What is it?
The latest in Bacchus's Handmade series takes the familiar five-string Jazz Bass format and gives it a fresh twist, which, when you think about it, makes it a familiar proposition in the world of bass guitar.
It's not easy doing something different with a hardy perennial such as the J-style bass – after all, we have seen so many variations on the theme. As ever, it is a question of which variations manufacturers deploy – there is always room in the bass player's heart for another Jazz variant, and, here, Bacchus has put together an interesting feature set for the Woodline Jazz DX5AC-WBDP.
It has a two-piece solid alder body finished in glossy translucent white, with a bolt-on maple neck, with a satin-smooth finish and pearloid binding, and full two-octave ebony fretboard with MOP block inlay.
The 46mm nut width might spook some players, and the 4.2kg weight not inconsiderable, but – with a thick, padded strap especially – that weight is distributed equally and shouldn't be a deal-breaker, and the setup is so accommodating that extra fretboard terrain feels more than manageable.
The Woodline Jazz offers the choice of active or passive performance, and is loaded with a pair of Bacchus's JB-ALV single-coil pickups and a Bartolini XTCT active circuit, with controls for volume, balance, treble, bass, and an on/off switch to engage or bypass the active circuit.
For hardware, Bacchus has kept it Japanese, with Gotoh tuners and a Gotoh top and bottom-loading bridge with brass saddles. Head to toe, the Woodline Jazz has the rarified whiff of quality about it.
Performance and verdict
The Woodline Jazz has a most luxurious tone that grabs you as soon as you pick it up and fret a few exploratory notes before you plug it in. You might quibble the weight, but that heft serves the instrument well, with a profoundly noticeable resonance and a real spring in its step.
The notes just leap off that ebony 'board. With instruments such as this, where the setup is super-slick, there is that illusion that the bass is playing itself, that it all comes easy, and while that is an impression that might grab you here, the Woodline Jazz is nonetheless a bass that rewards players for impressing their style on it.
The Jazz format has always been an excellent all-rounder, and here you feel it could take on any style. That you can toggle between active and passive modes helps. Maybe there's a little more of the ash body in the passive tone, the innate Jazz grit, but when you engage the Bartolini circuit, the EQ-shaping potential is transformative.
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There is an abundance of oomph in both bass and treble controls, but across the spectrum of either dial there are musical tones to be had. Nothing too obnoxious here. That 'Super Jazz' active voice certainly brings the best out of the that low B string – a solid floor for any groove.
You'll get few complaints about that shallow D neck profile. It's on the right side of slim, balancing comfort and speed. Whether you sit down low in the pocket or venture upfield for some busy note-heavy grooves, the Woodline Jazz has got you covered.
Altogether, it is one approachable five-string, with a wide range of tones, immaculate setup, and a very classy feel.
MusicRadar verdict: A supremely well put together five-string, the Woodline Jazz is a solid, pro-quality option to cover a wide range of styles.
- Made In: Japan
- Colour: Translucent white, gloss finish
- Body: Ash, two-piece
- Neck: Maple, 34” scale, satin finish
- Neck Joint: Bolt-on, four-bolt attachment
- Nut Width: 46mm
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Frets: 24
- Pickups: Bacchus JB-ALV single-coil pickups x 2
- Electronics: Bartolini XTCT active circuit
- Controls: Volume (push/pull for turbo boost), balance, treble, bass, active/passive switch
- Hardware: Black and brass hardware, Gotoh 404 SJ-5 bridge, Gotoh GB11W machine heads
- Weight: 4.2 kg / 9.26 lbs
- Case/gig bag included: Gigbag
- Left-hand option available: Yes, as a custom order
- Contact: Bacchus