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Viper Is Armed


The Bear Jew

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So...

Butt Butt (our bassist) got his new ESP Viper 104 bass from Musician's Friend yesterday. He bought it as part of that "big-ass closeout" thing they were doing... $200. Ya can't beat that!!

 

He bought it because it was cheap, looked cool (like a modern Gibson EB-3) and would be a workhorse instrument for shows.

 

He called me when it came in yesterday afternoon... No case (but whaddaya want for $200?)He said he was totally suprised at how nice it was. It's all black - Black body, black headstock, black tuners, black hardware, black knobs. Ya know.... none more black.

 

He had been expecting to pull out the p-ups (and put in EMGs), swap the bridge for a badass and replace the nut. After he played it acoustically for a bit, he decided to plug it in... he said he thought his kidneys were gonna drop loose. He said the thing has BALLS... So he pulled the backplate off of the thing, and found out that the bass has a pretty hardcore pre-amp in it, too. After that, he pulled the neck off and did one of his little tricks with it... he likes to use gun epoxy on the neck joints of his bolt-on basses in order to make them more solid. Hey... I dunno.. all of his basses sound great, so it must be good for something.

 

Anyway, we met up a little early for rehearsal so I could check out the new bass. Here's what I saw:

It's a chunky bass with a hearty, fat neck and a comfy body design. It's got nice mass, but it's not too heavy. The front strap pin is on the horn rather than the neck joint (unlike Gibson EB-3 basses), so it doesn't have a tendency to neck-dive. The tone is ludicrous... very growly and punchy with an assload of rumble. The active pre-amp has nice versatility - I was able to get a really thumpy, old-school sound with a knob-twist, and then (with another knob-twist), I got a very modern, "take the top of your head off" tone. Nice clarity and oomph. Just a really nice bass. It's really hard to believe this bass only cost $200.

 

After assessing this bass... I doubt Butt Butt will be removing the p-ups and bridge... they're perfect. However, the nut is plastic, so he's probably gonna get a new graphite one for safety and tuning stability.

 

The only other mods we've done thus far have been replacing the strap pins with locking pins and blacking out the "LTD" on the headstock and covering the "ESP" logo on the truss rod cover with gaffer's tape. Ya know how much we hate logos.

 

Beyond that stuff... this bass is ready to be played at gigs. NICE. Definitely a good value.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Ya' know, Erik, that sounds like a great deal w/ a happy ending. I'm feeling a little warm'n'fuzzy. :)

 

Although the image of the bass leans towards harder edged music, I would say that the builders were listening to a little JB when they designed and assembled it. It seems like that bass is just screamin' out, "Say it loud -- I'm black and I'm proud!" :cool:

 

Don't forget to let us know how it pulls thru the first gig! :thu:

 

Peace.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Honestly, Willie.. when Butt Butt told me he was gonna buy an ESP, I was kinda skeptical. I don't have particularly fond memories of this brand of instruments.

 

However, this one has made a believer outta me. I'm gonna look into the Viper guitars to see if they're of similar quality. 'Cause if they are, I'm gonna buy one so we can match onstage. Gawd... we're so damn corny.

 

Anyway, looks like we're gonna use it to track next week, so I'll give you a report after the session.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I've seen good instruments from almost every major manufacturer....sometimes they're a fluke, sometimes they're the result of good quality control.

 

I've never been thrilled with ESP instruments either, but Tom Barney seems to like the ones they build for him...as does Jerry Jemmott...so they must be doing something right.

 

Cool to hear the bass sounds as good as it looks. :thu:

 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go back to lusting after this beautiful, beautiful thing that I can\'t afford.

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OK, Butt Butt's gonna be peeved...

 

I just looked at Musician's Friend to see if they have ESP Viper guitars for sale at a decent price (they do)... And I noticed that now the Viper 104 4-string bass is on sale for $149.

 

I just e-mailed him and told him to order another. I mean, what the hell, right? For another $150, he's gonna have two of virtually the same instruments.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I'd just like to take this opportunity to say...

 

"Butt Butt"?!? :D

 

OK. Now that that's over...I've never been tempted by the ESP either, but then I've never heard Tom Barney sound anything but stellar on his. Might have something to do with him, though. ;) (And I doubt he got his amber-on-quilted-maple 5-string for $150!)

 

Ben, that is indeed a beautiful bass. A local shop had one last year & it was gorgeous. But for some reason, I never thought it sounded more than OK. Not bad at all, just nothing I could get excited about. This could of course be attributed to (a) the fact that people get excited about totally different things and (b) the peculiarities of that particular instrument. FWIW. So, there ya go.

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Yeah, Chris #6 is also known as Butt Butt because his gastrointestinal system is seriously dangerous. No lie... Sometimes the smells he produces are so awful that they actually hurt my eye. That's why we call him Butt Butt... it's like he has two of them.

 

Plus... after he lets go, you walk around covering your eyes and nose going, "But... But... No human should be able to create such aromas!"

 

Enough of that, though... I had never been tempted by ESP stuff in the past, but I have to say, this Viper bass has changed my point of view. Live and learn, I guess.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Originally posted by CMDN:

"But... But... No human should be able to create such aromas!"

But....But... :D:D:D:D

- Jon

-----

You have the right to remain in the groove, any solos cannot be used against you, you have the right to snap and pop, if you cannot snap and pop, two fingers can provide the funk just fine.

 

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Hahha... yeah... I know. The smells are also SO SO much worse than you can imagine.

 

He let go onstage at the end of a recent set, and I swear I almost passed out. You know how the horizon looks in a desert -- all blurry?

 

That's what it was like when I looked across the stage.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I just thought you'd like to know that i actually know the man who created esp guitars, nice guy definately overworked, his son can play really well even though hes like 12. Thats my input for today.

Nic

"i must've wrote 30 songs the first weekend i met my true love ... then she died and i got stuck with this b****" - Father of the Pride
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Sweet... er... stinky... er... yeah.

 

It's my firm belief that any bass from any manufacturer can have some outstanding instruments come out of their shop. This sounds like it was one of those "cheap" instruments that just happens to sound like a bad ass mofo. That rules. I love it when this type of thing happens.

 

A side story.

 

A friend of mine worked at a major music shop in Seattle. He wanted a strat. He wound up buying a super cheap Fender strat that cost him a whopping $125. He set it up and put new strings on it. When I played the instrument, it felt like a Fender custom shop strat. Simply amazing tone, feel, and what have you. A $125 guitar should not have sounded or felt as good as this guitar did. He scored big time, as did Butt Butt.

 

BTW- does Butt Butt play keyboards too? I think he may be a friend of mine from Seattle. :D

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Nah... Butt Butt's mainly a bass guy. He does, however, own a nice Korg Triton, which sits in his studio.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Yeah, I noticed that later.

 

The black one is still $200.

 

If the gray one is as nice as the black, it's a good price.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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CMDN - I'm glad you guys all like this bass. But really - accept NO substitutes - only a Gibson EB3 is an EB3 !!

 

By the way - what is Chris going to do with that 12th fret inlay?

 

When I think of you and Chris using the same shape instruments, I think of ZZ Top - I think it'd be way cool if the guitar is any good (not that it matters to you - you're just there for the image :P ).

 

Dan - they're in a band together - they don't asphyxiate.

 

Good luck to Chris and his new bass!

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Yeah, Tom...

I know... only a Gibson is a Gibson... but this bass is pretty nice. I'd hazard to say that you'd like it, too.

 

I'm not sure how Chris is gonna deal with the inlay... but he was talking about re-fretting it with black fretwire. How wacky is that?

 

And yeah, I know... the matching guitar thing is very ZZTop... And I can't really justify spending any cash on a new guitar just so I can match Chris... after all, I already own a REAL Gibson SG... a 1978 tobacco-burst... but it's not new... and it's not black. The Viper guitars go for at least $500. I just can't see spending that much loot just because I want a black guitar. Not gonna happen. I like my 'burst.

 

See? It's not ALL about image... unless you wanna give me $500 so I can get a new ESP Viper....

 

Arg.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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You disappoint me, Erik. Here you are talking about buying an ESP.

 

Buying one.

 

When what you should be talking about is liberating one from the hands of some player who's too much of a pansy to hunt you down & beat you into giving it back.

 

It's what Lemmy would do. :P

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yeah.. I know. I thought of that. I haven't seen anyone playing one a' them Viper guitars in person. If I had, this whole thing wouldn't even be an issue. I'd already have my Viper.

 

But I've never even seen one in the flesh (so to speak.)

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I would point out that the "matching guitars" thing pre-dates ZZ quite a bit.You see it in pictures of 50's bands right after the Precision bass came out. But my favorite example would be Cream. :cool: I also remember that Geddy Lee mentioned in a Guitar Player interview that he and Alex did the 'Cream treatment' to their instruments when they first started gigging.

 

Just a little trivia for ya' :D

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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