Kona Guitars KWB4Z Bass KWB 4-String Electric Guitar
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- 9-volt battery included
- Constructed from quality tone woods
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Bass. 4-Sting Electric. Constructed from quality tone woods. Beautiful hand rubbed open grain finishes. Neck through body design. Nato and body wood 24" Fret neck. Rosewood fingerboard with nickel-silver frets. Polished nickel plated brass bridge and saddles. Active Wilkinson lic. pickups, requires 9-volt battery (included). Large double-row pole pieced humbucking pickups offer a big fat and funky bass tones.
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To start, the bass arrived quickly and was well protected against the ravages of disgruntled UPS gorillas. There was no damage. But the bass is made in China. If you have experience with buying stuff made in China you may have noticed the dreadful quality control issues that have surfaced there the last couple years. This bass is evidence of some of that.
While the zebrawood body is nice to look at, it isn't as yellow as seems in the picture, it's more brown. And the wood grain on the headstock isn't the same as the body's, it's finer. None of this is a deal killer, just an observation that it's not really a "high dollar" looking bass.
The first problem I noticed was severe fret buzz coming from the D and G strings, 8-9 frets above the octave. It turned out the frets weren't fully seated in the finger board. Taking the strings off I was able to tap them back down to where the problem disappeared. But this didn't help the rough finish of the fret ends - some of which stuck out uncomfortably. I really noticed this after playing it for about five minutes. I was able to take care of most of this problem by carefully filing them down. They're not sticking out like thorns now and once I set it up properly it actually plays and sounds pretty good. But all of this took several hours to remedy. Call me old fashioned but I don't think you should have to fix things you bought brand new.
Another problem I discovered was its tendency to neck dive. When it's strapped on, the neck likes to wander downwards. Every minute or two I have to readjust it. This is probably because the upper horn is short. I don't think I've ever had a bass that neck dives as bad as this one does. Which is kind of strange because the zebrawood body is fairly heavy and you'd think it'd counterbalance that, but it doesn't. Gonna have to get a suede strap to fix that problem.
The good things about the Kona is the nice looking zebrawood, and the nice hardware that comes with it. The knobs, tuners and bridge all look fine. That and the bridge is great because simply by loosening strings you can pop them off. You don't have to pull them out through holes in the bottom and risk scratching the finish. Also, I believe it came with Rotosound rounds.
The best thing about the KWB4Z is its Wilkinson pierced humbuckers. They are good! It sounds mighty and you get good tone definition and quality from top to bottom; and the low notes will rattle your teeth. It's one the ballsier sounding basses I ever had.
So, it's been a mixed bag. On one hand I did OK in the end. On the other hand, because of the quality control issues of stuff made in China, as another reviewer here observed, I can't honestly recommend it. I had to put a fair amount of work into mine - and it could still use some finishing touches. The one you buy could be a ten pound lemon.
-Very good looking.
-Feels very solid.
-The Wilkinson pickups are great.
-The strings it came with were bad, but I replaced them with some D'Addario flatwounds and they sound fine.
-The 5th through 12th frets were overhanging the fretboard and were VERY sharp. That was easily fixed with a file in about 10 minutes, but it was frustrating because when you buy something you expect it be a finished product.
All in all a good bass for the money if you don't mind shredded fingers and putting in some work yourself.
1). The control knobs are not well seated. On my last one, each of the pots would turn when you turned the volume or tone knobs until the wiring pulled and stopped it. My latest one felt similarly, but I removed the knobs and tightened up the fittings on it before it became a problem. This is easy to fix, but you shouldn't have to fix a new instrument.
2). The knobs are push-ons and some of them seem like they were "pushed on" with a sledge hammer. The knobs were very tight against the wood and didn't turn freely at first. I was worried I would scratch the wood just by trying. I had the same issue with my last one too. I removed the knobs and replace the cheap looking silver ones with some nice adjustable Rosewood knobs I got from Grizzly on Amazon and it looks a works much better,
3). I don't really care for the saddles on the bridge. They function as intended, but are a little difficult to adjust. I wasn't able to get the action of the bass quite as low as I would have liked, but its close enough.
4). There are no instructions for the electronics or for the adjustable pieces of hardware, just a diagram of the parts of the bass like body, neck, tuners, bridge, etc. Most experienced players can figure these out in a few minutes, but a novice might be lost.
This bass is excellent for the money compared with the larger band names. With a little time and a minor investment you can have a really nice bass. With a little more of an investment you can have a great bass.