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Duvoisin Standard 5 review

This Swiss-built doozy is a classy five-string bass for all seasons

Duvoisin Standard 5
(Image: © Duvoisin Guitars)

Our Verdict

The Standard 5 has much to offer and is very enjoyable to play, no matter what playing style you throw at it.

For

  • Flexible tones and impressive playability.
  • Excellent build and finish.

Against

  • Plenty of similar competitors at this price point.

Duvoisin, who have been producing bass guitars since 2006, fit their instruments with their own pickups and electronics, so they presumably have a tonal character of their own. They also feature some interesting design aspects that, it is claimed, affect the overall tonal performance.

This Standard 5 is a finely tailored instrument in a vintage-imbued two-tone sunburst gloss finish – let’s check it over.

Build Quality

With contouring to the upper front bout and the rear of the body, this Standard 5 sits very well against the player and balances in an easily-playable position, but be aware that there is some headstock bias, remedied once placed on a strap.

The three-ply tortoiseshell scratchplate adds to the vintage visual already offered by the sunburst coloring, while the timber grain of the ash body stands out nicely against the gloss body finish. 

The level of finishing is impressive, with no sharp fret ends along either neck edge

The maple neck sports a satin finish that is silky to the touch, while the four-bolt neck attachment feels rock solid with no visible gaps around the neck pocket. The broad 21-fret rosewood fingerboard offers a comfortable playing experience alongside the shallow D-shaped neck profile, and despite the added dimensions of the five-string neck and 45mm nut width, most bassists will find this an enjoyable neck to get to grips with.

The level of finishing is impressive, with no sharp fret ends along either neck edge, while white dot position markers have been used on the front and side facings of the neck. Chrome and black hardware has been utilised throughout.

Duvoisin Standard 5

(Image credit: Duvoisin Guitars)

Sounds and Playability

The sounds on offer are articulate and defined, while the low B string’s performance is throaty and detailed, offering a tight note definition. The standard 34” scale length provides a comfortable string tension, although some five-string players may miss the tonal benefits of a 35” scale. 

Nevertheless, both pickups offer distinctive tones based on their respective positioning, with the bridge pickup offering a significantly brighter and biting tone compared to the fuller-sounding neck unit. However, take note that the neck pickup sits somewhere in the middle of the body, so the plummy, rounded tones you would normally associate with a neck pickup are a little more mids-focused than you may expect. 

The EQ controls offer a fine selection of tones, giving the player some wisely selected tonal variation, although, with the EQ set flat, the sounds and tones are already impressive. The natural, woody character offers a usable platform from which to sculpt your tone, and thankfully, the Standard’s tonal character offers plenty of finesse and detail. 

Duvoisin Standard 5

(Image credit: Duvoisin Guitars)

Percussive techniques shine through, pick playing brings a punchiness to the fore, and fingerstyle tones sound full and tight, aided in no small way by the ash body timber.

A glance at the bridge unit draws the player’s attention to one of the major design features. Instead of using standard stringing techniques where the ball-end of the string is anchored, this bridge can be strung in either fashion – with the ball-end in place, or not. 

The theory is that by removing the ball-end, a supplied bolt fastens the metal loop of the string in place to the bridge, thus transferring the vibration and resonance of the string directly into the bridge and the body via a bolt-like ‘diffuser’ that sits under the bridge and runs into the body. This feature certainly adds to the mission of this instrument – to deliver a solid, resonant performance.

The acoustic resonance and sustain are impressive, while the extended lower cutaway aids the player’s access to the upper regions of the rosewood fingerboard

In terms of playability, the 18mm string spacing, immaculate setup and reasonably low action give the bass a slinky feel. The instrument is responsive, with an even string-to-string volume across the whole neck. 

The acoustic resonance and sustain are impressive, while the extended lower cutaway aids the player’s access to the upper regions of the rosewood fingerboard. At just under nine pounds, it’s neither light nor heavy – but it balances comfortably and doesn’t work against the player in any way. 

Conclusion

The Standard 5's tonal palette is flexible with a variety of tones on offer, all of which cover a considerable amount of musical ground. It won’t break the bank, either, and the attention to detail is noticeable. You’re advised to audition one if you’re in the market for a highly playable five-string.

Specs

  • PRICE: $2,000
  • MADE IN: Switzerland
  • COLOR: Two-tone sunburst, gloss finish
  • BODY: Ash, three-piece body
  • NECK: Canadian hard maple, 34” scale, satin finish
  • NECK JOINT: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
  • NUT WIDTH: 45mm 
  • FINGERBOARD: Rosewood
  • FRETS: 21
  • PICKUPS: Duvoisin active split-coil humbucking pickups x2
  • ELECTRONICS: | Duvoisin standard active 2-band EQ, 3-volt
  • CONTROLS: Volume, pickup pan, bass, treble
  • HARDWARE: Chrome and black hardware, Duvoisin DSS bridge, Gotoh tuners
  • WEIGHT: 8.8 lbs
  • CASE/GIGBAG INCLUDED?: Gigbag
  • LEFT-HANDED OPTION AVAILABLE: Yes
  • CONTACT: Duvoisin Guitars

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