Simply tweaking the Defender’s coil tap switches and the Vintagizer uncovers a myriad of options. Turn the Vintagizer towards the neck, and the D'Alegria sounds progressively darker and low-mid biased – great for blues and smooth straight-eighths rock grooves. The coil-taps give a plethora of further options: flick both up for a earthy P-Bassisms, or leave them in the central position for a touch more zing. Our favourite setting is with toggle switches down and the Vintagizer on the bridge notch, so we’re focusing on that setting from here.
The twin pickup/flat EQ tone is crisp and crunchy with excellent width and clarity in lower registers. There’s plenty of harmonic life up top and a slight high-mid sheen which adds gloss to thinner strings. The soloed neck pickup is growling and earthy with a wicked snarl and open, natural highs; the bridge pickup is equally pleasing, with plenty of burpy, high-mids for fingerstyle funk and bags of width.
Cranking up Bass EQ is a joy on each pickup setting, inducing a superb combination of silky sheen and clarity in twin mode – perfect when you need a well-defined tone with no interference from fixtures and fittings. It’s also fairly seismic, as is the neck setting, but here the acoustic qualities ignite a crushing retro-rock sound. Doing the same with the bridge pickup dulls the nasal edge a little, adding girth to the funky definition.
Boosting Middle on this setting is akin to spending 12 rounds with Joe Calzaghe, and smoother funk is easily found by backing it off. Boosting Middle on the remaining settings tightens up the overall sound, accentuating the snarling aggression and lending a pleasing edginess to the neck mode, with more harmonics but a slightly metallic cutting edge on the twin setting that might just be a boost too far. Treble EQ adds lustre to each pickup variation, bringing out the high mid bias of the twin option but without ruining the sound. There's extra rasp and clarity from the neck and increased snap from the bridge pickup with the improvement in audible tonal detail on both being especially satisfying. Slappers amongst you may crave a little more natural openness when popping the G string, but this is a minor gripe.