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Gear Talk

MTD 735 Fretted 7-String

MTD 7-String

Much of the playing on Pondering the Sushi that sounds like guitar (but perhaps with a slightly rounder tone) was done on my MTD 735. Tuned B-E-A-D-G-C-F, this 35" scale, 24-fret bass covers an exceptionally broad range. I used it extensively for playing melodies, as well as covering much of the chording & soloing.

My 735 features similar construction to my 535, having a wenge neck/fingerboard and tulipwood body, but with a flamed maple burl top. The 18-volt active electronics were custom-designed for MTD by Bartolini. As with my 535, I will definitely defer to the man himself (Michael Tobias at www.mtdbass.com) if you’re interested in detailed specs for the 735.

This instrument is simultaneously amazing, exhilarating, mind-expanding, and exhausting! I find the tone to be nothing short of stellar: it has a richness and depth that is truly inspiring, and it records incredibly well. With a fingerboard expanse that just goes on & on...the musical options seem limitless. The muting considerations are extreme, however, and much of the stuff that can be played effortlessly on a 5 requires a great deal of additional attention to play cleanly on a 7 (particularly some of the more involved slap techniques). For chording or melodic fingerstyle applications, however, I’ll reach for this bass in a heartbeat.

The 735 was featured extensively on Pondering the Sushi. Some prominent examples are the title track (#2), “I’ll Return for You” (#3), “Roxanne” (#5), the guitar-like solo on “The 7 Pearls of Monterey” (#8), and “Autumn in Kingston” (#9).

Like my 535, it is strung with MTD Stainless Steel Roundwound strings, medium (25-30-45-65-85-105-130) gauge. It also has been fitted with a wenge “slap ramp”, as have all my instruments I use for playing slap style (for further explanation, check out the MTD 535 page).

Another stunning masterpiece from Mr. Tobias...

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