I had the pleasure of meeting with Gerald Marleaux and sampling his fine bass guitars that are steeped in a tradition of fine German craftsmanship. For the past decade or so Germany has been at the epicenter of bass sound and instrument and amp technology. Marleaux has been crafting hand made basses since 1990 and has individually finished over 1500 instruments.
The Consat Sopran is a stunning piece that at first glance can be mistaken as an artwork miniature. Gerald said that they made it for the ’09 NAMM show for a joke, but the joke was on him because it sounds so cool that everyone, including Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey, loves to play it. The super-short scale bass with a 57 cm (22.44″) scale features; 3 piece maple/wenge 6 point bolt-on neck, matching headstock, ebony fretboard with 24 frets, 57 cm scale, ergonomically shaped 2 piece body topped with exotic wood, wooden electronic cavity cover, passive single humbucker from Delan or Bartolini, ETS/Schaller hardware, strap-locks and matte finish.
This ain’t no toy. When you get past it’s visual beauty and luscious curves and start plucking the strings, it doesn’t take long to get hooked on the piano-like sound and easy playing. This is one fun bass. It has a surprisingly deep and resonant tone for its size. This definitely isn’t your first bass, but for the player who has everything, this would be a useful addition to the stable.
The other bass Gerald had me try is the Consat Custom short scale (30.5”). This bass played like butter with extreme tonal flexibility and lots of mojo. Marleaux is definitely on my “short” list of “gotta have” basses.