the 2011 NYC-INT Alleva-Coppolo GTG! RA vs. LM!!!

So after owning 2 ACs and knowing just about everyone who owns an AC in the greater NY area (less than 5) I decided to throw a little get together at my spot in Williamsburg. The turnout was small, which was inevitable, but we had a great time. My buddy Pete Palmieri was there with his unbelievable sounding LM5, Valenti relic’d 60’s jazz, and small wall of EA gear. While we were all blown away by the slap tone and 70’s punch of the LM, I was especially blown away by the tone and volume of both VL-208s at once. Just one sounded weak and thin to me but with two BAM!! All of a sudden the sound just came alive with tons of headroom and this dark thumpy tone! Now where the hell am I gonna find a pair!? He also brought a pair of NL-210s which I was VERY impressed with, I just found them to be a bit more mid-assertive than my VL-210B. Stacked though, they are NO joke! My new friend Ivan came by with an insanely light Sadowsky 5, a gorgeous Valenti 4, and a TC Electronics RH450 and two 2×10s. I still can’t stand Sadowskys haha but I really liked the Valenti. Beautiful top and the Sadowsky preamp he installed in it didn’t really sound as trebly and zingy as it usually does. Defininitely a bass I would rock. The TC rig is impressive but definitely not my sound. Having the built in tuner is SO clutch though!! And last but not least my buddy J pickles rolled through toting my old ‘75 re-issue Fender Jazz and Markbass LMII. He overstayed his welcome by blasting every amp super loud and running through the most ridiculously fast and useless slap chops known to man….hahaha jk pickles….but we all learned a lot and had a great time.

Now on to the battle!! RA VS. LM!!!!!!

Interestingly enough, my expectations of my RA fell a bit short after spending more time ABing it with Pete’s LM. I said recently that buying an LM was silly because the only difference between it and the RA other than the body wood is the weight. The alder-bodied RA comes in between the 8.5-9 lb. range while the ash LM comes in closer to the 10-12 range depending on how heavy you want it. WAY too heavy for me but does it make a difference? When we first plugged in, both Ivan and I were blown away by the punch and slap tone Pete was getting out of the LM. (Before I go into how amazing the LM is, I think it should be noted that Pete personally asked Jimmy Coppolo to custom build the neck significantly fatter like a P-bass so not all LMs feel like this) It was strung with DR High Beams and even with the passive tone knob all the way open the bass never sounded too bright which is my biggest turn off in bass tone. My RA in comparison just sounded dead and flat. Just no life at all. With the tone knob open any bit over the halfway point it just sounded barky and brittle, and the slap tone was almost non-existent. It was then that I realized how dead my Black Diamond nickel rounds were and that I was slowly crawling back towards that flatwound tone….AHHHH!!!!! haha but clearly that’s just my sound and after an entire afternoon of throwing different strings on the RA to see if it could come close to the sound of the LM that was the moral at the end of the story. However, as soon as new strings went on the bass literally came alive and we realized it had much more gain output than Pete’s LM. With a set of DR High Beams we got REALLY close, but something, the paint, the weight, the neck, the color, whatever it was just made them different. The RA on the other hand is WAY warmer than the LM and with the near dead rounds on it but it somewhere between a jazz and a Precision tonally. With the fresh rounds however, the bass could totally cop the 70s jazz thing WELL and the slap tone got pretty ferocious at times. It just didn’t sound as “Marcusy” as the LM. If that’s your thing and you can get away with that in your band go for it! I would LOVE to play in a band that I could use an LM in. But unfortunately, if I showed up to a gig with that bass and started slapping my band would look at me funny like something was wrong with me. And then fire me. BUt the RA provides that fat warm fundamental with the just the perfect amount of burp and punch to poke through a mix. Either way you look at it you can’t go wrong and hands down, these are 2 of the finest basses I have ever put my hands on.

Pics and possibly video to follow!!

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