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Obrienp

American Performer Mustang vs Sire U5 vs Reverend Wattpower 2

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Apologies, I know there are similar threads around but my enquiry is slightly different to what I have read so far. I am in my 60s, developing arthritis in my left thumb, have short fingers and I am generally struggling with speed and accuracy on big boy basses, not to mention wanting something lighter on my shoulder. This is leading me to sell my beloved Aerodyne Jazz, so I want something that fits into that slot; I.e. more than one pickup but it can’t have a chunky neck (I’ve got a ‘51 P copy for that) and I prefer a flatter fretboard radius than vintage Fenders. I am also drawn to through body stringing. I already have a Gretsch Junior Jet and I like the neck on that, so that is a guide but it has a unique sound and I want something closer to my P/J. I should say that I live in North Norfolk, so there is nowhere that I can get to easily to try my options, so I will have to buy untested online.

That’s the background. I came up with the selection because I’ve read good things about the Sire but as I am parting with my real Fender I kind of want to replace it with something else a bit premium. I know vain or what but I also don’t want to be spending a chunk of cash on replacing budget components (pickups, bridge, machine heads, etc). The American Performer Mustang seems to fit the mould and has some quality parts that I am unlikely to want to change but I am sure I read somewhere that the neck is a bit chunky. Anybody with one care to pass a view on that? 
 

Last on the list and the most expensive is the Reverend Wattpower. I have read it is very light and has a fast neck. It also has a pickup combo that fits the kind of 50s-80s stuff I am playing in my current band. I know old fart’s music but there it is. I don’t like: the price for a Far Eastern made instrument and the colour. I do like weight, fast neck, quality of components, through body stringing, etc. I just can’t find any objective reviews or sound tests for it online. Anybody able to shed any light on it: got one, or tried it? 
 

I left out the JMJ Mustang because i think the price is over the top for a Mex Fender. The Ventura looks as though it has a vintage fretboard radius a bit like a broom handle. The Mex made Mustang P/Js don’t have through body stringing. The Chowny SWB-1 looked interesting but I read they are heavier than a standard P or J bass, so that rules it out. Also I think I read the neck is a bit chunky?

So there we are. What does the panel think? I would love to hear from owners of these basses about versatility and neck size in particular.

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Nut width might be your determining factor here. The Performer has a more P style width (as do the JMJ and Vintera).

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4 minutes ago, ezbass said:

Nut width might be your determining factor here. The Performer has a more P style width (as do the JMJ and Vintera).

Good point but the Gretsch also has a P width nut but the neck profile is shallow, so it seems to be OK for me. It’s really the depth and profile of the neck that is the issue for me. If it feels a handful for people with normal to large hands, then it is going to be too big for me. It’s certainly worth considering in the equation though.

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I have several short scales, probably for similar reasons to you. Dodgy hands and back.

I have a Sire U5, and it's a great instrument. Punches way above its weight in terms of value for money. The neck is incredibly comfortable to play. It's the lightest bass I've owned. Obviously, in terms of hardware and finishing it can't really compete with a Mexican or American fender (have owned both), but that would be an unrealistic expectation.

I've got two Mustangs, but they're both Mexican. The player series PJ and the Vintera. The neck profile is very different on these. The PJ has a super comfortable narrow nut, and modern shallow neck profile, and a matt finish, and is lovely to play. The Vintera has a gloss finish, and feels both wider and thicker, and is way less easy on the hands. IMO, if you're looking at the American performer and the JMJ, you wanna make sure they have the more modern style neck rather than the vintage style.

To throw a wild card out there, I also own a Maruszczyk Elwood 4p in a 30", and it's pretty much perfect. It feels like better quality than the Mexican Fenders. The nut is 40mm rather than 38mm, but the neck profile is nice and thin, and I find it very comfortable. Also if you go custom, you can spec 38mm. The fretboard is also very flat, if you like that. It's lighter than both my Fenders, just a touch heavier than the Sire.

If I was ranking all my basses in order of preference, it would go: Maruszczyk, Sire, PJ Mustang, Vintera Mustang.

Hope that's helpful.

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Love North Norfolk - it’s a great place.

Does it have to be short scale?

If not don’t overlook a Hohner headless bass - your hand is thrown forward a little bit on it due to the shape, but it’s a cracking cricket bat of a bass.

I am also going to throw the Sandberg Lionel in there for you for a short scale.

How North Norfolk are you?

I know it’s a bugger and probably a 2 hr each way round trip, but maybe going to bass direct may be the best thing to get it right once

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Also in Ibanez  mikro punches way above its weight in price

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Thanks for the comments folks. I am seriously tempted by the Sire U5 but I think I would end up spending at least £200 on upgrading components, like I did with the Gretsch and that is money you won’t get back if you have to sell.

I had never heard of Maruszczych before. I had a quick look at the Bass Direct website and they do look amazing. They have a 32” Elwood 4p for about the same money as the Reverend Wattpower 2 but it is almost 9lb in weight, which is getting towards the weight of the Aerodyne Jazz. If they had a 30” and a bit lighter it would be right at the top of the list. A trip to Bass Direct might be required but I think it would be a bit more than 2 hours each way. Mind you, I am going to have to sell something else as well as the Aerodyne to fund either the Maruszczych, or the Reverend. Anyone interested in a J45 Standard😏?

I think it does have to be a short scale now☹️. I still have a big boy bass and a 5 string but I can’t play them for long without discomfort and doing a 2 hour set with 6-8 rock and roll numbers in a row is too much now. I can manage it just about on the Gretsch.

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There is always the Danelectro DC '59 (or Longhorn if you're feeling that way inclined). Might have to upgrade a couple of bits, but they are light.

I own 2 Maruszczyk Elwood Ls that I had custom built in 33" scale, both weigh about 3.25 kgs. Their sister brand, Mesinger, also have a few models in 30" scale. https://www.public-peace.de/shop

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I own 2 Mustangs, a Squier Mikey Way and a JMJ. The necks are very different, the JMJ is definitely a vintage profile and more of a handful. Don’t let the fact that it’s a Mex put you off, it’s definitely a quality piece of kit but I suspect that the neck profile wouldn’t be for you if you’re looking for more of a Jazz nut width.

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Some comments on the vintera Mustang; it's got the 7.5" radius fretboard - I can hardly notice it, all my other basses have been standard ⁹" or whatever it is. If I didn't know the vintera was different I don't think I would have flagged it. 

Vinteras and JMJ's have the same neck profiles and I find them to be tiny compared to a proper chunky 50s neck. I suppose it depends on what your hands are used to. 

The small size does really help with the weight though; it's insanely light considering it's still real alder! 

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My head is spinning with choices and cost! To illustrate why I am a bit fixated on weight: I built a full scale ‘51 Precision bass. It’s shocking to look at but that way nobody will pinch it if I leave it unattended at a gig. It weighs 5.5 lbs. it’s much lighter than my Aerodyne Jazz (about 9lbs), the Gretsch Junior Jet is 7.8 lbs. The precision has a full vintage club like neck (Allparts fender licensed) but the body was made from Obeche. It has a mudbucker in the neck position and a SD Quarter pounder middle pickup. Despite all this it is amazingly light and if I wasn’t having hand problems, I could play it all night.

4BED2DA8-BE8C-4AC9-89A9-DF4AD58531E6.jpeg

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24 minutes ago, Obrienp said:

My head is spinning with choices and cost! To illustrate why I am a bit fixated on weight: I built a full scale ‘51 Precision bass. It’s shocking to look at but that way nobody will pinch it if I leave it unattended at a gig. It weighs 5.5 lbs. it’s much lighter than my Aerodyne Jazz (about 9lbs), the Gretsch Junior Jet is 7.8 lbs. The precision has a full vintage club like neck (Allparts fender licensed) but the body was made from Obeche. It has a mudbucker in the neck position and a SD Quarter pounder middle pickup. Despite all this it is amazingly light and if I wasn’t having hand problems, I could play it all night.

4BED2DA8-BE8C-4AC9-89A9-DF4AD58531E6.jpeg

It may look strange - but - could you get a short scale neck, lather the pocket and the bridge position and leaves you with a functional bass

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Now that is a thought but I guess the bridge would have to move as well. I might talk to my friendly local luthier.

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13 minutes ago, Obrienp said:

Now that is a thought but I guess the bridge would have to move as well. I might talk to my friendly local luthier.

It would yes 

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On 01/05/2021 at 22:46, Obrienp said:

Now that is a thought but I guess the bridge would have to move as well. I might talk to my friendly local luthier.

One of those massive bridges that are used on the old Mustang basses might work as those bridges are huge and there alway seems to be a lot of room to move the saddles forward

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I have a Reverend Sentinel short scale. I had considered the Wattplower Mk1 but when they released the Sentinel, I preferred the body shape, aesthetics and was drawn to the three way toggle that gives three very distinctive tones. Although Reverend guitars are made by Mirr Music in Korea, each guitar & bass, gets an in-depth set up at Reverend's HQ in the US. This has been my go to bass since I bought it last year and my other basses only get the occasional trip out of their cases before quickly returning. The Sentinel is lightweight, has great quality components (Hip Shot lightweight tuners, bespoke pickups and high mass bridge etc.) enjoyable to play and delivers a BIG sound. Merchant City are the largest UK dealer and carry these in stock. That's where I got mine and the customer service was first class. Worth considering.

 

Have a look at this video. Although it is not a review of a short scale, the reviewer talks a lot about the quality etc. 

 

 

 

2020-02-06 14.03.42.jpg

2020-02-06 19.09.50.jpg

 

20210505_131018.jpg

Edited by sPiKi
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Hi Folks,

Well, I thought I would post the conclusion to my debates and thank everybody for their suggestions, information, etc.

After chatting to my friendly local luthier, I have ordered a custom build. It’s going to be a scaled down ‘54 P Bass shape (i.e. a 51 with some contouring), 30” scale with a very shallow D profile maple neck, 12” radius fretboard and 40 MM nut width. Lightweight body with through mounted controls. My Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder Jazz at the bridge and a custom wound reverse split P middle pickup. Pickup blender and push/pull parallel/series switch, passive tone, and a Babicz bridge. All sustainable woods  in vintage sunburst with some ageing/road worn finish effects. All of the above with case should come in at less than the street price of an American Performer Mustang.

I am hoping it is going to be a  good replacement for my Aerodyne Jazz but in my preferred 51/54 shape. I will have little and large 51s! If I had known he could do this for what seems a very reasonable price, I would have gone straight to him. It also means I am supporting a local business, which I think is important in these troubled times.

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Excellent. If at all possible, it would be great if your builder could let you have photos as the build progresses and you could share them here (we do love a build thread). Keep us posted.

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2 hours ago, ezbass said:

Excellent. If at all possible, it would be great if your builder could let you have photos as the build progresses and you could share them here (we do love a build thread). Keep us posted.

Yes. I’ll try to remember to ask him. Not sure when the build is going to begin yet. He has a 3 month backlog at the moment.

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20 hours ago, sPiKi said:

I have a Reverend Sentinel short scale. I had considered the Wattplower Mk1 but when they released the Sentinel, I preferred the body shape, aesthetics and was drawn to the three way toggle that gives three very distinctive tones. Although Reverend guitars are made by Mirr Music in Korea, each guitar & bass, gets an in-depth set up at Reverend's HQ in the US. This has been my go to bass since I bought it last year and my other basses only get the occasional trip out of their cases before quickly returning. The Sentinel is lightweight, has great quality components (Hip Shot lightweight tuners, bespoke pickups and high mass bridge etc.) enjoyable to play and delivers a BIG sound. Merchant City are the largest UK dealer and carry these in stock. That's where I got mine and the customer service was first class. Worth considering.

 

Have a look at this video. Although it is not a review of a short scale, the reviewer talks a lot about the quality etc. 

 

 

 

2020-02-06 14.03.42.jpg

2020-02-06 19.09.50.jpg

 

20210505_131018.jpg

I love the look of that Sentinel. Reverend have really come up with a great headstock shape as well. Familiar but different.

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