Recorded direct with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1 - No onboard controls on bass. EQ set flat in GarageBand.

While not exactly mainstream, an instrument built with carbon fiber isn’t such an out-there thing any longer. Take, for instance, Journey Instruments’ OB660 acoustic bass guitar. It’s a sharp looking 4-string that brings all the benefits of carbon-fiber construction to a compact bass. And the neck joint also disengages to transform this svelte number into a supremely efficient travel companion.

Form meets function with a Manzer Wedge-inspired body that’s tapered for playing comfort, a soundboard armrest, and a “Scoopaway” cutaway that eases access to the upper frets. The offset abstract-geometric soundhole is another nice touch, and all those elements contribute to the “could see it hanging at MOMA” vibe.

Locking the removable neck into place is a 10-second breeze. After spending a few minutes playing the OB660 acoustically, I was impressed with the smooth-playing neck, volume for its size, and woodsy tone. Like most all acoustic bass guitars I’ve had my hands on, it won’t compete with your dread- or jumbo-sporting mates at an acoustic jam. Plugged in, the under-the-bridge transducer does an excellent job of transmitting a timbre that could stand in for an acoustic upright if you don’t own one, or do and don’t want to schlep it. One should be mindful of feedback—which I experienced a touch of—but the balanced and full-bodied sounds that belie the first look at this bass are nonetheless impressive.

The OB660 will set you back quite a tidy amount of cash for such a relatively niche instrument. But niches need to be served, and the OB660 does just that if you’re looking for a stealthy and stylish way to take your low end on a journey with ease.

Test gear: Gallien-Krueger 800RB head, TC Electronic RS410 cab


Awesome sounds in a shockingly convenient and simple package.

Mix and sample knobs lack visible setting indicator. Moderate to high sample-reduction settings add difficult-to-manage noise.


Journey Instruments OB660


Ease of Use: