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Veillette Paris 5
WOODSTOCK, NEW YORK'S VEILLETTE Guitars sure knows how to pop out some pretty pieces. I remember drooling over the company's slick Retro Singlecut 4 back in September '04, and Senior Editor Jonathan Herrera was similarly enchanted by the Veillette Singlecut 5, Centaur, and Archtop specimens in his June '03 and May '07 reviews. This Paris 5 bears much in common with the Archtop Jonathan reviewed-body style, Citron humbucker, piezo transducer, and D-Tar Eclipse preamp — but the Paris 5 boasts an updated saddle and tailpiece design. This fretless 5-string arrived dressed with La Bella's nylon tapewound strings.
Street $4,190 (as tested)Veillette's basses seem to benefit from chief luthier Joe Veillette's background in architecture. Our tester's neck, for example, is attached via an ingenious T-bolt design that creates a sturdy joint with a single bolt under the strap button, a weight-saving measure that gracefully blends form and function. The Paris 5's construction was superior from top to tail, and the sumptuous walnut top was stunning, but subtle. The two 9-volt battery cavities, located just below the butt-end strap button, were unobtrusive and easy to access. Veillette elected to use a 10-position detented pot for the volume knob. I wasn't wild about its somewhat rough rotation, but no biggie.
Pros Gorgeous upright-like tone from a well-built beauty
Cons Piezo imbalance required some adjustment
The Paris 5's chambered poplar body served to make the bass both lightweight and resonant. Plucked notes on the fretless 5 had a wonderfully warm attack and delightfully long decay, and the pliant tapewound strings had the feel and sound of a gut-strung upright. Each note's dynamic bloom had me slowing down to savor the smoky flavor. Still, the shallow C-profile neck felt sleek and shred-ready. Plugged in, the Veillette spoke eloquently through its Citron soapbar humbucker. Tweaking the lone tone knob produced a surprising variety of tonal nuance. Playing up high, blending a bit of the piezo pickup with the magnetic Citron gave notes a pleasant, airy finish. The Veillette utilizes two piezo ribbon transducers, one for the B and E strings, and one for A through G.
The output was a bit hotter on the B and E strings than the others, and Veillette says this is easily remedied with some adjustment.
Should you wish to swap the stock tapewounds for a set of metallic roundwounds or flats, the Paris 5's saddle design requires extra-long strings. But with the killer upright mojo of La Bella's tapewounds, it almost seems a shame to change. With the Paris 5, Veillette has given bass guitarists a pretty convincing surrogate for an upright. You may not exactly look the part rolling up to an all-acoustic hoedown with the Paris 5, but odds are good you're going to sound right. BP
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