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New John Myung Signature Bongo 6

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Wow!  He finally has a sig bass that I might actually enjoy playing and love the sound of!  I couldn't stand the yamaha myung sig I owned briefly.. couldn't flip it fast enough, although it looked super cool and was a nicely sized 6 layout.

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My current main fretted bass is a peavey grind 6.  I dislike the 35" length (too many years of 34" for me to fret this reliably or feel totally comfortable with the stretches in 1st position), but I have worked past the 35" to find it to be a ridiculously great bass.  Passive is amazing sounding with proper setup on it, but I added active preamps (both a bartolini 2 band and an emg vmc variable mid) to it, defeatable, that let me get whatever tone I want.

My bass has 15.5" string spacing.  Nobody seems to know that about the grind 6.  Mine, older vietnamese made one with the C string cutout and dark wood, has 15.5" string spacing (center to center).  I absolutely positively have triple checked that.  I love that spacing on a 6.

 

So, compared to my current #1 fretted bass, that myung bongo would probably feel great to me - I love his narrow nut concept... and I like unusual looking fingerboards so I'm ok with the dual wood, although I sure would worry about longevity and twisting in the future with such a strange design!

I probably would add a preamp to it though, which yes is super annoying that it no longer has the 4 band eq.

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44.5mm at the nut and 15mm spacing at the bridge in a 6-string. Yuck! That’s going to feel horrendously cramped unless you have tiny fingers. The fingerboard looks awful with everything else being jet black. I’d much rather have a standard Bongo - or more accurately would prefer not to have one at all 😁

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I like Bongos, I like a tighter string spacing, I like that Musicman does actual 'signature' instruments for their artists.

 

I can't say i'm going to rush out and buy this but I will say that the only thing I am not hugely taken with is the fretboard.

 

But I do like how ballsy a model it is. It's not a P bass "but this one has a high mass bridge, making it entirely unique to this particular artist!"

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Yeah, idiosyncratic, but JM does like narrow necks.

Not a fan of all black, but it’s still a standout shape and style.

Just watched the video; feel inadequate again.

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I'm not a 6string player but I think it looks good for a bongo which always look better in dark colours to me. The EQ looks very interesting with controls it makes sense in a set and forget way find the sound that suits the song/venue and playing style! Guess it's another take on a tonestyler idea and if your not happy I bet they have trim pots in the cavity etc. 

Fingerboard doesnt bother me at all either as I dont find it stands out 

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What I always find surprising is that the 15.5mm spacing of my grind is considered so narrow.  I've played bass for 38 years, mostly 19mm 34" 4 string professionally, all styles of music (whatever paid or was super interesting, if not for money).  Moving to the grind introduced no issues to me from string spacing - only from being a 35" scale, and being a 6 string (it's been a while since I had a 6 string bass).

I really love it narrow like that.  I think 15mm spacing on the ebmm would feel about the same as this, and I can't wait to try one in a store one day long from now.  What really matters most to me is that the total string distance from first to last string is sort of similar from bass to bass.  6 string?  really narrow.  5 strings?  16.5 or 17mm.  4 strings?  18 or 19mm.  It just makes it easier to switch between them for me.

 

I guess I'm an oddball LoL 🙂

I'm ok with that.

 

So there's not mention of other color combinations for the new myung bass model?  Just... black?

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4 hours ago, donkelley said:

I couldn't stand the yamaha myung sig I owned briefly.. couldn't flip it fast enough, although it looked super cool and was a nicely sized 6 layout.

I loved it apart from the 35” scale. If it had been a 33” it would have been perfect.

As for the divided fingerboard, Sheldon Dingwall has been making bodies with two separate body woods for ages, the Prima Artist and Lee Sklar models both have this feature (possibly the Z models too). Warmer upper strings and tighter lower strings.

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7 hours ago, donkelley said:

What I always find surprising is that the 15.5mm spacing of my grind is considered so narrow.  I've played bass for 38 years, mostly 19mm 34" 4 string professionally, all styles of music (whatever paid or was super interesting, if not for money).  Moving to the grind introduced no issues to me from string spacing - only from being a 35" scale, and being a 6 string (it's been a while since I had a 6 string bass).

I really love it narrow like that.  I think 15mm spacing on the ebmm would feel about the same as this, and I can't wait to try one in a store one day long from now.  What really matters most to me is that the total string distance from first to last string is sort of similar from bass to bass.  6 string?  really narrow.  5 strings?  16.5 or 17mm.  4 strings?  18 or 19mm.  It just makes it easier to switch between them for me.

 

I guess I'm an oddball LoL 🙂

I'm ok with that.

 

So there's not mention of other color combinations for the new myung bass model?  Just... black?

My first custom bass, an Alpher Mako 5-string, had a string spacing at the bridge that was just over 15mm - it was the best playing bass I've ever held and my next one will absolutely be similar. :) 

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The point about narrow spacing, particularly at the nut on 5 and 6 strings is the reduced gap between the thicker strings. Most manufacturers do not cut a nut spacing the strings edge to edge but centre to centre - this is why the B and E feel closer together than the D and G or G and C. However certain techniques such as playing fourths across the B  and E string via a barré become almost impossible when the spacing at the nut is that tight. Of course it does very much depend upon how long your fingers are - but this is why for me a Precision (40mm nut, 44mm is a different beast) feels much roomier and easy to get the notes out than a jazz, which just feels cramped in the lower positions. I’d still be fine on a jazz 4 string but 5hat same nut spacing on a 5 would feel horrendous. For comparison most Ibanez sound gear 5’s have a 45mm nut, so the JM bongo May be the tightest 6 string spacing on any production bass.

And I watched the clip, Dream Theater aren’t really my cup of tea but IMHO it sounds awful.

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7 hours ago, donkelley said:

 

🙂

So there's not mention of other color combinations for the new myung bass model?  Just... black?

It looks that way which isn't really surprising. Most of JM's touring bongos are black with the occasional silver Bongo thrown in and one dark blue one which his tech calls his favourite on a gear run down video because it's so out the ordinary for JM. 

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14 hours ago, donkelley said:

Wow!  He finally has a sig bass that I might actually enjoy playing and love the sound of!  I couldn't stand the yamaha myung sig I owned briefly.. couldn't flip it fast enough, although it looked super cool and was a nicely sized 6 layout.

I had one of his yamahas I obsolutely hated it. wanted to love it so bad but it was just horrible

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, donkelley said:

So there's not mention of other color combinations for the new myung bass model?  Just... black?

Most signature models are in the one colour, apart from maybe the St Vincent Guitars, but then she does play all the colours!

Edited by Woodinblack
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2 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Most signature models are in the one colour, apart from maybe the St Vincent Guitars, but then she does play all the colours!

The Petruccis come in new colours every year

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Doesn't seem to be too out of whack, pricing wise.

 

Seems to be a massive trend with their signature models moving away from having any tone sculpting on board, which is quite interesting. Have preamps, tone pots and even volume been a lie this whole time?

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21 minutes ago, Dapper Bandit said:

Seems to be a massive trend with their signature models moving away from having any tone sculpting on board, which is quite interesting. Have preamps, tone pots and even volume been a lie this whole time?

I think there is definitely a vogue for removing as much as possible from the signal path. In someways that makes sense to me - why have a preamp and tone shaping on the bass as well as the amp? The interactions between the two might well make the sound worse rather than better.

And having heard the difference between preamps run at 9V and 18V onboard I can see the argument for having all that stuff mains powered.

Wasn't there a Kramer guitar that you could click to remove the tone circuit - get more of that 80's high end fizz!

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40 minutes ago, Dapper Bandit said:

Have preamps, tone pots and even volume been a lie this whole time?

If so, why would it have a preamp?

 

14 minutes ago, bloke_zero said:

I think there is definitely a vogue for removing as much as possible from the signal path. In someways that makes sense to me - why have a preamp and tone shaping on the bass as well as the amp?

Tone shaping, yes, agreed, I don't tend to use mine, preamp? never. I don't want to hear what the tone circuit created by my lead is, I want to hear what the pickups are doing. If I don't want that much treble I will take it down in the amplifier, not just accept whatever my lead wants to do.

And genuinely, if you can tell the difference between an 18v and a 9v preamp, one of your preamps is broken.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

And genuinely, if you can tell the difference between an 18v and a 9v preamp, one of your preamps is broken.

That's a contentious statement. I think if you took a bass whose EQ could run 18v or 9v and tried it both ways,  you'd notice.

Edit- Bear in mind that if the pickups are active,  they'd benefit from the extra headroom as well as any onboard EQ.

Edited by Lfalex v1.1
Another thought..
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Just now, Woodinblack said:

And genuinely, if you can tell the difference between an 18v and a 9v preamp, one of your preamps is broken.

I agree about the lead to some extent. I tend to use some buffered pedals so it's not something I worry about much.
The preamp was a John East MM and to my ears it sounded significantly better at 18v than 9 - clarity and head room.  Maybe I was making it up in my head 🤷‍♂️ - I thought it was relatively uncontroversial that some gain circuits work better with more voltage?

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2 minutes ago, bloke_zero said:

I agree about the lead to some extent. I tend to use some buffered pedals so it's not something I worry about much.
The preamp was a John East MM and to my ears it sounded significantly better at 18v than 9 - clarity and head room.  Maybe I was making it up in my head 🤷‍♂️ - I thought it was relatively uncontroversial that some gain circuits work better with more voltage?

No, well if you only have a short lead you are only using the lead from the bass to the floor in your tone circuit and probably not getting too much noise, especialy if you have a good cable. Having a preamp means you don't have to worry about the cable (well, obviously, doens't help if the lead is actually faulty!).

It is uncontroversial that some gain circuits work with more voltage, if you are below a certain point. If you are 9v with a decent preamp that would give you +/- 4v swing and without maxing out a bass control, your bass never gets even close to that, so having a +/- 8.5v swing on an 18v preamp isn't going to help.

For reference, the original preamp in my Ibanez SR5005 prestige was 2 AA batteries, and you couldn't tell the difference between active and passive with the controls flat. Now replaced, but not for that reason (the mid sweep and treble were non functional)

But yeh, it is just one of my bugbears. Many people like the sound of the RC network created by a guitar lead and the input you have plugged your bass into fine, and yes, it will generally be a bit softer, and that is fine. A decent preamp (used as a buffer) will give you the actual tone of your pickups, and without the filtering they can be too harsh. That is why many wireless systems give you a 'lead simulator' as they will give the same output as an active bass as they don't have the loading.

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14 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

That's a contentious statement. I think if you took a bass whose EQ could run 18v or 9v and tried it both ways,  you'd notice.

Certainly if it was broken you would. Or not designed to run at 18v.

14 minutes ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Edit- Bear in mind that if the pickups are active,  they'd benefit from the extra headroom as well as any onboard EQ.

I am talking about flat. If you turn the bass up to +18dB or something then yes, you would benifit from the headroom, although probably your amp would be probably be clipping it anyway.

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On the question of pre amps it's covered in the blurb - apparently the sound is fixed to what John Myung uses with Dream Theater - with the added pick up blend ability so giving more range. 

Onboard pre amps are extremely useful for live playing and studio work - I wouldn't be without one and if everyone was forced, heaven forbid, by the bass guitar police 😂 to play a passive bass I would be plugging in an outboard pre amp like a Sadowski or other popular item like many bassists use. 

The extra headroom given with an 18 volt pre amp avoids your bass sound sounding squashed or compressed (although some people want that). It does not klip your amp as you set the input gain to compensate (although again some people prefer the amp to klip when really digging in). 

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I understand that a lot of people like to set and forget / lean towards a less cluttered or 'purer' signal path and I think it's cool that Ernie Ball is daring to do something different, when larger manufacturers are gazing ever deeper into the navel.

I would also prefer to access the preamp if it's there, maybe have all the detents on the knobs set to John's preferred setting? But this is all just chewing the fat as the likelihood of me buying this bass is extremely small indeed!

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