when constructing the bass: Players who
wish to add active tone circuits will have
an easy time of it thanks to the included
compartment (the JT5-24 can be ordered
with Bartolini or Aguilar active circuits
from the outset, too). While the layout of
the control cavity was clean and soldered
perfectly, I did notice that the electrostatic
shielding was flaking in spots—not a huge
issue, but it could pose a little trouble
with cleanup later on. Lull states that the
shielding paint is actually underneath the
finish paint, so as to not have any flaking problems. Any visible shielding paint
would have been put on afterwards—just
around the ground lug—as a safety measure for grounding.
The warmth and roundness of each note hit a soft place in
my heart—the JT5-24 wonderfully captures the essence of a
bygone time—but the addition of the low B string yields an
instrument that goes beyond the limitations of the past.
Fun, Fun, Fun, Till …
After a slight setup (the bass arrived with
the action at a finger-touch level), I was
ready to hear this JT5 and get my T-bird
on. The dual T-bird-style pickups are
wound to the same specs as ’60s-era pickups, and they’ve reportedly been reverse-engineered to faithfully reproduce the originals. And you know what? They sounded
pretty damn good.
Tested through an Eden 115XLT cab
pushed by either a Gallien-Krueger MB800
or an Eden WTX-500 head, the T-Bass
pickups produced a punchy, thick tone
that was absolutely reminiscent of another
era—which was definitely strange, since
the meaty T-bird-like sounds were coming
from a J-shaped instrument. While I had to
spend a little time getting comfortable with
the string spacing, which was just a touch
wide for my taste, I was ready to find out
what the JT5 could do.
Mike Lull has been improving on traditional designs for years, and with the JT5-
24, he has taken some of those “what if”
questions and moved the ideas into reality.
The craftsmanship is undoubtedly topnotch, and the appointments are fantastic.
It’s like a T-bird, but without the T-bird
elements that some players dislike. The
contoured, J-style design will please players
looking for that tone in a more traditional
and ergonomic body shape.
Pros: Classic, hard-to-get tones in a traditional, more
Mike Lull Custom Guitars JT5-24, $3,255 street, mikelull.com
In the end, I concluded that the JT5-
24 is most at home with the beefy tone
from the neck pickup. While I appreciated
being able to add a midrange spike with the
bridge pickup, I found myself rolling it off
more often than not. But in this case, that’s
not a bad thing at all.