TL Martinson “Eye of the Tiger” Electric Bass Part 1

Here is my saga with a bass called the “Eye of the Tiger” by TL Martinson.


I received the bass from a TalkBass forum member in 2010.  He was displeased with it and offered it up for the cost of shipping to the first taker, and that was me.

The bass is a 4-string 34″ bass in the “Artist” series. It has a single passive G&B pickup. I see no identifying information on the tuners or the bridge but the pictures will help. It has an adjustable truss rod but I didn’t try adjusting it yet.

I did a comparison of this bass to my Ibanez GSR200 4-string passive PJ bass (newer GSR200s are active; mine is the older passive one). The GSR200 has a street price of around $200, the price originally paid for this TLM bass, so it seems like a fair comparison. I bought the GSR200 used from a guy who bought it new and barely touched it. I do NOT know if it has been set up beyond the factory set up, but it plays nicely.

I tuned each bass to E-A-D-G using my chromatic tuner, then did some tests.

Intonation all over the neck:

The numbers represent the number of cents (1/100th of a semitone) the sounding pitch is above or below the desired pitch. Most people don’t notice something is out of tune until it’s +/- 12 cents off. Thus, I color coded the results: green = OK, yellow = probably OK, red = bad.

I measured the neck relief using a technique described on a bass setup website (sorry I forgot). Basically, capo the neck at the 1st fret, and hold down the string past the last fret, turning the string into a straightedge over the fretboard. I measured the maximum distance between the string and any fret using a feeler gauge.
GSR200: E .20mm @ 11th, A .20mm @ 10th, D .20mm @ 9th, G .30mm @ 9th
TLM: E .75mm @ 6th, A .65mm @ 7th, D .60mm @ 7th, G .45mm @ 7th

String height at the top of the fretboard: GSR200 1.5mm-2mm, TLM 4mm
String height at the bottom of the fretboard: GSR200 5mm-5.5mm, TLM 5.5mm

For what it’s worth, the GSR200 was about 10dB louder than the TLM overall, so I recorded with the main output of the mixer (into the PC) at 0 for the TLM and -10 for the GSR200.

Subjectively, both basses are pretty quiet regarding noise and hum. I have a Stellar Neptune 5-string that makes more noise than either one. Using my recording settings but with both basses at mixer output 0, Cakewalk was showing noise as follows:
TLM -50 hand off, -47 hand on
Ibanez -42 hand off, -48 hand on

Some more pictures:
















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Posted in Music on Sep 29th, 2013, 10:33 pm by Dennis   

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