Stringing an instrument and hearing the first note is always a breath holding experience. That is the moment when the "voice" is revealed. If I'm usually able to approximately predict what it will sound like, I was not this time, because of the experimental technologies being combined: neck core, intonation cantilever bridge.
So it was an exciting surprise to hear this new voice yesterday.
I would describe the sound as having very deep fundamentals, with a warmth and clarity that extends to upper harmonics. The highs are bright and clear, without harshness. Mids are smooth and present, without nasal. Chords are distinct. Pluck, slap and pick all yield variations on the primary voice of the instrument...to my ear, it responds to each of those techniques equally well.
I haven't been able to isolate the cause of the leap, but it seems to be the new bridge design's ability to fully capture the frequency transfer of the neck core. Those two technologies are performing in tandem.
My friend Jerome Little, Little Guitar Works (Austin, TX) is beta testing prototype versions of the bass bridges simultaneously on a beautiful maple neck through 5-string build in progress. So far, our impressions coincide:
"No problems to report--nice hardware indeed...I was immediately struck by the resonance and clear harmonics just tuning it up acoustically. There's definitely some good energy transfer going on there..."
Jerome's prototype set is all black anodized aluminum, with stainless steel intonation screws. Just mailed him a brass screw set to test. As seen above, the production bridges I'm using have stainless steel mounts that are slotted for easy string install. I am testing titanium and phosphor bronze intonation screws.
So far I like both materials equally.
Corey Brown was kind enough to allow me to wait to apply finish until after he's chosen which Orchid he wants. That was a very nice gesture, and will allow total color & finish choice for whoever wants the bass he does not pick. As you can see, these instruments would look spectacular with a clear finish.
I'm very much looking forward to Corey's visit to the shop this week. We will have a chance to talk bass and get his preferred instrument fitted for optimal comfort. Seen above is 32" scale length. 34" scale length Orchid is identical.
Which will he choose? And why?