Bass of the Week: MBJ Guitars Chewy Bass

MBJ Guitars Chewy Bass

Meeting other bassists is one of my favorite things about being on the road. Sometimes, I’m even lucky enough to try out their basses, which is exactly what happened after a show at Parkway Brewing in Salem, Virginia.

Jake Dempsey brought out his unbelievable new axe by MBJ Guitars, which he dubbed “Chewy.” Dempsey himself ordered the bass after getting to try Lespecial bassist Luke Bermand’s MBJ when they were on tour in the area.

“Chewy” showcases incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail. That’s no surprise when you know that MBJ luthier Joe Kruse learned the trade by working with Carl Thompson and Roger Sadowsky.

“The specs we came up with were a fun combination of simple but luxurious. Many of my builds end up a bit more complicated on paper, but Jake’s bass has a sort of refined charm to it,” Kruse tells us. “Coming from the Carl Thompson shop, I’ve been known to go a smidge heavy with the laminating. This bass is a step back from that, but by doing so, it really just lets the gorgeous wood do the talking. It’s tough to compete with nature sometimes!”

The five-string bass has a 35-inch scale. Kruse crafted the body with Spanish cedar for the core and Claro walnut for the top. Its roasted, flamed maple neck is fitted with a Macassar ebony fingerboard matched with an ebony headstock veneer.

Sterling silver and turquoise inlays are all over the bass: the headstock, the top, the fingerboard, the back, and even the side. They help to make you really inspect all the beauty of the instrument. Finally, the bass has Hipshot hardware and a pair of Kent Armstrong soapbar pickups.

“It’s an amazing instrument, and Joe’s attention to detail is unlike anything I’ve seen,” Dempsey shared. “He’s easy to communicate with and a generally good dude. Nothing I’ve ever played touches the ergonomics and feel of this bass.”

I can attest that even with the extended scale length, this bass plays like butter. Its neck and body profile are both fairly thin, making it super comfortable to play. Its sound is huge, and the B-string is one of the best I’ve ever played. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to playing in Salem again. Thanks, Jake!

MBJ Guitars Chewy Bass Photos:

MBJ Guitars Chewy Bass Specs:

Body:Spanish Cedar
Top:Claro Walnut
Neck:Roasted Flame Maple
Fingerboard:Macassar Ebony
Inlays:Sterling Silver and Turquoise
Pickups:2 Kent Armstrong Soapbar
Controls:Passive Vol/Blend/Tone
Bridge:Hipshot A-Style
Other:Ebony headstock veneers, Walnut control plate, Walnut heel block, Sterling silver and turquoise inlays, Walnut and Ebony pickup covers

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Share your thoughts

  1. John

    Works of art, surpassing function from my observation which is very limited.

  2. Joe has been working on my basses for the past 6 or 7 years now. I’m incredibly fortunate to live in the same area as him. I finally took the plunge and had him build a bass for me and I could not have been happier with it… which is why I had him build me a second one… which is why he’ll soon be starting a third. I have tremendous respect for Joe as a person, as well as a Master Craftsman.

  3. Thank you, Kevin, for sharing this in-depth look at the MBJ Guitars Chewy Bass. The combination of Spanish cedar for the core and Claro walnut for the top, along with the roasted flamed maple neck and Macassar ebony fingerboard, speaks volumes about the quality and thought put into this instrument. The attention to detail with the sterling silver and turquoise inlays is particularly striking, adding a touch of elegance that really makes this bass stand out visually. I’m sure many bassists will be eager to try it out for themselves.