Intro and quick Kiloton review

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Intro and quick Kiloton review

Postby sdloveless » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:22 am

Hey folks,

Just a brief intro. My name's Scott and I used to play the bass. I hung it up back in the early oughts and decided to pick it up again about 3 years ago. It's stunning how much this isn't like riding a bike, in so much as I remember knowing stuff, but I just don't remember the stuff.

Anyway, a couple months ago I purchased a new-old-stock US Kiloton from a dealer via Reverb. It's a 2016, OSTB, rosewood fret board. I absolutely love it, with just a couple minor niggles. This "review" is relative to the handful of instruments I've owned over the years, which includes two USA Jazz basses, a Rickenbacker 3001 (worst bass ever), a Squier, a Lyon, a Samick, and a USA Washburn XB-900 (and a few I don't remember) . I also had regular access to an early 80s P-bass and a Peavey T-40 during high school.

I found all the good stuff people mention when talking about G&L instruments to be spot on. Fit and finish is significantly better than any other instrument I've owned. While I'm not a fan of *burst finishes, the quality of the finish itself is amazingly good. I was able set up the bass with the lowest possible action outside of adding a shim to the neck pocket. No buzzes, the PLEK job seems to be just about perfect. Playability is top notch, to the point that parts which have given me trouble on other instruments are much easier on this one.

The pickup is H O T hot! It tends to be mid-heavy, but it's certainly not a one trick pony. To my ears, it can be almost like a jazz bass bridge pickup on steroids without the annoying hum, or even approach a warm P sound when switched to single coil and played near the neck. First niggle - the tone knob is nearly useless. When rolled off more than about 10 or 15%, the sound becomes pinched and overly nasal. I've found it's best to just leave the tone knob dimed and make EQ adjustments on my amplifier. I also tend to roll off the highs when EQing this instrument, and I really think it could benefit greatly from the L-1000's circuitry. (I haven't worked up the nerve to start modifying it just yet.)

Niggle two - the G&G case is the pits. This was a factor when selecting an instrument. Budget-wise, I was looking at a new Fullerton Standard LB-100 and this Kiloton was within a few bucks of that price point. I decided on the Kiloton, at least in part, because it was heavily discounted and I figured I might not come across another quite like it any time soon. And it had a hard shell case. Not a deal-killer either way, but it did affect my decision making process. I suppose it's nice enough for regular storage or occasional transportation, but the bass kind of rattles around in there. I was much more impressed with the form fitting cases that came with my Jazz basses.

Which leads me to the LB-100. I have to make amends with my local pusher. Sometime just after the New Year I intend to order that LB-100 from them...

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and relay how happy I am with Kiloton. I'm pretty much a convert at this point.
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Re: Intro and quick Kiloton review

Postby Ken Baker » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:50 pm

sdloveless wrote:Anyway, just wanted to say hi and relay how happy I am with Kiloton. I'm pretty much a convert at this point.


Very cool! Nice looking bass. And welcome to the addiction!

Niggle 1: Yes, the Kiloton and all L Series soapbars are hot. Way hot. That heat is likely affecting how you perceive the tone control's operation. So, my usual recommendation is in order: Turn the volume on the bass down to 75-80% of full on. You'll find the bass to be a lot more controllable, expressive, and the tone control will probably work as you expect. If you still can't get the tone control to your liking, you might replace its cap with 0.1µf 50v poly cap, which is twice the value of the stock cap. Remember that the tone control is a simple treble cut, just like the passive basses you've played in the past. Also - the Kiloton is a passive bass, so unless you use a pedalboard you should keep your cable length to no more than 12 feet to avoid capacitive tone suck.

Niggle 2: I would call G&L Service regarding the case. They should fit better than that. The Kiloton has a slimmer body than, say, an L-2000, so a case should be sized appropriately.

Ken...
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Re: Intro and quick Kiloton review

Postby sdloveless » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:46 am

Thanks Ken. I will try your volume knob suggestion this evening.
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Re: Intro and quick Kiloton review

Postby bigtone23 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:24 pm

Ken Baker wrote:Niggle 1: Yes, the Kiloton and all L Series soapbars are hot. Way hot. That heat is likely affecting how you perceive the tone control's operation. So, my usual recommendation is in order: Turn the volume on the bass down to 75-80% of full on. You'll find the bass to be a lot more controllable, expressive, and the tone control will probably work as you expect. If you still can't get the tone control to your liking, you might replace its cap with 0.1µf 50v poly cap, which is twice the value of the stock cap. Remember that the tone control is a simple treble cut, just like the passive basses you've played in the past.

Ken...

This is great advice. MFD pickups are crazy hot. Running less than full volume really does help these pickups behave less aggressively.
The tone control cap is a big player, especially for basses running a pickup closer to the bridge, as this one does.
I used to have a couple Ibanez Roadstar basses with a single humbucker (in this case--a dual J, called the J6 or Super J6) in the Stingray sweet spot. They were passive with the same series/split/parallel switch, volume and tone. The stock tone cap value on these basses were .068uF. They sounded great for the application. The bigger the cap, the lower the LPF knee frequency the frequencies cut dip deeper into the mids. By the time you hit .1uF, it's leaving some bass and a touch of low mids.
I have tuned tone controls by getting a pack of five .018uF 25-50V caps. Get the smallest sized caps possible, as you start with 2 or 3 in parallel or you keep stacking them in parallel on top of the factory cap until a proper response of the control is reached. At this point, you're done. Time to rock! OR, for a simpler, cleaner look, add the cap values together and buy a cap that's closest to that value to replace that dog pile in the cavity. :D
July 1983 El Toro. Rosewood, black, alder? body. 10 pounds.
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