Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Brice V2 Fretless 6-String Upgrade Completed!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WaltS, Feb 1, 2004.


  1. WaltS

    WaltS

    Nov 24, 2003
    Edit: Pics added as requested :)

    Hey All!
    Long time lurker, first time poster. I've seen a few posts here and there regarding upgrading pickups and electronics on the Brice V2 6-string fretless, but nothing from anyone who's actually done it. Thought I'd use my first post here to fill that void.

    I won't go into a review of the bass itself, except to say that it was very solid and quite playable when it arrived. Only problems were factory strings and cheap electronics (not to mention the real estate wasted by having two pickup volume controls AND a pan, but a single tone control with active pickups).

    Since I was going for a nice, growly jazz tone, and based on the size, I thought a pair of EMG J45s would be perfect. Add on the EMG BTS System, which is seperate bass and treble, pan, and master volume, new stings, and we'd be off to the races. After all, according to my measurements, everything would drop right in, right? Wrong.

    The EMG pickups are just slightly larger in both width and length than the stockers. I have the woodworking ability of a turnip, but I'd waited so long for the bass, the pickups, and then there was the added delay since the vendor sent me the wrong tone circuit the first time, that I was now determined.

    I took the whole mess to the best luthier in Columbus, Oh (probably the best in the state) and had him do the work. Four days and $50 later (a bargain, really), I picked it up. The workmanship this guy turns out is nothing short of astounding! You'd never know that the 45Js weren't original. Also, the gold knobs that come on the bass won't fit on EMG shafts, so I threw down $20 more for a set of four really nice gold plated knobs, much nicer than the originals.

    I had him throw on a set of TI flats while he was at it, and that was my only mistake. These strings get rave reviews, but I hate them. The tone is great and all, but it feels like I'm playing freshly cooked pasta, they're so floppy. So much so that the B string is almost unusable below the fifth fret. They're going bye-bye in exchange for Rotosound flats, which offer a LOT more tension.

    Anyway, the point of this post was to let anyone who's toying with the idea of buying this bass and then upgrading what they're in for.

    The sound this thing puts out now is astounding! Nice and punchy, with plenty of mid and growl, just the way a jazz fretless should sound. Intonation is right on, and short of the rubbery strings (did I mention they're going away?) I now have one hell of a new addition to my arsenal.

    So, if you're good with minor body mods, or know someone who is, don't hesitate to buy and upgrade this piece. I love mine already, and it's going to see plenty of action (no pun intended).

    BTW, my luthier of choice is Bill Foley at German Village Music Haus here in Columbus (www.gvmh.com).

    Happy Bassin'!

    Walt

    Here's a long view and a closeup of the new pickups and knobs.
    Note: What you see in the pics is some glare. There are absolutely no flaws in the finish, and the pickup cutouts are perfect.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. any pictures??? and .. very happy for you, i always wondered about doing that.
     
  3. WaltS

    WaltS

    Nov 24, 2003
    Don't have any pics yet, but I'll make sure to get some and post. Especially the area around the pickups. I swear you can't tell that it wasn't built that way!! :)
     
  4. sweet, thanks!
     
  5. Electricmayhem

    Electricmayhem

    Dec 18, 2003
    NH
    Yes, pics please!
     
  6. I thought that may have been you when I read the thread title. I was there when you dropped it off and there when you picked it back up. That is a pretty blue stained quilt top on that. Welcome to (the newly revised) TB forums, and I'll probably see you around GVMH again soon. :bassist:
     
  7. WaltS

    WaltS

    Nov 24, 2003
    *bump*

    Pics added
     
  8. very nice! you wouldnt of known!

    is it fretless?
     
  9. WaltS

    WaltS

    Nov 24, 2003
    Yep! ;)
     
  10. So their fretless basses have lines? I didnt know that
     
  11. darkspec

    darkspec

    Jan 2, 2003
    Cleveland Ohio
    I plan on buying a HXB-406 soon, fretted. This thread is a godsend to me. Living in cleveland, I was looking for a good luthier, would this guy be worth the drive? Or do you know any cleveland shops that are good? Some local stores around here are good....but I would like to know from someone that has first hand experience.
     
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm jonesing for a 6 string Brice V2 like crazy and your pictures don't help me with my GAS problems. :( Looks great though! :bassist: :) :cool:
     
  13. I haven't dealt with any Cleveland area luthiers in almost 22 years, so can't speak to who the best up there is. Bill Foley at German Village Music Haus (Columbus, OH) is one of the best anywhere, though. He usually has a 3-4 week backlog, though emergency situations can get handled very quickly. He is the only one I trust to work on my basses, and I am very particular. I would be more than willing to make the drive (though luckily only have a 15-20 minute one from home or the day job), and have met others in the shop who make much longer drives than from Cleveland. I can give detailed directions to the shop from any direction around Columbus, if you need them.
     
  14. darkspec

    darkspec

    Jan 2, 2003
    Cleveland Ohio
    I would be willing to drive, but I dont have a license (only 16) hopefully this summer I will be able to drive and I will drive out there. But.....4 weeks? thats a long time without a main bass.
     
  15. As I mentioned, emergencies can get dealt with quickly. He also offers an option to put you on the schedule and let you know a couple days ahead of time to bring it in (only a couple days without, worst case, with this option). As a bonus, you get to meet people you normally wouldn't expect to once in a while (I know Ted Nugent, Verdine White and Alice Cooper's bassist (Hugh McDonald I think, I could be mistaken...) have been in more than once). Even without the bonus, it is worth a visit. I didn't think of the no driver's license problem (been a long time since I had to...), sorry about that.
     
  16. darkspec

    darkspec

    Jan 2, 2003
    Cleveland Ohio
    Ok, Ill probably call and set something up in a month or 2 when I start working again. Get my hands on a Brice, and the emgs I want. Have this guy install them. Is it easy to set up a appointment?
     
  17. I think so, the phone number is on the webiste (http://www.gvmh.com). The website isn't as complete as it should be (for example, it makes it look like only Alembic, G&L and Gretsch basses are available but that is far from the truth), I've mentioned it to him but he has faith in the person who handles it for him (and IMHO she lets him down). The book mentioned on the site is a very good one for folks wanting to learn to do their own builds and setups, if you are interested in that option as well.
     
  18. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I'm going to be in the North Jersey area right up the Parkway from Rondo this weekend. I just happen to have about 2-3 hours of free time Saturday afternoon......

    No shipping + Brice V2 6 string lowered price + possibility of scratch'n'dent floor model = GAS like crazy. I'd better pack an empty gig bag huh? :bassist:

    Maybe I'll play it and hate it...... :meh: :spit: :cool:
     
  19. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    I've just ordered a Brice 6-string fretless (the nice new one with the natural finish, quilt top, active EQ, through-body stringing, etc) - Kurt was actually very nice about shipping it to me in the UK, and the whole deal, including shipping came to under £200! :D I'll be wanting to do some upgrading on the bass too, was thinking about fitting Bartolinis with a U-Retro preamp. If I do this, I'll post pics, etc.

    Russ :bassist:
     
  20. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw

    Oct 15, 2002
    The Cronx
    Oh, one other thing...
    Do you reckon the Brice 6-string would be up for being strung F#BEADG, based on the quality of the low B? I think the extra low notes would be more useful than the high C string.

    Russ :bassist: