Fender Steve Harris Precision I love Steve Harris. Iron Maiden is an iconic band, and he is the sonic and spiritual epicenter of it. I love that it’s a maple-body Fender Precision. That’s very unusual. And it’s resonant and great-sounding because of it. I’m a Precision guy, and an Iron Maiden guy. What’s not to love, right? Well, it is a good bit heavier than your typical P-bass. It is amazing that he has logged all those gigs playing such a heavy bass. In addition to this maple body, there is a traditional maple neck, and the usual Precision appointments. My current favorite Precision pickup is in this bass, too: the Seymour Duncan® Steve Harris SPB-4 signature model. The electronics are as straightforward and vintage as it gets. No shielding, either (and it really doesn’t’ need it). So, it’s a Precision and it’s well-built for the price point. Looking at the bass with a critical eye – which is my job, after all – the finish is a bit heavy handed, and the nut was not groomed well, and looked scratched-up, straight from the factory. It sounds great, plays great, and looks like Steve Harris’s bass. It’s under a grand but feels more expensive in your hands. If you’re after the ‘Maiden look and you’ve got the shoulder (and the attitude) for a little added weight, there’s no other bass on the planet like it – except Steve’s personal bass. DNA Guitar Company Accelerator Bass The ‘70s Jazz is an archetype at which many builders take aim at some point over their time building instruments. Some stay there, some move on. Either way, it’s a great exercise in exploring a time-proven design. This is a great take on that form for under $2,400. This bass features a swamp ash body that appears to be constructed with slick joinery. The ‘70s-style maple neck with maple fingerboard make this bass bright and snappy. Add bright, roundwound strings, and this thing is a zinger; think Marcus Miller. This bass is loaded with a J-style passive setup, with some interesting mods. The tone caps are switchable (via internal dip switches), with loading options ranging from .01uF to .1uF. The bass ships with the .047uF value selected. These are subtle flavors of treble cut, depending on your preferences. The lower number caps mean the roll-off starts at a higher frequency. It can seem subtler in the more extreme settings of the tone pot. The interesting experiment for me was to switch the toggles with the tone control rolled all the way up. I noticed there was no perceptible change in the tone of things as I switched caps in and out with the tone all the way up. So, either it’s a no-load pot, or the cap loading makes little difference at the extreme settings. Each volume pot can be changed from 250k ohm to 500k ohm, via dip switches on each pot. The second volume knob has a push/pull that makes the two coils a giant, spread-out humbucker. Kinda cool. There is also a “volume kit” or “treble bleed kit” option on both volume controls, which is also selectable via a dip switch. This kit option seeks to eliminate the loss of high end when you roll down the volume (and the pickups interact with the volume pot and other wiring to form a kind of low-pass filter). If these options sound confusing or intimidating, you can simply ignore them, and, it’s a normal Jazz Bass, electronically. The switches are interesting to experiment with, but provide more subtle tone changes or shaping, overall, compared to active circuits. It’s still a great-sounding Jazz Bass. Hardware choices are standard higher-end Hipshot offerings. Hard to not go there, these days; they are so good. The bridge is inset into the body and secured via machine screws into brass inserts. The Joinery of the fingerboard and neck is outstanding as is the mating of the back plates. The top laminate is also joined well, although in the arm cutaway area the top plate is sanded away revealing a less elegant body core. Subtle stylistic choice I might have reconsidered. The neck joint is fantastic; seems out of the way, and yet supportive. The fret ends are not filed neatly. The end rounds are cut into by a rounding file. The joinery is so much better; I’d love to see this detail rise to the same level. The nut looks hand-made, which is preferred, but could also be cleaner in execution. Aniline dyes locked in by a hand-rubbed true oil finish complete this instrument, and it’s very nicely done. The choices are beautiful and subtle. Good idea in a world where spraying has become an environmental manufacturing problem. The bass is very light, but remains balanced. I thought it might be short scale by the way it lays across playing positions, but it’s a very Fenderish 34”. This bass sounds great. It has the classic ‘70s Jazz sound. It plays well. For the most part, it sets up where most might like it. The truss rod didn’t do much for a large portion of its travel, and it got pretty tight before flat. That’s not much room for wear, over time. One of its best features is how light it is. At 7.0 lbs, it’s a feather of a bass. Oddly, there is no neck dive, which is almost always present in such a light, full-scale bass. Well done! Overall, this is a great contender in its price range.
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