While guitarists in general tend to be an extremely conservative bunch (just check the comments section of any of my guitar videos for evidence), bassists are a bit quicker to embrace new things. Headless basses and multiscale basses were a staple in the low end community long before they caught on for guitarists. Things that are technologically superior tend to give off a nerd vibe, and while guitarists tend to be spotlight hogs and attention whores who need to be cool, bassists are used to being one of the “out of focus guys” who can make a huge impact on the sound without a whole lot of ego in the way.
The Acacia Atlas multiscale bass is not one of these geek sticks you’ll want to hide, though. The design is as sleek and dangerous as they come, and will be stealing the spotlight from many a guitarist onstage. The 5 string model I reviewed had a 36.75-34″ scale length spread, allowing for a devastatingly tight low A note, and an even tone across the fretboard. Although that’s a change of almost three inches, I didn’t find that it inhibited my playing at all. This could be because A.) the frets on a bass are already quite large compared to a guitar, so they’re already large enough targets that it doesn’t matter as much and B.) since you’re not likely to be playing barre chords or the like, you don’t need parallel frets like on a guitar.
The tones I got out of this bass were absolutely absurd. In combination with my Darkglass Electronics B7K Ultra and some compression courtesy of Joey Sturgis’ Finality plugin (before the B7K), I achieved easily the heaviest tones I’ve ever gotten out of a bass. The Seymour Duncan ASB pickups, onboard EQ, and preamp gives you access to thousands of tone combinations, and I think I found some that really work for heavy, modern music. You’ll have to listen to the demo in the video and decide for yourself (I made sure to have Alex mix the bass REALLY high, probably too high, so you can really hear it). That’s not to say this can only be used for rock and metal – I got some convincing jazz, blues, and funk tones out of it, and there’s a push/pull on the volume knob that’s expressly for slap bass playing.
While it’s true that I am not a bass player by trade, as a producer I am constantly thinking in terms of the sound of the bass. It’s potentially one of the most important things in a mix, and without some real solid options you can find your music dead in the water. After using this bass on all of my productions since late January, I can honestly say it’s been a lifesaver. In addition to the 5 knobs (one is a concentric pot for pickup blend), you can set the parameters for the push/pull internally on the preamp, so it’s customizable.
Speaking of customizable, when ordering one of these basses, you can choose from 4, 5, or 6 strings, right or left handed, ash or alder body, maple or wenge neck, a host of fretboard woods, and a number of matte finish options. All the hardware is Hipshot, which is very solid and strong. My bass was extremely light and just as important, was really well balanced – no neck dive. It’s a simple bass – no flashy top woods or fancy finishes, nothing that would raise the price unnecessarily – what you’re paying for is the sound and the fury.
So if you’re looking to get into an American made multiscale bass, the Acacia Atlas needs to be high on your list.