Aug 29, 2012
It’s time for our very first review of the four-stringed persuasion!! One of NZ’s most prominent custom guitar builders, Ash Customworks, approached Six-String Samurai to do a review of the very first Radian P-Bass. If you haven’t heard about them, Radian Guitars are sort of a semi-custom offshoot of Ash Customworks – largely comprised of classic designs updated with the Customworks touch. They feature handmade bodies with a selection of pickup and switching configurations, and high quality Allparts necks, and best of all, this happens right here in NZ!
Radian Guitars currently have a number of common configurations involving Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jaguar/master/zzmaster-type guitars. The latest classic design to be given the Radian treatment is, as I mentioned, the P-bass.
Feast your eyes upon this beauty:
I’ll let Adrian, the luthier behind Ash Customworks and Radian Guitars talk about the specs a little:
Body wood? The body is one-piece of NZ grown alder, complete with bizarre flecks, swirls and stains. Even a tiny hint of flame in some spots.
Finish? Finished is satin lacquer all over for silky smooth feel.
Neck details? Jazz bass sized neck – a little narrower than the usual P-bass neck and a fairly common wish-list thing for P-basses.
What about the pickups?The Ash P-Bass pickup is fairly traditional, but has extra magic tricks up its sleeve.
Switching options? The tone knob has a push-pull switch that brings a brighter, clearer tone out of the pickup to get a bonus tone a little closer to Jazz bass territory.
Wonderful. I don’t know a thing about basses, but that sounds good. With that in mind, I’m going to pass the baton over to our guest reviewer, Mr Tony Watson – someone who actually plays the bass, and plays it good.
The first thing that strikes you about the Radian P is the absolutely
gorgeous NZ Alder body, a great combination with a maple neck
aesthetically. Adrian has taken his time to create a P Bass body that
has a few sneaky tweaks whilst remaining undistinguishable from a
standard P Bass. The body is not as thick as a standard P Bass body,
and the contours are more rounded, making the bass lighter but also
making this bass a lot more tactile; this is a bass that you want to
touch, and the satin finish certainly helps with that.
The neck has been well chosen, and I think comes into its own when
playing with a band rather than when noodling around at home. The neck
is a Jazz bass width so it’s a little faster and easier to play for
those used to guitar necks, smaller than the usual P Bass width. The
real kicker is the depth of the neck, which really fills up your hand.
It’s a great call to use a Jazz neck with depth like this because it
significantly reduces the possibility of the fretting hand cramping
The sound is classic, aggressive P Bass with great grind in the upper
mids. You’ll certainly cut through the mix in a band setting. I felt
the tone coming from the custom-wound pickups was very reminiscent of
Nordstrand NP4′s but with more of an aggressive treble bite, great for
rock but smooths out quickly with the tone knob. Speaking of which,
the tone knob has a secret. Pull it out and you get a more scooped,
deep sound which is great for slapping and instantly a very modern
In comparison to my stock 2008 Fender American Standard Precision, the
Radian P has a thinner but deeper neck, a thinner and more contoured
body, tonally more treble bite and a thinner finish. I was thinking it
would be a case of knowing what parts would be better than the other,
particularly the neck, but both are excellent and are just different.
Then only thing I could say against the Radian P is that it will be
more prone to dinging due to the finish.
I was impressed with the Radian P, and surprised at just how good an
instrument it is; I’ll go on record that it’s practically the equal of
my P Bass, which itself was the best of an excellent bunch. Do I think
it’s better than my P Bass? The jury is out on that one but it sure
made me wonder where I could free up some extra coin to bring this
into the stable.
- Tony Watson
Check out some of the clips that Tony put together – we put both basses through the Fliptop model on the HD500, on the same settings. First up is the Radian bass:
Now the Fender Precision:
Much thanks to Ash Customworks, Radian Guitars, and our awesome guest reviewer, Tony Watson!! Hopefully we’ll see a bit more of the four and five string content in the future. And guess what? We’re giving away a sweet looking Radian T-shirt to one lucky person!!
How do I get my hands on this rocking T-shirt, you ask?
1. “Like” and share this picture of the Radian bass on the Six-String Samurai Facebook page.
2. Tag yourself in the photo.
3. “Like” both Six-String Samurai and Ash Customworks pages – otherwise how will you know if you’ve won??
4. Wait by the phone.
5. Don’t actually wait by the phone. Sorry.
The giveaway ends on the 9th of September 2012, so start sharing!