A No-Compromise Bass Guitar Built for the Road
By Marty Paule
A full 32” scale and the aggressive growl of Duncan Designed Mustang-style pickups give the TB-4P Travel Bass full-size performance with overhead-compartment portability.
Ever checked your bass in at the airport and said a little prayer that it would emerge intact from the luggage hold? Have you invested serious bucks in a bulletproof road case in the hope it might survive the rough and tumble treatment administered by knuckle-dragging baggage handlers? Written off short-scale basses as being too big a tradeoff in tone and playability?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Traveler TB-4P Travel Bass has got your name on it. From its familiar deep cutaway body to a pair of growly yet articulate pickups, it’s a bass built to satisfy while being compact enough to stow in the overhead compartment.
Jeff Garvin of Traveler Guitar offers an overview of the TB-4P Travel Bass
Where’s the headstock?
The first time you lay eyes on the TB-4P you’re likely to do a doubletake. The maple neck and alder body look pretty much like any traditional big-name bass guitar. But wait a minute, where’s the headstock? Closer scrutiny reveals what’s going on. In order to make this bad boy travel-friendly, the headstock has been replaced with four body cavities, each holding a tuner in a configuration that mirrors the typical two-on-a-side headstock. With the headstock gone, this axe comes in just shorter than a yardstick at 35-¼”.
The strings are routed through the P-style bridge, over a set of rollers, and then follow a channel in the back of the body to the machines embedded in their four cavities. The tuning machines themselves are chrome and have a 14:1 gear ratio with sealed mechanisms for reliable tuning stability and precision. Truss rod adjustments are easily performed by accessing a set screw in the end cap at the top of the neck. The ball-end strings also anchor in the end cap.
Bassist Andres Rotmistrovsky talks about negotiating New York’s subway and cutting two albums with the TB-4P.
OK, it can travel, but how does it play?
Glad you asked. The 32”-scale neck has a comfortable profile, while the ebonized rosewood fretboard is sleek and begs for those fast Entwistle-style moves. At a svelte 6-½ lbs., this is among the more shoulder-friendly basses you’ll ever play. As you navigate the frets, you’ll be impressed by the response of the Duncan-Designed MM-101 Mustang-style pickups. In the lower registers they’ve got plenty of chest-pounding fatness and depth while upper registers deliver definition and punch to spare.
Built for practice and play-along fun too
Knowing that hauling an amp along when traveling isn’t always possible,Traveler has built in a headphone amp and jack together with aux-in input. That means you can enjoy silent practice anywhere, anytime; just bring along a pair of headphones or earbuds. You can also connect your MP3 player for jamming along with your favorite tunes or rehearsing with band tracks. Of course it’s also got a standard ¼” out for connecting your amp.
Onboard headphone and auxiliary jacks make for easy silent practice and jam-along fun with your favorite tracks.
All this and a deluxe gig bag too
A travel bass would hardly be worthy of its name without a decent gig bag. Traveler Guitar has you covered by including a deluxe gig bag that’s thickly padded with 10mm of foam and has a couple of outer pockets for headphones, music, and your MP3 player.
All you need to supply is your fingers and bass chops, the TB-4P will take care of the rest.
Features & Specs
- Neck: Maple
- Body: Alder
- Fingerboard: Ebonized rosewood
- Frets: 22-Jumbo
- Scale Length: 32"
- Fingerboard Inlays: Pearloid
- Neck Width at Nut: 1-3/4"
- Body Width: 10-3/4"
- Body Thickness: 1-5/8"
- Overall Depth: 2-5/8"
- Length: 35-1/4"
- Weight: 6lb., 8oz.
- Pickup: Duncan Designed MM-101 Mustang-type bass pickups
- Hardware: Chrome 14:1 Gear Ratio (closed gear)
- Electronics: Headphone Amp/input and Aux-in
Tags: Electric Bass