Flea bass inquiry

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bikeplate, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Guys and gals. Been looking for another 4 or 5 string bass as an alternative to my jazz basses. I like the tone of a stingray but I dont like the neck profile. Im considering a sterling but thought I might try a Modulus Flea.

    Here is my questions for all of you with knowledge of these

    1. Are the Fleas for the most part similar tone wise? What I mean is with the one humbucker in that position should I get a traditional stingray tone?

    2. Is the neck profile like a stingray(wide) or like a jazz bass taper?

    3. Build quality?

    4. Are all the necks graphite?

    Any other advice would be great.
    Or should I just get the sterling? LOL

  2. Because of the very strange quick reply format used here, i just hit back by accident and lost a huge post. Sigh.


    The neck is a bit slimmer then that of a stingray. The build quality was pretty much perfect out of the box with not one visible defect after a thorough look-over. Time will tell though. I've only had it for a week or so. All the necks are graphite, and yes, you can get pretty close to the stingray tone, if not THE stingray tone, out of it. I have the Aguilar preamp. The tone seems to be a little bit brighter though, but i'm sure you could fix it somehow if you really wanted it to.
  3. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    1. well mine isn't. i have a lane poor pickup which is makes it very hi fi sounding. i hear ones that have the SD Basslines pickup are much more like a stingray....but i don't think you can truly achieve a stingray tone.
    2. it's as thin as the jazz bass.
    3. i've never played a bass that was more solid...excellent build quality.
    4. yes. i wish they came with wooden necks though. the graphite souind just isn't my thing.

    i'm in pretty much the same position as you...i really like my stingray but the neck is just more than i'm used to. i'm probably going to end up getting a sterling very soon.
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Thanx, guys. I'll wait for more respones

    Also, are they heavy basses? I'm a full timer and play 160 shows a year. My Sadowsky's are all around the 8lb range

    Thanx again

  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Get sterling ;) Id bet its quite a bit lighter than the FLea... due to the lack of graphite on it, and smaller size.
  6. Mental Octopus

    Mental Octopus

    May 24, 2003
    mine weighs in at 9.5 pounds
  7. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    The Fleas I have played had much chunkier necks than my Sterling. They also had a more brittle sound. Go Sterling.
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The neck on mine is virtually identical to the profile of a Warmoth Jazz neck I also own. I had a Lane Poor in mine for a while and thought it was too hi-fi, so I swapped it out for a Nordstrand MM4.2 and it really took away the sterile bite of the high end and put in some lower midrange definition. This made it sound more like a wooden neck. You can still tell that its graphite, but its a lot better at this point. I love mine, its become my main bass, both in the studio and live, and I intend to buy another one in the very near future.
  9. Andy Cleaver

    Andy Cleaver A show of hands....

    Dec 16, 2004
    England, Midlands
    The Flea bass does have a slightly chunkier neck than the Sterling. I had a Sterling before the Modulus and there is definately a slight increase!

    Echoing what others have said, built like a tank!

    Also I never find the weight to be an issue and can quite comfortably play through 3 - 4 hour practices with my band!
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Thanx again for your responses. Just got back from a trip to a local shop. They had a new sterling that I had a chance to try. I liked it!. Neck profile, weight, finish. All nice. I think I might go this way. I prefer a wood neck and overall I like the design and tone.

  11. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    I know you'll love a Sterling, it's the only piece of gear I've kept for more than a year and change. Outstanding bass, what color combo you thinking of?
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    The one I played was a sparkly orange. Kinda liked it. I'm open to other combos. This one has a rosewood board. What board do u prefer?

  13. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    I've played a few and have always preferred those with the maple board, just sounds a lot better to me for reasons I can't explain. I suppose the technical terms would be more "open" less compressed than the rosewood. But I'm not really skilled enough to understand the technical terms so maybe I'm wrong there, sorry I'm useless! But I can say for sure I prefer the maple board, and I've played maybe 6 of them, 2 rosewood, 4 maple and the maples ALWAYS won. Mine is black, with a black pearloid pickguard and non-matching headstock. I think she's beautiful. Good luck... gettin tired of your Sads :p ? I like a little variety too, I'm actually thinking of selling my KSD and picking up a used 55-02, you have any experience with those?


    edit - I just realized this post sounded completely ADD! Sorry, it's been a looooong day. You really can't go wrong, you're a much better bassist than I am so I'm sure you'll make the right decision, I just got lucky. I ordered it based on looks and got the best sounding Sterling I've found yet, pure dumb luck :)
  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Nope, not tired of the Sad's. They are the best basses for me. I even threw around the notion of Roger making me a bass with the one big humbucker. That is the main reason for this endeavor. Hey, what makes u think I'm a better player than u by the way?? :D

  15. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I have a Flea 5 and really like it. It's my main bass. In fact, I eventually sold all my other basses except for my Tacoma acoustic after getting it. I play other basses in stores all the time and am never tempted.

    Yes, it's built like a tank. Mine was built in '98 and the neck is still perfect. The graphite neck is a great thing when paired with the right pickup. Drastic heat and humidity changes don't faze it in the slightest. Mine came with a Bartolini, which I swapped for a Nordstrand MM5.2. I wouldn't recommend getting a Flea with a stock pickup unless you really like the brittle sound. With the Nordstrand I actually bypass the preamp most of the time because I like the sound of the Nordstrand in passive mode so much.

    I don't have trouble wearing it but I don't play 160 shows a year either.

    Here are the from-the-factory problems I had with it:
    1) The bridge wasn't perfectly aligned with the neck, which meant I had to get it moved over. It wasn't easily noticable but once it was done there was a big difference in playability.
    2) The preamp came wired for 9v. It was designed for either one or two batteries and it sounds much better with 18v.
    3) No battery clips. This is ridiculous on a bass with a four digit pricetag.

    All of these are easily fixed of course. As a longtime Stingray fan, if it were lost or stolen and cost were no object I'd go through the hassle of getting another used Flea 5 and modding it before I bought a new Stingray.
  16. Z-Bass

    Z-Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Having owned a maple board Stingray 5, I felt that these basses seem to have plenty of zing or high end pop due to the preamp and pickup so unless your more partial to maple for the looks than I would probably say rosewood. I found myself wanting a bit warmer response in my experience with the ash/maple combo with these basses.

    Regarding your potential decision, you're on the right track. The Sterling is a great bass, one of my favorites, and I prefer the neck profile the regular Stingray as well. The Flea is a great bass as well but a completely different animal due to the materials used, in my opinion.
  17. Niskamies


    Jan 13, 2004
    Just get a Sadowsky Modern 5:D
  18. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    Being that you own and love Sadowsky basses, and with me finally getting my first Sadowsky, I can safely say that I don't think that you'd like the Flea bass in terms of sound. Modulus just has this fake sound to it that I've heard others describe as "sterile." I'm not sure what "sterile" means, but Modulus just seems to lack the "it" of the Sadowsky if that makes any sense. Personally, I don't think the Flea can even do the Musicman very good, especially the Lane Poor equipped models. If it was me, I'd opt for the MM to add a different flavor to the arsenal. The only way I'd consider a Flea would be if it was for an unbelievably low price and had Duncan p-up and Aggie OPB-1 or OPB-3 pre.
  19. G


    Apr 12, 2000
    Can you get the wood fretboard on the Flea Bass? If you could I bet that a Flea w/a wood board and the Bartolini with aggie 2 band would do a really great Ray impression.

    I personally, dig Modulus basses, and I dig the Flea bass as long as it doesn't have a LP pickup. And the B on the 5 string Flea is outstanding.

  20. Sterile does by no means mean "fake" sounding. Modulus has a tone pretty much exclusive to modulus. Fake sounding, would be like one of those modeling amps or basses.