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Jolana Disco electric bass, made in Czechoslovakia

Jolana Disco bass is a copy of Gibson RD Artist bass. With a couple of minor differencies, of course...

Disco was produced at Krnov during the 80's. The Disco guitar had a completely different SG-type shape and one pickup.

The body is made of some wood I could not identify, but it is very light, probably poplar or fir. Neck is also made of some bright wood (probably birch), with rosewood (it's a bit lighter than usual rosewood, I've heard it's painted beech) fingerboard. Headstock have a different shape from the Gibson's, it is something in Telecaster style - they were probably recycling Iris bass necks.

"Jolana Disco bass" logo was printed on the headstock, but was many times erased by the owners. Tuners are Jolana's, and they are really cheesy. Body, with its distinctive "RD" shape, is very comfortable - both when played seated or jumping around. It is also much lighter than Gibson RD.

Adjustable bridge is very similar to Fender Jazz bass, but with bigger saddles. This bridge tends to break strings. I don't know what is exact reason for that, but strings on this bass break very often. Two soapbar pickups deliver the crappiest bass sound around, all the circuitry is passive. Bass pickup is a bit louder and much meatier than the bridge one which is really useless, with no bass frequencies at all. There are volume controls for each pickup, and if you roll off the bridge pickup completely it suddenly boosts the output level. In addition to all this pickups happened to fall slightly off the strings' axes which results in lower E-string's volume. Even if you pick it much harder, A-string always sounds fatter than E-string. The best solution to this was to use it as a 3-string bass (balalaika). I'm not sure if it's a common disease among Disco basses or is it just my specific bass.
Inside the bass there's no shielding or conductive paint, just clean wooden surfaces.

Truss rod on Jolana Disko is accessible from the headstock's side.

Specifications:
made in Czechoslovakia
body : Gibson "RD Artist" shape, unknown light wood, four pieces glued together
neck: bolt-on, rosewood fingerboard, rectangular inlay, 21 very small frets with flat crowns, zero fret, tele-style headstock with no logo
The rectangular neck plate shows "Jolana" logo. The neck is screwed to the body with 4 big bolts, and there's another, thinner bolt in the middle of the neck plate also holding the strap knob.
Nut:Black plastic, very deep slots (about 1.5 string diameter)
pickups: two passive Jolana's with black plastic covers, with an image of "humbucker" - it's divided in the middle and shows two oval shapes (see closeups). From the rear side pickups are filled with some sort of paraphine, so noone can see their real structure. I'm not sure these are humbuckers because they produce strong hum when soloed. This type of pickup was used on several 80's Jolana models.
hardware: chrome, Jolana own production.
controls: two volumes - for each pickup. Control knobs are Gibson transparent style.

A rare sunburst finish on this Disco, with serial number 1788. Most of the Discos were red, some were black.

Red Jolana Disco, pictures from ebay. The bass is completely stock, with only one funny modification: the owner of the bass probably hated the word "disco" so he erased it from the headstock logo.


Credits:
This guitar comes from
"Lordbizarre's electric guitar and amp museum"
Rock! electric guitar and amplifier repair
Leuven, Belgium, Europe.
www.LordBizarre.com
Gibson RD Artist bassJolana Disco bass
Gibson RD and Jolana Disco.
Not exactly the same.
Click here to see Krist Novoselic
of Nirvana playing his Disco!
A body closeup. Control knobs are not stock. Pay attention to the "humbucker" ornament on plastic pickup covers.
Another body closeup. I think I like Jolana design more than Gibson's. Just look at this curvy pickguard! And RD is very heavy. Some people say Gibson RD sounds good, but I don't beleive them.
Headstock's back. One tuner is missing. Jolana tuners look pretty much the same on all guitars and basses. Bass tuners are relatively small - about two times smaller than Fender bass tuners.

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