BGRA: Fernandes APB-5

Manufacturer Fernandes Model APB-5
Reviewer Jeff Addicott
Experience 13 Item owned 6 months to 1 year
Review Date 2001-09-22 Price paid $350.00 eBay
Bass type5 string fretted
Neck joinBolt-On
Neck construction3-piece maple
Fignerboardrosewood 24-fret 34" scale
BodySwamp Ash
PickupsFernandes active "J"
ElectronicsFernandes 2-band boost/cut bass/treble
The bass is pretty light and comfortable. The nut spacing is rather J-like (i.e. tight) but the bridge spacing is relatively generous for a 5-string (not 3/4, but not too cramped). The neck can be set up for very comfy playing action that accomodates my medium / heavy touch without too much buzzing. The pickups are active, similar to EMGs, but with a different flavor. There's a nice "growl" present in nearly all settings. The active EQ sounds good and is effective. You get as much or as little boom &/or sizzle as you want. There's no shielding in the cavity, but I didn't notice undue buzz or hum (I think the low-impedence pickup signal is less vunlerable). The battery compartment is acessible without tools. The bridge features quick-release string loading, and is easy to adjust. Each saddle has just one height screw. Cool bonus: the metal nut is also adjustable. The tuners are very high quality. The sound is unique to this bass and very versatile. It sounds good on jazz gigs, and it also slaps well. The low B string is REALLY good; it keeps that growl, all the way down to the bottom. Sounds gorgeous on ballads! My only complaint on this bass is the finish. The transparent purple finish seems a bit murky, which is a pity because the wood grain looks real nice when you strain to see it. Overall, this is a great bass: comfortable yet solid, with premium hardware and great playability & tone. For the money, it's really amazing!
construction (95%)
playability (98%)
appearance (75%)
murky finish
sound (95%)
"active" and "growly"
value (100%)
should cost 3 times as much, or more...
overall (98%)
The BGRA is generously underwritten by David King of Bass Guitar Systems.
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