Dragonfly bass guitars are made by the Japanese business Harry’s Engineering, which employs bass builders who formerly worked for Aria in the 1980s.
Dragonfly CS-5/345 may appear simple at first glance, but its materials, construction, finishing, and electronics package indicate otherwise, especially when it comes to coaxing some suitably striking tones from it.
Build Quality of Dragonfly CS-5/345
The Dragonfly CS-5/345’s physical characteristics are appealing, with a novel headstock design, a pleasantly rounded body shape, and a large bottom cutaway that allows easy access to the higher frets. Body contouring is, to say the least, restricted, with only slight rear shaping and none to the upper body bout on the front face.
The bass, on the other hand, is firmly built and well-assembled, and at 8.6 pounds (3-9 kilogrammes), it’s not a backbreaker, which isn’t always the case with five-strings. The satin finish on the two-piece maple body timber and maple and walnut laminated neck gives the bass an organic feel.
The maple and walnut neck has a shallow D-shaped profile and is particularly comfortable to play in terms of five-string necks – Dragonfly CS-5/345’s neck fits like a glove. The 48mm nut width indicates a broad pau ferro fingerboard, yet it works because of the small profile, which, when combined with the 19mm string spacing at the bridge, makes for a very comfortable playing experience.
The degree of workmanship is really outstanding from top to bottom, and with no harsh frets along either edge of the neck, player comfort is reinforced with a high level of playability.
The three-ply black scratchplate, abalone position marks with white dots on the side of the neck, and gold Gotoh hardware give the instrument a fairly conventional feel with a glam edge.
The bridge provides through-body and top-loading stringing, and feels and functions solidly, giving the feeling of reliability that you would expect from Gotoh.
Don’t be put off by the comprehensive control arrangement, which includes volume, pickup balance, and tone knobs, as well as a three-band EQ and active/passive and mid-frequency switches.
Sounds And Playability of Dragonfly CS-5/345
With maple, walnut, and pau ferro timbers, you’d expect this bass’s natural tone characteristics to be full of bounce and brightness. Those characteristics are definitely present, but the walnut and pau ferro provide a softer, less abrasive element to the tone.
The Dragonfly CS-5/345 has a vibrant resonance and powerful sustain when plugged into an amp with the EQ set flat on both the amp and the bass. When panned centrally, the DFSB single-coil pickups have a warm bite, while the neck-biased unit sounds well-rounded yet with the typical single-coil spring in its step.
The bridge unit of Dragonfly CS-5/345 has a dynamic sound with the expected mid-bias, yet it never sounds thin. The three-band EQ is a mixed bag: the bass EQ is firm and forceful, while the mid-frequency selections provide the bass with a wide range of options and a noticeable snarl.
The treble EQ, on the other hand, is overly courteous. If you’re looking for a cutting, glassy top end, you might be disappointed. However, the passive options are robust, and the passive tone control is useful in providing the player with workable tones with varied degrees of light and shade.
String and note volume are uniform over the entire neck, with the exception of the low B string, which performs a bit fuzzy. Otherwise, the bass plays admirably and should appeal to a wide range of players.
Surprisingly, for a bass weighing less than nine pounds, the Dragonfly has a pronounced headstock bias: even when strapped, the bass prefers to sit horizontally across the player’s body. However, the instrument’s playability is unquestionable.
So we have a bass with some fantastic parts that is pleasurable to play as a whole. It could become more desirable with a few little changes. Dragonfly basses are made to order, so if your interest has been peaked, look online for more alternatives for your own unique construction.