I set out to find a new bass guitar for Bass-Aholic. After all it’s been some time since I’ve added any new basses. I have something called a “pending list” on Bass-Aholic that has probably another hundred bass brands that still haven’t been covered. So poking around I came across Willows. And oddly, it seems to be a rather large company. How could I have missed it all this time?
Willows Guitars are made in South Korea and making your way through their website is a bit of a challenge, even using Google Translate.
But the company seems to do quite a number of things. This from producing guitar bodies and necks to supplying a large range of components including bridges, pickups, machine head and strings. Everything you need to make a bass or a guitar or just buy one already put together.
So many Asia builders are large companies that produce not only large quantities of instruments, but also produce instruments for many brands. And trying to figure out who actually builds what brand these days is getting very complicated. Long gone are the days when you knew you bought a Fender bass that it was built in Fullerton California or that your Gibson bass guitar was build in Kalamazoo Michigan.
So I guess I’m saying that even though Willows appears to be an obscure brand, you just never know if they are being made side by side a Korean Gretsch.
The Wow Factor – The Spunky Royal Bass Guitar
When I’m researching bass guitar brands so often I find companies that build basses simply to produce a copy of a Fender Precision or Gibson Thunderbird. This is not to dis the boutique builders such as Sadowsky, Nash or Regenerate that build basses based on Fender designs. Those basses are almost entirely “better Fenders”. Instead I’m talking about those that just build a copy simply for the sake of having something to sell and lack the creativity to build something unique.
Willows does a bit of that, but they’ve also stepped outside of the box and come up with some designs that put them up there with the boutique builders.
For me, the real standout is this Willows Spunky Royal bass guitar. From the photos, this bass rivals the likes of Benavente, (who is a master of the buckeye burl top, IMO)
The body is Honduras Mahogany and the fingerboard is Macassar Ebony. This is a really nice looking bass guitar and a fine piece of woodworking.
But beyond the fancy woodworking are some quality components like a Badass bridge and Hipshot tuners. The preamp is from Kent Armstrong and the finish is nitrocellulose lacquer. This all sounds like the making of a great bass. Don’t you think?
One thing that really caught my interest was this photo of the electronics cavity. I’m still astounded at paying $1700.00 for an American built Fender “Deluxe” bass with nothing but bare wood inside the electronic compartment. This picture shows completely foil shielded cavity. A bit of quality that doesn’t appear in Fender’s high end products. (I had to pay an extra hundred bucks to get my brand new Fender fixed.)
One other nice feature is what Willows calls a “wood” case. These look like high quality old school Fender cases, but even better. From the picture, they look pretty rugged. A very similar case is included in the price of the very inexpensive Levi brand bass. And I really like the brown Tolex. Pretty nice isn’t it.
And to top it all off the bass even includes a heavy leather strap from Levy. These are premium straps that your local store charges a premium price for. And it’s included.
As you can tell, I’m pretty impressed with Willows so far, but having said all this, I’ve yet to see one in person. That means I haven’t held or played this bass guitar. So I can say personally if it plays well or sounds good.
I have included a video for you to watch…
…hopefully this is helpful.
I also do not have any pricing for this bass guitar at this moment. I did find a Willows distributor in Italy and have send them an email requesting more information.
Will pass that on to everyone when I get it.
What do you think? Would you buy a Willows bass? Have you played one? Owned one? I would love to hear from you.