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New John Myung Signature Bongo 6

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It is optimised for a very particular style of playing: very fast fingerstyle with virtually no slap. Given the popularity of instruments like Strandbergs in the prog / djent world, I wouldn’t be surprised if bassists from those genres find this an interesting proposition... as well as people who like the idea of six string range but find six string boards a little much. 

Edited by therealting

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14 hours ago, BassApprentice said:

I completely appreciate and understand your opinion, but this bass wasn't made to impress you or anyone else really, apart from John Myung 😅

If they want to sell any to anyone except (rich) bass-playing Dream Theater fanboys and fangirls, they are going to have to do something to impress beyond sticking Myung's name on the back of the headstock. 

The two-tone fingerboard thing, in this design, is dull - there's so much more they could have done with that idea. Look at some of the 'melted' designs that the likes of Conklin and Fodera have done over the years. It's not like Ernie Ball don't have the woodworking skills to do stuff like this, especially for an exclusive instrument such as a Myung signature. 

 

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You know what, I'm going to do a bit of a 180 on this.

Super slim 6 string neck - great idea! EB offered to do a run of 19mm SR5s and they didn't get enough interest which would suggest that small string spacings are what would sell.

Super sleek look - quite like it now. The Bongo is quite a minimalist design anyway so trimming the control-fat simply leans a little heavier into this.

 

So yeah, not for me but then my name isn't on the headstock! I think this will probably end up quite popular with the proggers whose Darkglass preamps will allow them to tweak where they can't on the bass.

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On a slight tangent, I finally listened to Dream Theatre today thanks to this thread. Reminds of the boss battle type music on old Sega/Nintendo games.  Fair play to EB for doing something a bit odd, always good in my book.  

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I like this. It’s about time they released a JM signature model. I live Bongo basses, even though I sold the 4 I had. Would I buy it? No, not to use live (if that ever happens again!) That string spacing is too narrow for me too.
 

However, I would love to collect signature basses if I had the funds. This is now added to the list, which goes like this - 

Steve Harris - Fender Precision

David Ellefson - Jackson RIP model 

Billy Sheehan - Yamaha Attitude

Geddy Lee - Fender Jazz

Rob Trujillo - Warwick Streamer

What an ace collection that would make. 

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56 minutes ago, Dapper Bandit said:

EB offered to do a run of 19mm SR5s and they didn't get enough interest which would suggest that small string spacings are what would sell.

As I recall, they wanted a committed number of buyers within a very tight timeframe, just a few weeks. I don't know how many people would have two grand to spare so handily so I wouldn't quite say they didn't get enough interest, not without qualifying it. I'd say they might have found buyers if it wasn't such a time-limited offer but I got the impression BP wasn't keen on the idea either way. 18mm is about as tight as I find playable. A 19mm SR5 was of big interest to me back then but there was no way I could have magic'd up the money so quickly.

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1 hour ago, Doctor J said:

As I recall, they wanted a committed number of buyers within a very tight timeframe, just a few weeks. I don't know how many people would have two grand to spare so handily so I wouldn't quite say they didn't get enough interest, not without qualifying it. I'd say they might have found buyers if it wasn't such a time-limited offer but I got the impression BP wasn't keen on the idea either way. 18mm is about as tight as I find playable. A 19mm SR5 was of big interest to me back then but there was no way I could have magic'd up the money so quickly.

Ah, I did not know that the time frame was that limited, that does paint a fairly different picture!

With that qualification then, the 17.5mm (?) spacing doesn't seem to have hurt sales of their 5 stringers historically. I know I find my Big Al 5 super comfy, personally. I suppose my point would be they've always erred on a tighter spacing?

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I have to say I'm not a signature bass aficionado; not bothered about having someone else's name on my kit.

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On 18/08/2020 at 00:01, FDC484950 said:

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.

Well I certainly HOPE manufacturers go center to center on the nut!  Why on earth would I want to stretch inconsistent amounts between strings?  you finger on the middle of the string, you press on the middle of it. The pad of your finger wraps around it, of course, but you put pressure on the middle, and there isn't any benefit in physics that I can figure out, right now, to having the low strings further away to have the space between the strings equal. 

I feel that way about the bridge, also, but I do understand that on the plucking side of things there is actually an adjustment in the attack time to compensate for distance.  At the nut, though?  I see nothing but disadvantages in strings being anything other than spaced evenly according to the center of each string.

But then, I still think that playing fanned frets is WAY harder for complex things like jazz fusion and improvised jazz and chording.  So I could be just set in my ways LoL.... but I'd love to know a good, logical, reason for the nut slots to be cut with equal space between strings instead of equal distance to string centers.

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20 hours ago, donkelley said:

Well I certainly HOPE manufacturers go center to center on the nut!  Why on earth would I want to stretch inconsistent amounts between strings? 

I feel that way about the bridge, also, but I do understand that on the plucking side of things there is actually an adjustment in the attack time to compensate for distance.  At the nut, though?  I see nothing but disadvantages in strings being anything other than spaced evenly according to the center of each string.

But most nuts are cut to space evenly between windings, just look at must Fenders and see where the dot marker are in relation to the A and D strings, and you’ll see they’re lopsided. The strings also look more evenly spaced that way, and we’ve all gotten used to it. 

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On 23/08/2020 at 23:04, Musicman20 said:

I never realised they stopped making H and HS Bongos. 

Oh dear!🙁

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5 hours ago, therealting said:

But most nuts are cut to space evenly between windings, just look at must Fenders and see where the dot marker are in relation to the A and D strings, and you’ll see they’re lopsided. The strings also look more evenly spaced that way, and we’ve all gotten used to it. 

Well, surprise surprise!  I just checked my 6 string bass.  it is space BETWEEN them, not center to center on that bass. Maybe this is why I never felt totally at home with it in my left hand!

After googling the other forum (TB), it seems nearly everybody thinks center to center makes more sense, but now I want to actually measure all my basses to see what they're like!  When I've cut my own nut slots I've done it center to center and absolutely loved the feel.

Hmmm... gave me a real puzzle to think about here.  I kinda want to replace the nut on my Peavey Grind 6 now to see if it feels better center to center!

Update: I just read a thread at TB where a guy 3d printed 2 nuts for his 5 string, with both spacing types!  brilliant way to find out for sure what is best.  He felt he'd prefer equal center cut, but ended up preferring equal spacing cut.

Another poster in that thread pointed out about string muting - with equal centers there is much less space between the lower (pitch) strings because they're so thick, and it's hard not to accidentally touch them, causing muting.  Not sure if that's true when I play, but it's an interesting point.

And yet, the general consensus is assuming that equal centers makes more sense - as was my assumption. 

~~~~~

Anyhow - I measured my basses.  My Peavey Grind and Carvin Icon are equal space between strings, as you suggested.  My older Ibanez SR 300, squier bronco, Aria Sinsonido, are all equal centers, or so it seems.  Those 3 are all 4 stringers though, which maybe affects the decision?

 

I couldn't reach 3 other basses in my music room - too much clutter right now LoL. 

 

But it seems like the 5/6 string, and possibly those that I'd consider more modern designs and/or fancier basses use the equal space between strings concept (I know the grind is cheap, but it's not a cheap design - just cheaply manufactured with cheap hardware/electronics).

 

Hardly a conclusive list of samples, but surprising and interesting!

 

~~~~~

 

oh, and just one more note to mention:  on my 6 string peavey grind, which does have the equal spacing between strings (so not even centers) at the nut, it has equal centered bridge.  Each string is exactly 15.5mm apart at the centers.

This seems very common - I have not seen otherwise on any guitars or basses I own.  It's just the nuts that aren't always like that.

 

the plot thickens....

 

Edited by donkelley
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@donkelley It’s more critical the thicker the strings get. With a guitar, the strings are so skinny it makes very little different. If you have someone playing a seven string bass with a low F# or even a low C#, those strings are thick and the gap becomes pretty close if you choose centre spacing. 

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Super fascinating stuff! I REALLY want to try a bass with a low B string that has the nut cut both close and equal centered - just so I can feel for myself if I actually like it or dislike it.  I would say that despite my initial assumption that feeling the top of the string makes it more important to be equal centered for playability... the general consensus among nut cutters is equal spacing between strings, as you say... but man oh man that just is so bizarre to find out.

I've played for a VERY long time, and I have cut my own nuts several times for basses I was working on.  I always loved the feel when I did equal centers.  But I have only ever cut a nut for a 4 string, I think??  pretty sure, anyhow.

We should never stop learning, and never stop admitting when we were wrong all these years.... so, at least for 5+ string basses, it seems I may have been wrong forever.

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On 24/08/2020 at 14:13, Russ said:

If they want to sell any to anyone except (rich) bass-playing Dream Theater fanboys and fangirls, they are going to have to do something to impress beyond sticking Myung's name on the back of the headstock. 

 

 

I am not a big Myung fan. So I was only interested in this bass because of the 14mm spacing which I swear by for six string basses. Since you have no other option for 14mm production six string basses besides the Ibanez GVB I was very interested in this new Bongo. But I am really disappointed by the absence of tone controls. I wish they made this bass more versatile for more players by putting up the same Bongo electronics on it.

I agree that now it is more for Myung fan boys who want exactly the same bass as him. They could have expand the market for this bass a lot more. 

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On 24/08/2020 at 13:52, 40hz said:

On a slight tangent, I finally listened to Dream Theatre today thanks to this thread. Reminds of the boss battle type music on old Sega/Nintendo games.  Fair play to EB for doing something a bit odd, always good in my book.  

This really made me laugh.

 

I love the Images and Words album, but quite a lot of the rest leaves me cold.

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3 hours ago, fretmeister said:

I love the Images and Words album, but quite a lot of the rest leaves me cold.

Images and Words is by far their best work.

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IMHO, by far their BEST album is Metropolis, Pt. 2.

It's a prog-metal rock Opera, telling a story right through. Metropolois Pt. 1 was on Images and Words, I think? as a single song, but Pt.2 is imho their best album, and one of the best albums ever of any style.

It also doesn't suffer from the 80s mixing/production that Images and Words suffers from.

After getting REALLY into Met Pt. 2, having never heard the band before, I started exploring their other works.  It's very up and down in songwriting quality imho, although always extremely well performed.  One of their best songwriters was their original drummer, who hasn't been with the band for a few years now.  Their keyboardist is also an excellent composer.   But they can go in surprising directions... some of which is amazing, some of which is just sort of odd LoL.

 

But Met. Pt.2 is a really really good album by any standards, thematically and musically and complexity-wise and lyrically.

 

Heck - it has a love song on it!  LoL  Who woulda thought??

 

Any

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On 26/08/2020 at 04:07, barend said:

I am not a big Myung fan. So I was only interested in this bass because of the 14mm spacing which I swear by for six string basses. Since you have no other option for 14mm production six string basses besides the Ibanez GVB I was very interested in this new Bongo. But I am really disappointed by the absence of tone controls. I wish they made this bass more versatile for more players by putting up the same Bongo electronics on it.

I agree that now it is more for Myung fan boys who want exactly the same bass as him. They could have expand the market for this bass a lot more. 

It is an active bass, and it has a 5-position switch with a bunch of presets, rather than being passive with just volume and tone. 

That might be cool if you had a way to edit the presets via an app or something, like the Game Changer guitar they came out with a while back, but I don't think it does.

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51 minutes ago, Russ said:

It is an active bass, and it has a 5-position switch with a bunch of presets, rather than being passive with just volume and tone. 

That might be cool if you had a way to edit the presets via an app or something, like the Game Changer guitar they came out with a while back, but I don't think it does.

That'd be cool. And maybe worth $3k.

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Well it's actually a smart design.  Like we all find with active basses, eventually there are a few settings we really like to use, and only those settings.

Guess He found his settings, and this is his bass, so it makes sense to me.

Without hearing/reading what each setting ACTUALLY does, it's impossible to know.

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Actually, I've read that the 5 way knob is a pickup blend knob.  So maybe the "active" part is just a good solid tone, nothing extreme?  Active also has the benefit of solving patch cord length downfalls, so even if the active circuit (assuming it IS active) is pretty neutral, it benefits the bass.  I did see something in the literature about a pre...somethingorother... eq.  So maybe there is a speck of baked in eq in the active circuit, but I don't think, from the description, that the eq ever changes..  Just pickup settings.

So basically, it works like a passive bass, but with the advantage of active buffering, and possibly a slightly more modern tone than a purely passive bass... which makes sense completely for prog metal.

Edited by donkelley

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In the product description it states the switch is a blend between front pickup to back pickup. There is no EQ, just a preamp to buffer it.

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