I went to Bass Northwest in Seattle and played Sadowskys,
Mike Lulls, G&L L2500s and everything else I could get my
Really, Ive only begun to explore the possibilities, but I can say
this: the MK-21 is a beautiful, professional-quality instrument
with a reasonable price tag. It produces studio quality tone and
gives you every opportunity to be a better player.
Model Year: 2001
Price: $2500.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Mike Kinal
Ive had my new MK-21 for almost two weeks, and I know its
the best bass Ive ever owned.
Yes, reviewers typically say positive things about the gear they
own because theyre looking to validate their purchasing
decision. But let me put this review in perspective.
Ive been playing music since I was a kid. Picked up a guitar at
15 and began bass playing shortly afterward, in 1968. I bought
a Fender Precision in 69, a hand-made Elias fretless in the
early 80s and a G&L L2000 in 87.
In honor of my 50th birthday, I ordered a hand-made Mike Kinal
five string. Ive played two rehearsals and three gigs with it. And
mmmmmmmm, it's a good thing.
In all fairness, I must say my L2000 was (still is) the perfect
transitional instrument from my Precision to the Kinal. While my
Pre only had one sound (albeit a good one) it had a good wide
neck and was a real workhorse. My L2000 has an identical flat
neck, two humbucking pickups and a pre-amp. The Kinal, on
the other hand, has a fifth string, a longer scale (34.5"), a neck
to die for, and a much better Bartolini three-band pre-amp.
Id been wanting a five-string for years but kids, mortgages and
life got in the way. Then I read a positive review of Mike Kinals
MK-5 in Bassplayer Magazine. He got the editors "Best Buy"
award, and I realized his shop was just a few miles from my
home in Vancouver!
So I went to see him. I told him I played mostly R&B, some pop
and jazz, and I showed him my L2000. He told me he was
developing a new model, the MK-21. You can see a prototype
at www.kinal.com go to new instruments. My bass has the
pickups and controls of the fretless MK-5 on the left and the
black & chrome hardware of the MK-21 on the right.
The neck is a bit wider than usual, 1 7/8 inches at the nut, but
that's what I wanted. Mike set the action far lower than I'm used
I've raised the saddles but I'm learning to use a lighter touch. I
have to stretch a wee bit further at the nut between frets and
up the neck between strings, but I'm learning to love it.
Unplugged it rings like a piano. Plugged in, with the pre-amp off
and the coil-split back pup it sounds like a vintage jazz bass.
Add the pre-amp and you can go from warm and fat to Marcus
Miller deep and sweet, and everything in between. The
thumb-style slap and pop sound is to die for. My band mates
think this bass sounds like synth. I think its rich and sweet.
I use an SWR Sm400s amp and an Eden 4x10 cab.
Haven't has the bass for long, but it appears to be extremely
well built. Needless to say, I won't be bashing it around!