Rob Allen Solid 4 Solid Body Bass
The Solid 4
Over the years I have had quite a few requests for a solid body bass. The new Solid 4 is built with the same concept as my other basses: that the tone starts in the wood, that it should vibrate well so that notes easily flow out of it, that it produces a fat tone, and has a great worn~in feel when you first pick it up.
Solid 4 standard features
- 34" scale
- 9.5" fingerboard radius
- quartersawn maple neck (more rigid than slab sawn necks)
- rosewood fingerboard with rolled edges for worn~in feel
- vintage sized frets, dressed slightly inside the edges of the fingerboard.
- swamp ash body
- thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish
- original design solid aluminum bridge, incorporating volume and tone
- original design single coil magnetic pickup, Alnico 2 magnets
- lacquered phenolic pickguard (Italian celluloid optional)
- original design string anchor
- 7.25 lbs
A few of the finer points of the Solid 4 bass
The Solid 4 is ergonomically designed with the bridge near the end of the body, creating better balance points with no neck dive, and a bass that is about 3 inches shorter than most electric basses, while retaining full scale length. It features a super tight neck joint, requiring considerable force to install it on the body. This creates very good coupling for tone transfer.
By the same token, the solid aluminum bridge features no moving parts (yet is adjustable for intonation by moving the saddle), and is inset 1/4" into the ash body, providing coupling to the wood, not to a finish film on the top of the body like most basses. The volume and tone controls are incorporated into the design of the bridge.
The thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish allows the instrument to breathe better. Under a microscope, this material is porous and allows the wood to continually season and dry, unlike plastic/polyester films, which are not porous and permanently seal the wood.
The neck is the best quartersawn rock maple. This makes a much stiffer neck than the typical slab sawn wood used on most factory (and many custom shop) basses. This critical choice of material makes for a strong punchy fundamental tone with good sustain, the lightweight swamp ash body adds the warmth.
The pickup is hand wound using Alnico 2 magnets. These magnets have less string pull than Alnico 5 (the most common material) and allow for a more “open” tone since the string can vibrate more freely under a softer magnetic field (just like a 50 year old pickup would).
The fingerboard edges are considerably softened, with the fret edges dressed just inside of the fingerboard edges. These creates a buttery smooth feel with no discernable fret ends.