Breedlove Solo Jumbo Fretless CE
I hadn’t purchased a new bass in about 3 years, choosing to sell off some of the excess stuff I’ve had instead of buying. But I was missing a decent acoustic bass for most of the usual reasons that musicians buy an acoustic … hanging out at home, taking with me when traveling (if THAT ever happens again!), & maybe doing some home studio recording. So I off-loaded a gorgeous FBB 5 string that I never played and used some of the coin for this beautiful used Breedlove fretless.
I was half-expecting the bass to have some kind of “surprise” issue because it was an eBay item priced very low and the pics/description were pretty weak. But the real surprise was that it appears this bass was rarely, if ever, played … it’s in pristine condition complete with all of the original case candy, and the seller included a $50 retail Larrivee leather strap! And, it has LaBella Jamerson flats on it, my preferred strings for just about everything but this acoustic.
I will change out the strings for LaBella black nylon tape wounds in the very near future. The Jamerson flats are great, but unnecessary on this bass. If it was a fretted bass I’d definitely leave the Jamerson’s on it. I’ve played one with the black tapes and it was much more expressive.
Red cedar top with ovangkol sides & back. It has a tortoise shell binding around the body and bordering the fingerboard. 34” scale, Ebony fingerboard and bridge, 18mm string spacing, 16.5 inches across the bottom bout, 4.75 inches deep, 49 inches from top of headstock to lower button. The lower button is also the input jack.
I’m not in love with input jacks that tie into the strap button. Putting a thicker leather strap on that button and making sure it stays there is a definite challenge, there’s just not enough depth in the button channel to fit a somewhat thicker strap. Of course, the jack would hold the strap when it inevitably slips off, but if you’re just playing it acoustically there is no jack.
This Solo Jumbo version has a separate sound hole on the side, theoretically to provide more volume so the player can hear themselves better. It may provide a touch more volume, but it’s only marginal at best. The bass comes with a rubber form that fits into the side sound hole for when you are playing plugged in … it’s supposed to help control feedback, but I have my doubts about that. None the less, the side sound hole is a nice gimmicky feature.
The intonation is impeccable, I was really expecting to have to work on that a bit. The hardware is solid, tuners are nicely machined and hold perfectly with no slack or sloppiness. LR Baggs electronics (Vol/Tone) are passible but would need some help if I tried to perform with this bass amplified … I tried a quick hit through a Radial Bassbone and it seemed to do the trick, but I don’t have any plans to use this bass for performance stuff. Feedback would be a drag, just like with every other amplified acoustic a decent outboard EQ is mandatory to eliminate problematic frequencies. The pickup controls are mounted in the sound hole, a little weird but manageable.
The Breedlove gig bag is a pretty nice hybrid soft-shell case with a lot of rigidity. I was originally thinking that I might need to get a hard shell case to avoid banging the bass around while traveling, but this gig bag will definitely give me all of the protection the bass needs short of airline baggage handing or shipping.