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Brice 5 string freltess

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by glorpwolf, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. glorpwolf


    Jan 5, 2003
    Does anyone have any opinions on the Brice 5 string Fretless Rondo Music
    And what is the story with active pickups? Is that like a preamp built in. Does it make the bass a lot heavier? thanks
  2. I had one for a week before I returned it (faulty pickup). As far as I remember, those active pickups are like EMG's, meaning that the pickups themselves have an internal preamp. The volume/tone controls are passive.

    The one I had was quite light - the body wood is cheap, soft and light.

    All in all, a useable entry-level instrument, but nothing to write home about.
  3. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I'm awaiting delivery of one right now, as a matter of fact...

    I got an amber quilt 5 string fretless without fretlines. It's my first "blank plank" fretless, and I'm hoping that it's serviceable enough for gigs and such. I've heard nice things about theses basses, and I'm looking forward to checking it out in person.

    I'll post a review once I get it.

  4. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    So I've got my new Brice V2 5 string fretless in my hands right now.

    It's amber quilt - I'm not sure that I really dig this color that much, but I'm also not sure that it's worth paying for shipping again to get a different color. The maple top is thin, and the finish is pretty flawless.

    The neck is 34" scale. The string spacing is pretty narrow. 1.75" at the nut. The fretboard is rosewood, and it appears to have been treated with some stain. It comes off on your fingers the first time you play it. It has no fretlines, and the side dots are where the frets should be. It is a 2 octave neck. The back of the neck is satin finished and is not stained to match the body. Four bolts secure the neck to the body. There is no neck plate; the screws are counter sunk with ferrules. These are gold-plated as is the rest of the hardware.

    The knobs are knurled and pressed on, no set screws. The bridge appears to be a fairly large cast unit with individual saddles. The tuning keys are Gotoh style sealed units.

    The electronics are passive with vol, vol, blend, and tone controls. This setup has been discussed in the MEGATHREAD. The pickups are indeed active; there is a lead from the battery to each pickup, not to an active tone control. There is shielding paint inside the control cavity. The battery is held in place with foam double sided tape. The control cover has no separate battery compartment, and the screws are simple wood screws.

    The bass came fairly well setup, but there was too much relief, so I set about using the included hex wrenches to adjust the truss rod. I found one of the truss rod cover screws to be stripped, but I was still able to get it out. A quarter turn of the truss rod, and the relief was a lot better. I'm leaving the cover off for now because I'll probably do some more tweaking and because I'm hoping to get a replacement screw from Kurt at Rondo.

    The bass is very playable. The neck is thin front-to-back and that helps the playability. The fretboard has no obvious imperfections. The strings are not anything special, but they are round wounds and seem to be all right for now.

    The pickups are not particularly "hot", but the output is good. The range of tones are pretty straightforward. I was able to quickly dial in a pseudo-Jaco tone by favoring the bridge pickup and rolling off the tone.

    The neck pickup is a bit dark, and I think it's too high as well. I'm planning on lowering it a bit.

    The B string is pretty nice for an inexpensive bass with a 34" scale. It's not too floppy and the tone is focused and the intonation is good.

    I bought this bass as my first unlined fretless bass. It seems like it will perform admirably in that regard as a "learner."

    So far, this bass gets high marks with me, especially because it was so cheap. I'd like to see a couple of little changes though - separate battery compartment, option for black or chrome hardware, one less volume knob (a single master volume would do.)

    Kudos to Kurt for supplying us with these instruments!

    I'll take it to rehearsal and see how it sounds in a group.

  5. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I guess there isn't that much interest in these basses...

    I just got back from rehearsal, and man! This bass rocks! The tone was nice and full. Playing with the bridge pickup really cut through nicely, and it captured that growly bridge pickup sound very nicely.

    The neck is super playable, and surprisingly, my intonation was good. I suppose it's because I could actually hear myself...

    This bass is fantastic, and I would heartily suggest one to anyone who wanted to try one. I've been playing bass for about 18 yrs now, (and I still suck! ;) ) and I would say that this bass plays and sounds better than many other basses I've played.

    If the Essex basses are this nice, I understand all the hoopla now...

  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Man I'm Jonesin' for a Brice 6 string fretless. :)

    Hey mods, you can merge this into the Essex megathread if you want. May want to rename it the Essex/Brice megathread. :)
  7. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    I have a 4 string fretless unlined and I'm really happy with it.

    I just tuned it up right out of the box and it played fine. No additional setup was needed.

    I agree with the previous post, the finish on this body is flawless.