In the beginning, there was the Precision Bass. Following Leo Fender’s revelation, things branched out in all directions as builders experimented with the idea that the double bass could be embodied in the form of a guitar. It wasn’t long before bassists had options including semi-hollows.
Grez Guitars tips its hat to that particular sound of the ’60s with its Mendocino Short Scale Bass. Far from a one-trick pony, this stylish take on the semi-hollow bass is flexible enough for the modern bassist looking for more.
The understated aesthetic of the Mendocino belies its bona fides; the top is old-growth redwood, with Honduran mahogany body and neck – all satin-nitro finished. Weighing in at a remarkable 5 pounds, 9 ounces, our test model was well-balanced, with just a hint of neck-heaviness on a strap. The Gotoh Res-O-Lite 350 enclosed tuning machines are smooth and light, helping to keep the Mendocino’s headstock above water. The 30″-scale fretboard is Macassar ebony and sports a 12″ radius. The 15/8″ bone nut sits at the end of the comfortable C-shaped neck, and the double-cut body offers access to all 18 jumbo frets.
Light and resonant, the Mendocino is noticeably woody and acoustically bright. Armed with a pair of Curtis Novak Lipstick pickups with classic Jazz-style Volume/Volume/Tone controls, it offers a versatility unlike many of the basses to which it pays homage. The neck pickup is warm without being muddy and the bridge offers a nice, clear tone that can climb in the mix without getting too bright. Together, they provide a round tone that suits an array of genres and styles. The bass came strung with half-rounds, which are a nice middle ground between the vintage sound of flats and the modern tone of rounds. The 131/4″ body and short scale combine to make it feel much like playing a guitar. The TonePros AVR2 bridge uses Babicz saddles and a steel string anchor.
The details are impressive – fit and finish are impeccable and Grez offers a degree of customization to give the bass different looks; our tester’s pickup mounts/surrounds and control plate were walnut, but options include figured mahogany or cream parts (to match top binding). The only plastic on our tester was the tortoise binding.
This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.