Matt Lawton takes a closer look at a unique 5-string from a British
custom builder.

Design

The Caiman T-5 is a striking design from UK builder, Paul Everson. Having worked as a gigging bass player for nearly 20 years, and with a background in mechanical engineering, Paul began making basses professionally in 2006 and currently builds one or two instruments each month, totally by hand, using traditional techniques. The Caimen’s flowing body is shaped from some beautiful tonewoods. A slender, elongated upper horn gently curves over the bass strings, while a squared-off, stubby horn on the treble side allows easy access to all 24 frets. The stylish headstock mirrors the ergonomic curves of the body, with an attractive veneer to match the walnut and rosewood top woods. The maple neck has a fairly thin profile, which allows for a low action, meaning that you can play with a more sensitive technique and gain extra control over dynamics. It has a slender 43mm spacing at the nut and a string spacing of 16.5mm making for a really accessible 5-string for bassists with smaller hands. The dark ebony fingerboard looks even better, in our opinion, by framing it with cocobolo binding. Another of the great highlights of the Caimen are its Seymour Duncan single-coil pickups, which are wired to a 3-band active EQ. The Hipshot Style A bridge is a top-loading unit that allows both the spacing and the height of the individual strings to be adjusted. Gotoh machineheads take care of tuning duties.

Sounds

TGet up close and personal to any bass produced by Paul and you can’t deny that his instruments appear to be immaculately built. Step back a little, however, and it’s just as obvious that he also has an excellent eye for the right kind of curve in the right place. His background in mechanical engineering is a big help here. The Caiman T-5 feels very comfortable in use and nicely balanced on the strap. There’s also a little bit of a ‘what’s going on here?’ moment when you first plug in. It has a very clear and well-defined sound that really jumps out of the amp. Using the active EQ, you can refine the overall sound without compromising the natural characteristics of the wood. The four control knobs are neatly grouped together and comprise master volume, pickup blend, a mid control and a stacked bass/treble control. With the EQ set flat and both pickups turned up full, the Caiman sounds fantastic. The active circuit gives the range of traditional single-coil sounds an incredible boost, and the low-end bass sounds carry a real weight to them. The T-5 could comfortably sit in with any genre from up-front pop or jazz to reggae and funk. On top of stunning looks and flawless construction, the Everson Caimen T-5 offers wonderful playability and tones that display a rare clarity and refinement. Paul Everson is a man who really knows what he’s doing and it certainly shows.

Spec Points

Built in: UK
Scale length: 864 mm (34-inches)
Neck:3-piece quarter sawn maple & ebony, bolt-on
Fingerboard: Ebony with cocobolo binding
Body: Maple, rosewood & ebony, walnut & rosewood top
Pickups: 2 x Seymour Duncan
Controls:1 x volume, 1 x blend, Seymour Duncan 3-band active EQ
Machine heads: Gotoh
Bridge: Hipshot Type A
Finish: Natural, satin oil
Weight: 4.5kg (9.9lbs)