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Vampyre Dark Lord BO playtest review

thefitz

I've been wanting to try a Dark Lord with that massive F# string since I heard it was coming out. Finally, I got my chance to try it. Here are my thoughts:

It looked and felt incredible. That sandblasted finish is really something special as it had an almost stone-like quality to it. The grey-black colour suited the bass perfectly, as did the oversized body. The 35" scale neck was a sinch to get used to. The bass was incredibly heavy, but it was very well balanced and well put together. If you want a bass with an F# string but complain about the weight, you really shouldn't be playing that kind of music.

But how did the damn thing play? First off, let me describe the F# string to those interested: to my surprise, the F# string was incredibly firm. In fact, it might have been stiffer than the B string! It was taught, as well as taperwound at the bridge (for obvious reasons). Let's not forget, however, that the note F# is about 23Hz. No matter the thickness and tightness of the string, it's still vibrating 23 times per second. There's no escaping the inherent flabbiness of the string, as all the scale length and string thickness in the world would change that. The string is incredibly flabby, but somehow still feels tight, and that would take some time to get used to.

How did the damn thing sound? Like hell. Really. Whether or not that's a good or bad thing is entirely preferrential, but for me, it sounded horrible. First, the pickups; the Dark Lord has a neck pickup in the middle, and a double Jazz humbucking pickup at the bridge. The neck pickup sounds just like a neck pickup should, but it was a bit brighter, since it was closer to the bridge than usual. The bridge pickup, however, was the worst humbucker I've ever heard, and it's no secret I hate the sound of humbuckers. For a second, I'd wished I'd have picked up a Stingray instead. I'm not sure if a pickup can sound 'cheesy', this thing almost sounded like a keyboard's bass MIDI tone. It was overly focused and had the humbucker quality + EMG sterility x 100. That might be someone's bag, but it wasn't mine. On a side note, I believe if a bass doesn't sound good with a totally flat EQ, it's not a good sounding bass. I plugged the bad boy into an Eden head with a 210 cab (to help the clarity a bit) and set all EQ's flat. When I hit the F# string, there was barely any audible attack, just an uncharacteristic and over the top rumble. It was totally sub-sonic. You could not tell when one note started and another ended. Not only that, you could barely hear the difference between the first 3 frets of the F#. To top that off, the F# seemed to overpower the other strings; even at the slightest touch, if I hit F# in a higher octave and then the open F# string, the open note would just decimate the sound. It was totally boomy and had absolutely no musical value. That said, if you're in a death metal band that needs the heaviest of the heavy, there's simply nothing available on this planet that can conjure up the sound that this bass can. Sure, the F# string is almost useless, but my God, what a rumble! If plugged into a 21" Whappo Grande, I can see this thing sending people to the hospital. This bass is more of a sensational tool than a musical instrument, but it isn't pretending to be anything else.

Pros:
-Solid as a rock
-Great finish
-Top of the line electronics

Cons:
-F# string is just too much; unrealistic for normal band use
-Bridge pickup sounded horrible
-It's a gimmick bass

Conclusion:
If you're looking to expand your musical horizons by adding an F#... frankly, stop being an idiot. You won't get your musical point across with this bass through headphones or stereo speakers. However, if you're looking to make live sacrifices to your Dark Lord Satan, there simply isn't anything else on the market that comes close.

EDIT: I had some more time to play with the Dark Lord again. I've come to the conclusion that it isn't very realistic of me to believe that this bass can sound good with a flat EQ. After dialing a healthy bit of treble and cutting out a chunk of the low mids, I began to start 'hearing' the notes. The F# was still extreme and you'd never be able to tell if you're in key with another instrument or not, but I managed to dial out some of the fart and began to actually 'hear'. This made me think much more of the bass (I still left the bass EQ flat, aside from treble), but at the same time, you could really really hear the 'wobble' of the low F#. Any B string gets a bit of wobble too, but the F# string was quite pronounced. However, that's the nature of the string, not the bass. The fact that I heard wobble meant that there was indeed some clarity hiding away on that string.
    I've been wanting to try a Dark Lord with that massive F# string since I heard it was coming out. Finally, I got my chance to try it. Here are my thoughts:
 
    It looked and felt incredible. That sandblasted finish is really something special as it had an almost stone-like quality to it. The grey-black colour suited the bass perfectly, as did the oversized body. The 35" scale neck was a sinch to get used to. The bass was incredibly heavy, but it was very well balanced and well put together. If you want a bass with an F# string but complain about the weight, you really shouldn't be playing that kind of music.
 
    But how did the damn thing play? First off, let me describe the F# string to those interested: to my surprise, the F# string was incredibly firm. In fact, it might have been stiffer than the B string! It was taught, as well as taperwound at the bridge (for obvious reasons). Let's not forget, however, that the note F# is about 23Hz. No matter the thickness and tightness of the string, it's still vibrating 23 times per second. There's no escaping the inherent flabbiness of the string, as all the scale length and string thickness in the world would change that. The string is incredibly flabby, but somehow still feels tight, and that would take some time to get used to.
 
    How did the damn thing sound? Like hell. Really. Whether or not that's a good or bad thing is entirely preferrential, but for me, it sounded horrible. First, the pickups; the Dark Lord has a neck pickup in the middle, and a double Jazz humbucking pickup at the bridge. The neck pickup sounds just like a neck pickup should, but it was a bit brighter, since it was closer to the bridge than usual. The bridge pickup, however, was the worst humbucker I've ever heard, and it's no secret I hate the sound of humbuckers. For a second, I'd wished I'd have picked up a Stingray instead. I'm not sure if a pickup can sound 'cheesy', this thing almost sounded like a keyboard's bass MIDI tone. It was overly focused and had the humbucker quality + EMG sterility x 100. That might be someone's bag, but it wasn't mine. On a side note, I believe if a bass doesn't sound good with a totally flat EQ, it's not a good sounding bass. I plugged the bad boy into an Eden head with a 210 cab (to help the clarity a bit) and set all EQ's flat. When I hit the F# string, there was barely any audible attack, just an uncharacteristic and over the top rumble. It was totally sub-sonic. You could not tell when one note started and another ended. Not only that, you could barely hear the difference between the first 3 frets of the F#. To top that off, the F# seemed to overpower the other strings; even at the slightest touch, if I hit F# in a higher octave and then the open F# string, the open note would just decimate the sound. It was totally boomy and had absolutely no musical value. That said, if you're in a death metal band that needs the heaviest of the heavy, there's simply nothing available on this planet that can conjure up the sound that this bass can. Sure, the F# string is almost useless, but my God, what a rumble! If plugged into a 21" Whappo Grande, I can see this thing sending people to the hospital. This bass is more of a sensational tool than a musical instrument, but it isn't pretending to be anything else.
 
Pros:
-Solid as a rock
-Great finish
-Top of the line electronics
 
Cons:
-F# string is just too much; unrealistic for normal band use
-Bridge pickup sounded horrible
-It's a gimmick bass
 
Conclusion:
If you're looking to expand your musical horizons by adding an F#... frankly, stop being an idiot. You won't get your musical point across with this bass through headphones or stereo speakers. However, if you're looking to make live sacrifices to your Dark Lord Satan, there simply isn't anything else on the market that comes close.

EDIT: I had some more time to play with the Dark Lord again. I've come to the conclusion that it isn't very realistic of me to believe that this bass can sound good with a flat EQ. After dialing a healthy bit of treble and cutting out a chunk of the low mids, I began to start 'hearing' the notes. The F# was still extreme and you'd never be able to tell if you're in key with another instrument or not, but I managed to dial out some of the fart and began to actually 'hear'. This made me think much more of the bass (I still left the bass EQ flat, aside from treble), but at the same time, you could really really hear the 'wobble' of the low F#. Any B string gets a bit of wobble too, but the F# string was quite pronounced. However, that's the nature of the string, not the bass. The fact that I heard wobble meant that there was indeed some clarity hiding away on that string.
Posted: Aug 27, 2007 6:22 AM - Quote - Report!

Drmckool

so basically if you want to mount the bass and never play it get it but other than that it's a waste so basically if you want to mount the bass and never play it get it but other than that it's a waste
Posted: Aug 30, 2007 6:24 PM - Quote - Report!

thefitz

Drmckool wrote on Aug 30th, 2007 at 1:24pm :
so basically if you want to mount the bass and never play it get it but other than that it's a waste


Actually, pretty much. It's like one of those $200 halloween masks; they look cool, but their only proper use is to scare people. However, if you love scaring people, it's the $2000+ well spent.
Drmckool wrote on Aug 30th, 2007 at 1:24pm :
so basically if you want to mount the bass and never play it get it but other than that it's a waste


Actually, pretty much. It's like one of those $200 halloween masks; they look cool, but their only proper use is to scare people. However, if you love scaring people, it's the $2000+ well spent.
Posted: Aug 30, 2007 7:11 PM - Quote - Report!

BleedDeathMetal

lol...my band plays in F# I needed it lol...my band plays in F# I needed it
Posted: Sep 1, 2007 2:09 AM - Quote - Report!

Drmckool

your band plays that low, woah. you are hardcore your band plays that low, woah. you are hardcore
Posted: Sep 1, 2007 6:19 PM - Quote - Report!

BleedDeathMetal

Actually I'm in a band like Fall Out Boy ..every pop/emo band needs to play in the key F#. Every day I try to learn a new fall out boy song but pete wentz is to skilled for me. :-( Actually I'm in a band like Fall Out Boy ..every pop/emo band needs to play in the key F#. Every day I try to learn a new fall out boy song but pete wentz is to skilled for me. :-(
Posted: Sep 2, 2007 12:31 AM - Quote - Report!

Drmckool

ah touche ah touche
Posted: Sep 9, 2007 6:06 PM - Quote - Report!
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