Spector SSD JH5 Reviews
Ye Oulde "Guitarre Centre" :)
Colonie NY USA. $1200US, new but
slightly shopworn. No case, but
they threw in the Guitar Center's
"extended coverage" pkg for N/C.
I bought it because it sounds great, is
fairly light, very comfortable, plays as
easy as thought, and it realy wouldn't
let me leave it behind.
It sounds great. When I first accompanied
Ms. Diva with it, which is a piano duo with
bass but no drummer, I couldn't believe the
amount of bass I had to DIAL OUT from my
rig [12" G-K] to get into my "accompanist
mode". This bass excels at the midrangy
tone that we use for the duo thing, with
the sweetest mellowest midrange this side
of a great fretless ABG [my usual duo ax].
All that bass that I dialed out was not
boomy or whumpy, it was just way more bass
than we use in that setting. Low end is
clear. Deep lows are "sharply sculpted",
very well defined [using Rotosound black
flats] and available by the truckload.
It's a bolt-on, which I hugely prefer.
I set the action to just over 2mm at the
octave, neck relief at almost flat, and it
plays perfectly, all 5 strings at all 24
frets. This a magic ax.
Most amazing on such a miracle ax: The
bridge pickup was so high [and could not
be lowered at all] that when I dropped the action slightly, the PU was against the G
string. I had to remove the PU and rout
out a channel for the thick 8-conductor
lead to live in, and also rout a seperate
recess for the bulky 8-pin plug connected
to the center of the bottom side of the
pick-up. The PU is now about 1.3mm below
the G-string, very adequate clearance, as
it's quite close to the bridge. Note that
the "factory" set-up played just fine. It
was my quest for an ultra-low action that
revealed the limited adjustment range of
the humbucker's mountings.
The "ears" on the tuner keys almost bump
each other on the "3" side of the "3+2"
peg-head. I have to be careful not to
bump out of tune the adjoining tuner to
the one I'm really meaning to turn. Also
would prefer Master-Volume-plus-Balancer
knobs rather than the seperate gain knobs
on each pick-up.
Neck appears to be 3 pieces with integral
headstock, and has an extra extension of
about 8cm beyond the 24th fret, so the
amount of wood in the 5-bolt neck socket
is considerable. Scale is 35", rosewood
fretboard, brass nut, and typical Gotoh
style of tuners. Model & serial numbers
are hand-written the on back of headstock
along with Stuart Spector's signature.
Body is solid maple, two halves, with an
incredible wild tiger striped grain that
runs throughout [not a top cap]. Body is
contoured similar to Ibanez's "Ergodyne"
series and is very comfortable. Bridge
is a top-loading fairly heavy cast deal
with cylindrical inserts in each of the
rectangular saddles. Usually this type
of saddle is "burr-proof". String spacing
is rather wide but not the 19mm Fender-4
spacing [my favorite]. It seems about the same as a Cirrus, wider than a Fender-5.
Pickups are EMGs, and you can tell that
without looking, by ear. You can get an
attack that sounds like a "bass snare
drum" if there were such a thing. You
can really lay down time with that !
Neck PU is J-type, in the usual neck-J
spot [not too close to the neck]. The
bridge PU is a humbucker in the MM spot.
Knobs are seperate gain for each PU plus
master treble and bass knobs. I like to
run the MM as the main PU with the neck
PU used mainly as a bass booster, a very
easily controlable approach. The J-PU
is noiseless as far as I can tell. The
humbucker can put some serious animal
voicings into the midrange, and a lot of
"grind" into the low end.
I have multiple examples of fretted 4's,
fretless 4's and 5's [some hollow, some
solid], each of which is irreplaceable to
me, but never before had a fretted 5 ever
really gotten under my skin. Now at long
last, I have MY fretted 5, or maybe it's
this ax that has me !Golem
rated this unit