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New UNICORN bass in the pipeline...


bassmayhem
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We have some really stellar bass builders here in Sweden: Anders Mattisson, who builds for Henrik Linder (Dirty Loops) and Janek Gwizdala is one. Another one is Christian Olsson, who has built for Mark King among others. His company is called Unicorn Bass. There are others too...

 

I have just placed an order for a custom instrument: my very first such.
So now, Unicorn Bass is building me an all passive no frills tone monster, a bass to play - not to display. I am really thrilled, since I've never owned an instrument built especially for me before. Unicorn has some models that are custom shop in all aspects; this one, called the Purist, is the bass to use if you don't want any fancy stuff, if you prefer passive electronics, bolt-on neck and straight ahead solid foundation. The neck profile, number of strings, spacing, body wood, pickups and their placement and finish are made or chosen to my liking and preferences. I.E. all that counts for is custom made....

 

A month ago I visited Christian Olsson in his workshop and tried some of his instruments: both Artist Series and the Purist, but really fell for the simplicity, yet versatility, from the Purist. Now it is just some months wait for the beast to be born...

Pic's will come. Here is the link to the Unicorn site: https://unicornbass.se/site/

 

DSC_0166.jpg

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1 hour ago, Geek99 said:

I must be missing something - how is six knobs, two three-way switches and two pickups “simplicity” ?

 

a precision bass constitutes simplicity 

I think the bass in the photo is the Artist model. Looking at the site, the Purist looks to be more like a Precision.

DSC_0264-scaled-800x1250.jpg

Edited by verb
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7 hours ago, Geek99 said:

I must be missing something - how is six knobs, two three-way switches and two pickups “simplicity” ?

 

a precision bass constitutes simplicity 

This is a picture from the homepage; my bass is still a pile of wood... ;) 

 

Edited by bassmayhem
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On 28/08/2021 at 02:12, verb said:

I think the bass in the photo is the Artist model. Looking at the site, the Purist looks to be more like a Precision.

DSC_0264-scaled-800x1250.jpg

Kind of! Mine will have two pickups: one close to the bridge and one closer to the neck, like on the Jeff Berlin signature bass. And five strings. :) 

Edited by bassmayhem
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Here is a link to an old article No Treble wrote some years ago. They just "mixed and matched" the pictures of two different basses...
https://www.notreble.com/buzz/2014/11/17/bass-of-the-week-unicornbass-ozellman-master/
 

Next to the Strat hangs his Unicorn...

 

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9 hours ago, chaypup said:

Couldn't see any prices on the website - what's a ballpark figure for what you paid?

What I paid is an affair between Unicorn and me, but let us say like this: stellar material and craftsmanship ain't cheap. I know what I get and pay what it costs. ;) 
This is a real custom shop bass, not just a bass called custom shop. Noone else gets a similar one. It is made for my head, hands and heart. Think like this: closer to Fodera than Fender...
My philosophy is: A good price is what makes the buyer and seller satisfied. 

Edited by bassmayhem
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1 hour ago, bassmayhem said:

What I paid is an affair between Unicorn and me, but let us say like this: stellar material and craftsmanship ain't cheap. I know what I get and pay what it costs. ;) 
This is a real custom shop bass, not just a bass called custom shop. Noone else gets a similar one. It is made for my head, hands and heart. Think like this: closer to Fodera than Fender...
My philosophy is: A good price is what makes the buyer and seller satisfied. 

Thank you! I've never played one but they look amazing. 

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1 hour ago, bassmayhem said:

What I paid is an affair between Unicorn and me, but let us say like this: stellar material and craftsmanship ain't cheap. I know what I get and pay what it costs. ;) 
This is a real custom shop bass, not just a bass called custom shop. Noone else gets a similar one. It is made for my head, hands and heart. Think like this: closer to Fodera than Fender...
My philosophy is: A good price is what makes the buyer and seller satisfied. 

Fodera money then too 😂

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is my SECOND Unicorn, but I got it first. ;)

This one is a four string Artist model with a lot of custom options to my liking. A friend ordered it, but found that he only uses five string basses any way. To good to let pass, so I grabbed it.

Three pickups in wooden shells: two J-pickups and one P-pickup. Switchable only J, only P and all at once. Balance on J-pickups, active/passive. It sure looks fast... :) 

5 4

Now just wait for my "own" five string to turn from a pile of wood into a bass... ;) 

Edited by bassmayhem
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Well, now the Flamboyant Four has moved in... ;)

It is truly a magnificent instrument. The neck on this one is somewhat slimmer than on my custom ordered five string in making, just 19 mm thick at the zero fret. Wide and kind of flat-ish neck profile, reminiscent of an older 60's P-bass. The neck is super stable, though it has no carbon rods. Unicorn never uses these. The select wood is orientated and glued for maximum strength. The neck is dead straight, the bass plays very well intonated in every position all the way up to the 24th fret. Playing chords in tune all the way up is a thing not all basses can manage.

 

The electronics are another thing...
The pickup mini switch in up position makes "Precision Bass only", down position makes "All Jazz Bass" with pickup blend. Switch in center position activates "both basses mode" simultaneously. You can use all three pickups, or pan to neck J + P or bridge J + P. A lot of tones so far. The four band EQ is stellar. Four fixed bands: low - low mid - high mid - treble. Also an active/passive switch when pulling up the volume control. Unfortunately no passive tone. The last switch is something I've never considered an option: a kill switch. But - the original owner wanted one. I'll have a chat with Christian Olsson at Unicorn if it is possible to swap that switch for a passive tone control.

 

The pickups themselves are built into very nice sculpted wooden covers made from the same woods you find in the neck, body and fingerboard. This is the only "bling" I ordered for my all passive five string bass. Really nice touch compared to plastic...

 

The lacquer is fantastic. It is hard to make its pearl orange gloss right in a photo from a mobile phone. Just like that. If I say this lacquer feels like $1000 I won't lie... ;) 

 

The scale then! This bass is a 32" medium scale instrument, something I've never owned before, and hardly never played. My Dingwall Super P and Super J starts off with a 32" G-string, that's the closest I've come. To be honest, hadn't I known I wouldn't have noticed. I tried a 32" five string at Unicorn's work shop, but that wasn't my cup of tea. But - a four string works very good and feels right in my hands.

 

A very fine bass indeed! Now I just have to wait for my five string "Espresso Bass"...

 

20210917_171446.thumb.jpg.62dbe7ebe9d1a8445bca3b3a1af0f60f.jpg

20210917_165447.thumb.jpg.8395df64c8ef3c16c25de42c4b752d13.jpg

20210917_165707.thumb.jpg.23bd3d86e2e927121bea9c34dcd27eb4.jpg

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21 minutes ago, bassmayhem said:

Well, now the Flamboyant Four has moved in... ;)

It is truly a magnificent instrument. The neck on this one is somewhat slimmer than on my custom ordered five string in making, just 19 mm thick at the zero fret. Wide and kind of flat-ish neck profile, reminiscent of an older 60's P-bass. The neck is super stable, though it has no carbon rods. Unicorn never uses these. The select wood is orientated and glued for maximum strength. The neck is dead straight, the bass plays very well intonated in every position all the way up to the 24th fret. Playing chords in tune all the way up is a thing not all basses can manage.

 

The electronics are another thing...
The pickup mini switch in up position makes "Precision Bass only", down position makes "All Jazz Bass" with pickup blend. Switch in center position activates "both basses mode" simultaneously. You can use all three pickups, or pan to neck J + P or bridge J + P. A lot of tones so far. The four band EQ is stellar. Four fixed bands: low - low mid - high mid - treble. Also an active/passive switch when pulling up the volume control. Unfortunately no passive tone. The last switch is something I've never considered an option: a kill switch. But - the original owner wanted one. I'll have a chat with Christian Olsson at Unicorn if it is possible to swap that switch for a passive tone control.

 

The pickups themselves are built into very nice sculpted wooden covers made from the same woods you find in the neck, body and fingerboard. This is the only "bling" I ordered for my all passive five string bass. Really nice touch compared to plastic...

 

The lacquer is fantastic. It is hard to make its pearl orange gloss right in a photo from a mobile phone. Just like that. If I say this lacquer feels like $1000 I won't lie... ;) 

 

The scale then! This bass is a 32" medium scale instrument, something I've never owned before, and hardly never played. My Dingwall Super P and Super J starts off with a 32" G-string, that's the closest I've come. To be honest, hadn't I known I wouldn't have noticed. I tried a 32" five string at Unicorn's work shop, but that wasn't my cup of tea. But - a four string works very good and feels right in my hands.

 

A very fine bass indeed! Now I just have to wait for my five string "Espresso Bass"...

 

20210917_171446.thumb.jpg.62dbe7ebe9d1a8445bca3b3a1af0f60f.jpg

20210917_165447.thumb.jpg.8395df64c8ef3c16c25de42c4b752d13.jpg

20210917_165707.thumb.jpg.23bd3d86e2e927121bea9c34dcd27eb4.jpg

Look at that!

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56 minutes ago, ezbass said:

That’s what I thought.

Well, Christian is a big fan of Mark King, so some kind of imprint may be traceable... ;) 
My impression is that the old Jaydee were a bit... chunkier. Kind of. Anyway, as bass is a bass is a bass. 99 % of them look like something that fell off a truck coming out of Fullerton... ;) 

 

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4 minutes ago, bassmayhem said:

Well, Christian is a big fan of Mark King, so some kind of imprint may be traceable... ;) 
My impression is that the old Jaydee were a bit... chunkier. Kind of. Anyway, as bass is a bass is a bass. 99 % of them look like something that fell off a truck coming out of Fullerton... ;) 

 

I didn't mean any disrespect,  I think it's beautiful!

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It’s nice to see these getting some attention. I have had three Unicorn basses, a five string Artist, the sister bass of the Mark King bass and an Ozellman four string passive (which I still have and play). The necks have purpleheart wood in them, which makes them incredibly stable, without carbon fibre reinforcement. The attention to detail in the builds is staggering. I think they look the best with two humbuckers.

 

The Artist five string was a 32 inch scale, but the B-string was stable and defined, probably better than other 5s I’ve tried. The scale/tension relationship you expect, doesn’t apply here. Also, the action can get ridiculously low on these, which makes them feel responsive and have a fast attack.

 

I’m keeping my Ozellman. For some reason it plays and sounds exactly right on recordings. I would encorage anyone to check them out.

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