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LaBella Olinto Basses


StuarDaddy

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Has anyone got one of these or ever played one? Very interested to know what they're like. Looking at the specs everything is handmade in NY by Mas Hino with hand wound pickups and on the necks 44.45mm at the nut mmmmmmmmm. Be like wrapping your hand around the M6 motorway in my head. No ideas on prices but I assume they're not cheap. 

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I believe they're kinda a US based equivalent to Moollon, in that Mas really wanted to create vintage spec Precisions as accurately as possible, although he offers way more custom options than Moollon. For example some of his necks are flat-sawn (whereas it's commonly thought that quarter-sawn is 'better'), because that's what Fender did back in the day.
I tried a few at NAMM, and they're excellent as you'd expect, just very vintage'y Fender style P's. From memory, I think they come in at about $3500 for a basic spec (ie before fancy woods etc).

Here's one on Reverb (with a quarter-sawn neck interestingly) straight from them that would work out to probably close to £4000 with postage and VAT I imagine:

https://reverb.com/item/34502862-olinto-by-la-bella

Si

Edited by Sibob
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  • 8 months later...

I criticised how poorly designed and manufactured they were (neck alignment issues, pickup pole pieces off centre with the strings, inlays off centre etc) and Mas Hino blocked me on Instagram!

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11 minutes ago, acidbass said:

I criticised how poorly designed and manufactured they were (neck alignment issues, pickup pole pieces off centre with the strings, inlays off centre etc) and Mas Hino blocked me on Instagram!

Not doing a Mas Hino on you, but how much does pole piece alignment matter - OCD type issues aside, and yes i am not talking wildly off, but is it huge?!

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2 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

Not doing a Mas Hino on you, but how much does pole piece alignment matter - OCD type issues aside, and yes i am not talking wildly off, but is it huge?!

At $3500 for what is essentially a P-Bass copy (something that was originally designed to be able to be made cheaply with relatively unskilled labour) I would expect the attention to detail to be flawless. Misaligned pickups while not necessarily a problem with the sound and playability of the bass are not acceptable on an expensive instrument IMO.

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1 minute ago, BigRedX said:

At $3500 for what is essentially a P-Bass copy (something that was originally designed to be able to be made cheaply with relatively unskilled labour) I would expect the attention to detail to be flawless. Misaligned pickups while not necessarily a problem with the sound and playability of the bass are not acceptable on an expensive instrument IMO.

I get that, was it intentional for example like the Stingray Old Smoothie?

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8 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

The Musicman Stingray Old Smoothie model intentionally had the strings not aligned over the pole pieces 

 

https://www.music-man.com/instruments/basses/old-smoothie

But those 4 strings are perfectly aligned between the 5 pole-pieces.

I get where you are coming from, but when you are recreating that "vintage vibe" where do you draw the line between recreating a specific feel/look and actually making an instrument which functions properly?

Are we about to see the return of over-sized neck pockets, 3-bolt neck joints and micro-tilt adjustments with a mis-aligned string plate for that authentic late-70s wonky neck look?

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9 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

But those 4 strings are perfectly aligned between the 5 pole-pieces.

I get where you are coming from, but when you are recreating that "vintage vibe" where do you draw the line between recreating a specific feel/look and actually making an instrument which functions properly?

Are we about to see the return of over-sized neck pockets, 3-bolt neck joints and micro-tilt adjustments with a mis-aligned string plate for that authentic late-70s wonky neck look?

Haha - i can do that for a pack of pork scratchings and some peanuts, and i wont even block you!

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3 hours ago, Cuzzie said:

Not doing a Mas Hino on you, but how much does pole piece alignment matter - OCD type issues aside, and yes i am not talking wildly off, but is it huge?!

Echoing BigRedX above, I wouldn't expect anything less than perfection when spending that sort of money.  They made a 5 string P Bass in a mocha sort of colour with no pickguard that actually could have been designed and crafted by GCSE woodworking student.  I do believe alignment makes a difference to tone also - the Stingray weak G problem can largely be attributed to the fact that most G strings float off the side of the pole pieces on Rays (modern Rays aside).

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Perfect alignment is not an issue re tone... unless it’s really drastic which I never saw on an Olinto. The sum of the build is what’s important and Olintos have a great  vintage like feel and tone and play very well,  thousands less than a pre cbs Fender (if you can find a good player).  
But ....I’ll remind my producers and engineers  (not to mention the artists) about  any slight imperfection on the instrument as they request it for their project....maybe they will smarten up and realize the scam I’m pulling on them cause I got stuck with a poorly functioning instrument that is not really playable. 
 I learned  a long time ago after years reading Talkbass that  these forums are not just full of good thoughts and information,  but are a problem too. Some posts above just reminded me of that. 
 

 

Edited by Bass'ncats
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6 hours ago, Bass'ncats said:

Perfect alignment is not an issue re tone... unless it’s really drastic which I never saw on an Olinto. The sum of the build is what’s important and Olintos have a great  vintage like feel and tone and play very well,  thousands less than a pre cbs Fender (if you can find a good player).  
But ....I’ll remind my producers and engineers  (not to mention the artists) about  any slight imperfection on the instrument as they request it for their project....maybe they will smarten up and realize the scam I’m pulling on them cause I got stuck with a poorly functioning instrument that is not really playable. 
 I learned  a long time ago after years reading Talkbass that  these forums are not just full of good thoughts and information,  but are a problem too. Some posts above just reminded me of that. 
 

 

Welcome to basschat where anything other than Harley Benton is a waste of money. 
 

Reviews of the Olinto basses that’s I’ve  read suggest they sound and feel tremendous. Probably why they’re not so easy to get your mits on over here. 

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7 hours ago, Bass'ncats said:

Perfect alignment is not an issue re tone... unless it’s really drastic which I never saw on an Olinto. The sum of the build is what’s important and Olintos have a great  vintage like feel and tone and play very well,  thousands less than a pre cbs Fender (if you can find a good player). 

Let's face it, a 5 string P Bass is going to sound like a 5 string P Bass.  What magic sauce is going to be worth an extra $3000 US, if say you compared a Squier P Bass with a Nordy P pickup to an Olinto with a Nordy P Pickup?  You can't deny that dodgy alignment is the fault of either the builder or the designer.

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7 hours ago, Bass'ncats said:

Perfect alignment is not an issue re tone... unless it’s really drastic... 

I learned  a long time ago after years reading Talkbass that  these forums are not just full of good thoughts and information,  but are a problem too. Some posts above just reminded me of that.

I understand your point of view very well. But I also see other feasible opinions, like @acidbass said: "I wouldn't expect anything less than perfection when spending that sort of money." OK, it is true, electric instruments are still on the cheap side. Take any classical instrument, and...:

https://uptonbass.com/shop/arnold-schnitzer-double-bass-2020-opus-50/

Still a simple log with few strings can be built with high standards. I like the quality of Ibanez, because their neck pockets are tight and fret ends filed. Yes, from under £500.

My fretless is made by a local luthier and his work is impeccable. My main fretted basses are a Vigier and a Modulus. Vigier = quality. Modulus is a bit americain construction wise, but its functionality and playability gets top marks. And pickups are in the middle, although the neck pocket could be even tighter...

Yes, playability and sound are the thing. I do expect that my instruments are also reliable which I connect to quality. If the luthier sees, that fitting parts is not an important thing, fine. But for some extra money I want some extra quality.

Disclaimer: I do not have had a chance to play an Olinto. If these previous comments are about actual instruments' quality and build, I would be concerned a bit, too. If there is some shouting without actual knowledge here, please enjoy your instrument and use applicable filter to the comments above.

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Scott (of bass lessons fame) has been talking these up recently - I think they look pretty decent. Clearly aimed at the Moolon/Fender Custom Shop crowd, I'd certainly like to try one! 

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Everyone has the right to decide what’s most important to them in an instrument. For me it’s tone and feel. Olinto is great IMO for that and offer Brazilian rosewood and old Indian rosewood plus a nitrocellulose finish ,vintage goals for the handwound proprietary pups, and several other vintage style decisions, all of which are important parts of  the formulae for a vintage style Fender copy. 
Another thing I learned through lots of money spending and trial and error is that feel and tone are not dependent on flawless luthery as many people on bass forums assume or wish. It’s mostly about the basic formula, goals, and decisions made before any construction. My Olintos are perfectly reliable and functional, no issues. So drawing a conclusion between perfection and reliability is a false one in  wood instruments -leave that to something like a digital electronic keyboard etc. My Olintos are generally well made ( to my opinion or needs) and have no issues. They sound better to me than some other brands that maybe some would think are better made.. If the mission statement is pre cbs Fender then the execution and decisions got there. 
Lets be even more honest, to the guys who  have magnifying glasses and an eager soapbox mentality it’s NOT that you need feel and tone to be #1, it’s that you need and want flawless instruments .. it’s your choice and taste and goal... it’s a main interest  in instrument buying. 
One last thing- my all original 62 J is much less than perfect, way more money , and is an amazing bass. Feel and tone are #1 for people who need them to be, not just want them to be... BTW even if it means cheaper non boutique instruments. 

 

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