Bacchus 02 Standard 5

Bacchus 02 Standard 5

Year: 2003

Made In: Japan

Specs: Ash body, maple neck, ebony fretboard

Electronics: Bacchus Hand Made ALV pickups, Bartolini XTCT preamp

Controls: Volume, blend, bass boost, treble boost

This is the bass which opened my eyes to the world of Bacchus. Another U-box acquisition, I picked this up while I was waiting on the Hotwire to be built and is probably part of the reason why it was such a disappointment when it arrived. The Bacchus was better in every aspect, considerably better in fact.

Everything about this bass reeks of class. Construction and hardware is top-notch and the neck is quite slim for a five string. The fretwork is excellent so the action is low and buzz free. If you don’t like knicks and dinks, they’re not the bass for you, though. The oil finish marks easily and the bass looks older than its years. On the positive side, the wood isn’t entombed in plastic and can vibrate freely and it really projects the sound of the strings unplugged. Despite the body binding there is enough of a forearm contour to ensure it’s comfortable to play. Blocks and binding on an ebony board is always a winning idea too.

The only change I’ve made is to install a pickup blend pot instead of the traditional double volume setup, I just prefer vol-blend to vol-vol. The tone is an aggressive, modern J sound. It’s bright and focussed but with more than enough low end on tap for any job. You just know this bass will sound great every time, on every occasion. It has been used on blues and downtuned Metal with equal success. It’s got growl, it’s got warmth and it’s got a thunderous B string too.

Very serious business.

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Bacchus JST

Bacchus JST

Year: 2003

Made In: Japan

Specs: Alder body, maple neck, rosewood fretboard

Electronics: Yuta single-coil x 3

Controls: Volume, tone x 2, five-way switch

There’s business and there’s serious business. This one surfaced in Cork, of all places, for very little money but I didn’t have the cash at the time and tried to wipe it from my mind, thinking it would be snapped up immediately at that asking price. A month later, I noticed the ad again and it had the usual tyre kicker comments but looked like it hadn’t sold. I contacted the seller and, to my amazement, it was still available. I travelled down the next day. He opened the case, I saw the three-digit serial number and the deal was done straight away. I’ve contacted Bacchus looking for information but all they could confirm was it was a custom order.

At the risk of not making absolute sense, this is the strattiest strat I have ever played. It encompasses everything, in my mind, which defines a strat to the absolute maximum. It’s hard to articulate, to be honest.

It feels great. It has meaty C shaped neck, small frets, super thin finish with a real old vibe to it. Accordingly, the bridge pickup doesn’t go to a tone control and, while bright, is not unbearably harsh. The one modern concession made is a five-way switch. It’s stratty to a ridiculous level and entirely charming as a result.

This is serious business.

Ibanez RG3270

Ibanez RG3270

Year: 2003

Made In: Japan

Specs: Mahogany body with maple top, 3 piece maple neck, rosewood fretboard

Electronics: DiMarzio PAF Pro humbuckers x 2, Blue Velvet single-coil.

Controls: Volume, tone & 5-way switch

This one, despite being a decent guitar, didn’t stay long. It had the neck from the RG550 on it when I picked it up. I returned each neck to the right guitar and it turned out the RG550 was clearly the better player, despite this one being very easy on the eye, so I eased it on out the door. It helped fund the white Bacchus strat, so I am still somewhat fond of it for that reason.