SX basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Nellsalot, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. Ultimately I want a used Rickenbacker but I'm having a tough time locating one and I've seen these SX Fender copies on the Rondo Music site and there seem to be only positive comments about this series of guitars. It might not be a bad idea to get one of these while I continue my search for a Ric, or just so I can have a Fender-style bass for variety, considering how cheap they are.

    Here's my main question: Is the reason everyone is so happy with this company mostly because it's a great price? I'm on a tight budget but I definitely want to be happy with the tone and feel of my instrument, otherwise I'll just stick with the bass I have (which I'm not terribly happy with, but is vintage and unique and will not lose its value, unlike the SX). So what I mean is, I don't want to buy the bass just because it's cheap and functional - I want a guitar that I like. I'm not professional but I'm not a beginner and I can tell the difference with a nice guitar.

    And as a follow up to that question, what can I lose by buying one of these basses just to try it out and return it if I don't like it? Other than a $20-$30 shipping charge, that is. I live in CA and can hardly try it out in the store in NJ.
  2. Hmmm.

    How you like the SX depends on the model and on your expectations. If you're expecting a $1000 instrument for $100 it's not going to happen. On the other hand SX/Brice basses are in general very good. One weakness, for some people, tend to be the wiring/pots/pickups. Some people like them stock, other people prefer to mod/replace them. One fairly major determining factor in quality is the price. While the $100 basses are ok if you spend a few dollars more you'll be much happier with the product.

    If you're looking for a Jazz style bass then I'd highly recommend the "SJB-62 CT" on Rondo's website. I've got one and it plays very nicely. The action is good, the bass stays in tune for many days at a time and the pups do not have problems with noise. In fact I can solo either the bridge or neck pup with no noise problems, which is something my MIM Jazz can't do. So in this case a $140 SX is comparable to a $500-$600 bass.
  3. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    When you buy a $100 bass you don't worry about it losing its value, since there isn't any....

    I have an SX SPB-62 and it is real nice for the price. I've played it on gigs many times and it has worked out great. I also have 2 Brice - a 6 string and a FB-1 Thunderbird. I recommend Rondo highly if you want a decent bass at a very good price, and good service too.
  4. thisSNsucks


    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    hey showdown, Ive been lookin all over for sum info on that fb-1 thunderbird that they have at rondo, no luck. how do u like it? is it worth the buy? If you could post sum specs or even a pic if u have one id really appreciate it. thanks
  5. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I really like it, and the quality is very good for the price, amazing really. I don't have a picture right now, but I'll try to take some in the next couple of days and post them.

    This is a review I posted on a thread about them when they first came out a couple of months ago:

    Finish: Very good, better than expected. As good as any Korean basses, better than some that cost double. Nice looking sunburst, but the wood under it is very plain looking. Finish is as good as on my ’76 Gibson Tbird (when it was new, of course). It has a Fender-ish headstock, but tilted back like a Tbird. The body “wings” are a little thicker than on a Gibson. I think the 7 ½ lbs listed on the web page is accurate, it is very light.

    Hardware: Standard Gotoh copy tuners, same thing that comes on most Korean basses. Work well. Bridge is similar to a Gotoh 201, but with top or through body stringing. Not as good quality as a Gotoh, but decent. Not a thin bent metal one like Fenders have, but thicker and more substantial. Looks like it has the standard Fender 5 hole mounting, so it could be upgraded. Graphite nut, a nice touch on a $199 bass. The jack is on the side, not on the top like a Gibson. IMO that is an improvement. Controls are V/V/T.

    Playability: Thick neck, narrow at the nut like a real Gibson, but it gets wider than a Gibson as it moves toward the body. At the 12th fret I’d say it is somewhere between a Gibson and a Fender. It was well set up out of the box, was almost in tune after traveling 5000 miles from cool NJ to hot and sunny Hawaii. Pretty stable neck. Plays very good, low action. Might need a slight turn of the truss rod, but not much. The neck joint is chunky, limiting access to the upper frets a little, but if you have ever played a real Tbird you know they aren’t made for playing above the 17 fret anyway. Like any Tbird it isn’t really a slapper, although it does slap better than my ’76. Not really enough room to get your fingers under the strings to pop, normal for a Tbird.

    Pickups: Surprisingly good. I thought I might need to replace them, but I don’t think I will. This bass sounds like a Tbird. Not as good as my ’76, I wouldn’t expect it to be, but it definitely has that Tbird sound.

    Whether sitting or standing this thing feels like a Tbird. My ’76 was my main bass for almost 20 years, and this thing feels like an old friend. Now I have a Tbird that I won’t be afraid to play in a bar full of drunks.

    There are a couple of upgrades that I will probably do:

    1. Like any Tbird shaped bass, strap locks are MANDATORY. I had my Gibson slip off the strap twice before I put strap locks on it (I managed to catch it both times – no damage). The location and angle of the upper strap button makes it a virtual certainty that it will slip off the strap without strap locks.

    2. The original tuners are fine, its not necessary to change them, but Hipshot Ultra-Lights would help to alleviate the neck dive.

    I was thinking about putting a Tbird pickguard on it to make it look more authentic, so I took the one off my Gibson to check the fit. It hangs over the edge by a good 1/2", so a standard size Thunderbird pickguard doesn't fit.
  6. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
  7. I really think the secret behind SX basses comes from President C.C. Tsai of Team Int'l Co, maker of the SX basses. Here is his take on quality:

    ". . .Guitar's inspection and testing room, this is where our well trained and experienced inspectors will inspect the guitars thoroughly for any defects or faults. Any Irreparable guitars will be rejected and returned to the factory and request the factory to manufacture again. . ."

    I want the green '62. I hope they make an EUB.
    Below is President C.C. Tsai who makes SX.
  8. I have the sunburst version of that same SX and I'm still astonished that Rondo hasn't sold out yet.

    And yes I'd like to see a EUB from SX/Brice.
  9. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    :rolleyes: My calender must be malfunctioning. I thought it was Christmas, not April the 1st. The SX basses I have had contact with were as good as Laklands, etc, from 25' away - maybe.

    Noah Fence
  10. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Who said they were as good as Lakland? I have both Lakland and Essex, and they certainly aren't as good but they are damn good for the price. As good as MIM Fenders that cost more than twice as much.

    If you don't like them maybe you should find a thread about Laklands or something. Why get involved in a discussion just to insult all of us because we like a bass you don't?

    Merry Christmas....
  11. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    As with any brand you have good ones and bad ones. For the most part I have heard nothing but good things.

    Nellsalot, I suggest you read Essex Bass Guitars - MEGATHREAD . It should answer just about any question on SX (Essex) bass guitars.
  12. DannyB


    Aug 17, 2004
    Personally, I love my SX bass (SPJ-62) but that's not to say I haven't had some small problems. The tone with the original pickups is okay, nothing wrong for sure. You can get the action pretty low and the neck stays true when adjusted.

    Problems I've encountered have been..
    1. String tree not tightened properly. Changed strings soon after I got the bass and it flew across the room. Screw hole was stripped and had to make a new hole about 1/4 inch back.

    2. Loose input jack connection. Three second fix.

    3. Not much solder to hold the connections down

    4. Loose knobs - 2 of 3 knobs come off with minimal force, to the point where laying the bass face down (to touchup a scratch on the back) resulted in two knobs on the floor just by turning it over. Not uncommon to find them in the bottom of the gig bag. Not the pots either.. when you swap the knobs around, it's the same knobs regardless of position.

    5. Stripped screw holes galore! So far - string tree hole stripped, two holes for the jazz pickup (changed pickups) needed filled, the strap button hole on the horn stripped, a screw hole on the pickguard, and a screw hole on the input jack are stripped. The string tree and strap button hole problems were fixed by making a new hole close to they old and are now super tight.
    Pickup hole and input jack hole are solved by a chopped up toothpick/superglue and rescrewing. The pickguard hole I have not worried about. It stays in place with the other 8 screws tight.

    -- Mods I've made
    1. Installed Dimarzio DP 126 pickups for better tone. The stock pickups were good, but Dimarzio's P/J combo is niiiiiice. Also gave me a reason to resolder everything "farm tight"

    2. Sanded down the lacquer on the back of the neck for more of a satin feel. Personal preference there as I hate the sticky feeling of the neck out of the box.

    3. Strung BEAD, .135 to .070 - personal choice. Had to file the bridge and nut.

    All told.. $119 for a bass, $80 for pickups, some tools and 3 cents of solder and you've got a great sounding bass for $200. And you'll get a hands-on lesson in bass repair along the way without the fear of having to replace it.. it's cheap enough to order another without the wife making you sleep on the couch.

    I plan on buying another SX to toy around with.