Despite its vintage look, this reasonably priced import offers staggering punch and impressive playability.
Schecter’s Diamond series has been a popular option for budget-conscious players since the line was introduced in 1998. The guitars and basses marked the Sun Valley, California, company’s first line of instruments made overseas, and their workhorse qualities and wallet-friendly price points have kept them in production ever since. The South Korean-made Diamond-P Plus bass is a new iteration of one of the series’ most successful basses.
Diamonds Are Forever
At first glance, the differences between the original Diamond-P and Diamond-P Plus aren’t immediately apparent. But while the Plus retains the vintage P-bass-inspired look and contoured alder body of the original, it also brings a handful of important upgrades to the original formula.
For starters, the bridge has been replaced with a custom, string-through Wilkinson WBBC with four individually intonatable and height-adjustable brass saddles. The original Diamond-P’s four-bolt neck joint has been swapped with a robust, six-bolt design for stronger sustain and tuning stability. The Plus’s upgraded maple neck features carbon-fiber reinforcement rods, a new neck-joint contour for better access to higher frets, and vintage-style Grover tuners. The 20-fret ’board has also been updated with a modern 12" radius. The black-finished models come with bound-rosewood fretboards, but sunburst models like the one reviewed here have maple fretboards.
The Diamond-P Plus comes loaded with Seymour Duncan SMB-4D and Quarter Pound SPB-3 pickups in the bridge and neck positions, respectively. Their collective output is shaped by a master volume, a Seymour Duncan 18V 2-band active EQ, and a 4-position rotary switch that selects between soloed pickups or running the pair together in series or parallel. The push-pull master volume also lets you choose either series or parallel mode for the bridge pickup.
After unpacking the bass and performing a minor neck adjustment, I found that the Plus played as comfortably and smoothly as many higher-priced basses. The neck’s perfect fretwork and finish had a sleek, silky feel that made playing everything from fast runs up the neck to anchored, in-the-pocket grooves feel painless and fluid.
I tested the Plus through an Ampeg SVT driving an 8x10 cabinet. I started out soloing the bridge humbucker with the EQ controls set flat, which delivered crisp, authoritative high-end, an articulate midrange, and tight low end. When slapped, the strings yielded a thumping, Music Man-esque vibe, thanks to the Duncan SMB-4D—which was designed as a StingRay replacement. And whether I played single notes, full chords, or harmonics, the bridge pickup’s high-output, ceramic-magnet design helped them all leap out with minimal effort plucking or picking effort.
Switching to the Quarter Pound neck pickup yielded fatter, rounder tones akin to a hot-rodded P bass. I enjoyed how the midrange got thicker and the treble response warmed up with a softer finger attack from my plucking hand, yet the Plus still barked and got toothier in the highs when I dug in with more force. If the lows or highs ever felt unbalanced, a quick adjustment of the active EQ restored order.
Combining the Plus’s pickups in parallel yielded more bite and sparkle. This was ideal for songs with prominent, melodic bass parts played with a plectrum— à la the Cure and New Order. Since both pickups’ treble response is already quite strong, I found myself attenuating treble a bit in this mode to avoid strident top end.
For all out Armageddon, the series mode is hard to beat—it’s got staggering punch. The volume difference between series and parallel modes is a whopping 30 percent! My 8x10’s speakers had trouble articulately translating the sudden boost in mids and lows, so I lowered the amp’s preamp gain and the Plus’s master volume for a little more breathing room. The tone was gloriously burly, with room-shaking low end—albeit at the expense of much of the other modes’ clarity. It was a cool tone, though the frequencies seemed to be fighting for dominance. However, when I switched from fingerstyle to a pick the separation between the highs, mids, and lows was more distinct. To paraphrase Marty McFly: It’s not for vintage purists—but your kids are gonna love it.
Schecter’s Diamond-P Plus delivers authoritative, modern bass tones with exceptional detail and control. And it feels great to play, thanks to the neck’s updated shape and profile. Don’t let the vintage-inspired looks deceive you: Its high-output electronics don’t yield the subtle responsiveness and warm, bubbly lows of a vintage P bass, but it is one hell of a bass for contemporary rock and metal. It’s also particularly well suited to slap and pop. Factor in the sturdy build and reasonable price, and it’s a worthy option for working bassists of many stripes.
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