Alright, I'm done talking about guitars! We all know guitarists get too much of the spotlight anyhow. What about us poor chumps stuck in the rhythm sections of life? Bassists, drummers, I'm lookin' at you. Well, mostly bassists, since this week I'd like to share our latest fascination here at Bigfoot; that is, the new LTD BB-4 bass, which is pretty
dang cool. Why is it pretty dang cool? Well for starters, it has an actual friggin' usable thumb-rest for a change. That's pretty spiffy.
<-----(Pictured: World's Least Stupidest Thumb Rest)
Oh, but it doesn't end there. Hark!
I'll Have to Make an Exception for This Thing:
I have a bit of a prejudice against pretty much any instrument with more than three control knobs or toggles. My whole hang-up is whether or not an instrument is relatively low-maintenance considering I'm a generalist in taste and I like to keep things minimal, versatile, and the least amount of pain-in-the-rear as I can. Or, as some would say, "She's a drummer. She can only handle so much." To that I say, "Apox on thee, wench! I'm just as swav-ee and phosisicated as anyone!"
That being said, at first blush, the BB-4 with its knobs and toggles and thumb-rests and pick-ups (and what I can only assume is a cup holder) coming out the whazoo isn't exactly my taste. I'm a two-knobs-and-a-toggle or three-knobs-and-no-more-than-two-pickups kinda chick. But I had to eat my own hat when I actually started playing this thing because it's actually pretty fun and, ironically, great for generalists. This is because all of these knobs serve to provide you with a full EQ menu and, even niftier, an active/passive switch, thus giving you a heckuva lot of options for tone, response, and the general flavor of music you're going for. LTD guitars are pretty much known for doing a handful of things really well, but still only a handful of things. And when it comes to LTD basses, you've usually only got the two speeds: heavy-loud-punchy, or heavy-loud-gut-shaking. Which is great!...until you get bored with that and you want to expand your musical menu outside of Rage Against the Machine and Pantera. Don't be fooled: the BB-4 is definitely an LTD bass with emphasis on high-output, high-gain, heavy-handed rawk, but given the plethora of options you have for tone and feel, this thing is also a competent jazz instrument, a versatile blues instrument, and a great all around bass for pretty much anything you want to try your hand at.
So even if you're like me and you prefer minimalism in your music, it is worth noting that there are advantages to having a more deluxe EQ menu for your bass and as I mentioned before, the choice between either active or passive control is pretty fun and keeps things interesting. My typical gigging bass these days is a Dean Edge-4 with EMG-HZ's in it, so I'm almost always playing passive. It's low maintenance and it sounds more organic to me. The obvious downside to playing almost exlusively passive, however, is I'm not always able to get a punchy and loud as I require unless I'm plugged into a pretty hefty rig. So to have the option of organic sound or a boosted, high-output sound right there in your instrument opens some doors for you. And as far as pickups are concerned, Seymour Duncan provides both high-output and versatile Quarter Pound stuff: an SJB-3 single coil in the bridge, and SPB-3 humbuckers in the neck. Even in passive control settings, the pickup combo right there already gives you a lot of versatility.
Couple of other things to note that make this bass pretty unique. First being that, like a lot of LTD basses, they gave the neck an extra thin U-contour, making it comparable to a jazz bass and therefore making it pretty easy to play. The neck is fast and feels good and the whole instrumentl is relatively light with a simple satin finish over everything. Great gigging bass, in my opinion. Second thing about this bass that makes it cool: there's a thumb-rest on it, and its actually useful. Imagine that! Like most bassists, my thumb is usually on the neck pick-up or on nothing at all (depending on the bass). And honestly, I can't tell you how many times you find basses that come with thumb-rests that are just plain stupid and weirdly placed. But on the BB-4, the boys at LTD were actually sober when they designed the thumb-rest, so that's a plus.
All that to say, I recommend stopping in within the next couple of weeks and giving this bass a try (For those of you who can't make it in, I've embedded a demo below). All of us here at the shop are quite intrigued and impressed with it. It's a great sounding, extremely versatile, good-feeling instrument, and did I mention that it's relatively light on the wallet? Also a bonus!
LTD BB-4 Features ($799.99):
Neck thru, 5 piece maple/walnut neck, U-contour, extra thin, 34" scale
Alder/swamp ash body (available in either black satin finish or natural satin finish)
Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound SJB-3 in bridge, SPB-3 in neck
ESP-designed 3-Band Active EQ with Mid-frequency control and Active/Passive switch
Actual useful thumb-rest (Huzzah!)