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Thru-neck 5-String 

Soundroom
Elrick e-volution
active neck-through 5-string

List price: $3,950 ($4,300 as tested); approx. street price: N/A
Pros: Dreamy construction and delightful tone.
Cons: None.
Contact: Elrick, (386) 517-6823 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting(386) 517-6823end_of_the_skype_highlighting; www.elrick.com

BY JOHNATHAN HERRERA

When we reviewed the Cort Elrick JP-5 in June ’03, I dug the Korean-made instrument’s excellent playability and solid tone, but I was left curious as to what its aristocratically priced American-made cousin, the Elrick e-volution, was all about. The e-volution is a new model, but designer Rob Elrick actually intended it to be his first bass shape. After advice from friends, however, he eventually decided on the more exotically contoured “Classic” shape that has become his trademark. His deal with Cort to design the JP-5 led him back to his original concept, and he subsequently decided to add the e-volution to his U.S. lineup.

The e-volution reveals that, despite the recent trend towards low-priced designer imports, money still does matter. It is an impeccable piece of bass craftsmanship. Every detail was exquisitely rendered. The fretwork was exemplary, with perfectly filed frets and faultless attention to detail. The top-notch Hipshot and Dunlop hardware was solidly installed and performed perfectly. While some staffers didn’t appreciate our tester’s spalted-maple top, no one could deny the undeniably seductive quality of the Elrick’s artful woodworking. The neck joint’s contrasting wood colors are beautiful and its design is ingenious. Carved deeper on the treble side, the joint facilitates natural hand rotation in the upper register. The e-volution’s playability was slick, due in no small part to the well-balanced body contour, light weight, and wide string spacing. It arrived with a super-low setup that led to a few choked-out notes, but after a few minor adjustments, the bass felt superb.

In our Soundroom, through our Demeter/Crest/Eden rig, The Elrick’s Bartolini pickups and electronics displayed the warmth, punch, and alluring mid-range presence they’re famous for. Most of Elrick’s basses feature Bartolini J-style pickups, but Rob Elrick chose soapbars for our tester because he felt they better suited its wood combination. With everything flat, the Elrick is elegant and refined. The potent EQ is an able tone sculptor that’s enhanced by the three-way midrange frequency selector. I was particularly moved by the e-volution’s even response. The zero-fret makes open strings sound like their fretted counterparts. On a New Orleans funk gig, through an Aguilar DB 750 and Bergantino HT322, the Elrick had authentic tones for everything from all-out slap to greasy Meters-style grooves.

The Elrick is tasty, but like with food, super-tasy stuff like the e-volution will cost you, Its import counterpart is a solid bass that will perform competently on any gig, but if you simply must have the best, The Elrick e-volution should definitely be on your bass menu.

TECH SPECS

Scale length: 35”
Weight: 8 lbs, 8 oz
Body: Ash with spalted-maple top
Neck: Quartersawn maple with ebony fingerboard and walnut/padauk laminates at body
Options: Ebony fingerboard ($300); soapbar pickups ($200); Numerous woods and electronics

Made in: U.S.A
Hardshell case: Included
Warranty: Lifetime limited