|Body And Neck:|
We had to have a true premium model on our chart of the best acoustic bass guitars and it should be no surprise to see Martin take the spot. After all, the American brand are real icons in the high-end acoustic market! The 4-string BCPA4 electro-acoustic isn’t cheap, but it offers acoustic bassists a real treat for the hands, eyes and ears. Time to take a closer look…
As soon as you pick up the BCPA4 you can tell it’s a step – or perhaps a whole staircase – above the majority of models in the acoustic bass market. It feels like a real made-in-America Martin should, with a solid build that shows true attention has gone into it.
The BCPA4 features a 34” scale length jumbo body with a soft J-style cutaway for increased access to the higher frets. There are no HPLs or Richlite (even though these are decent materials) on this acoustic – the materials used by Martin are all wood, with X-braced solid Sitka spruce on the top and laminated sapele on the back and sides, all with an elegant black binding around the top and bottom of the bass.
The neck joins the body at the 17th fret and features a solid ebony fretboard with a nut width of 1.58” and a total of 23 frets. Aside from the top, the whole bass is satin finished for a smooth feel, while the playability is enhanced by Martin’s impressive Plek treatment. Martin says it’s a bass for the performing artist and we wholeheartedly agree.
The hardware of the BCPA4 matches the build of the bass just as well. It features Fishman F1 Analog electronics, which are pretty low-impact in terms of how they disrupt the overall look of this elegant bass. It features simple volume and tone controls on the upper bout along with a built-in digital tuner for ease of use on stage.
The headstock is fitted with four Gotoh black sealed tuners which are excellent. Just below this is a White Corian nut, while the bottom of the bass is fitted with an ebony bridge. Note that this bass also comes complete with a Martin 360 hard-shell case, which is a good addition even at this high-end price point.
Onto sound and it thoroughly impresses both plugged in and acoustically, melting together the tones of an upright and electric bass into one. It’s rich and very well balanced, with the solid spruce offering a nice brightness while the sapele gives some warmth with a great bass response. When playing through the Fishman system the tone is just as rich and sounds pretty pure, also offering a little flexibility in sound shaping.
It’s certainly not an acoustic bass for the masses, as the sub-$2000 price tag will definitely exclude the more casual player. However, for regular performers and professionals alike, the impressive high-end feel and tone of the BCPA4 will be very hard to pass up.