Clement Bass Ergo Joan4FL Reviews
Details like color and wood vary, as each is built to order. Mine is mainly mahogany, but any wood can selected.
I got mine from Luthier's Access Group, cuz it's a used one. Normally, you order these direct from Tom Clement. Basic price is around $1400 for a 4-string FL. Mine has various upgrades, but is still a passive JJ, and would cost $1750 ... so an active Clement, especially with frets and 5 or 6 strings, can be somewhat over $2000.
Well I just loooove mahogany basses. It is very predictable what a 'hog bass will sound like, so I had no problem ordering a bass I had not played. The strap balance is also excellent, which could also be predicted just seeing a photo online, as it has a long top horn, body extends behind the bridge, and a small 2+2 headstock with small tuners. 'Hog don't look much, so I also like the spalted maple cap. .... And finally .... **THE NECK** !!!! The neck is FANTASTIC. This could not be predicted from photos or even from 'blueprint' drawings.
I'm not fond of passive JJ basses, and this is typical. I have no intentions of leaving it that way. If I'd ordered it new from Tom, it would be active. I got it for about 1/2 price, and will happily tend to this matter at modest extra expense. But that is not really a knock against Clement Basses.
Tom's website explains what you get for the basic $1400. This one has Bartolini humbucking J-PU's, VVT passive controls, a 5-piece laminated bolt-on neck [with dual acting rod], epoxied FB and a fancy cap. Finish is some sort of thin semi-gloss. It is NOT a thick clear shell like you get on a StingRay. Quality is a two-pronged issue. There is nothing about this bass that is functionally second rate. And it looks like a $4000 booteek ax from arm's length away. Therefore, it's a great choice in handbuilt basses for $1400 - $1800 !! A much closer inspection reveals small details that would render this as 'B-stock' if it were a top name factory built bass. But in the world of $1500 hand-built, these small flaws are normal. Tom Clement is the third builder from which I have a handbuilt affordable bass ... and all three have such minor flaws. OTOH, I'm pleased with all three, and if I wanted an obsessively flawless handbuilt, it would cost me for just one bass what I paid for all three of these ... plus some extra.
I've intentionally not mentioned tone, cuz Tom will use any wood, and any PU's, and any EQ-pre, that you want. So tone is way too much a moving target for any description. All Clements are different from each other. My bass is only ''number 51'', so it's also possible that the various small detail flaws are much less present on later output [mine was built 4yrs ago]. It's a beautiful bass, handles very well, neck is FANTASTIC. Yup, that was worth repeating. And tone can be anything you and Tom design into it. Since I have three different ''affordable handbuilts'' and quality is similar for all three, then this really cool ax would still be an average example of its genre .... except for the great handling and the terrific neck. Those bump it up to a rating of '4'. If Tom has improved his detailing in the last 4 yrs, then he's now building basses worth a '5' !Golem
rated this unit