DeArmond Pilot V
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DeArmond Pilot V

Pilot V, 4-string bass guitar from DeArmond.

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content in English
Audiofanzine FR 05/12/2008

DeArmond Pilot V : Recensione di Audiofanzine FR (content in English)

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(Originally written by ebenofrancky/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
Guitar made in Korea. I don't know its manufacturing date.

This instrument is a Guild copy.

Good manufacturing quality. I didn't notice important problems in the finish or the electronic components.

Bolt-on neck with 22 frets, no-name active humbucker pickups (they require a 9-volt battery). The sound is quite versatile if you consider what the price of the instrument six years ago. A fine detail is that the battery compartment is separated from the electronics compartment with a threaded hole for the screws.

The instrument has a volume control, a pickup balance control and a 3-band EQ (it's a pity that the mid frequency range is not semi-parametric), which provide a very large sound range.

I chose the ash body version with nice blue/green transparent varnish that becomes brighter as time goes by (I noticed it when I compared the back and the front of the instrument and also when I removed the small plastic plate covering the truss rod access). The hardware has a brushed aluminum finish.

UTILIZATION

Wide and easily playable neck, but not so wide as a 6-string neck. It's still far from the playability of a 90's Status but the width is partly compensated by the thickness. You'll get used to it...

The wide neck leads to high strings spacing which is an advantage if you want to change to a 5-string bass and to learn slapping.

Good access to the upper frets up to the 18th fret. Just plan one hour to adjust the neck and tune the overtones with a chromatic tuner to optimize the instrument. I couldn't adjust accurately the B string above the 15th fret.

The instrument is very ergonomic and I can play it more than three hours without feeling any pain in the shoulder. The shape is also very ergonomic, even when sitting down (but that's subjective). I recommend you to keep the strap on the shoulder while seated because the instrument is not perfectly well-balanced (the head is a bit too heavy).

You'll get the sound you want very quickly, even though the low B sounds a bit too thin... Perhaps you think that I just have to turn the bass control fully up, but if I do I get distortion (only with this extreme setting)... So the instrument must be played with an amp with enough headroom and controls to balance the sound.

I play electro-metal, pop and blues in a band, sometimes also jazz with a good CD as playback, and many more music styles. I always get the sound I want. This instrument is really good considering its price.

SOUNDS

The instrument is very versatile.

So it's perfect for the music styles I play.

I used to play it at home with a small Laney BC50 combo. I also owned a 150-watt Peavey TNT 115 with a 15" speaker and 7-band graphic EQ. It was a real delight. I sold it when I quit playing live.

I've started to play live again so I just ordered an Ashdown Mag300 EvoII that I will use with a home-made speaker cabinet (I'm a carpenter) equipped with an Eminence Delta 15" speaker.

I also have a small Digitech BP50 multi-effect. I only use the compressor and the EQ since the instrument sounds good and it doesn't need any effects.

I get many different sounds from aggressive to round, metallic and smooth... From powerful sounds for heavy metal to clean and round sounds with strong mids for jazz... This instrument is definitely versatile!

Of course, you can find better sounding or more specialized instruments... It's normal when you consider the price of some models...

OVERALL OPINION

I've been using it for six years (and I never had a single problem).

I previously owned a 4-string Kramer, which I kept six years before buying the DeArmond.

I like most of all its finish (that's what actually motivated me to buy it).

I find the electronics could be better.

I also tried out a 5-string Mexican Fender Jazz Bass (good instrument), a 5-string Ibanez BTB (wonderful finish) and a 5-string Status from the 90's... and I still dream about it!

I don't know if I would buy it again... The market currently provides many different instruments. Based on my experience, I would probably look for a high-end model. And for the price I paid six years ago, I would now have lots of other choices.

But do consider this instrument if you see it in a secondhand market.