Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jack Casady Epiphone Signature Bass--Tested

I saw the ad for the Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass in Bass Player magazine months ago. That motivated me to post on Jack. I finally found a music store within driving distance that had one, so I went there today.

On the one hour drive there, I listened to the Jefferson Airplane's 1969 Fillmore East concert Sweeping Up the Spotlight. On the way home, it was Steady as she Goes, the recent Hot Tuna CD. That's the past and present of Jack's playing--all great.

Tall Toad Music in Petaluma (California), is an inviting, old-fashioned full-service store right in the heart of the small downtown, staffed by helpful and friendly employees. I plucked the golden instrument from its high-mounted rack and sat down to enjoy it. It looked even better than the photo, which makes the surface look kind of matte-finished. Actually, it glows. The neck felt familiar--about the same shape and length as my usual Fender P Special--and through one of Fender's new tube amps the bass put out a nice warm sound. It has just one pickup, but the literature says that Jack worked with the Gibson/Epiphone folks to fine tune it to his demanding specs.

The varitone knob, looking like an old-fashioned stove knob, varies the output at a touch for a sharper or mellower sound. I didn't play very loud, and I didn't play in my usual group, so it's hard to say if it would make my band sound better, but the semi-hollow body instrument feels good to the touch and not too heavy.

The big question becomes, after the search and the fun--do I need this bass today? Of course, the answer is, No. But, kidding around with the sales guys, one of them asked, "How many basses does a guy need?" I answered, to laughs, "one more than you have right now." Ha ha.

Considering the amount of dust on the Jack Casady bass I'm guessing it's been sitting around for a while. I wonder how much they'd take off that price to move it. But, remember, I don't need it, right?


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