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Review: Mike Lull Custom Guitars M5V (Operation Snowball)


getz out

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Well, since I've been outed by S-uu, I'll give a full review.

 

http://blueberryhillbass.com/images/113_1377.jpg

 

http://blueberryhillbass.com/images/113_1390.jpg

 

First, let me tell you what it is:

 

- model M5V

- alder body

- ebony fingerboard

- olympic white with matching headstock

- MOP blocks and white binding

- black pearloid pickguard

- Seymour Duncan single coils

- three-band Bartolini preamp with passive option

- passive tone

 

I purchased this through Jay Lewis at Blueberry Hill Bass (www.blueberryhillbass.com). I did this partially based on the experience that Dr. Willie had with Jay. From start to finish, it was a great transaction. I had an idea of what I wanted, but Jay helped me along quite a bit and work with the folks at Mike Lull's shop to get me some of the things you usually don't see on a Lull (ebony with frets and the blocks and binding). It also showed up about 5 months ahead of schedule thanks to some jockeying from Jay. Working with a dealer definitely has its advantages, especially when they are the caliber of Mr. Lewis. Kudos to Jay; and it's nice to keep it in the "family" with a forum member.

 

On to the bass.

 

It's fantastic.

 

I've only had it 4 days, but I've put some time into it. I just got back from a full 5 hour preproduction rehearsal; so this bass got a workout.

 

The fit and finish on the Lull is superb; as it should be for the price. It really is impeccable. It is a gorgeous piece of work.

 

The sound is what I will describe as the perfect Fender Jazz sound. It sounds like a really nice Fender Jazz, except it is balanced up and down and across the neck, which I have never found Fenders to be. It is as even sounding as my Warwick Thumb 5 neck-through. The passive mode is very biting and sounds great slapped. The active mode is a lot smoother, and I can see this working well live. The passive tone option is a nice touch, I was able to work some good tones with that little knob.

 

Now, on to the best part; the playability is the best I have ever put my hands on. I haven't noticed any difference with the 35" scale. The action and fingerboard are great, and the bass is as effortless to finger as my Warwick; indeed, it is better than the Thumb, as it is surprisingly lightweight (1 lb. lighter than my American Fender Deluxe Jazz 5 and about 20 lbs. lighter than the Warwick) and the first position reach is easier than the Warwick. On a strap, this thing is a joy compared to the Warwick.

 

So far, so good.

 

PS - The case this thing came it is great; a ProTec ultralight case. I haven't used it yet (I'm very attached to my inCase Slimbag), but I could see it being useful at some point.

 

PPS - This will see some significant studio time in two weeks with Second Lucy. Now, the question is Demeter or Kern or Countryman?

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It sounds like a really nice Fender Jazz, except it is balanced up and down and across the neck, which I have never found Fenders to be.
This is the same reason why I am now playing a Lull bass and my '71 Fender Jazz never leaves the house anymore. Except I don't think mine sounds like "a really nice Fender Jazz", it sounds like a the best Fender Jazz I've ever played.

 

I must admit, I am a Lull endorser, but I get no money from Mike, a just got a small discount on my purchase.

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I was remiss in not mentioning the inspiration for my purchase was fingering Jeremy's beautiful blue Lull 4 string about a year ago while in Napa, CA. Jeremy, I thank you but my bank account does not.

 

Everyone else, thank you. I look forward to having the folks in NY take a gander in person; it is much more impressive in-the-flesh than on-the-screen.

 

Regarding cost; it costs enough. Needless to say, you could easily purchase a couple of Fenders for the price and have some cash left over.

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The gods of the seven seas seem to have put forth a brilliant example of their grandest offerings for thou to catch and call thy own, to wield it with pride in the greatest of battles like many of the long forgotten warriors who've blessed this realm with their presence before you. And most of all, they have made you their avatar, a diety amongst the mortals with the sole purpose of spreading hope amidst the inhabitants of this realm, and further more - to bring the rock!

 

In other words, that's a tasty looking bass you got there (at last)!

 

-P

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Originally posted by Prague:

Why not mention the cost? I am curious.

It's like asking a woman what her age is or asking your co-workers how much they're getting paid for doing the same job as you. I think it's a professional courtesy thing when you get into high-end instruments and customs. When you go through a dealer and get a good price they don't really like you to tell everybody how cheap you got something because then you run the risk of other people saying "Well you sold this to them for this much...why can't you make me a better deal?" It gets to be a hastle.
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Pernax... thanks... I think. ;)

 

Pricing for a M5V range from low $2,000 to getting crazy with blocks and binding, preamp upgrades, maple tops, etc., so I could see it getting very close to the $4,000 range.

 

That said, a standard M5V has the same characteristics of an American Fender Deluxe Jazz 5, but with Seymour Duncan Pickups, 35" scale (a matter of taste), a Bartolini preamp, Hipshot ultralight tuners, and a Hipshot bridge. I would say that is pretty competitively priced, all things considered.

 

I could see calling it the Soiled Snowball. The neck is finished clear, but not sticky by any means.

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Originally posted by getz76:

I could see calling it the Soiled Snowball. The neck is finished clear, but not sticky by any means.

Too bad you didn't go with an "aged" look on the white color, then you could have called it the Yellow Snowball, and we all know how funky those are :P .

 

Ok ok, I'll get me coat...

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Originally posted by getz76:

Pernax... thanks... I think. ;)

 

Pricing for a M5V range from low $2,000 to getting crazy with blocks and binding, preamp upgrades, maple tops, etc., so I could see it getting very close to the $4,000 range.

 

That said, a standard M5V has the same characteristics of an American Fender Deluxe Jazz 5, but with Seymour Duncan Pickups, 35" scale (a matter of taste), a Bartolini preamp, Hipshot ultralight tuners, and a Hipshot bridge. I would say that is pretty competitively priced, all things considered.

 

I could see calling it the Soiled Snowball. The neck is finished clear, but not sticky by any means.

Oh! See how you are?! Geez! I had just forgotten about "Operation Snowball" and you get us with this! I peed (just a little) when I opened the thread! Wow! VERY NICE! Those block inlays are beautiful! Congrats! Owning a Lull is a pleasure! Just wait until the gig! They are beautiful when you get 'em, but they REALLY shine with the band! I knew I had something, but I didn't REALLY know until the gig.
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i like me them Mike Lulls! yessir! i recon i do!

congrats on the bass, bro- there is one near completion with black blocks coming this way, but no one told me about the binding!

the Lulls i have had come thru here all play like butta! love 'em!

Praise ye the LORD.

....praise him with stringed instruments and organs...

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

excerpt from- Psalm 150

visit me at:

www.adriangarcia.net

for His glory

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Why not mention the cost? I am curious.
I've sent PMs to those who have inquired about pricing for Lull basses...in general.

 

congrats on the bass, bro- there is one near completion with black blocks coming this way, but no one told me about the binding!

the Lulls i have had come thru here all play like butta! love 'em!

That's 'cause you have to have the right dealer connections, man! :D;)

 

In all seriousness, I was extremely impressed with the Lull M5V shown above. Maury was kind enough to let me play around on the ole girl before I shipped 'er out, and I was blown away. Of course, I've been knocked out by every single Lull that I've ever seen...all of the inventory basses and custom order basses have been outstanding in their own individual ways. I got on a big P-bass kick there for a while, and it seemed like everytime I looked up a new Lull P4 or P5 was showing up at the door, but this M5V is exceptional.

 

First, it's the first Lull EVER with blocks and binding. I thought that Maury did an excellent job of picking the specs for the bass, as it looks AND sound amazing! :thu: The bass itself is also very lightweight and is very playable and gigable...you can't say that for every 5-string jazz bass, that's for sure. Lastly, it was a TON of fun working with Maury on the project. I had a lot of fun keeping him posted on the progress of his bass and just chatting about Lulls in general, and I'm thrilled that he is as happy as he is with his new Lull! ;)

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Originally posted by getz76:

On to the bass.

 

It's fantastic.

I think that sums it up nicely :D getz, that is a REALLY beautiful bass !!! :love: I'm not jealous, but I sure wish I lived nearby and was one of your trusted friends ;)

 

BTW, Pernax, I really missed your posts man :thu::D

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Maury, I am impressed. That is a sweet lookin' fish for sure.

As one of those "NY folks" you alluded to (I think), I am ready whenever to try 'er out... :D

 

I really dig the blocks/binding on the ebony.

Too cool (and I usually dislike binding on necks).

Stylish and functional. :thu:

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm glad I can finally talk about this bass on the forum!! :)

 

I got to see (and play) this bass before it shipped from Mike's shop; at Maury's approval. It plays/sounds as beautiful as it looks. This is a very, very nice Lull 5 string! The blocks and binding look very sharp and it adds that extra 'something' to the bass that makes it unique and special.

 

I'm jealous. :)

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This instrument looks B-E-A-utiful, Maury. It certainly makes me rethink even TRYING the Marcus Miller signature 5 string I had been thinking about. Now I have to start thinking about some bass liquidation to fund such a project....

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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