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NBD: Kiesel IC5 :-(

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bliff Curton, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    Got my new IC5 today.
    I bought it from the Guitars-In-Stock selection.
    SwampAsh, Walnut top, 5pc Walnut/Maple

    I’ve been playing for just over 8hrs....can’t find one good sound.
    I’ve adjusted the pickups to all extremes and then back to factory spec.

    I believe the problem comes down to 2 elements:
    1: StainlessSteel Frets
    2: Pickups

    On paper, stainless steel seems better. Eventually, frets wear out. But if we make frets harder, that must be better.
    If you like pinging fret noise that is omnipresent even with the Treble lowered all the way, sure.
    In all the hours of EQ’ing and pickup adjustment, the pinging only goes from worse to worser. No-treble dub was still plagued by the SS fret ping.

    These pickups have the white dot.
    So, KRH or RadHV?
    The neck pickup sounds like a over-nasally bridge pickup and the bridge pickup is not musical at all.
    The pickups do a great job at amplifying the SS fret ping.
    They also introduce some odd harmonic overtones to everything. When I mute the note, that makes a loud overtone that makes the muting sound like a harmonic note if the midrange were turned up all the way.

    Another oddity, it almost seems like the preamp is digital, or at least the pickup knob is.
    When the pickup knob is at center detent and then adjusted ever so slightly in either direction, there is a cut-out that enters into a weird phase when going further towards either pickup.
    Maxing either pickup and then rolling a little bit of the other pickup in also does this.
    And the pickup knob in general is odd in that between full-on and center detent, it sounds like that pickup with just a little difference. What I mean is that the pickups dont play together to make unique tones. Basically its neck pickup, 50/50, and bridge pickup. Blending anywhere between detent and neck is just neck tone with more nasal. Bridge pickup rolling in more neck pickup is still just the nasal bridge sound but a little woofier/darker.

    Does anybody have a bass with the white-dot Radiums that produces great tones?

    Anyone else extremely disappointed in the SS frets?

    I really wanted to like this bass and I regret giving Kiesel a chance, especially when they dont do 10-day return on an RTF, even if its a Showcase /G-I-S purchase and i never asked tgem to build it with RTF. I just assumed they wouldn’t make something this unmusical.
    To me, thats a defect and ought to be remedied.
    Why should a returning customer be punished for Kiesel trying to exhibit their options in available finishes.

    I deeply regret not going with the NS Design CR5 or the Stingray 5 Special.
    My Ibanez SR505 with non-USA MK1 Barts has better tones, and several of them, than this IC5.
    I cant believe how different this experience is from my LB70p from 2000/2001. That bass was a dream and always created beaitiful experiences.
    I have pointed a bunch of musicians towards Kiesel since my experience with my ‘01 LB70.
    This, though. Im honestly deflated.
    I have to wonder how this passes QC. Maybe there is no bassplayer who checks the basses to make sure they are musical to the ear and not just pretty to look at. Maybe this is what Kiesel believes is musical.

    Bunming hard with a $2,200 paper-weight.

    I swapped strings from my Ibanesz, DR Hibeams.
    They are darker than the Dunlops and give a better voice, but the tones are still unusable and the steel frets still plague me even with the trble tirned off and the high mids scooped all the way.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Sounds to me like there's a phase issue with the pickups.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Also, will it do passive or is it always active?
  4. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    IT does passive.
    Passive is a little more musical. Frets still pings and pickup selectir still does that weird thing.
  5. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    That really stinks. I hope you get a solution.
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    My Carvin SB5000 has SS frets. No complaints from me.
    Low84 likes this.
  7. To me it sounds like your neck and bridge blend pot may be a normal taper pot. That may be causing that issue or the wiring may be off. What I have on my bass is linear taper for both volume pots and a standard pot for the tone. Before the volumes had very little range it was gradual to about 60-70 percent then full on like it was boosted. It made blending of the pots or adjusting the volume very limited. You may need to drop the pickup height a bit, that may get rid of that stainless ping. I would go for some d’addario chrome flats. It’s less bright and they feel better than any round wound string I’ve ever had. Hope this helps. I would get it to a tech and get your wiring checked. Kiesel s are supposed to be awesome. Shame to have to send it back. Let’s see that bad boy .
    Lance Bunyon likes this.
  8. I have a bass that used to have the radium humbuckers. Multiscale Vanquish. I liked all the tones, but didn't love them. I realize I favor single coils generally, so I swapped everything with an EMG based system. 45 TWX set with matching preamp. Not a drop and fit for the pups. I loved the bridge pup soloed, everything else I just liked. I have the EVO gold frets so can't comment on SS fret ping, but never had that issue. The pickup blend knob behaved more like a 3 way toggle as opposed to a blend. Not much difference on the in between settings. As you said, pretty much full on or even 50/50.
  9. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Pretty sure it's NOT the frets... I have SS frets on numerous instruments and I have noticed no perceptible difference in sound to any other frets ( nickel-silver, german-silver, that gold alloy...)
  10. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    Here are pics from Kiesel.

    She’s beautiful on the outside, lol.

    If it were a phase issue, wouldnt soloing one pickup sound good? 99C98C4D-93F3-4B58-B50F-06571B48F04F. 930EA92D-02D5-4A6C-9039-C31556308083.

    Attached Files:

    SirMjac28, SlugThrower, wmmj and 3 others like this.
  11. that is gorgeous. I honestly think that it could just be a slight wiring issue with the blend pot. I’d ask Kiesel for the wiring diagram and trace things in the cavity. It may be something simple a tech may be able to figure out. Maybe replace the two batteries for your preamp. You may have a weak or old battery. But I’d be attached to that bass by now if I had it. Sawweet.
    dbsfgyd1 likes this.
  12. It sure is pretty though - I'm a fan of wood grain finishes with black hardware. I hope you can find a way to solve the problem.
  13. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Carvin/Keisel has always had a talent for building really good looking instruments that, with rare exceptions, sound awful. Sorry.
  14. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    The difference between the ‘01 LB70p and the ‘18 is worlds apart. Spector vs Cirrus Bxp
  15. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    To me Carvin/Kiesel basses are aethetically very unpleasing. I cannot comment on their sound.
  16. JZQuantum

    JZQuantum Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your troubles. I like the suggestion given to get a wiring diagram and get a qualified tech to check it out.

    Isn't this still under warranty of any kind? Can you call Kiesel about it, email them a sound file of what you are hearing? Tell them you are an unhappy customer and for $2200 you expect zero issues.

    Always ask to talk to a manager if you call.
    SirMjac28, dbsfgyd1 and Ryan6491 like this.
  17. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    It wouod be cool if it were just a wirring error.
    But then, where’s the QC? Do they not plug it in and listen to it?

    My first impression being tarnished, I’d rather them refund it than rewire it....bad taste in my mouth from this.

    If the rewiring fixed the sound and the new sound didnt have the ping, I’d be very happy.

    If anyone is going to build a Kiesel bass:
    -stay away from SS frets
    -swamp ash is nothing like their description. It combs out a lot of mids and accentuates the high mids.
    -Radium pickups are awkward for fingerstyle, RadHumbuckers are very compressed and lack character.
    -HB, SCP, J99/J99a/J99AS are good.
    -dont buy from Guitars In Stock angthing that they void the 10-day return policy.
  18. Bliff Curton

    Bliff Curton

    Sep 10, 2018
    I sent an email this afternoon.
    They are closed on weekends.
    I will call Monday and keep you guys posted.
  19. bordinco90

    bordinco90 Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    What a bummer. I've owned 3 Carvin/Kiesel basses. 2 PB5's and a PB4. While I loved the feel of the PB5's, I am not a 5 string player and the pickup just sounded too hot for my tastes. The PB4 IMO was junk. I played it for about an hour and sent it back. The setup was horrible (I tried to set the bass up, but the truss rod was a tight as it can go). I'll never order another Carvin/Kiesel bass.
    BrentSimons and Bliff Curton like this.
  20. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I have stainless frets on a LB76, it does not have any overtones like what you describe.

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