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Overwater Artisan Bass

Article from Making Music, May 1987


You open the flight case and straight away you get the feeling this is a classy bass. Is it the perfect finish maybe, or perhaps even the smell of it! Or the beautiful simplicity of its lines? Or the way it plays, even?

Overwater are a British company who boast hand-crafted instruments with either passive or active electronics, this being their most basic model in the 'Artisan' series. You immediately spot the strap locks that are standard issue, and only after a while notice the graduated fretting (the frets themselves get smaller higher up the two octave neck) that eases playing round the top end and helps intonation. It fits snugly into the body and is well balanced when standing and playing. Adjusting the pickup height took quite a bit of strength, but it's not the kind of thing you do every day, so I'd let that pass. The pickup is positioned near the bridge and out of the way of any slapping and pulling that may occur, and the bridge itself looks very solid and sleek.

The volume and tone are well positioned, and use custom-made potentiometers. I couldn't decide whether I preferred the nearby coil tap on or off - either way great tone came forth - but a very quiet buzz could be heard in the 'on' position. There, just about the only criticism I could think of, other than maybe a slightly gawky looking headstock.

It's a beautifully simple guitar, made from one piece of mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and Schaller machine heads doing the business at the pointed end. The jack socket is in the right place on the end edge of the guitar, and keeps any chunky jack-plugs out of the way.

The Overwater's resin-covered (grained to look like wood) pickup sounds clear and well-proportioned, giving the bass the sort of tone that I hear sitting very happily in a moody soul song, doop-doo-doop. There's good low-mid, which cuts through muddy mixes, and a nice compact bottom end with no unwanted frequencies flapping around. The Artisan makes an eminently controllable noise, even when on stage, and played plenty loud.

The least expensive in the Overwater range, it doesn't produce the widest selection of sounds but those it does are great. It plays well - and it's British, dammit!


So, 600 quid for a single pickup passive circuitry guitar that doesn't even have to travel half the world to reach us? If you're looking at basses in this price range, you'll probably find that by comparison the Overwater is somewhat lacking in switches and knobs, and is thus slightly less versatile. But it is beautifully hand-built and finished, and there's an awful lot of thought that's gone into it to make it feel and sound good, and send you playing off into the sunset.


PRICE £599
BODY mahogany
NECK mahogany
PICKUP one humbucker
CONTROLS volume and tone; coil tap switch
COLOURS black/red/blue/sunburst

Previous Article in this issue

Pine Essence

Next article in this issue

Guitar Guru

Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - May 1987

Gear in this article:

Bass > Overwater > Artisan

Review by Tony Campbell

Previous article in this issue:

> Pine Essence

Next article in this issue:

> Guitar Guru

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