To sum up: one of the best basses we've had around, if not the best!
Yes, we've started with the conclusion this time. Read on!
Chris' original Reacter design is now almost 25 years old, so it was time for Chris to come up with a new design: the Singlecut range.
Reacter Bass Singlecut Bass
Here's some general info about Chris:
From his house/shop in Kerry, West of Ireland, Chris Larkin has been building great instruments for the last 30 years. He says he is lucky to make a living of "the best job in the world", but we think we are lucky to have his instruments here and offer them to you.
Facing the Atlantic and with inspiration from his wife Syra's paintings in the first floor, Chris makes an effort to build the best instruments he can, and he cuts no corners when it comes to material selection or extra time to finish an instrument. When you order a Chris Larkin bass, you can be sure it will be built with love, care and expertise.
Being all custom made instruments, a large number of options are available. Just think of what you'd like for the body, neck, dimensions, electronics, colour and finish, and we'll get a quote for you.
Chris works alone and makes batches of different instruments; this allows him to optimize the use of tools and also work in the proper mindset. Lead times depend of various aspects and can sometimes be long, but we work with Chris in a way that allows us to pre-order instruments so you can save time when you order us a custom bass. We also order instruments for stock (not this case), so in these cases you can buy a Chris Larkin bass right away.
Visiting Chris, April 2007
Rather than just list the specs of this bass, we'll write here the story of this order.
Carlos Costa is a great bass player from the Canary Islands. He flew to Burgos to try a bunch of basses. This allowed him to draw some conclusions on what he wanted and what he didn't want. Then we sat in order to design his dream bass.
Carlos Costa at Doctorbass trying his bass "Espacios" by Carlos Costa
Carlos was looking for a very special fretless 6 string that could be used for grooves but also have a sweet voice for melodies. Rather than using typical fretless effects, Carlos was looking for a fretless that had that special attack and growl, buyt could also be used as if it were a fretted bass (no glissandos, etc.).
I instantly thought of Chris Larkin as the best person to build such instrument. In the next few days, we started a three way email correspondence in order to fix the specs and details of this instrument.
Carlos chose the Single Cutaway design because he liked the shape and he also was familiar with the sonic benefits of this design (great sustain and tughter bottom end).
For the pickups, Chris suggested ordering a custom set to Aaron Armstrong from Ken Armstrong Pickups, with the coils in the humbuckers wired in parallel and wide spaced to extend the freq. range.
We suggested adding the great U Retro 01 Deluxe preamp for transparency of sound, overall quality and great design of EQ. Both Jack and balanced XLR outputs were installed as specified by Carlos to go direct to desk in the studio.
The multi-laminated neck through construction together with the single cutaway desing offer bags of sustain, which is somethig very desirable on a fretless.
Chris set a few pictures of different woods that could be used for the top, and Carlos chose a spectacular piece of Irish oak burr, which made for a gorgeous and spectacular looking instrument.
The neck is flat and wide, just what Carlos wanted. Chris uses 8 pieces of carbon fiber which this allows him to carve a nice flat neck that won't warp. The sapele body wings have beenhollowed out to keep the weight down to just 4'5 Kg.
Even before plugging the bass in, you are rewarded with a clear tone with lots of sustain and growl. Fortunately, pluggin the bass in simply amplifies it and proves that Carlos' desire for a dynamic and expressive bass has been achieved.
If you've ever heard the term "piano like" low B, it must have been written for this bass. This is one of the the best low B's we've ever heard or played, loud and clear. What is amazing is that the bass has as standard 34" scale, somethng Carlos wanted to avoid streching out to play in tune.
The U Retro preamp behaves beautifully. Passive mode is 100% transparent, and when you swith it in, the tone does not change (there's only a slight volume boost). The EQ is very musical, and it was impossible to get a bad sound out of this instrument.
This is one of those rare cases where the bass seems to play itself, and every time you pick it up, you'll find playing new lines effortlessly. A truly inspiring instrument.
When Carlos came to pick the bass up, he was as impressed as we were. A few days after he sent us an email with 100% positive comments from his bandmates, the audience and himself.
Every Singlecut bass will have a different price depending on the options, but you can order us one of this basses starting at around 3500€.