We haven’t had the pleasure of playing many Bacchus basses over the years, so it’s about time we cast our gaze over one.
This particular instrument is part of the handmade Woodline range and features several extra touches alongside the standard Jazz Bass features – so how much value do they add?
The familiar design template has been used to good effect, although there are some aesthetic changes. The burgundy scratchplate and black control plate stand out against the translucent white ash body; flip the bass over and the lumber grain is clearly visible through the gloss lacquer.
With effective contouring front and back, for the player’s benefit and comfort, and considerable access to the upper frets courtesy of the extensive lower cutaway, this resembles a buffed-up Jazz bass.
Although it’s a little weighty at 9.26 lbs and with a slight headstock bias, the bass balances perfectly well when placed on a strap. Overall, the instrument feels substantial and sturdy, and is blessed with a tight and solid neck pocket.
The dark 24-fret ebony fingerboard features mother-of-pearl block inlays with black side dots inset into a green pearloid binding; this aesthetic has also been used on the underside of the fingerboard.
The one-piece satin-finished maple neck has an impressive figuring of its own to show off. The fingerboard may appear broad, and with a nut width of 46mm, it’s not the slinkiest of five-string boards, but the exceptional setup, low action and 19mm string spacing contribute to provide an enjoyable playing experience.
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With no sharp frets and a very high level of finishing across the whole instrument, this bass plays and feels very impressive. With Gotoh hardware, including a top- and bottom-loading bridge with brass saddles, and a Bartolini active circuit alongside a pair of Bacchus single-coil pickups, this bass has benefited from high-quality components and a well-executed construction.
Sounds and Playability
If the physical features don’t impress you, the tonal response certainly will. Played acoustically, this is a tonally rich instrument; notes simply resonate and sustain off the ebony board through the ash body; the choice of lumbers really helps to accentuate the Bacchus’s natural tonal qualities.
How you attack the strings and your choice of playing style certainly affects the instrument’s response – for example, percussive styles definitely benefit from the thick, hard tone offered by the ebony fingerboard.
Plug the Woodline in, and there isn’t too much to differentiate the passive tone from the active tone. Both have a similar volume level, although the passive mode has enough woody grit to make the tone stand out.
Switching to active mode brings the ‘Super-Jazz’ tonal options into play, where the Bartolini circuit is very effective. Both bass and treble controls offer power, definition and projection without sounding extreme or overblown.
The low B-string performs admirably, with a surprising amount of presence in the low end, despite this bass having ‘only’ a 34” scale length, and with a shallow D-shaped neck profile, it has an exceptionally comfortable neck.
Any bass that can match effortless playability with a versatile array of tones is likely to prove popular, and this bass is a prime example of that combination.
There is much about this Bacchus that would appeal to a four-string player making the switch to five-string, as the tones are strong, the setup and build quality are very high and it comes full of classy touches and features.
I can’t imagine any player being disappointed by it in any department. I would strongly advise tracking one down and giving it a spin. ‘
- Price: from $1,600
- Made In: Japan
- Colour: Translucent white, gloss finish
- Body: Ash, two-piece
- Neck: Maple, 34” scale, satin finish
- Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
- Nut Width: 46mm
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Frets: 24
- Pickups: Bacchus JB-ALV single-coil pickups x 2
- Electronics: Bartolini XTCT active circuit
- Controls: Volume (push/pull for turbo boost), balance, treble, bass, active/passive switch
- Hardware: Black and brass hardware, Gotoh 404 SJ-5 bridge, Gotoh GB11W machine heads
- Weight: 4.2 kg / 9.26 lbs
- Case/gig bag included: Gigbag
- Left-hand option available: Yes, as a custom order
- Contact: Bacchus