Handmade bass by Spanish luthier Jaime Catalá Redondo.
This model is named ST-5 and it features a single cutaway neck thru design and a fretless lined fingerboard.
Jaime Catalá has been building basses and guitars for more than 20 years now and is one of the best luthiers in Spain. He offers and number of different models, some of which are based on some well known basses but with a twist while others are his own design.
This is an exceptional instrument where no corners have been cut. It is extremely comfortable to play. By the way, this bass features no less than 2 1/2 octaves (31 "frets"). The lower horn is shaped to give you effortlessly access to those extra notes. We find some resemblance with the Zon Hyperbass that Michael Manring has used for years but of course this is a different instrument.
The fingerboard is made from extra hard African blackwood and it has been finished in polyester to ensure a long lasting board over the years. Of course this coat of polyester also adds sustain and richness to the tone.
The body is made from quilted maple but it has been chambered to keep weight reasonable measurements.
By the way, the Tuja Burl top is really amazing and the matt finish really has an organic feel to it that we love.
The neck feels just great thanks to the use of a 46mm nut and 19mm spacing at the bridge. These are perfect dimensions for us
Two excellent Delano JSBC HE pickups are used. The preamp is a John East Uni Pre 5 unit. Great match in our opinion.
These Delano pickups sound full and clear with a noticeable top end that you wouldn't normally find in humbuckers. This comes from the "twin coil in line" design. Of course they are absolutely noise free.
The sound is just great in passive mode, but when you kick in the John East Unit this bass comes to life. Just add a touch of Bass EQ and you'll be in heaven. Both pickups sound excellent and the combination of both makes for a great all round sound. However, our favorite is the bridge unit and we feel that we could use that single pickup all the time. Just add a tad of low mid in the EQ and you'll get what we'd call the "absolutely perfect fretless sound". Really expressive sound that makes just any line sound great. Lots of growl and "mwah" factor here.
The preamp really alllows for a lot of different sounds. We were able to get a ton of great ones in 5 minutes just tweaking the EQ and using the pan pot.
Hardware is also top notch: ETS bridge and Hipshot Ultralite tuners.
To sum up, an excellent handmade bass that not only looks gorgeous but it plays and sounds just as good. What's more, we think that value for money is pretty amazing on this bass. If you consider the construction method, quality of the woods and parts and of course Jaime's excellent workmanship, we really think this bass is a steal. Buy it and you'll totally agree with us. Hard to find a better fretless bass in this price range, believe us.
JCR ST5 Tuya Burl Fretless