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Brice HXB 405 5 string fretless bass review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Magman, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Brice HXB 405 5 string fretless bass review

    The bad:
    Only big issue is the nut. Whoever ever cut it did a rough job (didn’t even bother to file off the bits of plastic still left hanging on from the cutting) and the slots are cut too high – probably the same height as the fretted version of the bass. I used a needle file to smooth the grooves out and bring them down a little bit. I will take them further another time. Slots were correctly spaced though. This is not a critical issue as a technician can fix it, but it lets the bass down and it would be worth increasing attention at the factory on this issue. I’d happily pay another 10 bucks for more attention to this. May be less of an isssue on fretted versions, the technician may not have known to cut lower for fretless.

    Strings were awful, but they are not part of the bass and I immediately got some SIT silencers.

    Tiny bit of wood on the headstock up by the nut not stained. Trivial.

    The good:
    Like the body, the neck has a stain poly(?) finish. Next to an oil finish, this is my ideal feel. I do not like thick gloss poly and/or paint at all. Very comfortable. Neck socket has 6 screws. Maple with rosewood board.

    Stained 3(?) piece alder, curved top, curved neck socket joint, bubinga top. Well finished. Very comfortable. I dig the shape. Its looks pretty damn nice in real life imo.

    Harware is very solid. Heavy bridge with string through. When I put the silencers the thing came alive and harmonics just jump off it – stings and the bridge I think. The input jack is heavey duty and holds the cable tightly, likewise strap buttons are solid.

    The sound is great either passive or active. I’ll try get clips posted later. I don’t like flatwound sound so the silencers are working out very well. Yes, it has growl and a paticular flavour of “mwah”, the B is deep and meaty. The bridge pickup I actually like (typically I don’t), more treble/growl comes out and the active EQ can be used to beef the bass to compensate for the loss. Boosted treble EQ brings out computer noise. Assuming the circuits are bog-standard, upgrading pickups/preamp would certainly be interesting. The pickups are not crap by any means.

    I’ve realised that I actually don’t like the clean sound of fretted basses too much,,,and tend to use overdrive to get the sort of sound I like.. I’m finding that I’m not reaching for the drive knob on my pedals as much, the basic sound has the presence and body I’ve been looking for. It also sounds good when the sans amp is switched off.
    I would have liked more volume from the pickups. They are average output I reckon, which isn’t a bad thing (I;ve heard quiter pickups can actually sound better), but for driving my Bass driver DI I still have to use a bootser pedal to get into ‘full-on’ high gain overdrive.

    I can;t wait to get a decent phaser pedal and try it out with this.

    Truss rod moved smoothly, and some adjustment to that and the bridge make for decent action. With a full setup, this thing could have very low action I think.
    It doesn’t go out of tune.

    Objective comparsions against competition in the sub-1000 range would be useful. I can’t provide that. The bass is a bargain that’s for sure. I can’t see needing to upgrade at the moment unless I want to plump for a custom built instrument. Other than nut issues previously mentioned, I don't feel like i've had to compromise by not spending 600+ dollars.

    Deans and Music-yo Tobias might make appropriate comparisons in the fretless 5 world. They may come from the same factory! J

    I wish rondo had some guitars as modern and cool as this, rather than all their Gibson clones.


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