it plays fantastic with a huge usable tonal package. The reason for sale is that I, like many others here, have too many basses most of which don't get used.

After selling it several years ago I suffered with Sellers Remorse, when the buyer, @claustra, put it back up for sale I snapped it up, but it has pretty much lived in it's case since. If you look at my for sale thread you'll see that he even reconsidered buying it back again.

When I put it up for sale again, the original owner/ commissioner of the bass got in contact committing to buy it back once they'd sold their current bass. Several weeks later they got in contact to say, despite really wanting the bass back, they were now in the market for a 5/6 string bass, and pulled out.

So nobody who has owned the Overwater has been disappointed by it - if I was using it regularly I'd definitely keep it - cos I'm not, I'm giving somebody else the opportunity to put it to good use.

It's as good as any of the many other "Super Jazzes" out there, it'll do everything you ask of it - super punchy, super build quality and plays like a dream.

I often question why they're not held it more esteem.

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