So here is my report back from my visit at CME:
It’s a great store, with a large guitar department on the ground floor, and a smaller, but still impressive, bass department in the basement (yeah, they call it the bassment). The staff was very friendly and told me to just knock myself out and test as many of the basses as I wanted. They had two test booths with different amps, but also a test station with headphones in the main room.
In the end, I played the following 6 basses (if interested, you should be able to find pictures for these on the CME webpage):
- Mayones Jabba Hadrien Feraud PJ4, about USD 3500
- Ibanez BTB20TH6, about USD 1500
- Fodera Viceroy Deluxe 4, about USD 9000
- Ibanez AFR5WAP, about USD 1700
- Sandberg California TT, about USD 1700
- Fender American Elite Precision (with PJ config), about USD 1800
(sorry, no Warwick, Howard!)
I played them through an Aguilar Tone Hammer 350 with a SL115 cab.
Please take all these coming comments with a grain of salt - they are my personal and very subjective impressions after non-exhaustive testing and considering my limited (15 month) experience playing bass:
The biggest disappointment for me was the Fodera. I am sure it is a great bass, but did’t really do it for me, and I certainly couldn’t see why it should cost more than double what the Mayones costs, and pretty much 5 times more than most of the others I tried.
The Ibanez AFR5WAP has a unique body, which got me interested, but playing it didn’t quite match the optical impression. The Sandberg was good, but I had somehow hoped for more there. The Fender surprised me, really nice, solid bass and I liked the PJ configuration. The Ibanez BTB20TH6, I played more out of curiosity, as it was a 6-string, and, boy, that takes a bit of getting used to. And… I really need to work seriously on my muting skills!
But, the bass that really blew me away from the first sound, and also the bass I was most interested in testing, was the Mayones. What an awesome bass: low action, fast neck with satin finish, great tone (lots of oomph), PJ configuration, light in weight. I guess this was my first experience with a seriously well built (and more expensive) bass and one that was set up with such low action, but it felt and sounded awesome.
I am officially in love and need to start saving up (and/or selling and cancelling outstanding orders, haha )