Marcus Miller Signature Model Jazz Bass
Marcus Miller is considered one of, if not the best contemporary
bass players, having played with countless big name acts such
as Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Luther Vandross just to name
a few and also has a successful solo career
To his credit he has two Fender
Signature Bass models, an American made 5-string which has recently
been released and a Japanese made 4-string counterpart, which
has been in production since 1998, this resembles the instrument
Marcus uses. The 4 string is the instrument we will be reviewing.
The Bass itself is based on a 1970s
Jazz bass, with an ash body, but gone is the usual bridge and
“ashtray” cover as this is replaced by a more up to date Leo
Quann Badass II Bridge.
The mid pickup cover remains though
as this is an essential element is Marcus’s playing style.
This is no ordinary Jazz Bass though,
as extra controls and a preamp have been added to make the instrument
active or passive at will. The pickguard has also been extended
to hide the extra electronics.
Each pickup has its own independent
volume control via two knurled chrome knobs whilst two Jazz
Bass plastic knobs controls the overall treble and bass. A small
switch also turns the preamp on or off.
The pickups themselves are single
coil Jazz Bass American Vintage as found on Fenders USA Reissue
Visually the bass is very attractive
with lots of grain from ash body showing through the polyurethane
finish. The maple neck has 20 medium jumbo frets and is adorned
with white square pearl inlays and is also bound in the same
colour. All hardware is chrome and the tuners are the correct
period vintage reverse tuners.
The tone is well exactly what one
expects pure Marcus! Bright and snappy in the higher registers
yet deep in the low ones. The preamp also adds extra tone and
volume when switched on.
Playing with the pickup cover at
first takes a bit of getting used to, it can be easily removed
but it adds so much to the character of this instrument that
at least for now its staying on!
As final note the finish on this
bass is excellent, very impressive for a “Made in Japan” instrument
that some consider inferior. The only thing I would have preferred
is if it had come with a case though as I had to purchase one
separately and these can be rather expensive when bought separately.
Overall a great instrument, which
fantastic tone, and an excellent finish.
By Ernest H Slade