Gear Review: Accuracy Basses Matisse Deluxe 5-String
Like any craft, the art of building basses takes finesse and attention to detail. Each contour is carefully considered and carved into the bass as a painter would add a stroke to his painting, so it’s only fitting that Accuracy Basses named their doublecut model the Matisse Deluxe after the French artist.
Accuracy is a small bass building company based in Mahon, a city situated on the Spanish Island of Menorca. One can only assume that the Mediterranean island itself serves as an inspiration to their designs. The company is a few years old and has recently switched to a new luthier, so I was excited to check out the build quality and materials.
Since Accuracy is a custom shop, each bass is handcrafted to order and as such allows for a plethora of options at the buyers fingertips. The Matisse Deluxe we got for review featured set neck construction with a blonde theme. Its body is swamp ash with a wenge tone-block, all of which is topped with a stunning European maple burl. Even more, its five-piece maple and wenge neck is matched to a bird’s eye maple fretboard. The contrast of the lighter maple and ash to the dark wenge made for a nice visual contrast while also setting the bass up for tight tonal characteristics.
Accuracy fits the Matisse Deluxe with a pair of their own custom shop split coil pickups which are handmade and wound for each bass. As a nice touch, both pickups are housed in wooden covers that match the maple burl top for a seamless flow. The preamp is also designed in house and handmade. It features a 3-band EQ with a mid-frequency switch to toggle between 500Hz and 1000Hz as well as an active/passive switch that lets you kick it into passive mode. Though passive operation mellows the tone out a bit, you don’t lose much of the presence that makes this bass sing. Finally, a third mini-switch acts as a kill switch to cut all signal from the bass. It’s a bit of an unusual addition, but this can come in handy for muting at the beginning of your signal chain or using it to experiment with effects.
When taking the bass out of the case for the first time, the body seemed larger than I expected, but once I got it into playing position it felt extremely comfortable with an even balance. The bass is not overly heavy, but feels solid in your hands due to the build quality. Accuracy opted for a generous 19mm string spacing that lets you get your thumb in between each string with ease for slapping. The string action was set low to give the neck that buttery kind of playability. Its body shaping also lends itself to getting around the bass. The cutaways allow for access to the very top of the register and help facilitate chordal playing at the end of the fingerboard. One minor detail that threw me was the side dot inlays, which were small silver circles that almost blended in with the neck too much. Not a big issue, but disorienting at first blush.
The pickup and preamp combination proved to be responsive with a clear tone and good note separation. When soloed, each pickup caught the best of what bassists want from the two single-coil configuration: a bridge pickup that adds rich harmonics without thinning out and a neck pickup that gets nice and round without being too tubby. Blending them together made for a pleasing, even texture no matter the blend. Even with such solid pickups, the secret weapon was the versatile preamp. It wasn’t hard to dial in a tone I was looking for. Set flat, the bass’s voice is deep with a nice mid growl to help cut through the mix. Simple tonal tweaking could add bite and a crisp top end to turn the bass into a slap machine. Rolling up the bass emitted a plump, lush sound suitable for hip-hop and reggae styles. Add in some mids, and the Matisse Deluxe is apt to handle just about any gig you’d want.
The Accuracy Matisse Deluxe ships in a Gator case and comes with a comfortable custom adjustable strap that adorns the Accuracy logo. The fit, finish, and playability rivals that of other top tier boutique instruments. This bass was hard to put down, let alone return after review. It starts with a base price of approximately $3,139 with plenty of options to customize it for your own.
Accuracy Basses Matisse Deluxe Bass Specs:
|Body:||Swamp Ash with Wenge Tone Block|
|Top:||European Maple Burl|
|Fretboard:||Bird’s Eye Maple|
|Pickups:||Accuracy Custom Shop Split Coils|
|Electronics:||Accuracy Designed and Hand Made w/ 3-band EQ, Active/Passive Switch, Kill Switch|