By: Robert Cavuoto
Before I played one note on the Cort Gene Simmons Punisher 2 Bass I needed to properly prepare for the occasion. I first needed to re-acquaint myself with Kiss’ Destroyer and secondly, and most importantly, I needed to be wearing a Kiss make-up era shirt. You may be asking yourself why a make-up era shirt when the original Punisher was first introduced by Gene Simmons in 1992-93 during Kiss’ Revenge album? The answer is simple, I wanted too!
When the bass arrived, the first thing that caught my attention and really impressed me was the custom case. It’s extremely light weight yet very strong. The bass is encapsulated within a hard plastic mold which truly protects it just like any hard shell case. (I don’t think the case and bass combined, weigh more than 20 pounds.) I assumed that if I applied pressure to the case, that I would be able to touch the bass or at least apply pressure to it. This was not so. I was actually pressing down on the hard molding that held the bass snug and secure. Not only is it strong but extremely eye catching too, with half of Gene’s face across the front!
Now I have to be honest, I’m a real fanatic of signature series guitars and basses. Simply put, I love emulating my heroes. Plus I always feel that signature series have a very strong collectability and in many cases increase in value over time. I have several signature models from Paul Stanley, Nikki Sixx, and George Lynch and I love them all.
Before we get into the technical specs of the Punisher, let first get into the most important aspect to me, the sound. When I plugged it in and began to play the opening riff to “God of Thunder,” the sound was monstrous. It was a full rich sound with great tone across both pick-ups, which was surprising considering how small and sleek the body is. Gene is a larger than life guy so I naturally assumed that the bass would be big and heavy. It sounded great across a wide variety of songs and musical styles, not just on Kiss songs.
Whether I was using a pick for rock songs like Van Halen, or playing with my fingers for Rush songs, or even funk slap style, everything sounded great and balanced as I ran it clean through my amp. The bass is equipped with two Mighty Mite pick-ups. There is a MMJB-R pick-up in the bridge position and a MMPB-4 in the neck position. The MMPB-4 is in perfect position to rest your thumb and play with your fingers. The three way toggle switch, volume, and tone lend itself nicely to a lot of great variety in tone.
The bass touts a mahogany body with a bolt on C shaped maple neck and rosewood fretboard with a 15 ¾ radius. It has a 24 frets and the deep cut away which allows me to easily reach the 23rd and 24th frets – a real bonus. The neck has pearl diamond inlays just like Gene’s, and the detail in the paint and set up is just like the Demons. The action is set low and plays real smooth with no fret buzz that I could feel or hear.
I must say the weight of the bass is also balanced perfectly between the neck and body. I can’t tell you how many basses I strap on and have to catch the neck before it sinks to the floor and my left arm is tired after an hour of jamming. This bass stayed where I left it.
I’ve truly enjoyed playing this great bass for the past few weeks as I strolled down memory lane with all my favorite Kiss tunes. I love the way Cort stayed true to Gene’s original design and attention to detail. It will be released in May 2011 with a suggested list price of $799. This is extremely reasonable in today’s standards for quality guitars and basses. If you plan to play this in your band or just hang on a wall as collector piece, you won’t be disappointed. I Love it….Loud!