There’s a new, serpentine bass-maker on the block. Does this snake rattle, asks Mike Brooks?

Anaconda Basses is a newly formed company, fronted by Andrew Taylor-Cummings, a bass player himself. His Tribute and Crusher models are prime examples of the standard of instrument Andrew is creating at his workshop in North London, so how do they stack up?

Build Quality
Both basses look extremely elegant and have been crafted with great care and attention to detail, the timber selection, hardware and electronics choices have all been considered at some length. The Tribute model has obvious leanings towards Jazz bass territory while the Crusher has a fuller, rounded shape to offer a more comfortable playing experience.

Both basses utilise the same control layout (volume, pan, three-band EQ) and come equipped with the same Glockenklang circuit: specific pickups from Bartolini and Woodhead have been chosen to achieve a desired sound for each bass. Both basses come with series/parallel switches to offer further tonal switching capabilities, the parallel setting provides a more restrained delivery while switching to series mode boosts both the top and bottom end delivery and makes the midrange more pronounced.

The Tribute model is blinged to the max, with gold hardware, a brass handcut nut, Hipshot A-style brass bridge and machine heads and mother-of-pearl front position markers, but it all looks very tasteful. The gloss finish shows off the honey-tinged 5A figured maple top, and the mix of timbers combine to create a truly stunning bass, topped off by the wooden covers used on the Woodhead pickups. The rounded neck profile feels like the perfect combination of a Precision and a Jazz, and the fret ends have been rolled smooth. With only the slightest camber to the fingerboard, this is one sleek, fast neck. The body is a standard thickness and depth but the contouring and chambered core give the bass a sensible weight, which makes it balance very well.

As a six-string with a 35” scale, the Crusher is inevitably larger and slightly heavier but it still balances well. The gloss finished swamp ash body is capped with a 4A figured maple top, which contrasts well with the black hardware, and this has also been applied to the matching headstock. The maple and wenge neck laminates also add to the naturally organic look of the instrument. This bass features Andrew’s favoured quartersawn wenge fingerboard (for looks and tone) and although the fingerboard feels broad as you would expect, the depth and rear profile of the neck and the 19mm string spacing help to make this a comfortable playing machine. Wearing the bass, you can feel it resonate: the harmonic response and character come across immediately.

Playability And Sounds
The Tribute model is amazingly responsive and an absolute joy to play. There are plenty of modern sounds on offer, but also a good selection of traditional tones that aren’t so EQ-dependent. Andrew has obviously done his homework, creating a bass that takes inspiration from the perennial Jazz but elaborates on its best qualities, creating a superb instrument in the process. There is plenty of mid and top end sparkle should you need it, but backing it up is a solid and powerful bottom end. The mid control offers a dramatic scoop, but leaving it flat or boosted slightly shows how much tonal spring this bass has. The pickups have been wound to Andrew’s specification and the offset pole pieces sense a wider area of resonance, which results in a fuller, punchier sound than you might expect.

Should you find the EQ a little overpowering, trim pots can be found in the control cavity to wind in some the excess on offer. The passive performance is strong in its own right and this is helped by the inclusion of the vintage tone control, but setting the pickup switches to series and kicking in the active circuit is when this bass really shines. With its hybrid Jazz body shape and a useful level of body chamfering and contouring, you may find this bass hard to put down.

The Crusher has a piano-like tone and every note is well defined and consistent across the whole neck. The low B string is particularly forthright, the low notes really standing out, while the high C sounds full and bright in equal measure. Naturally, the timber choices contribute to the woody tones, but the electronics package helps to show off the finer qualities this bass possesses. Every tone you could wish for in a six-string bass is on offer here. The setup contributes to the exceptional playability, while the overall tonal performance is crisp, defined and very pleasing. Although some players may be put off by the six-string concept, this could well be the exception that converts you.

Conclusions
There is no disputing the calibre of both basses, and Andrew should be congratulated on the high standard he has achieved with both instruments. Tonally and visually, these are excellent examples of his work and anyone looking for a new bass in this price range would be well advised to add Anaconda Basses to their list.

Anaconda Tribute J4E
Price: £1800 (-£300 for satin finish)
Colour: Natural
Body: Ash core (chambered) with 5A figured maple top and dyed black sycamore veneer
Neck: Rock maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Pickups: Woodhead diagonal J single coil pickups x 2
Electronics: Glockenklang three-band EQ
Controls: Volume (push/pull for active/passive operation), pickup pan, bass, middle, treble (variable tone control in passive operation), series/parallel selector switch for each pickup
Tuners: Hipshot Ultralite elephant ear tuners
Bridge: Hipshot A-style brass
Made In: UK
Nut Width: 39mm
Neck Join: Bolt-on, five bolt
Scale Length: 34” (864mm)
Frets: 21
Weight: 4.8kg (10lb 6oz)
Case/Gig Bag Included: Soft case/gig bag
Left Hand Model Available: Yes

What We Think
Plus: An exemplary instrument that will no doubt appeal to a lot of players, great tonal palette and supreme playability
Minus: Not cheap but sensibly priced for a custom hand-built instrument of this quality. Opt for a satin finish to bring the price down
Overall: A great example of the standard of instrument Anaconda are building

BGM Rating Out Of 10
Build Quality 10
Sound Quality 9
Value For Money 9

Anaconda Crusher CXE6
Price: £2199 (-£300 for satin finish)
Colour: Natural
Body: Ash with flame/quilted maple top and dyed black sycamore veneer
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Wenge
Pickups: Bartolini soapbar pickups x 2
Electronics: Glockenklang three-band EQ
Controls: Volume (push/pull for active/passive operation), pickup pan, bass, middle, treble (variable tone control in passive operation), series/parallel selector switch for each pickup
Tuners: Hipshot Ultralite
Bridge: Hipshot A-style brass
Made In: UK
Nut Width: 55mm
Neck Join: Bolt-on, six bolt
Scale Length: 35” (889mm)
Frets: 24
Weight: 5kg (11lbs 1oz)
Case/Gig Bag Included: Soft case/gig bag
Left Hand Model Available: Yes

What We Think
Plus: A very playable six-string bass, handbuilt with plenty of tonal options – a harmonically rich and resonant bass
Minus: Some may find the scale and body size a little restrictive but it’s a six-string bass, it’s par for the course
Overall: A desirable six-string with enough tonal prowess to cope with any musical situation

BGM Rating Out Of 10
Build Quality 9
Sound Quality 9
Value For Money 9

Contact Details
Anaconda Basses
www.anacondabasses.co.uk

Posted in Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*