A 5-string rock machine with a unique look serves up a variety of tones.
Recorded direct into Avid Mbox into Logic X.
Clip 1: Neck pickup soloed. Treble rolled completely off.
Clip 2: Bridge pickup soloed. Slight bass boost past middle click. Slight treble cut from middle click.
Clip 3: Both pickups engaged. Slight bass boost past middle click
Great looks, versatile, original design.
Weight and balance may be an issue for some. Limited access to upper frets.
Warwick RockBass Idolmaker
Ease of Use:
A few years ago, I walked into Warwick’s Nashville showroom with one of my favorite guitarists in town. When he tried out the company’s Idolmaker guitar for the first time, the instrument floored both of us with its immediate shimmer, punch, and evenness. I loved the body shape and hoped there would one day be a bass version. Well, my wish initially came true when the company launched Custom Shop and Masterbuilt versions of the Idolmaker bass, but both were priced several thousand dollars too high for my taste. That all changed when Warwick unveiled a more approachable China-built RockBass version at NAMM this year, so my hopes were quite high when an Idolmaker arrived at my house for a look.
Strike a Pose
The Idolmaker’s gloss-black body paint and flat-black headstock finish both contribute to the impression this bass was made to rock. At first glance, the Idolmaker looks longer than most 34"-scale basses, which adds even more to its runway looks. There is quite a bit of extra body behind the bridge, which isn’t such a common feature on many bass guitars.
When I picked up the Idolmaker, my first takeaway was that tight, solid Warwick feeling that’s known to bleed over to their more affordable line of instruments. That said, it is not light. The Idolmaker weighs about 9 pounds, so playing it for a multiple-hour bar gig would be a challenge for me personally, since it also rests a little off balance—due to its quite heavy mahogany body.
That aside, the Idolmaker offers a number of cool finds. The curve on the bottom side of the body is very attractive, as is the layout of the four controls that are lined up in a slightly bowed row pattern to match it. The bass also sports Warwick strap locks, which work seamlessly with the existing Dunlop hardware on all my straps. And the company’s two-piece bridge, where the saddles are located on a different component than the actual tailpiece, looks both original and sleek.
When I switched my attention to the 3-piece laminated maple neck, I was impressed with its construction and slender ekanga-veneer stripes. The thin coating on the back of the neck provides a broken-in feel and makes the bass incredibly easy to play. There was some slight fretboard buzz on our test bass around the 12th fret of the 1st string, especially when bending notes. But knowing Warwick and that the bass had just come out of a shipping box, I think it’s safe to assume it’s not a common issue for this model.
Magic in the Polepieces
I’m a fan of the Idolmaker’s MEC vintage single-coil soapbars, which are the same pickups in the RockBass Star Bass I own. The big chunks of chrome with large, flathead-screw polepieces in a contrasting copper/bronze color is a cool look.
String-to-string balance that is less than perfect will quickly turn me off when I’m shopping for a bass, no matter how great the instrument sounds and feels. I’ve been known to adjust regular P- and J-style pickups to extreme angles to achieve evenness, so I really appreciate the individually adjustable polepieces on the MECs. It took me less than three minutes with a screwdriver to get a punchy, even tone to my personal liking out of all five strings.
Speaking of tone, it’s easy to attain that midrange growl Warwicks are known for. When the pickup-blend control is set just slightly favoring the bridge pickup, the bass delivers vintage warmth and boom laced with a modern growl. It’s a true, softer version of a classic Warwick tone, and this specific setting provided a cocktail of sounds I haven’t heard from many other pickups or basses.
Thanks to the pickups and its build in general, the Idolmaker can also sound almost like a semi-hollow, short-scale bass with just the front (aka “woofer”) pickup engaged, which is a great party trick of sorts for a bass that sports more of a hard-rock visual. Soloing the bridge pickup provides a convincing growl that sounds slightly beefier than a non-soapbar bridge pickup would by itself in a more standard Jaco-type setting. And cutting just a little top end on the onboard preamp noticeably increases that growl.
The Idolmaker bass is a versatile axe with great looks and a tonal arsenal that will likely both impress and surprise some players. I’d feel absolutely comfortable taking this bass to a recording session where I had to cover many sounds with just a few instruments. The Idolmaker delivers punchy, even tone without losing vintage soul and warmth in the low end. Players who think Warwick only does a certain type of tone will do themselves a favor by taking this Idolmaker for a spin.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.