It's over six years since we were first invited into the quirky world of Trevor Wilkinson's Italia instruments, with designs that combined classic Americana with authentic '60s Euro-tack, with finishes that ranged from psychedelic accordion plastic to creamy pastels. The basses were the Silvertone-ish Mondial and the Hagstrom-esque Maranello, and both are still on the Italia roster in all their unaltered glory, as are the four-lipstick P-style Modulo and the Ampeg-influenced Imola. This month, we're reviewing the Korean-made Rimini.
The Rimini's agathis body with its single stylised f-hole is highly reminiscent of a Rickenbacker 4005, especially in the three Rick-alike sunbursts available on this Deluxe version. Both the top and bottom edges are bevelled from the waist round to the neck joint. Just like a Rick, this bass has been made by hollowing out the main section – which in this case is made of agathis – from the rear, and then applying a flat back… which is not agathis, but two pieces of ash. Care has been taken with the bookmatching to match each half's swirling grain pattern as closely as possible, and the yellowy white plastic binding frames the back very nicely. The resulting semi-acoustic construction should increase the thud factor and bring more earthy acoustic detail to the party. Neither the ribcage nor forearm contact points are chamfered, but as the body is less than 40mm deep, playing comfort is fine.
In a similar vein to Ibanez's Artcore AGB200, the neck joint is of the glued or 'set' variety, and the maple neck is surprisingly slim and fast for a semi-acoustic. At the furthest extremity is an oblong headstock with a slight bulge on its bottom corner. Two pairs of chrome Italia tuners with unusual oval buttons line the top and bottom edges, with a silver plastic badge bearing the maker's name in between. The headstock is slanted rather than recessed to create just enough break angle for the strings as they cross the nut, and the rosewood fingerboard carries 22 medium nickel frets. Although block markers are the main positioning aids, there's a single secondary abalone dot tagged on for good measure: while definitely individual, this detail looks a bit untidy. More cream binding lines the edges of the fingerboard, with small black plastic dots on the top. A tune-o-matic bridge is allied with a chunky chrome tailpiece for string anchoring duties.
It'll come as no surprise that the Rimini's electronics are passive. They're coupled to a pair of Wilkinson mini humbuckers with the one in the neck position almost butted up to the fingerboard, again just like a Rick 4005. The controls are simpler, though, with two volumes and just one tone, all handily numbered from 1-10 and situated on a quirky off-white plastic plate – simply perfect for the Rimini's overall vibe.
Description: Semi-hollowbody bass. Made in Korea
Build: Chambered agathis body with ash back, set maple neck with 22 medium nickel frets, rosewood fingerboard. Chrome hardware, inc. Italia die-cast tuners and tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece
Electrics: Passive with two Wilkinson Bass Mini Humbuckers. Two volumes and one tone control
Finishes: Honey sunburst, cherry sunburst, tobacco sunburst
Range Options: Standard model: black, cream, blue, green or red, £399. Classic model: grey pearl, white pearl or blue pearl, £449
Scale length: 864/34"
Width of neck:
12th fret 56mm
Depth of neck:
1st fret 20mm
12th fret 22.5mm
Action as supplied:
12th fret treble 2mm
12th fret bass 3mm
Contact: Arbiter Group Ltd
020 8202 1199
Build Quality 18/20
Value for money 16/20