The AC-Classic fretless expands on the AC-Signature’s ability to tap into the upright bass realm. Much like the Signature, the Classic has been developed in collaboration with Alain Caron over numerous years of R&D. While it still maintains the same sleek feel and expressive nature of the original, it takes our acoustic tone to new heights. The Classic confidently produces that upright bass tone, all in a much more versatile and much less cumbersome package. We dub it “the upright reinvented”.
To help us achieve an even more realistic upright tone, our Classic’s body has additional chambering that extends underneath the bridge, the top is made of Redwood (century old Redwood is available), we use a Fishman Piezo saddle pickup system, and we string up with LaBella’s Black Nylon Tapewound strings. These changes make for a darker and woodier tone with even more thump and resonance. Though note that at it’s core, we still maintain the AC-Signature’s tonal attributes that make it one of the most enjoyable fretless basses to experience—rich low end and midrange, and an attack that has each note blossoming to full volume with loads of that fretless “muah” expression.
We love a big bass sound though can’t stress enough that it has to be focused and controlled. That’s why our 5 & 6 string Classics are made with a 34.5” scale length. This 0.5” scale length extension adds clarity to the low B while maintaining a thick and musical G & C.
Our pickups take the Jazz Bass single-coil a few steps further. While the focus is still a strong midrange and clear high end, the overall tone is thicker, smoother, and with none of the grit or grain in the higher frequencies. To eliminate 60-cycle hum associated with traditional single-coils, simply pull up on the bridge pickup volume knob to engage hum-cancelling mode.
Below the Maple saddle sits a Fishman Piezo saddle pickup that’s installed in the handmade Ebony bridge. It’s controlled by a volume & dedicated tone control and emphasizes the bright and acoustic nature of the instrument. When fully dialled in they showcase that classic string clack of an upright bass.
Our preamps are handmade right here in Hamilton using discrete components (transistors, resistors, capacitors) rather than over-engineered IC chips. This helps us achieve a more open and transparent sound that allows the instrument to translate its inherent tone without colouration. Our 3-band preamp controls Bass Boost, Mid Boost, and Treble Boost. When all are set flat at 0, there is no perceivable difference from your passive tone. This makes for an extremely predictable and shape-able tool to explore tones or to simply cater to various gigging environments. The 9V pre has a low draw allowing for approximately 500 hours of play. Now if your battery happens to die in the middle of a gig—don’t fret!— you can pop up the tone control to engage passive mode.
Through careful design and consideration of each component’s weight (down to the ounce), we ensure perfect balance whether playing in the seated position or strapped in. Our treble horns are curved outwards, set further back into the body, and carved to match the curvature of the fretting hand. This allows for easier access to the end of the fingerboard and maximizes comfort in the seated position. Our Classics are also made with a slightly extended bass horn to bring the first position in a little closer when playing with a strap.
When putting so much effort into our design, finishes, and sourcing beautiful tone woods, the last thing we want is to disrupt that aesthetic flow with plastic. So we take the time to grain match pickup shells and backplate covers from the same wood used for the body. To continue this cosmetic harmony, our headstocks are also colour matched to the body or crafted with matching wood veneers for exotic topped builds.