Spector brings its famous curved body to the acoustic bass guitar in the form of the new Timbre Series. The design comes from the mind of legendary luthier Stuart Spector himself, who applied his decades of electric bass-building experience to the acoustic table. As one might expect, the Timbre is sleek and sexy, with a single rounded cutaway. Perhaps unexpected is the smallish, offset soundhole (often associated with Tacoma instruments) that Spector cut into the upper front bout of the Timbre’s solid Sitka spruce top. It’s available in three matte finishes—black, walnut, or natural—and the latter shone brightly and beautifully on the instrument we received.
In hand, the Timbre felt sturdy and strong, and even a bit on the heavy side. It’s a fully fledged long-scale instrument designed to deliver plenty of snap and boom from its relatively big body. The Timbre’s headstock looks rather typical of Spector’s electric hallmark, yet it appears natural and copacetic with the rest of the acoustic instrument. Actually, the neck seemed very much like a standard Spector neck bolted onto to an innovative acoustic body.
In play, the Timbre’s fingerboard felt smooth, and the action was super easy. As a matter of fact, it was too easy, and the low action was making the strings rattle over the frets. That was easily rectifiable with a couple tweaks of the trussrod via an allen wrench. Once I found a nice balance of playability and tone, I had a ball running licks and creating chords all over the neck from the lowest to highest positions. Playing fingerstyle or with a pick anywhere near the broad rosewood bridge made notes leap out, and the way the fingerboard overlapped the body provided a nice thumbrest when I wanted to achieve a more rounded sound.
The Timbre’s overall acoustic characteristic was strong, bold, and well defined. The mahogany back and sides provided a rich, dry quality, and the bass’ whole being was super resonant. Its long-scale snappiness, combined with its woody resonance, was so strong that the Fishman Presys+onboard preamp was rattling a bit when I let low open strings ring. I was able to quell it for the most part by reaching inside, moving the battery around inside its compartment, and creating a little shim with a piece of a business card between the battery and the rest of the housing. Projection was a main point of fascination as others and I took turns playing and listening to the Timbre during a campfire jam. The offset soundhole placement and inner-body design made the player hear every ounce of low end without it being overly boomy. The listener sitting across heard a more focused, present tone. I didn’t have a chance to record with the Timbre, but a lot of tones could be achieved via various microphone placements.
I auditioned the Timbre’s onboard Fishman electronics via a new Fender Rumble 40 1x10 combo. I found the Sonicore pickup super natural-sounding, not quacky like many piezo pickups. The Presys+ preamp was equipped with an onboard tuner that came in handy, and it had plenty of tone-sculpting capability, but not much was required as the straightforward sound worked perfectly well. Essentially, when you plug it in, the Timbre transforms readily into a solid-sounding electric bass.
Players of all stripes should audition a Spector Timbre. It’s a full-blown, real-deal bass, not some small-scale approximation just good enough for acoustic practice purposes sitting around the house. The Timbre delivers the snazzy look, smooth playability, and ballsy tone you’d expect from a Spector, and it does so at a very reasonable price considering its quality and capability.
Timbre acoustic bass guitar
Pros Sexy design; easy playability; bold, punchy tone, both acoustically and electrified
Cons A bit of rattle from onboard preamp
Bottom Line A solid competitor in its price range, and very affordable considering the designer.
Body Solid Sitka spruce top, laminated mahogany back & sides
Fingerboard Rosewood with dot markers
Scale length 34"
Neck width at nut 1.5"
Electronics Fishman Sonicore pickup with Fishman Presys+ onboard preamp
Controls VOLUME, BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE, NOTCH, BRILLIANCE, PHASE button, TUNER button
Weight 6.5 lbs
Made in China