Published 8 months ago on November 10, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Mayones Cali 4

MSRP: (UK) £1208 / (US) $TBC

Mayones' goal and intention is to save as much wood as it can in the production pipeline— that's where the Cali comes in. Built from leftovers of quality woods used for our full-size instruments, it might be half the size of a custom series bass, but it carries the same design philosophy & great tone, playability and highest attention to built quality and ergonomy. Nick Jennison reviews the Mayones Cali 4.

Have you ever taken time to consider where the wood that your bass is made out of comes from? Good tonewoods are hard to come by, especially "blanks" big enough to make a long-scale bass guitar. Even then, there's often a lot of wood left over once the neck and body have been cut - not big enough to make a full-sized instrument, but still perfectly good. Mayones have a solution to this problem, and it comes in the form of the Cali 4.

Named after the Caledonius, the single-cutaway bass that lends it's distinctive design to the Cali 4, this small-but-perfectly-formed instrument is built to the same high standards using the same methods and materials as Mayones's full-size models, except that it's tiny! It's a diminutive 21" in length from strap button to headstock, with a 17" scale length that's exactly half the length of a typical 34" scale bass. In fact, it's exactly like playing from fret 12 upwards on your normal bass - including the tuning!

Finishes and choices of woods are limited, since these instruments are made as and when the woods are available. As such, the choice of finish and materials are left to the luthier who actually makes the instrument. This model sports maple & mahogany 5-piece through-neck construction, black limba body wings and a very pretty flamed top in a custom purple burst, but you're just as likely to see walnut, wenge, spruce, or any of a whole variety of woods.

The single pickup is an Aguilar DCB 3 Humbucker, with a master volume and active 3-band EQ in the form of a centre-notched mid pot and a stacked centre-notched dual concentric pot for treble and bass. These controls are very powerful and musical, offering a surprising level of versatility! Diming the bass and pulling out some mids, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were playing a full-size bass, while a push in the mids produces a growly, vocal soloing voice.

As if the tiny size and outrageous quality didn't already make the Cali 4 the perfect travel/practice bass, the on-board headphone amp seals the deal. Built directly into the bass's body with an 1/8" TRS mini-jack socket and powered from the same rechargeable power pack as the active EQ, the headphone amp is turned on and off with a mini-toggle switch to save power when you're not using it. It sounds fantastic, with an even, clean tone across the whole frequency spectrum that's easy to sculpt with the powerful onboard EQ.

The Mayones Cali 4 is probably the best-built "mini-instrument" I've ever laid hands on. It's every bit as high-end as its bigger siblings, but in a package that's perfect for travelling, practice or even just having a different voice in your arsenal. It's incredibly cute, too!

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