EB Musicman Bongo

The Mighty Bongo

Hauling Wal basses out to local gigs was starting to become worrisome. Some places can be just a bit rough for an irreplaceable instrument. So I began the search for something that could produce a Wal-like sound and still fit my hands and playing style. It had been suggested that the Bongo would be a suitable stand-in, so I placed an order for the instrument above.

The massive pickups and amazing 4-band preamp do somewhat capture a Wal-like sound. I decided to take this bass a step further however and also ordered the piezo bridge pickups which deliver wonderful upright bass tones, although they tend to be a bit bright on their own.

One observation a friend (hi Ken Jung) made, that I do agree with, is that the tone you hear is more the sound of the preamp than that of the instrument itself. My personal preference for the sound of the wood, which contributes to the overall tone of a given instrument.

If you can get past the looks created by BMW Design (and which certainly don't appeal to everyone at first) the Bongo is an exceptional production instrument. Credit and kudos to Sterling Ball. This bass challenges other manufacturers to match the level of fit, finish and finesse in an affordable mass-produced instrument. I do find this all-basswood instrument to be a bit on the heavy side but it is still very manageable. Overall I was very pleased with the playability and versatility of this bass and would have no problem recommending the Bongo.