triple-necked monster! Turns out it’s a 4-string
with straightforward controls whose only concessions to the unorthodox are an eye-catching
body and a Hipshot D-Tuner.
The JPJ is a great-looking instrument with
an interesting shape and a matching headstock
that doesn’t draw undue attention. I loved the
high-gloss, aged cherryburst lacquer over the
two-piece, book-matched, quilted maple top,
and the stripe down the back—evidence of
the neck-through design—is gorgeous. The
big, black Badass II bridge certainly looks like
it means business, and it matches the Schaller
tuners, the Hipshot D-Tuner, and the strap
pins. The three black knobs (Master Volume,
a pickup selector, and a stacked Treble/Bass
knob) are elegant and simple. The electronics
are straightforward: You can use the pickup
selector to choose the EMG-35TW dual-coil
bridge pickup or the EMG-35P4 neck pickup,
or you can pull the pickup selector to activate
the bridge single-coil.
Even after a few weeks in customs, our test
bass arrived set up relatively well. The bass
was heavier than we expected (chalk it up to
the mahogany body and the Badass bridge).
But there was a payoff for all that heft—the
bass sounded great and loud, even before we
plugged it in.
For bassists accustomed to Fender Jazz
Basses, the Manson JPJ’s slim, 34"-scale neck
will feel very familiar. And there are a few
extra notes on tap beyond what an old Fender
offers, as well as a cutaway that makes it easy
to reach all 24 frets on the ebony fretboard. It
really is a player’s design.
Plugged in, the Manson JPJ showed its
true colors and ready-for-anything attitude.