Through both rigs,
the ash and maple
lished a bright and
with the Bartolinis
small hands. Hill designed the bass so well
that every note was easily accessible on the
fretboard, without any adjustment needed
in left-hand technique. Our test bass had
an excellent setup, with little to no fret buzz
and near-perfect intonation.
The Blend knob is wired similarly to
Sadowsky basses, whereby rolling it forward engages more of the bridge pickup,
and turning it back increases the neck
pickup’s dominance. Purists may prefer a
more-traditional wiring of the dial, but
many believe this “reverse” configuration
is more intuitive.
The overall tone of the Dawg is bright,
with strong upper mids and growly lows.
The test model was played through a
Glockenklang Soul head and Quattro 410,
as well as an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500
with two SL112 cabinets. Through both
rigs, the ash and maple combination established a bright and punchy foundation,
with the Bartolinis delivering their characteristically articulate sound.
For those who require a little more flexibility in shaping their tone, the Dawg
handled preamp pedals very well. Boosting
the lows with an Aguilar Tone Hammer
pedal added bump and booty to the bass.
Pairing the Dawg with a Daring Audio
Edge Activator created a modern vibe—
conveying an MTD-like zing.
The Dawg excelled in aggressive live
situations and its inherent tonal characteristics cut through the mix like an angry
Peyton Hillis running through a defensive
line. Balancing both pickups creates a solid
tone for picking or fingerstyle rock, and
Jaco disciples will enjoy the snarl of the
bridge pickup. Soloing the neck pickup
had more growl than girth, but it conjured
up some Louis Johnson-style funk when
slapping the bass.
Bootleg also offers a 5-string version of
the Dawg bass, extending the scale length
to 35", which makes the 5th string more
taut. Though there are no additional wood
options for the Dawg at this time, a buyer
has the option of choosing red, white, or
black for the pearloid pickguard’s color.
To sum up the Dawg bass in one word,
it would be “value.” It’s rare to find a
USA-made instrument built this well, with
a price point that won’t bust your salary
cap. Hill has created an instrument that can
handle the rigors of the road and maintain
an eye-catching look from the stage. Its
tonal palette covers most of the common
tones for the bassist, though it may not
appeal to those who prefer a warmer, thick-
er sound. If you’re looking to add a bass to
your roster, the Dawg 4 might just become
the MVP in your collection.
you want a well-crafted bass with
good tone at a great price.
you require bells and whistles,
and/or traditional looks.
or use a mobile device to hear
audio clips of the bass at