Journey Instruments OB660 Review

Carbon-fiber construction and a removable/stowable neck make airline travel a cinch.

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

Ratings

Pros:
Awesome sounds in a shockingly convenient and simple package.

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

Street:
$1,199

Journey Instruments OB660
journeyinstruments.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

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Value:

Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on his solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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