Be sure and check out the June 2005 issue of
Bass Player Magazine where you'll
find Matt Blackett's review of the
Embassy Standard-V Bass. So how did the Embassy stand up? Can you say,
BASS PLAYER EDITORS AWARD! Here's a sneak peek at the review.
EPIPHONE EMBASSY STANDARD V
By Matt Blackett
THE ORIGINAL EMBASSY WAS EPIPHONE'S flagship
4-string back in the '60s. Today's Embassy doesn't share much more than the
name, however, and instead of a semi-hollow body, it sports elongated horns
and a tilt-back headstock that is vaguely reminiscent of Gibson's non-reverse
Firebird guitar. Epiphone designed the Embassy Standard V as a
professional-quality 5-string at a value-oriented price.
The Embassy's rich and inviting reddish-brown-finished
ash body seems at once warm and vibrant, and the matching headstock veneer
helps tie the look together. The rosewood fingerboard's simple dot markers
and the bass's black hardware give the Standard a no-nonsense air. Add to
that the simple, three-knob control layout and you've got an uncluttered,
serious looking bass.
A closer look at the cosmetics showed great attention
to detail. The lacquer was buffed to a mirror-like gloss, with no dimples
or "orange peel" in sight. Nice. The frets were even and well seated, but
some of the ends were a little jagged. Although I prefer a more rounded "hotdog"
edge on frets, these play very comfortably. Likewise with the nut: At first
glance the B-string slot looked a tad ragged, but the strings sat in it just
fine and there were no intonation or buzzing problems.
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the Embassy
was its substantial weight - this thing is heavy. But here's the weird part:
The Epiphone doesn't feel clunky or dead like some weighty instruments. Instead,
the Embassy's mass imparts a solid, secure feel that was reinforced when
I hit the open E string, which was resonant and piano-like. The spot-on setup
contributed to a bright, zingy acoustic sound with great harmonics. In fact,
this bass is a blast to play unplugged, thanks to its punch and sustain.
The Embassy's neck feels comfortable, and the string spacing is just roomy
enough so you won't trip over yourself.
To audition the Embassy's amplified tones, I plugged
into a gaggle of cool rigs. While it sounded strong in every application,
through a 250-watt Eden Nemesis NC-210 the Epi could do no wrong. The tone
was instantly thick and rich with a strong fundamental. On either pickup
with the passive tone control wide open, the Embassy gave up an excellent,
bright slap sound that also worked well for intricate lead lines. Rolling
the tone control back, however, brought out the Embassy's Old School nature
with amazing thump and huge, round low notes. The dual-volume-control layout
provided a ton of useful tone shadings, although I generally favored the
neck pickup with the tone about halfway up.
The B string spoke clearly on the Embassy - it wasn't
wooly or flabby. Through the big SWR rig it was downright thunderous. Transposing
4-string lines up five frets did just what I wanted, adding body, rolling
off a bit of treble, and basically upping the girth factor. Traveling up
the neck, I noticed that the Epi lost some of its pianistic quality. Above
the 12th fret, the zing was muted and the sustain decreased slightly. The
tone was still musical - and well intonated - it was just different from
what I experienced in the lower register.
It's hard to find much to gripe about with the Embassy
Standard V. It's got a great look, straightforward controls, a solid feel,
and lots of musical sounds. When you factor the low price, it borders on
the unbelievable. It's a cliche' to say it would be a bargain at twice the
price, but that cliche' might just be true in this case. The only real caveat
would be the weight, but the Embassy's playability, tones, and ridiculous
price point will go a long way toward making you forget about