At Veillette Custom Luthiery in Woodstock, New York, we build unique instruments by hand, often collaborating with customers to explore new directions.
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Veillette Mark IV Bass
The graceful and compact single-cutaway design, thick non-contoured body, and unique shape of the angled headstock all contribute to the Mark IV's original and appealing appearance. The amber stain - protected by a thin coat of satin polyurethane - highlights the neck and body's maple figuring. The thin maple top hides a braced channel running from the controls to the output jack and a round chamber in the upper bout. The one-piece flattened-oval neck is carved out of hard rock maple with two thin graphite bars inlaid for extra stability. I found a gap between the bottom of the neck heel and the neck pocket. I removed the neck (via the one neck bolt screwed into a steel insert) and found two shims, which were most likely the culprits. Veillette responds, "When a neck is firmly anchored, the shims are under complete compression and in no way compromise the instruments' structural soundness or tone. Because changing action at the bridge can affect the volume balance between the strings, shims are the only way to provide height adjustment." Aside from this, I had no construction complaints.
How does the Mark IV sound and play? Acoustically, the Mark IV is loud and punchy. Plugged in, I heard that same tone coming through an amp with the EQ controls set flat, attesting to the clarity of the piezos. One pro-level fretless player remarked, "Nice growl, with an upright-like woofy tone," as he plucked near the end of the neck with highs cut and the bass and mids set flat. The lower-register notes remained full and punchy with the different EQ settings. (I leaned toward keeping the treble rolled off to avoid upper-register clackiness.)
The Mark IV is a beautiful-looking, sounding, and playing instrument. At $2,095, it's a good value for a handcrafted bass with unique construction, electronics, and design.
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