Once boasting some of the 20th century’s most important musicians on their roster, Supro was bought in 2013 from the renowned Fender engineer Bruce Zinky by Absara Audio.
Since then, life’s been pretty peachy in Supro’s world, which brings us to their Huntington III four-string, the crown jewel in its bass department. It’s a small instrument with a big sound - and we had a lot of fun getting to know this little guy. How much fun? That’s for us to know and for you to read about...
Let’s be honest: the short scale of the Huntington III is one of the main reasons we couldn’t keep away from this delightful little instrument. Short-scale basses are pretty popular right now and after really familiarising ourselves with this instrument, we can see why. At a mere 30”, the fretboard lets your fingers play as freely as you could wish, and with its C-shaped profile maple neck and satin finish with a set-in joint, it feels fairly luxurious in your hands.
There’s no mistaking that Supro really wanted to capture that retro vibe with this bass, as they wear their heritage on their sleeve. Based on the classic 1960s Ozark shape, it’s an acquired taste that may not be for everyone, but undeniably captures that vintage look. Superbly presented with a rich matte transparent blue ash body, supplemented by a high mass piezo bridge, ours arrived with flatwound strings which suit the shorter scale of this bass perfectly.
Note the three gorgeous 1950s-style replica gold foil pickups, based on the original Clear-Tone units featured on Supro’s Violin, Taurus and Pocket Bass models. Rounding things off is the iconic headstock, whose design dates all the way the way back to the early years of the company. It’s a sentimental touch but a welcome one.
With three pickups to play around with, as well as the added bonus of a piezo blend control at your disposal, the tonal possibilities you have at your disposal are pretty diverse. Three of the four dials are volume controls, one per pickup, so isolate each one for a better idea of the characteristics this bass possesses.
The neck unit in particular produces a deliciously warm Motown sound, assisted of course by the flatwound strings.Thankfully, the Supro is one of the most comfortable basses to play which this reviewer has seen in a while. It takes a bit of fiddling to really get the sound you want out of this bass, but after you get to grips with how it works, it’s worth the effort.
With the added piezo control, you can bring out a biting top end that is great for picking or slapping, all at the pull of a dial. The piezo does bring in a snappy, tinny edge to the sound, so the blend function is essential for restraining your attack. Use at your own discretion.
This is a thoroughly decent bass and ticks most of our boxes, although at just under £1200, it feels a bit steep for what’s on offer. Make no mistake, it’s an absolute pleasure to have in your company, but do check the competition before you commit - unless you’re a confirmed lover of retro-looking basses, in which case you’ll need to look no further.