Moving on to the second Breedlove bass in for review, we have the Atlas BJ350 CM4 Solo Fretless. Again from the Atlas BJ350 range, it shares the same outline and a lot of the same features.
Once again, it features a solid top, but this time it is a perfect slice of cedar married up to a sapele mahogany back and sides. The same wonderfully carved neck is again made from nato mahogany. The bass this time is coated in a semi-gloss finish (usually called 'Satin'), as against the gloss finish of the fretted Studio model. Both finishes are spotless, not a blemish in sight. These really are well-made instruments!
The most striking difference between the two basses is what Breedlove refer to as a 'Monitor soundhole', an egg-shaped cutaway in the upper edge of the body. I've played an acoustic guitar before that had a similar design and was surprised at how great it sounded, having the soundhole, in effect, right in front of my ears. Acoustic instruments usually sound different to the player and audience, as the audience usually gets the better 'throw' of sound from the front of the guitar. Having a second soundhole appears to offer the best of both worlds! What a great idea. The perceived sound was warm and a lot fuller than the Atlas Studio in comparison acoustically.
Interestingly, the monitor soundhole has been found to be very useful for 'percussive style' players. Breedlove says that covering the soundholes individually radically changes the natural resonant pitch of the body by up to a 5th and thus interesting effects can be created acoustically. Breedlove also believes that the monitor soundhole connects the player to the subtleties of the instrument. I have to agree here. You can hear a great deal more of what the instrument is doing tonally.
Moving on to the preamp and pickup on the Atlas Solo - L.R.Baggs piezo unit and preamp once again. Musical and easy to use with an included tuner.
Both these two basses are brilliant and Breedlove boasts a great list of artists who are enjoying their guitars. Indeed, our interviewee in this issue, Doug Wimbish, is about to take delivery of a pair of these basses, I understand.
The price pitch for these two basses is premium but I believe they are still value for money. You are getting a lot of instrument for the price. I enjoyed my time with these greatly.