Moollon B524 (Review)

It’s been covered to death, but it bears repeating that a big swath of the high-end bass market consists of builders making idealized luxury versions of Fender’s workhorse Jazz and Precision Basses.
By Charles Alpert ,

It’s been covered to death, but it bears repeating that a big swath of the high-end bass market consists of builders making idealized luxury versions of Fender’s workhorse Jazz and Precision Basses. Among the boutique-Fenderstyle cognoscenti, South Korean luthier Young Joon Park and his Moollon basses are considered some of the very best, exhibiting an attention to vintage-Fender construction and materials detail that’s nearly unparalleled. But long before Moollon earned its Fender-style bonafides, the company produced a wide range of unique basses and effects that went far beyond the confines of the Fender-esque category. Moollon’s latest offering, the B524, reflects the synergy of Moollon’s two sides, packing a ton of classic tone into a fresh-looking instrument that still exudes a bit of that classic journeyman aesthetic. It’s a response to top Moollon artists, such as Carlitos Del Puerto, who wanted a contemporary 24-fret bass with the Moollon vibe and punch.

The B524 is a solid and substantial bass, with a plentiful body shape and meaty neck profile. Yet, the graceful and ergonomic body carving leavens its utilitarian aesthetic, conveying the overall impression of a bass that’s equal parts workhorse and show horse. Our tester included a quilted-maple top and headstock cap, a small upcharge that tilts the B524 even further in the boutique direction. Fit and finish was superb, although the fret dressing in the upper register could have used extra attention. Like its Fender-style models, the B524 benefits from Park’s extensive research into vintage materials, and features a proprietary bridge and tuners made from alloys said to mimic the formula found in old Fenders.

Some of the B524’s most interesting features come courtesy its electronics. The in-house humbuckers deserve special attention. Pickup design is one of Park’s big strengths, and our tester’s dual coils are proof. They are gutsy and high-output, but not edgy and aggressive. They smooth out beautifully when the tone is rolled off, but brim with sonorous harmonics wide open. They brighten up and cut when the situation demands it, but easily pour out creamy chocolate when that’s the ticket. Part of their vibe, no doubt, is the unorthodox (for a bass) switching scheme. Young Joon holds the Les Paul guitar circuit in high regard, believing it reveals more of the true high-frequency character of his pickups. So instead of a vol/vol/tone or vol/blend/tone arrangement, the B524 has ’60s Les Paul wiring, consisting of volume and tone for each pickup and a 3-way switch. I don’t have much of a guitar background, so it took some getting used to, but ultimately I appreciated being able to quickly switch between substantially different tones.

BIG

The durable and substantial physical feel of the B524 is perfectly echoed by its tone. It’s a phenomenally stout and punchy bass. Notes throughout its register are chock full of texture and harmonic detail, and there’s a midrange thickness and low-end solidity that’s omnipresent. It’s high-output, too, despite its relatively low 7kΩ DC resistance (DC resistance is just one of many factors that may indicate a pickup’s output). The Moollon sounds so powerful, in fact, that many players assumed it was active. While I don’t necessarily equate high output with an onboard preamp, the bass’ undeniable gutsiness does convey a zing and authority commonly associated with active basses.

Beyond its big sound, the Moollon distinguished itself with its evenness and beautiful pitch definition. While it does have a brilliant demeanor with the tone circuit flat, it also tilts its voice toward the fundamental, contributing a grounded presence in a mix. On that note, it’s a superb instrument in the studio, where its broad frequency response and thrust provide the perfect raw material to be coaxed with EQ, compression, and the million-and-one other tricks that go into making a bass work well in a mix. Folks who like to hang in the low register will love the B, which was stout and clear no matter the pickup setting. The B524’s passive circuit reveals itself a bit when the bass is slapped. Rather than sizzle like some active basses that allow for mid scoops and/or high boosts, the B524 never loses its substantial midrange heft. It sounds vintage-ish, but with a full-spectrum sheen that’s also equal parts modern.

There are few passive instruments that cop exactly the B524’s vibe. For a discerning session player and anyone who wants a strong and aggressive instrument that never sounds harsh, it ought to be given serious consideration.

SPECIFICATIONS

MOOLLON

B524
Street
$2,490
Pros One of the most solid and harmonically rich passive instruments out there
Cons High frets could have used a little work
Bottom Line A burly bass that is capable of a wide variety of pro-sounding, hit-record-making vibes. Equal parts vintage-y and new school.

SPECS

Construction Bolt-on
Body Alder
Top Quilted maple
Neck Maple w/maple headstock cap
Fingerboard Ebony
Frets 24
Neck width at nut 45mm
String spacing 19mm
Pickups Moollon dual-coil
Scale length 34”
Controls Volume, volume, tone, tone, 3-way pickup selector
Weight 9.5 lbs

Made in U.S.A.
Contact www.moollon.com