Oriolo Guitars Nez Bass Reviews 5

The Oriolo Nex acoustic-electric bass is a new model from Oriolo Guitars. A beautiful amber quilted top (5-ply Ash laminated) and equally stunning ash back, sides and headstock. Cream binding on the singlecut body and the neck and an attractive soundhole rosette compliment the color very well. The Nato neck is topped by a 22-fret Rosewood fingerboard with abalone dot position markers – except for the very hip Felix-face position marker at fret five. For my money, a Felix face is way cooler than Sting’s sig at fret 12 on the Fender Sting P bass.

This was a pre-production model on loan from Oriolo. It's expected to be available to the public in October 2010.


Great looks is one thing, but the real tests for performing bassists are playability and sound. Again, the Nez delivers. For electronics, the Nez uses a Fishman OEM-PSY-101 preamp with a built-in tuner, three-band rotary EQ knobs, Volume, and a Phase pushbutton that provides sweet upper-mids or, in the opposite position, a smooth bass boost. A few words about the tuner: it works well, and it works even when the bass isn’t plugged into an amp. Although the Nez isn’t loud enough to compete with a drumset, it is probably loud enough to allow a bassist to play along with unamplified acoustic guitars for songwriting sessions. I used the Nez over three gigs with a fairly loud six-piece rock band with two electric guitars, drums and keys, all with PA support. Running through a Genz-Benz Shutttle 6.0 pushing 600 watts through two 112 cabs, the Nez rose to the occasion, delivering solid lows, punchy mids, smooth yet distinct highs and a very woody sound overall. It comes equipped with D'Addario Phosphor Bronze strings. As mentioned previously, the Fishman’s Phase button tailors the sound in two distinct ways, both of which are highly musical. To me, one hallmark of a well-made bass is that it sounds good with onboard EQ set flat, and for the most part I left the Fishman’s EQ knobs at their center detents. On certain notes in the middle of the neck, the Nez tried hard to feed back, but I blame part of this on my proximity to my amp. Judicious use of finger damping and tweaking of my amp EQ solved the problem, but on a larger stage the feedback may not be an issue. The Nez connects to an amp through a rear endpin/jack.

Lack of a front tsrap button is my only complaint.

Being a player, Oriolo was wise enough to recruit top luthier/designer Tony DiDomenico to make everything right. Oriolo guitars had to be attractive, but playability and quality sound were the ultimate goals. It meeets those goals admirably.

With a street price of $489.95 USD including a gigbag ($499.95 for fretless), the Oriolo Nez bass is positioned to compete with several mid-priced acoustic-electric basses from Dean, Yamaha, Ibanez and other manufacturers, and it should hold its own once word about fit and finish, sound and playability makes its way over the Internet. The Felix-face inlay at fret five makes the bass unique and may even make it a collector’s item. Company owner Don Oriolo has gone out of his way to create a well-crafted, great-sounding line of unique stringed instruments that will appeal to serious players, novices and collectors alike.

Laklander rated this unit 5 on 2010-08-31.

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