What is it?
The Mayones lineup of bass guitars has gone from strength to strength, with a number of pioneering designs taking the design of the instrument further. Basses such as the Caledonius and Comodous spring to mind.
The Jabba 422 is a change of pace, revisiting the tried and tested Jazz-style bass that doesn't stray too far from the archetype. An alder body finished in Vintage White, offset with a lovely tortoiseshell pickguard, a 34.25" scale maple neck with a 38mm nut and 7.5” fingerboard radius, the Jabba is making a clear play for the old-school players. But there's a lot more going on...
There's more sculpting on the body, offering a slightly different feel than your typical offset Jazz. The electronics are interesting, too. Here we have the two Nordstrand NJ4SE single-coils, arranged as you'd expect them, but with a switch for toggling between a passive and active mode via Mayones's own M-BP2 active circuit.
Controls for bass, treble, volume, balance and a passive tone are arranged in single file along a curve, with the active/pass switch positioned a little inland towards the bridge. The build is impressive. The components are quality, with a Switchcraft jack, Hipshot HB6C Ultralite tuners that'll help keep the headstock up, and a Mayones Big Foot Bridge bridge – a hi-mass unit with a 20mm gap between each string.
All Mayones basses are made in Gdansk, Poland, and the factory setup is bang-on for a contemporary bass player's tasters. At this price, we'd perhaps expect rosewood or ebony but the pau ferro used for this fingerboard is a handsome piece of wood that feels all right.
Performance and verdict
Unlike its intergalactic crime lord namesake, the Jabba 422 is a very personable instrument, and makes an excellent first impression. Even before touching the EQ or balance, there's a lively response that promises much. It feels supremely well finished – as you'd expect for an instrument at this price.
Looking at its spec, the active/passive options, the subtle acts of modernity hiding amongst that vintage exterior, well, it's not dissimilar to what Fender is doing with the American Ultra Series Jazz Bass. This, too, is an act of quiet evolution. Purists wouldn't get too offended, the nu-school players will find much to like.
The passive mode reveals a text-book jazz voice, upfront with a 20-a-day rasp that gives notes a nice aggressive edge to them. The passive tone control offers a wide sweep of retro-tones, and panning between both pickups reveals a cornucopia of musical tones.
• Fender American Ultra Jazz Bass
Stunning finishes and smart new features make for a welcome if not radical update for Fender's top-line US production models, and the Jazz is a cracker.
• Bacchus Woodline Jazz DX5AC-WBDP
A supremely well put together five-string, the Woodline Jazz is a solid, pro-quality option to cover a wide range of styles.
When active, the Jabba really comes alive, as though you've fed it a couple of Klatooine paddy frogs and a shot of the good stuff; in other words, there's just more, more bass, more clarity in the top end, more power. It's not quite a 100 per cent transformation but having that option at the turn of a switch can make a bass feel like two-in-one.
If the rockers and Motown players might find tone nirvana in the Jabba's passive voice, the slap players and progressive funk set will really love the extra juice from the active preamp.
The two-band EQ gives you plenty tone-shaping options, and when allied to the balance control the Jabba is capable of handling pretty much any style. With a pick and a little overdrive, that active mode would be sensational for rock and metal players.
Much of Mayones's reputation as a premium builder is built on playability, and the Jabba is no different. It's comfortably weighted, with excellent balance and a neck profile that's slim without lacking comfort for long sessions.
MusicRadar verdict: If you are in the market for a pro-quality bass with some of the classic offset's DNA and a heap of tonal variety, the Jabba is a very persuasive option.
- Made In: Poland
- Colour: Vintage white, gloss fi nish
- Body: Alder
- Neck: Hard rock maple, 34.25” scale, satin finish
- Neck Joint: Bolt-on, six-bolt attachment
- Nut Width: 38.5mm
- Fingerboard: Pau ferro
- Frets: 22
- Pickups: 2 x Nordstrand NJ4SE single-coils
- Electronics: Mayones M-BP2 2-band EQ preamp
- Controls: Volume, pickup pan, bass, treble, vintage tone control, active/passive switch
- Hardware: Chrome, Mayones Vintage Big Foot bridge, Hipshot HB6C Ultralite machine heads
- Weight: 3.9 kg / 8.59 lbs
- Case/gig bag included: Hybrid gigbag
- Left-hand option available: Yes
- Contact: Mayones