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Status S-2 Classic Bolt-on review

by Andy Long

When I was offered the chance to review the new bolt-on versions of the Status S-2 Classic, I jumped at it - who wouldn't? I grew quite fond of those babies during our all too short acquaintance and was sad to see them go. Before I looked at them I got a little background from Status manager Rob Green.

Status were one of the major runners in the Headless Bass avalanche in the '80's. How did you retain player interest when the trend swung back in favour of headed models?

"Simple.. we made headed basses. As you know, most players prefer regular headed basses so during the late '80s we produced a headed graphite neck model ( Matrix and Energy ) to cater for the demand. In the '90s we also made a range of basses with 3-piece maple graphite reinforced necks with rosewood fingerboards and 2-way truss-rods. I think we lost our identity a little while we were trying to appeal to all players all of the time..... That's why we now focus on graphite moulded necks again."

Do you think that headless instruments are regaining their popularity?

"We have sold more headless basses in the last two years than over the previous ten so things are sliding back a little. I still think that headless basses have many advantages..... Balance, tone, more even response, convenience."

Many readers will never have played an instrument with a graphite neck, can you explain the advantages?

"A lot of players get the idea that a graphite neck bass will sound harsh, thin, super-clean, lacking in midrange, lacking in low-end, lacking in 'warmth', 'un-natural', bright etc... or a combination of one or more of the above. Not so !! Graphite neck basses have the ability to sound as warm and mellow as any bass but they also have the ability to be clean, articulate and super-bright. The graphite neck / phenolic fingerboard combination 'absorb less frequencies and so allow the player to select which frequencies he wants to use and shape. Regular wood basses have a tendency to 'absorb selected frequencies, depending on the density, construction, dimensions and combination of woods....hence dead-spots. This only allows you to hear and use the frequencies that are left whereas graphite necks let more through and give you the choice which to use. The stiffness of the graphite neck also results in the legendary sustain and stability."

These bolt-on models are considerably less expensive than their through-neck cousins, yet they still give tremendous sustain, so what are the advantages of a through-neck?

"I would not say that there are any 'advantages' as such. Again, with regular wood necks, manufacturers tried to improve the sustain, lose dead-spots and make the neck joint more stable by making through-neck basses. Obviously there will be a little more stability with our through-necks but due to the quality of woods and the tight fit of the neck joint.... (each neck is custom fitted on our CNC machine).... the difference is not so great. There is inevitably a little more sustain and the response may be a little more even but on a 0 - 100 scale we are talking 90 compared to 95....not significant ! The main cost saving is in the manufacturing and finishing. It is considerably easier to make a bolt-on and gloss lacquering and hand flatting / polishing a through-neck is VERY expensive and time consuming. The end result is spectacular but there is a cost."

Does the buyer get one of your own brand hard cases as part of the price?

"All Status prices include the cost of a Status moulded 'Lite-Flight' case. Status full flight cases are also available made to order."

Like many manufacturers you are offering a variety of beautiful exotic hardwoods which obviously improve the instrument aesthetically as well as having tonal implications. Do you have any sort of renewable wood sourcing policy?

"The majority of the timber we use comes from suppliers who have given us certificates which state their re-planting / renewable wood policy. I have to admit that I have never travelled to any of their suppliers to check the authenticity so I can only assume that they are valid. If someone wants to buy an instrument with virtually zero wood content the Stealth is ideal.... one piece 100% graphite moulded."

Review.

Now on to the basses themselves. The S-2 Classic Bolt-on is, like most Status models, available in either a headed or headless design, with a few subtle differences. Rob sent me one of each to review.

The through-neck models have been around for a while now and are one of the company's leading models, these bolt-on models retain all the great features and styling of the through-neck model, so the first question that presents itself is 'what's the difference?'.

The immediately obvious answer is 'about five hundred quid mate!'. Bolt-on basses are cheaper to build and therefore cheaper to buy and, although Status are never likely to be accused of running a 'budget' line. There is a marked difference in price, although one of these babies is still going to set you back in the region of twelve hundred pounds. So what do you get for your money?

I found the graphite necks a true joy to play. They look strikingly beautiful, are superbly balanced and feel wonderful under your fingers. They tell me that a through-neck will give you better sustain, well how much sustain do you want for Pete's sake? That's another of the advantages of graphite, it sings like a bird. String spacing is nicely in the middle range, neither an aircraft carrier or a tightrope, comfortable spacing for most players.

The natural wood finishes give the instruments a rare aesthetic beauty. The body is a construct of mahogany and walnut and there is a huge range of exotic wood facings and colours available. The review models featured a rosewood for the headed and a burr maple for the headless, but there are many more, far too many to list but samples of them all can be seen on the website. These models have a natural satin lacquer finish which is more subtle than the high-gloss clear lacquer on the neck-through models. The classic angular Status shape has quite a feisty look that complements the sound of the instrument well.

The controls are simple to master and yet give acres of tonal field. They consist of the standard master volume and centre-detented pick-up blend, combined with bass, mid and treble rotaries. Curiously the bass and treble are centre-detented, but the mid is not, anyway a straightforward enough arrangement. The three-position active switch is set flat in the middle, push it down and you get a tremendous boost, pull it up and you get a nice, smooth cut.

The Status Hyperactive pick-ups combine with this effective control set-up to make an instrument that delivers a high-end contemporary sound with plenty of punch. The Status sound has always been 'in-your-face' and these models are no exception. The notes leap aggressively out of the instrument and slap the listener across the cheeks. Of course Status basses have always been popular with players who like to give their bass the odd slap and pop here and there, and these new models will be great for that, but they are also very versatile instruments that would satisfy players from all avenues. A lot of the nu-metal bands are going for six-string basses now and I could see an S2 Classic bolt-on fitting into that niche perfectly.

Personally I preferred the headed model. The gold hardware look much more classy than the black and the bass has a 35" scale length, compared to the standard 34" of the headless, but that's just a matter of personal taste isn't it?

If you're in the market for a classy-looking new instrument with great feel and knockout sound and you don't want to wait six or eight months for a custom-build, give Rob a call at Status and try one of these, you'll love it.

 

Specifications

Made In : Great Britain
Price : GBP 1199 / USD 2895 (including shipping, insurance etc.)
Options : Headed or Headless - 4, 5, 6 strings (price varies accordingly)
Body : mahogany/walnut with many exotic wood facings available
Neck : Graphite with phenolic fingerboard
Scale Length : 35" for the headed, 34" for the headless
Frets : 24
String Spacing : 38.5mm at nut, 72mm at bridge
Hardware : Gold on the headed, black on the headless
Pickups : Status Hyperactive, 18-volt power supply
Controls : Master volume, pick-up blend, treble, mid, bass, active cut/flat/boost switch

contact through website www.status-graphite.com

Andy Long is our correspondent in the U.K. and the author of numerous articles in Global Bass for a number of issues. Andy will be continuing over 2001 with a series of interesting and provocative interviews with some of the UK's best and brightest bass players. 

Check out his official website at Third Bass

 

 

 

 

 

                                  

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