Be sure and check out the June 2005 issue of Bass Player Magazine where you'll find Matt Blackett's review of the Epiphone 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.


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 that.



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