Brian B2 by nyut545e2

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									       Tone Zone
32     Dean B2 Brian Bromberg 4-String




DEAN                                                    F
                                                              irst impressions certainly          a battery (for the circuit) - curious
                                                              mean something, and I was           that the battery should be inside
                                                              taken aback by the B2 as soon       the cavity when there is a flip-up
                                                        as I got it out of the box. Always        battery compartment for the piezo
                                                        keen to see something a bit               battery separate on the back. I
                                                        different, I was immediately struck       couldn’t help but wonder why




B Brian
                                                        by the unique body shape, which           not have two of these, making



 2
                                                        in a rather odd way reminded me           it easy to change both batteries!
                                                        somewhat of the Parker Fly bass.          The control cavity was reasonably
                                                        With that ultra deep cutaway,             well screened and soldered, and
                                                        offset body shape and claw-like           featured brass screw ferrules for
                                                        headstock, it certainly is a rather       the screws - always a nice touch,




Bromberg
                                                        elegant looking instrument, with a        so no problems there.
                                                        classy feel to it that I can’t help but         In terms of playability the B2
                                                        like. The book-matched flamed              was excellent in many regards.
                                                        maple top sets things off nicely          I have seldom played a better
                                                        and the abalone B2 logo at the            balanced instrument. There was




 4-string
                                                        12th fret is the icing on the cake.       absolutely no headstock dive
                                                        The only thing that I didn’t like the     when seated (as I half expected
                                                        look of was the bell-shaped cover         with the shape of the headstock
                                                        piece for the trussrod - as you           being what it is) and balance
                                                        can see from the photographs,             while standing was faultless; it
                                                        the stain seems to be of a lighter        actually encourages the player to
                                                        shade and consequently makes the          play with the headstock slightly
Dean have an impressive track record with both          piece stick out like a sore thumb.        elevated. This in turn makes the
their guitar and bass ranges, and in recent years       In fact, the bass looks a lot better      upper fret access even better - and
                                                        without it, as seen in some of the        it’s already superb, thanks to the
have been able to attract several big name              recent Dean ads. Black hardware           more than generous cutaway.
endorsees such as Antone Caldwell, and Jeff             was a sensible choice here, as was        This appears to be in keeping
Berlin. The B2 is the latest offering from Dean         the rosewood fingerboard.                  with Dean/Bromberg’s vision
and was designed with and for another notable                Built in Korea, the instrument       that the instrument be aimed for
                                                        appears to be very well made.             those who wish to step forward
bass luminary, Brian Bromberg. Bromberg will            I certainly couldn’t find any              and push the envelope with their
be familiar to those with a penchant for jazz/          untoward marks on the finish,              playing/soloing. I have to admit
fusion. He has, for several years, been not only        which appeared to be well                 that I have never played a 24 fret
a highly regarded player, but also something of         polished. The neck was smooth             instrument with this degree of
                                                        and the fretwork was excellent.           access to the upper frets, but there
an innovator. With a powerful soloist’s voice, a        While the exterior of the bass            is a downside: it makes slapping
string of acclaimed solo albums and a keenness          was almost faultless, the interior        - or more accurately, popping
to experiment, Bromberg is one of today’s most          was slightly less impressive by           quite tricky, since it’s quite easy
forward thinking bassists. The new bass has been        comparison. Strangely, the circuit        to lose a finger in the cutaway!
                                                        board itself was completely               While this might not deter the non
designed with this in mind and promises to be           wrapped in padded foam,                   slappers out there, anyone who
the instrument of choice for anyone who wants to        which I found unusual, although           likes to put thumb to string will
step forward out of the traditional bass player role.   presumably this was done to               find themselves needing to slightly
Stuart Clayton grabs hold of a B2, hoping to be         prevent it coming into contact            adjust their popping technique
                                                        with any other parts inside the           - there is simply no wood under
surprised …                                             compartment. I would have                 your fingers when popping the G
                                                        thought that the preferable               string, and this certainly takes a
                                                        solution would have been to screw         bit of getting used to. Admittedly,
                                                        mount it - it would certainly be a        you don’t need any wood there
                                                        lot neater. The cavity also houses        for the technique but most players
                                                                                                                                           Tone Zone
                                                                             Dean B2




will be used to feeling it.
      The B2 has a rather
sophisticated control set that was
initially confusing. It comprises:
Master Volume, Stacked Pickup
Volume (one for each magnetic
pickup), Piezo Volume, Mid-
Range, Stacked Treble/Bass and
a 3-way Toggle Switch. The
toggle switch has three positions:
magnetic pickups, magnetic and
piezo pickups in combination,
and soloed piezo pickup. All this
makes up for a stunning array of
tones that can be coaxed forth
at your behest. With the usual
configurations of neck and bridge
pickup in varying ratios you can
obviously find a selection of more
than respectable tones for doing
the real bass player’s job - holding                                                                                                               RATINGS
down the low-end. The addition                                                                                                                     SECTION IS RATED OUT OF 20
of a mid control offers the chance
to add considerably more bite
to these, which worked well for                                                                                             DEAN B2 BRIAN
tight funky lines in the style of                                                                                         BROMBERG 4-STRING
Jaco et al. Obviously a great slap
tone is pretty easy to dial in too.                                                                                  Build Quality                                             19
The fun starts when you add the                                                                                      The B2 was well built and finished. I couldn’t find any
                                                                                                                     faults with the exterior of the instrument, but felt that
piezo pickup into the equation.                                                                                      the circuit board would be better secured in some way
When used in combination with                                                                                        rather than wrapped in foam.
the magnetic pickups, this allows
                                                                                                                     Sound                                                      20
the tone to both stand out a little                                                                                  Excellent. There are a lot of tonal possibilities on offer
better in the mix and gives it some                                                                                  here. While it does everything most other basses do in
                                                                                                                     terms of tone, you have the added bonus of the piezo
balls too. In pure piezo mode                                                                                        pickups. The piezo tone works extremely well for solo
the tone is less useable in band                                                                                     pieces, and adds attack to your regular sound.
situations, but wonderful for solo
work - try tapping out a Victor                                                                                      Playability                                             18
Wooten-style arpeggio riff in this                                                                                   Good on the most part. The balance of the B2 was
setting and you’ll soon be grinning     SPECIFICATIONS                                                               excellent, making it comfortable and enjoyable to play in
                                                                                                                     either seated or standing situations. The deep cutaway
from ear to ear! The bass worked        DEAN B2 BRIAN BROMBERG 4-STRING                                              provides unparalleled access to the upper frets, but this
well in a rehearsal environment,                                                                                     is something of a double edged sword since your slap
and was met with interest from                                                                                       and pop technique may be affected.

other band members, and
                                        PRICE:               £769
particularly other bass players, who    Made in: ...................... Korea                                        Value                                                   18
were also keen to see something         Body: ........................... Basswood with flame maple top               At £769 you’re getting a lot of bass. With all these great
                                        Finish: .......................... Gloss lacquer                             tones, good looks and serious playability, it’s money
different.                                                                                                           well spent.
                                        Neck: ........................... Maple
      In conclusion, this is an         Fingerboard: ................ Rosewood                                       Wow Factor                                             20
instrument that seems to have           Frets: ........................... 24                                        The B2 certainly makes an impression visually, although
been well thought out and put           Scale length: ................ 34"                                           the outlandish shape won’t be to everyone’s tastes. I
together. The balance is excellent,     Hardware:.................... Black                                          very much liked the shape, and even those that don’t
                                        Pickups: ....................... 2 Dean J pickups and a Fishman              have to admit that the range of tones available is
the tonal palate is exceptional and                                                                                  impressive.
it looks cool too. Not everyone was     .................................... Piezo bridge
                                        Controls:...................... Master volume, stacked pickup volume,        Total Score                                            95
into the shaping, and the deep
                                        .................................... piezo volume, mid-range volume,         A score of 95 makes this one of the highest scoring
cutaway created a problem for me        .................................... stacked treble/bass and a pickup        basses we’ve had in the pages of this magazine, but it’s
as well as solving one, but that        .................................... selector toggle switch                  a score that’s well deserved. A great sounding, good
won’t be an issue for everyone.                                                                                      looking bass that’s not going to break the bank – what
                                        Colours:....................... Transparent Teal (as reviewed),
                                                                                                                     more can you ask for?
If you’re looking for a quality         .................................... Transparent Amber, Transparent
instrument that is eye-catching as      .................................... Amberburst
well as great sounding you can’t        Options:....................... 5-string available at £849, no fretless or       BILL LEWINGTON LTD
                                        .................................... left handed versions at present, case      TEL: 44 (0) 1268 413366
go wrong here.
                                        .................................... available at extra cost.
                        StuartClayton                                                                                  WWW.BILL-LEWINGTON.COM

								
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