REVIEWED: ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN CAPRICE BASS GUITAR

CMC Music | cmcmusic.com.au | Expect To Pay: $4150

Perhaps best known for their Stingray line of basses, Music Man aren’t a company to jump around with 46 different models that all seem like variations on each other. Instead they’ve built a respected line of instruments that professionals and amateurs alike have entrusted for their low end duties for many years. Recently Music Man took the plunge of adding some interesting new models to their range with the Caprice being one of them. Featuring new looks, it also introduces a Music Man first, being completely passive.

Instantly you’ll notice that the Caprice is a move away from the Stingray look, yet it still retains a certain traditional familiarity which won’t completely alienate those from the vintage camp. The body shape has some classic qualities to it with the pickguard adding to its inviting lines and figure. This particular example came in Diamond Blue which looks clean and classy. Music Man are also offering Natural, Tobacco Burst, Black, Ivory White and Coral Red as standard. Alder is the wood of choice for the body with maple for the neck. In terms of hardware Music Man use their own pickups and top loading bridge with Schaller tuners. A quick mention should also be given to the new headstock design of the Caprice with a 3 + 1 tuner layout adding some more of the typical Music Man looks. As mentioned previously, perhaps the biggest innovation on the Caprice is the fact that it’s completely passive. No more batteries for this Music Man, and I think it works great.
 

Light in weight, the Caprice feels comfortable and will suit those that dig the skinny vintage feel. The neck is slim and fast, again adds to that old school vibe, and of course there’s easy access across the whole fretboard (including the higher registers). Sound wise, Music Man have implemented a PJ styled pickup arrangement. Both humbucking, there’s a split coil in the middle and a standard four pole pickup in the bridge. With separate volume controls and a master tone control you can dial up for old school funk, honky mid range in between tones, raspier bridge sounds, and then roll the tone up or down for everything in between.

 

I love the Caprice’s mix of old and new. It creates some contrast in the Music Man line up but has a sense of familiarity to the player too. As with all Music Man instruments, the build and quality control seems top notch and the colour offerings should cover quite a few bases. Great for fingerstyle or a pick, it really fits the go-to, one bass to cover a few settings-type instrument. 

Hits and Misses

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Passive, good variety of tones

Nice contrast to the rest of the Music Man range

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Nope

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