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Essex Bass Club - Part 14

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by smperry, Nov 19, 2012.

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  1. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
  2. fourstringbliss. You posted earlier that the SX's have ceramic pickups. Do you know more about them? Mostly what they offer instead of say a Fender style jazz pickup?

    I only know that their J and P style pickups have ceramic magnets and that they've improved their design from what they used to be. SX basses are primarily Fender knockoffs, but they do have some other copies like a few Hofner copies and a Les Paul bass copy. My current SX J is this one:


    The MM has four wires and a shield wire, and is epoxy sealed! I put a north coil/humbucker/south coil switch for the MM pup right after the tone control (the red switch), and installed a push/pull for the volume that allows parallel/series switching. It's a beast now!
  3. ian_s


    Jul 10, 2009
  4. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD

    You are going to make me get one of those! I would very much like to have all that tonal versatility in one passive bass!
  5. aussietc


    Apr 14, 2010
    Hi everyone. I've spent the last few days reading through the threads. So far I'm impressed with the praises of the SX basses and kurt's customer service.
    One question I have: What is the action like on these basses? Can you set it really low?
  6. That really depends on the bass. I've bought a few of these where the frets were nice and level and I could set the action nice and low. My most recent SX MM/J had a bunch of high frets and one that wasn't fully seated to begin with. I could have returned it and bought another but I saw it as my opportunity to learn fretwork.

    I bought one of these:
    to check for high frets

    one of these:
    for leveling and crowning

    one of these:
    for pulling the offending fret

    and one of these:
    for rounding the fret ends.

    Now I have my action set really low with no buzzes whatsoever and I have the tools to perfect all of my future SX bass purchases!

    I could have easily returned mine but the one I got was a gem otherwise.
  7. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Very cool. Learning a new skill is always good, especially something as vital as fretwork.
  8. Yeah, it feels like a real accomplishment! Now I'm in a position to take any inexpensive (or moderately expensive) bass and make it play excellently! I'm also able to help others get their basses in shape.

    I'm going to buy one of these sometime because it'll be better for crowning the frets:

  9. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    I wish I could do fretwork, but between the cost of the tools, the infrequency with which I'd ever do it, and the fact that none of my guitars really *need* it (afraid things would get worse, not improve), I'll probably never get into it.
    Good for you though!
  10. Yeah, I can understand that. For me, I think I'm going to stick with buying SX basses for the foreseeable future and I'd rather spend $100 on the tools to do my own fretwork than pay $100 for someone to do it for me once. I read all about the idea that one should level all of the frets and then I saw this video on leveling a single fret. There were a few times when I'd level a fret in relation to the frets around it and that caused another fret to be high in relation to that one, but I just went slow, checked fret rock often, and pretty soon all of my frets were level in relation to each other.

    Now I totally don't fear buying a cheapy bass online or from a pawn shop/Craigslist/Ebay etc. I know that if the frets are messed up that I can fix it. Eventually I want to get one of these:


    for cutting newly installed frets flush with the fretboard.
  11. Surprisingly it's not that big of a deal. I was nervous to start messing with my frets but I just took my time and it worked out fine.
  12. aussietc


    Apr 14, 2010
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    You have the same bass I am thinking about - except in the black.
    Maybe also a 5 string. I love the natural ash bodies that I've seen posted in the Club pages - the grain looks amazing. but on teh website it looks quite plain?
    Is it just a matter of you get what you get? (Would be great to know it had a nice grain, otherwise it might be safer to go for a burst finish)
    I'm located overseas so I don't have the option of returning a bass.
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I know the reluctance, but I just sort of eased into it a bit at a time. The local luthier only charges about $100 for a complete leveling and crowning so it's not bad. But just saying that I took my Conklin 7 for a Plek job which came out exceptional, by the way but $200, and the machine choked on the last two frets (I presume due to the extra wide neck). The Plek owner filed them a bit by hand, but later I found they still weren't right. So I ordered a fret rocker and files. Fixed them right up myself. Of course super high frets aren't really that important so danger of damage was low.

    Point being, that of my many SX basses I just take the old rocker to them when they arrive. They are ether great or maybe one or two frets are high. This is no problem for me to knock down a high fret to decent playing. My ordinary Dremel polishes them all up. And the SX is killer. I'd still probably go the local luthier or the Plek machine for any bass worth any serious amount of scratch. But a couple fret tools for tweaking in an SX? Yeah, I can handle that!
  14. Exactly! I wouldn't do this on a bass that cost more than, say, $300. It just doesn't make sense for me to shell out $100 for fretwork on a bass that cost $170. Plus, the more I learn about how to make my bass play the way I want it to the more in tune with it I feel I am. I kind of feel sorry for guys who don't know how to make adjustments on their basses. If something is out of whack they have to take it to a tech and wait for it to come back. Me, I just grab a hex wrench and adjust it.

    My SX MM/J now plays as well, if not better, than any bass I've played.
  15. The grain is kind of a crap shoot. I just bought this body from a TB'er for $100


    but I've also seen some really mismatched SX bodies as well.
  16. aussietc


    Apr 14, 2010
    Now that's a nice grain. I'll be more than happy with a bass body like that!!
  17. Yeah, huh! I don't really need another SX Jazz but I couldn't pass up that grain! I might eventually make it into a P/J.
  18. aussietc


    Apr 14, 2010
    Do Warmoth necks fit on SX basses?
    Or Squire or Fender necks?
  19. Possibly. There's really nothing wrong with SX necks that a little fretwork won't fix, and most won't need that. I'm just feeling empowered to fully personalize any bass that I own now that I've done my own fretwork.

    I went to a local guitar shop today and tried out a few Fender's, a Spector, and a high end Ibanez (the one with Nordy Big Singles) and none of them play as well as my SX does now (except for the MIA fretless Jazz).
  20. Plus, that would be putting a $200+ neck on a $170 bass.

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