Jolana Vikomt Bass
Czechoslovakia, 1973. Wine red refinish over factory white.  
Made in Krnov, a town in North Moravia with a history of
musical instrument manufacturing.

The Vikomt is the single-pickup cousin of the Iris Bass, which is
the same bass but with two pickups and a nifty chickenhead
selector switch.  These seem to have originally come in
sunburst, redburst (red-to-black) and white, not sure about
other factory options.  I normally am not interested in
refinished instruments but made an exception in this case. The
refinish is not great but it was Czechoslovakia in the early ‘70’s
and there may not have been a lot of high quality spray paints
available. It was carefully done and the bass must have been
taken apart completely. Otherwise all original, except it is
missing a chromed metal handrest behind the pickup.

The pickup is bright and clear and the hardware is quite heavy
but I was surprised to find that the bridge is actually floating
and can be placed where needed for marginally improved
intonation, although the individual saddles also have a tiny
amount of adjustment capability.  Floating bridge setups on
solidbody instruments seem to have lasted a long time in
German and Eastern European manufacturing. This is indeed a
solidbody; the F-hole with the Jolana label inside is only slightly
deeper than the top hole itself and so it is purely cosmetic.  

Another interesting feature is the painted fingerboard,
presumably to make it look more like rosewood or ebony from
a distance; the neck is presumably beechwood.  The neck-end
strap button also unscrews to reveal a small flathead
screwdriver, which will work on all screws on the bass except
the largest ones holding the neck on.  

At 30 ½” scale it feels small and lightweight, although very
sturdily built.  This bass flew from Slovakia to the U.S. in a
cardboard box with bubble wrap but no case, with no issues.  
Overall the neck and fretboard feels similar to American budget
basses of the ‘60’s; think Kay, Harmony and Danelectro and you
will be in the right range of comparison.  I restrung this with
Rotosound flats and it is just fine for rockabilly, R & B, blues or
jazz. This came with ancient flatwound strings, one of which
had a tiny brass ferrule with a set screw as a homemade “ball
end,” perhaps used due to a lack of proper strings being