Mike Brooks helps himself to a custom dollop of Mayones. Does it have the necessary sauce?
Mayones are steadily becoming more visible in bass-selling emporiums around the country, and with good reason: they’re producing some seriously top-notch instruments. With basses that cater to more traditional tastes, through to more luxurious blinged-up models, the Polish luthiers offer something for most bass-playing preferences. This Patriot Custom model has an enticing features list and looks to die for – but does it tick all of the necessary boxes?
Straight away, you’re impressed by how comfortable this bass is to wear. The instrument as a whole feels very organic, with the wenge and padouk neck timbers contributing significantly to that. The dark colour scheme over a flame maple top and light coloured ash body core works well with the rich, dark neck timbers, while the rounded body curves, extensive cutaways and mild contouring all add up to a fine-looking bass that fits well against the player. The elongated top horn makes the instrument look longer than it actually feels to wear and play.
The level of finishing on the neck and the bass throughout is excellent. With no front position markers and only mother of pearl side dots for navigation, the ‘clean’ look of this bass is quite obvious, but it works with the dark colouring, vibrant through-neck laminates and the curvaceous matching headstock.
The pair of EMG 35 pickups are obviously well matched to the EMG BQC active EQ, with controls for Volume, Balance, stacked Mid and frequency sweep and Treble/Bass. Black hardware has been used throughout and looks pretty tasteful. The flip-top battery compartments and cavity plate are all neatly laid out on the rear.
Sounds and Playability
With a 34 ¼” scale length, the Patriot not only benefits from a clear, punchy acoustic tone with great sustain, but in terms of playability, this is the sort of instrument that drags you back for more. Blessed with a good set-up and snappy response, the natural tone of this instrument is impressive.
So plugged in, what are we faced with? Well, the bass resonates well, that’s for sure, and the flat response slap sound is good. The fingerstyle tone is rounded but vibrant. There is an inherent throatiness that seems to colour the signal, which is not surprising considering the timbers used, but it’s subtle and not too intrusive and the bottom end is very solid.
Adding some EQ gives the sonic display a lively boost: thankfully, the EMG circuit does an admirable job without being extreme or excessive across the frequency spectrum. I was impressed with the broadness of the mid frequencies, which really give extra clarity and power in a band mix. Alternatively, use them for some extra honk in conjunction with the bridge pickup. Sure, it will get you out of trouble if the battery fails – but it’s a shame that the passive signal is so indistinct. Spend some time getting to know the tones, because the circuit affords this bass a broad tonal palette. As with many bass guitars, the mid-EQ is sometimes your best friend – so working with the mid-frequency sweep to find the most suitable tone is recommended.
At a snip under £2,000, the Patriot is an impressive instrument, but it sits in a price point alongside other, more established names. The fact that it comes with a hard case is a bonus, but probably not enough to set it apart. The craftsmanship, comfort and playability are all impressive. Visually, this is a real head-turner and sonically, it’s very good – but does it have the necessary killer punch to make it a first choice for players spending that sort of money?
Price | £1950
Made in | Poland
Body | Swamp ash body with flame maple top
Neck | Five-piece wenge and padouk,
34 ¼” scale
Neck joint | Through-neck
Nut width | 43mm
Fingerboard | Rosewood
Frets | 24
Pickups | EMG 35 pickups x2
Electronics | EMG BQC System Active EQ
Controls | Volume, Balance, Middle/
Mid-Frequency Sweep, Treble/Bass
Hardware | Black Schaller tuners, black Mayones bridge
Weight | 4.3kg
Case/gig bag included? | Hard case included
Left-hand option available? | Yes
What We Think
Plus | A great-looking bass with some pleasing woody tones, highly playable
Minus | Lacks the X factor to set it apart
Overall | Definitely worth considering if you have £2,000 to spend: a broad tonal palette with great electronics and exemplary craftsmanship