Should you be the sort of bassist who enjoys pondering various permutations and design aspects of any new bass guitar, then Bite could well be for you.
Their levels of customization are extensive and impressive, although with so many options available, it will be helpful if you know exactly what you want to create.
Allow this review to focus your attention a little. Here we have the Funky Booster bass, centered around Bite’s existing Jawbone model, with its USP a pair of humbucking pickups that can be converted into single-coils for a markedly different sound.
The Jawbone model is a Jazz Bass variant – a fine place to start. The red alder body has been finished in a Funky Silver gloss finish with Stardust Black Weed graphic artwork; the bass weighs in at a solid 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg); and although there is some headstock bias, the bass balances very well on a strap, assuming the perfect playing angle.
The curves, cutaways and front and rear contouring are as expected, and accessing the upper regions of the 20-fret maple fingerboard is easy enough.
The hard maple neck has a matte black satin finish, while the matching headstock comes in Stardust Black gloss, complete with the signature ‘bite’ out of the headstock.
The front fingerboard facing completes the deal with black block markers, while white dots have been used along the side of the neck. With a 41.9mm nut width and a standard C-shaped neck profile, the feel of the neck is a little different to a standard Jazz, but none the worse for it. If anything, it feels more substantial, without compromising the sleek playability of the historic Jazz neck design.
The level of finishing across the neck and frets is impressive, with no sharp fret edges to hamper your travels. The hardware is suitably robust and up to the task in hand, and although the Gotoh brass bridge and Bite machine heads may look simple, they prove very effective.
The tones of the passive electronics and humbucking pickups can be turned on their head by pulling the tone control up, thereby converting the pickups into single-coil units, with the front coil of the neck pickup and the rear coil of the bridge unit called into action.
Sounds and Playability
Straight out of the supplied gigbag, the instantly familiar Jazz playability is noticeable – and if you’re the type of player that gravitates towards this smooth feel, you’re going to feel right at home. Even before plugging in, the bass offers a significantly punchy tone with plenty of depth and warmth to boot, despite the relatively fresh D’Addario nickel strings adding a metallic zing to the tone.
You think you know how passive pickups will sound in the context of a bass like this, but the proprietary 1000mV pickup design, wired in parallel, takes all that you might expect and boosts it with power and detail – what you might describe as ‘tonal zest’.
Soloing each pickup in humbucker mode produces a thick, powerful sound, and bringing the tone control into action highlights the colors available. The neck unit is very warm with some nice detail in the upper frequencies, while the bridge unit offers a ‘barky’ midrange and presence in the high-end without sounding brittle.
Pulling the tone control up changes things immensely, and the single-coil display is radically different – the tone is sharper and clearer with a noticeable degree of finesse.
Suddenly, the slimmed-down tone that single-coil pickups offer is at your disposal. This is where the pickup design pays dividends, because the signal output isn’t reduced compared to the humbucking tones.
Players who like to have tonal variations close at hand will no doubt enjoy this bass: As a passive instrument, it covers a lot of ground. Don’t let the name put you off – it may be called the Funky Booster, but I can see players of all styles making good use of this instrument and enjoying the playing experience.
The Funky Booster is an impressive instrument, and if it’s any indication of the instruments emanating from the Bite stable, I suggest this is a company worth watching.
Its features have been selected with the player in mind, and although the price tag isn’t pocket money, for a custom bass it’s within reach for many players. The custom route isn’t for everyone – but it sure can be an enjoyable journey.
- PRICE: $2500
- MADE IN: Austria
- COLOR: Funky silver with stardust black weed artwork, gloss finish
- BODY: Red alder
- NECK: Hard maple, 34” scale, matte black satin finish
- NUT WIDTH: 41.9mm
- NECK JOIN: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
- FINGERBOARD: Vintage tinted hard maple
- PICKUP: Bite 1000mV passive humbucking pickups x 2
- ELECTRONICS: Passive
- CONTROLS: Volume, volume, tone (push/pull to activate single coil mode)
- HARDWARE: Chrome and black hardware, Gotoh brass bridge, Bite Y compact machine heads
- WEIGHT: 9.25 lbs
- LEFT-HANDED AVAILABLE?: Yes
- CASE/GIGBAG INCLUDED?: Gigbag
- CONTACT: BITE Guitars