The Vintage brand is best known for its price-friendly instruments that hint gently (and not-so gently) at classic models of yesteryear. However, that's not to discount the brand's efforts to also offer something different, and its new Reissue range presents some more interesting and original-looking designs, such as this V10004B four-string active bass. With its contemporary, exaggerated twin-cutaway look and active electronics, it offers something extra for discerning bass players who want to steer away from 1950s and 60s stalwarts, albeit still with a keen eye on value for money.
"It's not all about the bling - this is a very practical bass, too"
With a natural finish and through-body construction, the bass has a striped appearance due to the light-coloured maple centre core being flagged by dark nato 'wings'. Closer examination of the neck reveals that it's a seven-piece laminate at the extremes of the peghead and the body section. The body is also made up of layers of mahogany, maple veneer and a bubinga top, making the whole thing very stable and giving it a rather striking appearance.
Gold-plated parts always look good on these natural wood finishes, and the Wilkinson hardware here is well-suited to the job. The bridge/tailpiece is particularly impressive: it's rather substantial and fully adjustable, as well as offering a choice of through-body or surface stringing. But it's not all about the bling - this is a very practical bass, too.
With its exaggerated upper body horn and minimalist headstock, this full-scale instrument provides excellent balance, while the abrupt neck scooping and additional contouring to this essentially slab-bodied design ensures a very comfortable playing experience. The relatively wide fretboard and shallow depth to the neck in general makes this a very easy bass to play.
The V10004B is fitted with a matching pair of Wilkinson soapbar pickups, but rather than being positioned at maximum spread they're set to favour the brighter and tighter bridge section of the strings.
"Whether you favour smooth and subtle sounds or a dirtier growl, the Vintage V10004B delivers"
Whether the pickups are used individually or blended together to take advantage of those funkier sweet spots, they're clean and precise for a really quality tone. Add to that the active circuit and the advantage of having a three-band EQ to play with, and you realise there's lots of sonic potential under your fingers.
The blend control and the tones all feature centre notches to offer a position reference when setting up your sounds. For example, slightly ease the blend back from it centre point and we hear a great sweet spot voice: the depth and warmth from of the centre pickup but with the added bite from the bridge unit. With a little top and bottom EQ added, you can almost treat the mid frequency EQ as an attack control for some instant funky sounds.
Whether you favour smooth and subtle sounds or a dirtier growl, the V10004B delivers and there are plenty more sounds to find. It may not be plug-in-and-play like a Fender Precision, but with a little time, its multiple voices emerge.
There's definitely an 80s vibe about the V10004B, and the sounds it produces suit that funky, slap-tastic period very well. But given the niche appeal of that genre, it's good that the EQ is broad enough to still produce the goods for older styles. The designers have got things spot on here - add in the excellent feel and playing experience and this is a lot of fun.