Fret-King Black Label Esprit I Bass

Trevor Wilkinson's latest bass

This latest model in the Fret-King bass portfolio, the Espirit I, would surely have appealed to John Entwistle - it's not a million miles away from his infamous Fenderbird amalgamations!

"The pickup works like a dream: clean and jazzy when wound back, full and punchy when humbucking"

It sports a great offset look, and an oversized scratchplate that takes the eye directly to the heart of this bass: the stunning new WJM pickup, designed, of course, by Mr Wilkinson.

This is a fabulous-looking instrument, and it's medium weight with a keenly contoured and honed satin-feel maple neck bolted onto an agathis body. The surface-mounted controls, chrome-finished WBBC bridge and open-gear tuners all contribute to this stylishly vintage-like persona.


"The pickup is basically a Music Man-style coil added to a Jazz-style, coupled together as a humbucker and wired down as a Vari-coil," Trevor tells us.

"Turn the Vari-coil back and the MM factor is lost into a Jazz sound, but when it's wound back up as a humbucker it takes on the aspects of the Music Man: fat but focused."

With controls for volume, tone and Vari-coil, the pickup works like a dream, producing distinct aspects of both basses: clean and jazzy when wound back but full and punchy when humbucking, giving a unique sound.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars

Overall design and great build quality. The pickup and Vari-coil control.


With this pickup and a price £100 cheaper than the previous Blue Label version, it's hard to fault.


Visually appealing, comfortable to play and capable of great sounds, the Esprit I has much to offer the most discerning of bass players, and even comes with a deluxe gigbag.

Scale Length (mm)


Scale Length (Inches)


No. of Frets


Country of Origin


Fingerboard Material


Neck Material

Maple, satin finish

Pickup Type

1 x Wilkinson Platinum Series WJM

Circuitry Type

Volume, tone, Vari-coil

Body Style

Double-cutaway solidbody electric bass

Available Finish

Thru Red

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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