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Sx ursa 2 6 string review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by curbowkid, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    SO I took the not so much of a dive to buy a 6 string jazz, at 180 bucks + shipping I was a buyer of the sx ursa. Ordered it, got it. Not hassle. Now to the fun part. The item received. I got the bass as ordered. But I wasn't expecting so much too be wrong with it. Here's the list

    -frets were un level in random places on all 6 strings
    -truss rods were tightened up too much
    -strings were already dead (not really an issue since they were factory strings)
    -all along the fretboard they had sanded post finishing to round off the ends of the frets leaving unfinished wood all along the fretboard edge
    -headstock had a nice ding in it that they tried buffing out with steel wool or 600 grit sandpaper, all that did is dull the mirror finish in that spot making it worse
    -there was an unneeded shim under the neck making the bass sound dull and enhancing the fret buzz

    From what my friend who has worked on them said, the frets are soft metal and wear fast so there's another con.

    After putting in about an hour and a half of levelling, cleaning, polishing, and overal resetting up, the bass is good for the money. But I still think I paid too much for a bass with so much wrong with it. It sounds nice and the electronics seem decent though.

    Ideas? Remarks? Comments? Questions? Open fire
  2. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
  3. Gabriel51


    Sep 30, 2008
    I would have sent it back, I have never owned one of these SX Basses but from what I read they are generally OK?
    But it sounds like you have it like you want it now so all is well I guess?
  4. Floridabwoy

    Floridabwoy Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fl
    There are plenty of reviews on them in that thread, good and bad. Maybe you should give it a read.
  5. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Kurt at Rondo has a great return policy. Some basses come out of the box better than others. Exercise the Rondo Return policy.
  6. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    They really aren't bad for the price. I mean you can tell they aren't tested before being sent out the door but honestly for what I paid, I don't mind doing a few small mods. Now if this bass was 300+ I'd have an issue
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Sure as owner of three (count 'em) SX 6ers and three 5er SX basses I have a bit of experience.

    Actually the two things that tend to be "luck of the Draw" with SX basses are the levelness of the frets and the awesomeness of the wood. I'm guessing you did OK on the wood but not so OK on the frets.

    1. Truss rods. Yes, truss rod mysteries are commonly the way the 6 string bass is shipped. There are no instructions for the dual truss rods and they often come with differing tensions (a no-no). Because they are dual acting, it's often hard to tell if they are pulling or pushing the neck! And with most of the 6ers the neck is quite straight which means that you are only going to need MINIMAL truss rod tension and may have trouble getting neck curvature. To get curvature you have to totally loosen the truss rods and let the bass sit for a while under string tension. In a week or so the neck will curve which you can stabilize with a small amount of truss rod tension. Note both rods tighten and loosen by turning in identical directions, and they ARE "double acting" if you absolutely need that to get curvature. I never have had to use "push" mode as 6 strings do put a decent tension on the neck.

    2. Frets. They are luck of the draw. I've had some magnificent, some sanded level but had never been crowned, and some just like you describe. As for metal, traditional frets are German silver which is softer, unlike some "modern" stainless steel frets. However the softer frets have much less clanky tone, but wear faster (especially with roundwounds). A good leveling and crowning and polishing will make the bass positively booteek!

    Personally I've never seen the fret rounding by sanding thing. Must have been somebody's cousin on the fret job got an "idea" for speeding up his work! Personally I took a Dremel tool with rubber abrasive wheels to round the fret ends. Not necessary but really makes the bass feel great.

    3. Strings. Everybody knows that SX factory strings totally suck and the bass won't come alive until you buy some "real" strings for it. Why even mention it?

    4. Neck joint. Well, you've found it! This is the standard "weak spot" on almost all SX basses. Neck joints are a mess. They are full of shavings and crap and shims and crooked screws and what have you. It's essential that at minimum you take the joint apart and clean the crap and bumps out of it. And if you want that great wood in the SX to turn into a "keeper" bass, I HIGHLY recommend installing threaded inserts to mount the neck. I use 8-32 flat head or button head socket head 1 1/2" stainless screws. You want to use the zinc threaded inserts not the fat brass ones. I use a tiny amount of epoxy or gorilla glue on them to lock them in place.

    Amazon.com: 8-32 Int. Thd., .394 Lg., Flushed, E-Z Lok Hex Drive Knife Thread Inserts for Wood (1 Each): Industrial & Scientific

    In worst case, you may have to plug crooked screw holes and redrill, but it's all WORTH the effort.

    5. Headstock ding: Yeah stuff happens. but as for dull spot, they just didn't know that steel wool or 600 grit leaves you a satin finish. If you want to return to glossy you need to buff it out with polishing compound. Ordinarily a bass like yours, (unless wood was exceptionally choice making it worth fixing) would be a return to B stock, but pickings are slim these days in the SX 6er availability. so you have to deal with it.

    6. Value. Come on. You want perfection in a Chinese $200 6 string bass? Hasn't TB taught you anything? The key here is that an SX bass comes with real wood. Not particle board or soft basswood or other cheap stuff. Some of them (if you are lucky) come with boutique grade matched grain. You think you can buy a bare 6 string body like that for this amount? Look around. And you get the rest of the bass parts FREE (if you choose to use them and most of us do). And then, start looking at the price of 6 string basses. No, not just any 6er, but Fender-style Jazz passive 6ers. No doubt a Steve Bailey or a Low End comes not needing any fretwork or neck joint repair, but now go look at what you paid for your SX clone, and compare.

    Nuff said.

    PS. And I always do a copper foil shield job and add a series/parallel switch to all my SX basses. Shielding makes the single coil hum less noticeable and I love the added range of tone from the series/parallel switch. And since my 6ers are in burst I sprung for new custom tort pickguards. Makes those basses look like a million!
    jfh2112 likes this.
  8. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    You bought an economy bass. But it's a 6 string J! It's a great value! Just play it!

  9. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    As long as you accept that this is a 180 dollar bass, and be happy with how suprisingly playable it MIGHT be...you should be fine with your purchase.
    As long as you are not comparing it to Sadowskys (which some on this forum have) you should be ok with your purchase.
    SX is probably the most hyped bass on this forum. It started with a few influencial posters, and then the rest jumped on the bandwagon. Nowhere else will you see such passion for an extremely low-end piece of gear. Not in the car forums, not in the archery forums, not anywhere. As the SX owners have said over and over again...ONLY in the bass world does quality and price not matter....according to them, of course.
    Recently, Carvin seems to be the next "it" bass...but at least that argument has merit. I own two Carvins. When both arrived, there was not ONE thing wrong with them at all. Try as hard as I could, I just was not able to find a thing. The neck, frets, everything were completly 100% flawless. The only adjustment I had to make was two small twists of the trussrod (and only because I don't like extreme low action)...other then that...wow!
    I look at my Carvin, and I still feel the love. I admire it. I want to write poems about it.
    Now, I won't get carried away and say it is better or equal to a Dingwall or other boutique bass...that's taking things too far. But I compare it to a hi-end Fender without question. It compares to musicman, it compares to rick, it compares to Spector, and warwick...and has a more reasonable price.
    But in this day and age, to gloat and gush over a 180 dollar bass is just, sad. Really sad, and in my opinion, deceptive.
    What will you get for 180? A bass more then suitable for a total beginner. A bass more then suitable for someone wanting to experiment with extreme instrument modification. And in a pinch, if you are playing in a rough biker bar where you would not want to risk an expensive instrument, SX would fit the bill. I would actually play one before I played a Squire or MIM. These days, the SX has better quality control and the price is more "fair" (really, 500 bucks for a MIM?)
    So keeping that in mind, the SX is a good deal for those three reasons.
    Other then that, I wish people would quit whining about better basses being overpriced. A fairly good orchestral BOW for upright bass is at least 1000 dollars just by itself!
  10. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I am very well aware of what too expect for 180 bucks. I knew it wasn't going to be perfect. I posted this more as a guide too people thinking of getting one of these basses too look at and know what they could be in for. I know factory strings suck, sometimes they are okay. These were exceptionally bad. I am fully aware of what was coming, I'm happy with it for the price. Now can I get people's knowledge on said bass in this thread or is it going to be a s$&/ storm of people saying what I should be thinking, feeling, knowing, expecting and all that and people picking apart my original post. Seriously, this is TALKbass not scrutinisepost.
  11. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    I got the 5'er like that one about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I guess I got lucky b/c the only things I had to do to it were raise the saddle on the D string about a 1/4 turn and put straplocs on it. I did get a P/J that was less-than-good about 4 years ago(dead strings, no setup, trussrod loose, missing a spring under one pickup). Almost sent it back but I needed a backup bass badly(bad backup bass?) at that time so it got worked on to be useful.

    If the 5 would've arrived as your 6 did, Kurt would be swapping a bass for me.

    Factory strings on all basses are normally not Rotosounds I prefer.
    If they aren't dead, I leave them on until I can't stand them OR a replacement set of strings arrives in my mailbox.

    I think a LOT of eastern-made basses are getting the "soft fret metal" as this issue has been discussed among Epiphone Pro T-Bird users....including graphic pictures of fret wear-thru that has happened quickly to the more abusive players.
  12. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I talked to my friend and he said the frets are a silver alloy. So super soft! I've had my bass a whole day now and I'm already seeing wear. And I'm not a tough player. I'm sensing a refret
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Silver alloy in an SX bass? Surely you jest! He probably meant "german silver" which has no silver in it and is the "traditional" material for frets. I could see that perhaps the alloy is substandard and softer than normal, but still I do prefer the less buzzy-clanky tone of softer frets. I've not had any huge wear issues. I've got much more wear on my fretless wood! Still, if you like super bright stainless steel round wounds, I'd say a refret in stainless is in order. They are super chewy strings (including your fingers!) I've leveled my own frets with a fret file and I don't buy the story that the frets are any "softer" at least on MY SX basses than on some of my other "quality" basses that needed a bit of filing.

    As for Lucas Vigor who always puts down SX basses and who thinks my SX bass herd is only for beginners, I'd point out that I OFTEN choose what SX has to offer over my other basses. And the "Others" to choose from include Alembic, Ken Smith, Carvin, Modulus, USA G&L, Fender, Conklin, BassMods, and the ever-popular two Wishbasses! And I'm particularly happy to now have several reasonably decent Fender-style 6 strings without a mortgage on the house. Hey if you want to rag on basses with things wrong, go whine in the wishbass club and see what happens! Tar and feathers is my guess.

    Point is what I think is sad, are people who rate basses based on the name on the headstock. Tone is where you find it. And often has little relationship to how much you paid, though the people who paid it really don't want to admit it. Sure, I bought my first SX as a "bar bass" so I wouldn't have to worry about the more expensive ones, but much to my surprise it turned into so much more. I'm sorry, but you are just not going to convince me that Jimmy's Radio Shack bass is not THE coolest bass on the planet because he didn't pay enough for it and it had some things that needed fixing.
  14. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    So you didn't really want "comments"? Maybe you shouldn't have asked for them in your op. Sorry if my post fell short, but all I did to mine outside of a setup (which all my basses get) was shield, add series/parallel, get a black guard made, and change the strings.
  15. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    Where did you get your guard made? I want to toss one on mine. I think candy apple red and black is a nice combo. I already set it up and im gonna put some flats on it.

    To clarify, whwn I asked for comments, I meant on the bass itself, not on me.
  16. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I love the bass itself its just the quality issues baffeled me. I understNd I paid next to nothing for the thing but some of the stuff t he factory did is just common sense things that you shouldnt do. The neck was shimmed with a queen of clubs! I was thinking about getting a set of flat wounds for it. Just for that extra jazzy sound.
  17. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Wow. Just wow.
  18. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Good review. Yes they are cheap qaulity and made with poor qaulity frets (soft compared to regular qaulity nickel frets), and not worth the money imo. Plenty of nice out of the box basses with good solid wood body, better frets, etc. For low cost.
  19. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    My aim was to point out the cons, pros arent to easy to find. Its going to take some work to be nice. Bur thank you! Im glad someone liked it and isnt picking it appart for no real reason