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SX SJB-75 5 string review w/pictures

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Sep 2, 2005.


  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    The pictures are here: (the first 6 pictures)

    http://photobucket.com/albums/y167/dane5140/bass pictures/

    The Story
    Ok, so my Bass came in yesterday I opened it up with great glee and discovered to my horror that it was a blemished model. There were greenish glue markes above and below each and every block inlay, and black smuges on the edge of the blocks. (the pictures show this) Not visible from more than 4 feet away, but still quite a bummer. I emailed about a possible replacement, but Kurt said I had recieved the last one. I didn't want to wait for the next shippment, and I wasn't even sure if this model was still in production, as it was not on the TEAM inc website. In exchange for 50 dollar refund I agreed to keep it. I'm going to try and refin the neck, but that will have to wait a while.
    So kudos to Kurt for his eagerness to resolve the issue promptly and fairly. Now for the review.

    Review: note that this model was a discounted blemished model and the review takes this into consideration.

    Model: SX SJB 75 5 string model
    Natural Ash body and maple neck with black block inlays and 4+1 headstock.

    Service 10
    See above "story". Kurt was great to deal with, shipped quickly, and has defnately earned my bussiness recomenation.

    Appearance: With Blem 7, without blem 9
    As the pictures show this bass has a yellow gold finish that is executed quite well. The matching of the body pieces is not perfect, but the grain is relatively uniform, there is only one obvious point of differing color between pieces, and it is more evident in the pictures than in person. The colors of the bass compliment each other well, and I am pleased with it in that respect. Visually, the headstock is a touch too big, it is a good deal bigger than a fender headstock, and while not a huge concern, it is noticable, my wife noticed it right away. The Pickup cover and Ashtray looked better in person than on the website, but I removed the Ashtray and the thumbrest. Intersteingly the ashtray will fit over a BAII equiped 4 string, Something the Fender one wont. Both chromes, are higher over the strings than their fender counterparts.

    Construction: 7.5
    This bass is well assembled but there are a few concerns. The pickguard shows some flash where it butts up against the neck, it obviously wasn't cut exactly right, but I trimmed it away and it is fine now.
    The neck is firmly in the neck pocket, a credit card will not fit in the joint.
    The frets are generally good, but there are two that I am going to have to file a sharp bit off. It is not dangerously sharp, but enough to notice. I haven't finished setting it up yet, and I don't have the knowledge to know if it needs a fret leveling, but the truss rod works smoothly, and I have got it to a rather low action without having to touch the saddle height.
    The fretboard binding is smooth, but not as cleanly done as a Fender 75 J.
    The tuners are very smooth. The bridge is obviously quite cheap and minimal, but it seems to get the job done alright.
    The strings do not line up right with the bridge pickup, and the bridge pickup route is a bit longer than the bridge pickup itself.
    The B and Gstrings do not run straight from the tuners to the nut, this would not have been difficult to do if SX had shaped the headstock a bit smaller, but the large headstock necesitated the string placement that exists.

    Comfort/Playability 8
    This Bass is heavy. Not quite T-40 heavy, but definately weighty. It makes my MIM P seem very light indeed. It was not uncomfortable for me, but players who prefer light instruments should look elsewhere. The neck is farily thick (see picture) but comfortable. Keep in mind however that I have very long fingers. The string spacing is quite narrow (see stats at bottom) Due to the heavy body, there is no neckdive, and it feels comfortable on a strap. The B string is not tight, but neither is it super floppy. I am playing on the stock strings which are probably crap, so this could be the problem.

    Sound/electronics 8
    Even with the pole pieces not exactly alligned under the strings, once I raised the bass side of the neck pickup, the sound was quite balanced from string to string. The pickups are of average output and unremarkable in charachter, but are servicable, and they do get the job done. Buzz is very noticable when the pickups are not at identical levels. The pots are very clean with no scratchyness, and the tone knob works well.
    Overall sound is very much the basic jazz bass tone with the additon of a b string. It would sit well in the mix and has enough bite to cut when necessary, but I don't think it will win any awards for outstanding tonal quality.

    Value 10
    Even at full price, this bass is quite a value. I would not say that it is quite the quality of a MIM 5 string, The 4 string models are there, but SX still has a few kinks to work out in the pickups placement and sound before it can compete in that cagagory. That said, with replacement electonics and bridge it could definatley exceed a MIM fender jazz 5, and it is cooler looing than the MIM fenders. Even with the blemishes, this is a sharp looking bass, and you just can't get blocks inlays, and natural finishes like this anywhere near this price.

    Overall (for what it is) 9
    If stolen I would definatley try to buy another if I could find one. As mentioned, the sound is as good as anything in this price range, and the visual features far exceed most basses at twice the price. I am pleased with this purchase and would recomend it to anyone as a first time 5 string or as a great platform for modding. I bought this bass to have a good looking workhorse 5 string (I like classic style that stands out onstage), and I think this bass fits the bill.

    Afterward: I bought this bass expecting to eventually mod it. It will be getting a series/parallel push/pull pot this weekend, and other than that I am going to play it stock for a couple of weeks. It is pretty much certain however, that eventually it will get new pots, pickups, bridge and preamp (in that order). I am also going to refin the neck to remove the blemishes and reshape the headstock.

    Any questions, Ask away!
     
  2. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    One quick addition, I added a new set of strings this weekend. Regular slinky 5 string set (the yellow green pack) the bass sounds noticably better and the b-string has improoved tension. It is still not as tight as I would like, and I am considering changing it from a 130 to a 135.
     
  3. sonofabass

    sonofabass

    Feb 10, 2006
    California
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    are they actually inlays or painted on or decals of some sort. I'm thinking of getting a four string from them as a beater