New Toys

ESP LTD B-1004 Bass Guitar

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ESP LTD B-1004 Bass Guitar It turns out that ESP also makes a great line of bass guitars. I received the B-1004, four-string model (five-string also available) that is a neck-thru-body design with a 34-inch scale neck made of five-piece maple and walnut with an ebony fingerboard. You get 24 super jumbo frets, offset abalone dots, and an inlay of the bass's model number at the twelfth fret. The body is made of mahogany with a 3/8-inch thick flamed maple top that's not laminated.

The tuners are Hipshot Ultralites and the bridge is Hipshot's "A" style designed for strings through the body. This bass features ESP's 2-way truss rod that's adjustable both clockwise and counter-clockwise. With a single-adjusting truss rod, once you loosen the nut all the way, you're left with no more adjustment that could leave the instrument unplayable.

The B-1004 comes with an EMG 35TW at the bridge and a 35P4 at the neck all powered by the EMG B64 three-band active equalizer/pre-amp. There are three separate tone controls for bass, mids, and highs with +/-10dB boost/cut at 30Hz, 600Hz and 6kHz respectively. That leaves the Balance control to mix the two pickups and the Volume control with a push-pull switch to split the coil on the bridge pickup.

I asked my friend Bobby Watson, founding member and bass player from the group Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn to try out this new bass. He immediately liked the feel of the fretboard, the rich, 'acoustic' sound, and the satin finish. The neck shape, width and taper fit Bobby's hands perfectly. We both felt the overall sound was clear and crisp especially when slapping however the bass and treble controls were reversed in their positioning on the body. He liked the string-thru-the body designed for the increased string tension and the instrument's ability to stay in tune--even with the supplied brand new strings.

It's not surprising that such a fine instrument comes from ESP--it's has the same high value and craftsmanship for a reasonable price that has always distinguished their guitars from all the rest. The ESP B-1004 sells for $1,642 MSRP, comes with a hard case and a limited lifetime warranty. For more information visit

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