as one big pickup. In this mode, your front
volume control now becomes a master volume
for some serious thunder. For the tweaking
obsessed, we’re still not over with the Xotic.
Accessible through the back panel are additional mid-frequency switches and even an output gain control. You can literally spend hours
dialing in the bass to whatever you fancy.
Granted, the stock settings are top notch, but
this is a super-cool option nonetheless.
Miller-like tone from the active electronics,
and the Fralins are seriously clean and easy
to record. What I particularly dug was the
fact that I could also dial in a good Jaco-esque tone out of the soloed bridge pickup.
J-basses can usually cover one or the other
well, but not both.
Feature-wise, the bass is very similar to the
2009 Xotic XJ-1T 5-String—the most obvious
difference being the fact that it’s got one less
string. But due to its wood combination, the
XJ-1T 4-String has the heart of a ‘70s J-bass. It
sports an oil-finished maple neck with a maple
fretboard, unlike its 5-string cousin. Both basses
do use 6150 Jescar nickel-silver frets. The other
difference is the ash body on the XJ-1T. The
instrument just has the feel of a ‘70s gem…
without the disco music and large collars.
The Final Mojo
Is it worth the funds for this bass in comparison to other, US-built J clones? Absolutely. It
sounds as good, if not better than, any other
contender out there. Even more important is
that it’s more flexible than most. This bass is
a Swiss Army knife and could be considered
a main axe regardless of what genre you’re
in. I myself am already enjoying being able to
leave a number of other basses in my studio
and just taking the XJ-1T to sessions. If you’re
a lover of high-end J-basses, this may very
well be your axe.
Just taking it out of the case, I was seriously
impressed with the overall craftsmanship,
and after hours of inspection I was honestly
quite surprised not to find any real flaws. The
stock setup was nice and even, but due to
my lighter playing style, I dropped the action.
Luckily, the bass didn’t need any other tweaks
and it was set up like an absolute dream. The
oil-finished neck has a wonderful worn-in feel.
Most surprising was how resonant the bass
was even unplugged. Sustain and articulation was off the charts, and there was just the
right amount of midrange bark, which was
surprising since maple and ash combinations
have the potential to be overly bright sounding. To test the bass, I used it on a number
of live dates as well as master and demo
sessions. In every aspect the bass delivered
completely. You can really tell that Xotic has
done some serious homework on this bass,
and I’d venture to guess they’ve been asking
players for their needs as well. Every tone
setting proved to be useful for a number of
needs. Slap players can get a very Marcus
you’re into great-sounding,
you’re not ready to drop nearly $3K
on an import.
or use a mobile
device to read
this QR code to
hear sound clips
of the Xotic XJ-IT
in action at
PREMIER GUITAR APRIL 2010 175