Bass of the Week: Music Man Big Al

Music Man's Big Al 5-string Bass

In 2009, Music Man introduced a bass version of their Albert Lee Signature guitar called the Big Al. Its angular body and unique pickups caught the community’s attention, and the next year the company announced a 5-string version.

The Big Al and Big Al 5 are built with African mahogany bodies, maple necks, and maple or rosewood fingerboards with a fretless option of Pau Ferro. It comes with two options for pickups: a single humbucker with ceramic magnets or three single-coils with neodymium magnets. The humbucker option has a 2-way push button to toggle between series and parallel, while the triple single-coil option has a 2-way push button for each pickup to select or deselect it.

Electronics include an active/passive setup with a 2-way push button to select either mode. The active controls include Volume, Treble, High-Mid, Low-Mid, and Bass.

For more info, check out the Music Man website.

Music Man Big Al Specs:

  • Construction: Bolt-on (5-bolts)
  • Weight: 4-string: 9 lbs, 3 oz (4.17 kg); 5-string: 9 lbs, 10 oz (4.36 kg) (varies slightly)
  • Body Wood: African Mahogany
  • Body Finish: High gloss polyester
  • Bridge: Standard Music Man® chrome plated, hardened steel bridge plate with stainless steel saddles
  • Pickguard: Standard: Black or White; Optional: Shell, White Pearloid, Vintage White Pearloid, or Black Pearloid.
  • Scale Length: 34? (86.4 cm)
  • Neck Radius: 11? (27.9 cm)
  • Frets: 22 High profile, wide
  • Neck Wood: Select maple neck
  • Fingerboard: Fretted – maple or rosewood; Fretless – Pau Ferro with or without inlaid fretlines
  • Neck Finish: Gunstock oil and hand-rubbed special wax blend
  • Neck Colors: Standard – Natural; Optional – Matching painted headstock
  • Tuning Machines: Custom Music Man, lightweight with tapered string posts and ergonomic design
  • Truss Rod: Adjustable
  • Electronic Shielding: Graphite acrylic resin coated body cavity
  • Controls: Passive preamp: 500kohm volume and 250kohm tone – .047µF tone capacitor; Active preamp: 4-band EQ – 25kohm volume, treble, high-mid, low-mid, bass
  • Switching: Single Pickup – 2-way push button active/passive selector, 2-way push button series/parallel selector; Triple Pickup – 3 x 2-way push button pickup selector, 2-way push button active/passive selector
  • Pickups: Standard – Single Humbucking with ceramic magnets; Optional – Triple Single coil Neodymium magnets

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Share your thoughts

  1. I totaly dig it! I have a Big Al 4 with the three single coil since 2010 and I looove it! The tones and playability of this instrument is at a level that you usualy only find in much more expensive basses. I also own a StingRay5 and an american P-bass, but the Big Al always come out first for any type of gig.