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Bite Roxanne review

The Austrian luthiers have a novel, customer-driven approach to bass-building – reflected in this Sting tribute model

Bite Roxanne
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Bite Guitars puts custom bass guitars within reach of your average player. The Roxanne might be one of the louder designs but at heart it offers a traditional P-style feel, albeit with fresh spin on the tones.

For

  • Friendly, playable design.
  • A fresh look for the P-style bass with a familiar feel.
  • Excellent finish.
  • Reverse split-coil gives it a very glassy top end.
  • Affordable custom options.

Against

  • None, but the graphic and headstock won't be for everyone.

We’ve all dreamed of having a custom bass one day, and in today’s digitally-managed world, it seems that most bass players with medium-sized budgets can afford one. 

The first time we heard of an online configurator for a custom bass was by Sandberg – credit where it’s due – and now the same concept is available from Bite Guitars, whose website offers you the chance to design a bass with a ton of different materials and sound options. 

For around $1,400, you can nab an instrument like this one, a Precision-style bass with individual artwork. Let’s see what we’re getting.   

Bite Roxanne

(Image credit: Future)

Build Quality

The body shape and scale length of this eight-pound, 34” P-Bass are instantly familiar for anyone who has spent time with an average Fender, but the Roxanne is smaller and more manageable than standard Precisions thanks to its slimmed-down design.

Its alder body comes with a three-ply scratchplate, a bridge, and pickup design that is straight out of the Leo Fender manual, although the gold finish and reverse split-coil design indicate that there’s a design ethos behind the old-school engineering.

A gold neckplate with your details on it adds a nice touch. The controls and tuners turn smoothly, the lacquer finish is flawless as far as we can see, and the red wine-spatter artwork doesn’t scratch off, no matter how hard we apply a fingernail.

We didn’t go as far as testing it under backstage conditions, though, so don’t blame us when your intoxicated guitarist attacks it with a hammer and the paint comes off. Don’t laugh, it happens.

Bite Roxanne

(Image credit: Future)

Sounds And Playability

Plug in and this is a Precision by anyone’s standards, but with some extra zing, even with the tone rolled fully off, that will be welcome in a band situation. Notably, what it does have in addition is a steely, almost glassy top end that is rather unexpected from a passive P-Bass. 

Evidently the thinking behind that reverse split-coil, whereby we are told that moving the E and A coil towards the bridge gives us more top end in lower registers, has some merit after all. 

Slap playing is eminently suited to this instrument, then, although you’ll obviously find it easier on a J-Bass: the Roxanne’s neck is chunky, with a grippy finish that is true to the old Precision ethos, so don’t expect your fingers to be on their fastest form, shredders. Instead, treat this bass as your own take on the ancient P template that has served us so well over the decades.

Bite Roxanne

(Image credit: Future)

Conclusion

This is a very player-friendly instrument, although as an example of the Bite approach to luthiery it’s really their most basic model – check their website to explore more radical pickup and materials options. As an indicator of their build quality, the Roxanne could hardly be better at this price, so investigate further with our recommendation.

Specs

Bite Roxanne

(Image credit: Future)
  • Price: From $1,400 plus VAT and shipping; this varies with design, spec, and customer location
  • Made In: Austria
  • Color: Vintage white, gloss fi nish
  • Body: US alder
  • Neck: Hard maple, 34” scale
  • Neck Joint: Bolt-on
  • Nut Width: 41.9mm
  • Fingerboard: Hard maple, 20 frets, Graph Tech nut
  • Pickups: Passive Bite reverse split coil
  • Controls: Volume, tone
  • Hardware: Bite tuners, Gotoh bridge
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs
  • Case/gig bag included: No
  • Left-hand option available: No
  • Contact: Bite Guitars