Rivolta’s Combinata VII bass takes ideas from Rickenbacker, Höfner, and various European builders lost to history and wraps them into a four-string with a chambered mahogany body.
Working in collaboration with Eastwood Guitars, designer Dennis Fano (of Novo Guitars) dressed the Combinata with an attention-grabbing carved maple or mahogany top and scads of off-white binding. It also sports a set maple neck with 20 large frets, ebony fretboard, and aged pearloid blocks. Look for a thick gold pickguard that resembles the glass panel of a plexi amp and three Ricky-style control knobs.
The Combinata has a 32″ neck scale, offering a medium-scale feel both bassists and guitarists will enjoy. And it’s fast, with a 12″ fretboard radius, easily adaptable to finger, thumb, and pick-style approaches. Electronics include two Rivolta custom pickups, master Tone and Volume, and a Blend knob to pinpoint the mix of pickups. Keep in mind they’re single-coils, so when the blend is rolled entirely in each direction, you’ll get some 60-cycle hum. For quieter operation, leave it somewhere in the middle.
In hand, the medium C neck is swift and fun, though you may want to remove the bridge cover if palm-muting is in your repertoire. While you can derive basic Fender P-bass sounds with the tone rolled off, the Combinata VII offers plenty of midrange growl in its engine room, bringing to mind that Jazz Bass snarl (a la Geddy Lee) or snap of a Rick 4001.
With killer retro looks, a speedy neck, and tone to burn, the Rivolta Combinata VII brings a serious retro vibe – think early-’60s Euro cool with tone and attitude.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.