What is it?
The idea of owning a custom shop instrument is one we have all entertained at some point, but that's before you look at the lead time from bench to practice space, or even begin to come to terms with the price.
Bite Guitars might just have squared the circle, offering a streamlined online ordering process that allows you to spec up your bass guitar, add to cart and expect a delivery in 14 weeks.
For around $1,400 you can get an Austrian-built Bite bass that you have designed yourself. Take our review model – the Roxanne. This is a slimmed-down P-Style with passive electronics, weighing 8lbs with a 34" scale. It has an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, a triple-ply scratchplate, gold hardware, with a bridge that is distinctly Fender-esque, plus a headstock with two tuners per side and a proprietary bite out of it.
Oh, and there's a red-wine splatter graphic, too, spelling out the name of the instrument – in case you hadn't noticed. If this is all a new-school way of buying a bass guitar, the tones Bite are offering are more old-school, with a Passive Bite reverse split coil pickup, with a simple control setup of volume and tone.
"We try to build passive basses with a strong and articulate growl that cuts through the mix, because a high output often comes at the expense of attack," explains Bite Guitar's Wolfgang Maderthaner.
Performance and verdict
The Roxanne isn't fulling anyone with its 2x2 headstock and graphics. No, when it comes down to it, what we've got is a very attractive P-Bass variant, albeit one will a little extra presence in the top end.
• Fender Vintera '50s Precision Bass
The Vintera '50s Precision Bass offers excellent value with an affordable riff on a classic. Looking for some vintage thunder? It's a no-brainer.
• Fender American Performer Precision Bass
At just over a grand, this dual pickup, US P-Bass is an excellent option if you're not looking for something super vintage.
Indeed, courtesy of the reverse split coil design, whereby the coil is closer to the bridge on the low E and A strings, there's a clarity and bounce to the Roxanne's low end that is sure to tickle the fancy of percussive players who favour detail over plummy roundness.
That said, there's a girth to the Roxanne's neck that offers a little more fight than the busy slap players might like, though it offers plenty of comfort. Again, just like old-school Precision basses.
There are more radical designs available on the Bite website. Theirs is a platform for the adventurous tone seeker. Of course, you don't need to go for a graphic option, and with its PJ and J-style formats you can switch up the fundamentals to find the bass that's right for you.
MusicRadar verdict: A fun way to spec up your instrument, Bite Guitars offer a wealth of cool, Fender-inspired basses that will make you think again about custom basses and whether you can afford it. At this price, it's more than possible.
- Price: From $1,400 plus VAT and shipping; this varies with design, spec, and customer location
- Made In: Austria
- Color: Vintage white, gloss fi nish
- Body: US alder
- Neck: Hard maple, 34” scale
- Neck Joint: Bolt-on
- Nut Width: 41.9mm
- Fingerboard: Hard maple, 20 frets, Graph Tech nut
- Pickups: Passive Bite reverse split coil
- Controls: Volume, tone
- Hardware: Bite tuners, Gotoh bridge
- Weight: 8.4 lbs
- Case/gig bag included: No
- Left-hand option available: No
- Contact: Bite Guitars