LightWave Saber VL 5-string bass

A high-tech beauty
A high-tech beauty

The first thing you think of when you see bassist Leland Sklar is that long, flowing beard, home to small animals and God-knows-what-else. But if you look closer you'll notice something else. It's his bass. Lately, this A-list, first-call, extremely hirsute dude has been slapping and popping on a LightWave Saber VL 5-string bass, and there are reasons why.

The LightWave bass features an exclusive, patented LightWave Optical Pickup System, which delivers harmonically rich, deep, and powerful sound, spanning a wide range of tones from pure, natural string sound, to super-aggressive and cutting edge with the use of EQ or signal processing. Extremely low noise characteristics eliminate the annoying background hum and buzz typical of conventional pickups, and with no magnetic field pulling on the strings, sustain is long and natural, like that of a Grand piano. Highly sensitive to even the most subtle nuances, the LightWave Pickup delivers the true sound of the strings, the instrument, and your playing.

And since the LightWave pickup does not rely on body mass for its extended bass response and long sustain, the Saber is exceptionally light in weight and designed with a natural, familiar feel. The VL models feature swamp ash bodies with resonant chambers, beautiful flame maple tops, and a variety of stunning, transparent finishes. The neck features a custom-treated black basswood fingerboard that allows for smooth action. If you're considering a fretless, the LightWave Saber VL fretless models are renowned for having the most realistic upright bass sound available anywhere.

The list price is $2,195 U.S., which means the LightWave Saber isn't for the budget-minded. But if you're in the market for high performance-meets-high tech, this could be your thing.

The MusicRadar team

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