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Can a Fender Roscoe Beck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    I have scored a used Roscoe Beck.

    I know that this bass is higly regarded here at talkbass. i would like to know something about:

    -i have heard the sample on the fender website where the RB is recorded with a good jazz bass sound. Is this bass capable of the Precision thump too? i am referring to Jamerson-Duck-Prestia type of sound.

    -Is there an outboard preamp which enriches the tone of this passive chamaleon? have you ever tried it with a sadowsky preamp?

    -referring to the B string, how can it be judged?

    -is this an heavy bass?

    -is the big fat neck stable?

  2. Alla


    Sep 25, 2000
    If you want some info .... I have them!
  3. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    KPO2000 has a RB5 & he uses it with a Sadowsky preamp on occasion.
  4. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Ths has been my primary bass for over 2 years, so I feel somewhat qualified to offer an opinion.

    The bass does great Jazz sounds and a good early MM, (pre-ernie ball), plus some other unique sounds. It does not, however, do a good impersonation of a P-bass. You will need another bass for that.

    I do not use an outboard pre-amp except for a unity gain buffer amp with no controls. This is only in-line because I put all my effects before the pre-amp. The signal of the RBV is low, but sufficient for most modern pre-amps. Just make sure you use a high quality instrument cable. Also, as far as tonal adjustment, the bass has a lot of different tones just by using the controls already there. I would suggest getting to know what you can do without the pre-amp and then decide if you need one.

    The B-string is plenty tight. I have played bassed with a tighter Bs, like a Lakland, but this one is good for most normal playing. The neck is very stiff, and that accounts for a lot of it.

    The bass is heavy, but well balanced. I use a wide padded strap and can carry the bass on my shoulder for a couple of hours with no problems. (And I am 39!)

    The neck is very stable. After about 1 year, it really seems to have locked in. I only have to do minor tweaks every few months. I feel it will last a long time.
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The RB5 was my first fiver and I still use it as often as any of the fancier (higher-priced) fivers I've bought since. What Bfunk said, plus:

    The closest approximation of a P-bass tone is achieved when running the neck pickup solo in series mode. You won't fool many P-bass purists, but that's the setting I use when playing blues & Motown and it fits extremely well IMO. (Actually, that's the setting I use for almost everything).

    It's one of my heavier basses (not as bad as my all-maple Warwick :eek: ), but bearable even with a 2" nylon strap. And I don't think the neck could possibly be more stable! I love the chunky profile and Fender-standard string spacing. The only other bass I'm as comfortable on is my MTD.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's a jazz bass. I haven't been able to get a P sound out of mine, but I haven't really tried. Bottom line, I don't think you'll get a credible P sound out of it, but you CAN get some pretty gnarly J sounds out of it.

    The B string can be judged by playing it. Otherwise, you have no basis for passing judgement.

    It's not too heavy. Somewhere around 8 pounds avordupois, if I recall correctly.

    I haven't experienced any neck stability problems.

    That's all.
  7. No.

    With your ears. I really liked the B string quality of my old RB5.

    Yes. Mine was 10 pounds, 12 ounces. My Stingray 5 was the exact same weight. I don't have a problem with the weight, others do.

    Very. Mine was fairly thin front to back, but wide indeed.

    Mine was exceptionally well balanced with no neck dive. The pickups are first rate, and nail the vintage J tone, 100%. The bridge accepts taperwound B and E strings, which makes for easier intonation adjustment.

    I sold mine because it would NOT do a Precision tone for me. I ran it for months with TI Flats, GHS Progressives and others, and all the various pickup combinations. The P tone is simply not there. And it does NOT thump. I bought a MIM Precision, and got the P tone.

    I think the RB5 is probably Fender's best quality passive bass.
  8. KPO2000

    KPO2000 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2001
    Hi, I really have nothing to add to all the feedback above other than I DO sometime use it with a Sadowsky preamp pedal for a bit more ooomph. It enriches the tone only if you dig the Sadowsky tone to begin with. Great bass. I don't find mine particularly heavy even though it's probably the heaviest I own. Congrats!
  9. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    The RB5, I think, is the best passive fiver out there at any price. I just traded mine in after being my primary gig bass for about four years.
    (1) Yes, it does classic Jazz tone dead on.
    (2) No, it doesn't do classic Precision tone or anything near it. But it does have lots of non-Jazz flexibility including a nice neck pickup thump that some may construe as "P-like".
    (3) The wide thin neck is an aquired taste but I really came to love how it felt. It is a great fingerstyle player's neck.
    (4) Excellent passive B string. Now that I have had my Q5 for a week and a half I have a new definition of B string but the RB5 statement still stands.
    (5) I used my RB5 for the past two years with an Aguilar DB924 outboard preamp.The Aggie did wonders for the overall tone of the RB5. In fact it was that combination of RB5/DB924 that got me off my longtime anti-active attitude and led me to finally buying an active bass.

    All in all the RB5 is a great passive Jazz fiver with a ton of tone and flexibility that will be even more enhanced with a Sadowsky (or Aguilar) preamp.