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Best Bass Guitar Releases: Hard Rock Edition
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Best Bass Guitar Releases: Hard Rock Edition

by Stephen Charlton2016/02/12

Finding the best bass guitar for your requirements is not an easy task. There has already been a number of high profile releases so far in 2016. We’ll run through some of the most interesting developments in to help you keep on top of the best emerging products. Today we’ll focus on the best bass guitar releases in the rock and metal realm.

David Ellefson offers revamped line

Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has played Jackson basses since the 1980s. He’s also had a signature line with Jackson for several years now. Megadeth’s Dystopia was released recently, marking the band’s 15th studio album (see our review here). Dystopia is the third release that Ellefson played on since returning to the band in 2010. Jackson decided to mark the occasion by updating the Ellefson signature line.

The line now features the USA Concert Bass IV and V and the updated X Series Concert Bass IV and V. The former is a new high-end product while the X Series is aimed at the budget market. The older Ellefson line was fairly well-received so it’ll be interesting to see what Jackson has added this time around.

Best bass guitar - The David Ellefson USA Signature Concert Bass

The David Ellefson USA Signature Concert Bass V.

High end option for metal bassists

The David Ellefson USA Signature Concert Bass is available in both four and five-string versions. It features an alder body with black binding, hand-rubbed urethane finish, 12″-16″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard, quartersawn neck-through neck, outlined sharkfin inlays and 21 jumbo frets. It’s powered by EMG humbuckers, with a 35CS in the neck and a 35DC in the bridge. It has five black domed control knobs (three-band EQ, volume and blend), a Jackson high mass bridge and Hipshot open-gear locking tuners. The bass is available in satin black or satin silver.

Best bass guitar - The David Ellefson Signature CBX IV And CBX V

The David Ellefson Signature CBX IV And CBX V.

Affordable option still available

The budget CBX IV and V basses have redesigned ergonomic contours. The upper contour provides an anchor for both pick and fingerstyle playing while the lower contour provides balance while propped on a knee. The CBX IV has a basswood body, 12″-16″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and a Jackson high mass four-string bridge. Jackson states the bridge design provides punch, clarity and enhanced sustain. The IV is kitted out with a pair of EMG HZ35 active humbuckers and an active three-band EQ. The blend pot can be adjusted to mix the pick-ups, providing either more cut at the bridge or warmth at the neck. The CBX V is fairly similar to the CBX IV, although it does differ with the pick-up choice. The five-string version has a pair of EMG HZ40 active humbuckers. Both models feature all-black hardware and a choice of silver or black finish. They also have pearloid sharkfin neck inlays, a single-ply white neck binding with an engraved radiation logo and Ellefson’s signature on the truss rod cover. The logo and signature are fairly subtle though. It doesn’t obnoxiously scream ‘signature model’, which is definitely a plus.

Best bass guitar - The Michael Anthony Signature USA Production Bass

The Michael Anthony Signature USA Production Bass.

Michael Anthony jumps on board with Schecter

Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony is perhaps most closely associated with Yamaha, with whom he had a signature bass line. However the veteran rocker released a signature bass with Schecter Guitars last month. The bass is available at two price points. It’s a take on Schecter’s Model T, customised to Anthony’s playing style.

The high end model is the Michael Anthony Signature USA Production Bass. It features a five-piece quarter sawn hard rock maple and walnut neck with an Indian rosewood fretboard, custom high mass machined brass bridge, custom bass tuners with a Hipshot Drop D and and Schecter Custom Wound MonsterTone PJ pickups. The frets are Jescar premium German silver and the neck has pearl dot inlays. The USA model has three finishes: three-tone sunburst, carbon grey, and rat rod. The pickguard options are a tortoise pickguard with chrome hardware or an aircraft aluminum guard with black powder coating and black hardware.

Best bass guitar - The Michael Anthony Signature Diamond Series Bass

The Michael Anthony Signature Diamond Series Bass.

The Michael Anthony Signature Diamond Series Bass is built in South Korea. It features an alder body, rosewood fretboard and maple and walnut neck. It has a carbon grey finish accented with creme binding and creme dot inlays. The neck is slimmer than the Model T – the Diamond has a 1.496” nut and 12” radius fingerboard. It has a USA MonsterTone P/J pickup set, which was created by Schecter with input from Anthony. The controls are volume, tone and a three-way pick-up selector. It also features a WSC THD4 bridge and WSC KG400 tuners.

The Michael Anthony Signature USA Production Bass is available from $3,495, while the Diamond Series Bass comes with a price tag of $899.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton

Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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