Gear Review: Sire Guitars Marcus Miller V7 5-String Bass
Sire Guitars’ Marcus Miller V7 5-String Bass really caught me off guard, more about that after the details. This instrument is definitely of the Fender-style design. The body and neck feel as you would expect from this approach. The Maple neck had that full rounded profile associated with J basses, and the Ash wood body felt familiar. What catches the eye is the array of knobs and switches, not your typical stock J bass equipment.
The knob set up goes as follows: stacked master volume and main tone, pickup blend, treble, stacked middle cut/boost on top of a mid frequency sweep, bass EQ and then an active/passive switch off to the side. The range of tone shaping on board is amazing. The bass EQ knob has so much low end that you will need the appropriate speaker cabinet to handle the bottom end if you like this much bottom end coming from your guitar before your amp. It’s full and THUMPIN’ FAT! It’s there if you need it, but I seriously doubt you’ll you go there, Hey, you never know. The sweep-able mid with the cut/boost is just such an awesome feature regardless of playing style, but slap players will be able to find that elusive sweet spot missing on some basses.
The solid Ash body, maple fingerboard, and bolt on neck lay the foundation for tone sweetness. Bright but not harsh on the pluck and snap with a strong warm fundamental under the thumb. That combo of construction and materials in conjunction with the EQ capabilities of this bass is a winner. You can actually get something akin to Miller’s tone without the boutique amp. That’s not to say that this is the only tone to be had – this bass can work in other styles easily. Classic J bass punch and attack is there for finger players. The 18 volt pre amp has plenty of head room and delivers one heck of strong attack.
The hardware is all quality solid construction. No stamped out steel cheapness to upgrade later. I really like the string tree that captures all 5 strings close to the nut to really give a strong angle and secure seating in the nut. The bridge had mass and was easy to adjust when needed. The action and set up was great. I liked that the outside strings were not too close to the edge of the neck and prone to being accidentally muted while doing the slap thing. This 20 fret maple fingerboard and low action was slap-a-licious. The only issue I had was some fret buzz due to some uneven fret work, which brings me back to my opening statement on the Sire review.
I knew nothing of Sire or this particular bass prior receiving it for a review. All I knew was that it was a Marcus Miller signature bass. At first glance it looked tight and clean, and with all the tone controls, the first number to pop in my mind was $1,500 or possibly much more. Considering that it had Miller’s name on it and just the fit and finish. Electronics aside, it looked professional. Well, I flipped when I found out that it sells in the high $500 to $600 range. Seriously, this is a killer bass and at this price, the best deal I think I’ve ever seen retail. It was designed to be an entry level instrument so newbies could circumvent playing junk musical exercise equipment and hit the ground running. Sire and Miller really raised the bar, so much so, that I hesitate to use the phrase “entry level”. Check out what Miller has to say in the video below. It’s all true. So, if you buy one and you have a fret buzz… just get it fixed by the best luthier you have access to, and absorb the cost. You are still way ahead.
I was going to get a squier jazz bass until I saw this one. I’m sure Marcus isn’t gonna put his name or reputation on “junk.” And from the reviews and videos I’ve seen thus far; Sire’s got a winner here. I already like what Sterling’s done with the MM stingray basses; I’m saving the xtra $$$ to get the 5 string ash model. Cheap don’t always mean cheap quality. Sire proved it.?
Petey, i have a Squier Jazz and a Sterling, i also have a MM Stingray 5, the Sire Marcus Miller outshines them all. I paid almost 3x the price for the Stingray and i will keep it but i would sell the Squier and the Sterling just to get one more Sire Marcus Miller.
Wow, that’s cool. I would keep my Sterling MM classic 5 though. Love that MM sound. But if the Sire outshines them all, I will get me a 5 string Ash white blond with the maple neck. Don’t have to get me a Sadowsky.
Definitely best guy and bass player … I agree this is important that young people play on good quality bass at best price !!
I have 2 of these, and this review is spot on!
How much are these weighing in at?
I think the answer is on their website at Sire-guitars.com. But they said the woods are solid bodies, not the plywood stuff so I’m sure they have some weight to it.
My 5 ST, Swamp Ash M7 is 10.5 I believe.
You too Daryl. I’m going to check out their site and double check the weights. Cheers!
‘Preciate ya Petey.
Thanks Mikey. It’s @ a point that quality shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg and a 2nd mortgage. SIre is proving it with their basses. I hope they’ll make a fretless version. Now THAT would be KILLER!?
Hey Petey, they actually ran a fretless line for a limited time. I missed out on it!
Aw man! Really? Geez! I hope they’ll bring it back.?
I have the exact same bass as reviewed, and the review is spot on. My only issue is the weight. Mine is around 10 pounds. If they could shave a pound to a pound and a half, it would be ideal. I play it at my church, where I sit during services, so weight isn’t an issue. I have not taken it on a wedding gig, where I am standing for about 4 hours, then I think the weight may become an issue. But tone wise and playability, you can’t beat it. I recently played an alder bodied one, that I prefer, so I am selling my ash bodied Sire and buying another one, my other basses are also alder.
What was it about the alder body one that you prefer? I can’t make up my mind between the two.
Hi Carl, the story goes Alder supposedly gives you a warmer vintage vibe as oppose to swamp ash which has a stronger attack tone wise especially you couple it with a maple neck/fingerboard. Alder with a rosewood neck has a warmer sound. Me, personally, I really can’t tell; the preamps & pickups set the tone, but that’s the story.?
Thank you Petey and Virgil for answering my question, great examples. On Sires web site, Adom Dorn ( Mocean Worker), is playing (slapping) on a alder/ rosewood bass, and it sounds amazing. All the high end is there for slap and great overall tone. It surprised me that the rosewood could sound so good slapping. What do you guys think? Also, how do you feel the ash/ maple would sound/ cut though in finger style? Thank you guys, it’s great to get players feedback.
Glad to be of help Carl. Like I said earlier sometimes the preamps and pickups makes the difference. I’ve heard basses with alder bodies sounded incredible. Me personally I like swamp ash bodies, not a big fan of rosewood necks, tho. It doesn’t make a difference to me. It’s all how you execute your instrument. Sadowsky’s alder basses with rosewood necks sounds very punchy and articulate. And some fenders with the same features sounded warm. It’s a matter of choice. Hope you’ll find the bass with that sweet spot. One thing we bassists & guitarists know, we don’t like FIGHTING with our instruments. ?
As far ash/maple with a finger style, to warm it up, use a compressor/limiter pedal.
The slap tone on the Sire is great whether the body is made of alder or ash; can’t go wrong either way.
Carl. I like alder because it has a warmer tone than ash. Ash is more aggressive cuts the mix more than alder. I am a groove player, so the alder works better for my style of play.
Hey Carl, if you notice, Marcus Miller, the late Louis Johnson, and Larry Graham all have basses with swamp ash bodies and maple necks and had that strong tone attack on them; then listen to Verdine White from Earth, Wind, and Fire. His jazz bass was an alder body with a rosewood neck and it had a vintage warm tone. If you want to go back any further, check out James Jamerson’s work with Motown. His P-bass was alder and rosewood but had that mellow warm tone. If you like to play funk or slap bass; swamp ash with a maple neck is the way to go. If you like play laid back groovin with the down beat, alder and rosewood neck will get the job done. Hope this helps. ?
Yes, the mellow tones of Flea’s rosewood fingerboard Stingray, or the alder bodied Graphite KingBass.
Yeah Lim. I forgot about Flea’s stingray. It was mellow, but it did had some punch to it. The way they’re making preamps nowadays, you can achieve just about ANY tone u want really.
Got alder 4 string . I sold my Fender jazz Bass Japan after buying V7 . Amazing bass !
Hi Chris, I want to get the 5 string ash model. Did u have any issues with the weight? I understand the bass is @ least 10 lbs. thanks.
I have seen numbers of these up for sale used. Just wonder if it is over hyped? I would like to see more frets.
Hey Dezz, if there is something to really hype, it’s the cost vs the features. You could find a much more expensive bass that matches the Sire in terms of tone electronics and hardware. It’s the price point that pushes this bass ahead of others. My glowing review was based on the instrument and my experience with it. I truly couldn’t believe it was so affordable. Plus it was geared towards those that want a bass that’s edges them toward that Markus Miller sound. That will cost you some cash one way or another. As with any less costly bass, play the one you’re looking to buy. Don’t play your friends bass then order one. I always question continuity in quality control on any mass production bass. Employees are subjective and then there are bad days too. The bass I reviewed had some minor buzzes, but I felt that the extra cost to have it dialed in STILL made this bass a great deal.
Thanks for commenting. I am considering buying one but have never bought a bass I could not play fist, I would be upset having to take a new bass to a luthier to be repaired-did you ask Sire to warranty that? Presently, Sire has a long backorder and I just hope they are not rushing the build process compromising quality. I really like the electronics and it looks pretty well made. I would like others opinions on swamp ash or alder bodies. I played a 1973 Fender P bass for over 30 years with swamp ash and it was very heavy. Also, how are the pickups mounted on both- 60’s or 70’s style. I happened to phone Sire and my call went into voice mail. I did not leave a message but a representative called me and I was impressed by that. So I very much enjoyed your review and I would love to play one of these basses.
Dezz where are you located. If you are near Philly, you can try mine. If you like it, you can buy it, its in mint condition. Mine is ash, and weighs about ten pounds. I only added strap locks and Marcus Miller strings. My other basses are alder, so I want to sell my ash Sire and buy an alder one.
Hey I would like to try your Sire Marcus Miller. I am in the Philly area. I’m looking forward to getting one and would like to try before buying, if your offer is open to other bassists.. Let me know and we could arrange something..
By the way is yours 5 string??
Herb, I just sold it, it’s now in Michigan. I am going to order a alder 5 string.
How do I order the signature 5 string bass, I see no phone number or any of the form of payments ?
So how can i order one?
I’m interested in the V7 natural ash. But after reading some of these posts, and seeing videos, I’m unsure. I’ve been playing blues for the last 2 years, but am unsure if the alder would be better. Are there any V7 owners that live near the Portland Oregon area that I could visit and play? Thanks.
I have this bass as well.For everyone thinking weight is an issue look for Levy’s MSS2-4 4.5″ Leather w/Heavy Padding,spread that weight out and it isnt an issue.
why i can’t find a Marcus Miller Sire 5 string V7 bass in any store.
Back order with no shipping date and the stores want you to pay for in advance
Ask Marcus Why