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BY STEVE COOK
These days, Schecter Guitar Research is often thought of as the company that supplies heavy-rock acts with ominous-sounding models like the Omen, Stiletto, and Damien—instruments that tend toward the more modern end of the visual and aural spectrum, and that have churned out some of the hardest-hitting music of our time. But while players such as Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance and Disturbed’s Dan Donegan have enjoyed long-standing Schecter endorsement deals, the company actually built its reputation for quality with more traditional designs. In fact, it still offers many guitars and basses with more classic looks and tones. One such bass is the Baron-H Vintage, a “Frankenbass” in the truest and best sense of the word.
Taking a page out of a mad scientist’s notebook, the Baron-H Vintage takes a number of the cooler and time-tested features of a few old-school instruments and rolls them into one. Its T-style body offers a traditional look, but then it’s got a big Music Man-style Seymour Duncan humbucker, a thin J-style neck, and an f-hole for good measure. A cosmetic stunner right out of its included hardshell case, the Baron-H sports a mahogany body with an attractive high-gloss black finish. Although the binding around the f-hole was a little rough, the creme-colored binding on the body and neck adds a very nice aesthetic.
The Baron-H Vintage’s 22-fret neck sports jumbo frets and dot inlays, and I like it that Schecter went with a 34" scale instead of going with a smaller scale that could have made this bass feel toy-like. I also dug the T-style control plate. Our test bass arrived with unevenly secured knobs on the pots, but it only took a little hex-wrench turn to straighten them out. Overall setup was fantastic, and though the lightness of the semi-hollow body allowed the neck to take a bit of a dive when I wore it with a strap, the Baron-H Vintage felt comfortable when standing.
Baron von Growl
The design team at Schecter put some muscle under the hood of this bass. Instead of going with an expected piezo pickup or something on the light side, the Baron is equipped with an active, noise-cancelling Duncan SMB-4D pickup. I can’t say that I loved the thumb-pinching design of the 9V cavity, but the pain quickly subsided once the bass was plugged in.
For this review, I used a Warwick Pro IV head and matching 4x10 and 1x15 cabs. Right away, the Baron-H Vintage shocked me with how much punch and sustain it had, especially for a semi-hollowbody. The 2-band EQ can help shape the tone somewhat, but the bass always tends to favor midrange with tones that really jump out in front of the mix. With the EQ dimed, you can get pretty close to the classic StingRay sound—it misses the mark by just a bit. I suspect a solidbody version would get closer, but the Baron-H Vintage has a growl all its own and would be totally at home in a country band, a rock band, and many points in between.
Tonally, this book cannot be judged by its cover. The Baron-H Vintage has snap and bite—you simply aren’t supposed to get this kind of tone out of a bass that looks like this. The feel might take a moment to get used to, but I assure you that at the end of a long gig, your shoulders will thank you.
There are a lot of things to like about the Baron-H Vintage. The rosewood fretboard was smooth and fast, and the light finish on the back of the neck felt great—just a notch above unfinished but not over-lacquered and clumsy. And the Baron doesn’t feel shallow and weak like some hollowbody basses—you can really dig in with your thumb, a pick, or your fingers. I also appreciated that, even with its quiet, unassuming appearance, this bass can roar like a lion with a big, biting tone. All in all, Schecter has paired well-thought- out features with a classic-feeling design and managed to load very big tones into a user- and pocketbook-friendly package.
Watch our video demo: