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SX Ursa 2 6-String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by frrrosty, Jan 21, 2017.


  1. frrrosty

    frrrosty

    Jan 18, 2012
    So, I recently purchased a SX Ursa 2 MN NA 6-string from Rondo Music, and want to share some facts and findings. First off, It's a great bass for the money. I've been playing Fender P and Jazz basses for 40 years, and while I won't go so far as to say it's as good as a Fender, I will say the SX is a playable bass, and at this point probably my favorite guitar.

    I saw it being offered for $160, and couldn't pass it by. I looks a lot like my 2011 Fender DJB, and the wood is gorgeous. Real American Swamp Ash, Maple neck, I cannot fault the woodwork. Near perfect poly finish.

    Construction is solid, the bass feels like it will be around for a hundred years. The only cheeez factor I can find is the neck plate, it's a standard 2" x 2.5" four-string plate, not really big enough. I can't find a bigger one though, and it still feels solid.

    Can't use postimg, can't use imgsafe, can't use ANY of the regular hosts, only metadata sites. Can't access the BB code, or HTML, or whatever the hell they use.

    Dual Truss Rods - this was a welcome surprise. They adjust at the headstock, making life a little easier.

    This bass is 14-1/2" wide, so be careful in choosing a case. I strongly recommend you get the case when you buy the guitar, it will save on shipping, protect the guitar, and you know it will fit. Besides, the case Rondo sells with this bass is about the lowest price anywhere for a case, and it's a perfectly sound generic case. I think it's $60, and it fits the bass. You will definitely want one, this bass is a keeper!

    The bridge is nearly identical to the Fender High Mass bridge, it works fine except, like most basses, it needs to be moved 3/8 - 1/2" toward the tail for the low B to make intonation. That done, the bass tunes perfectly. An option would be the Kahler 2460-XW6 slant bridge, a bit expensive though. And you don't need it, the stock bridge works great if you move it back.
    If you do want to move the bridge, first get some M3 x 50mm screws on ebay (Ace only has up to 35mm). The first three string saddles have 45mm screws, which won't be long enough for the mod. But, you can then use the 45mm screws for the lower 3 strings.

    The electronics need a little help, but nothing any nube couldn't do. The pots are 500K, giving the bass an ice-pick treble. I changed out the tone pot to a Fender No-Load 250K, but it's a tight fit, The routing was barely wide enough, the stock pots are mini-pots, 500K all. I will change out the volume pots to 250K and install an S1 toggle switch for series/parallel.
    Note that if you change the pots, and use standard size Fender pots, there may be issues fitting it all in the narrow channel, and also you'll need to drill the switch plate to accomodate the 3/8" threaded shank of the Fender pots. When I change out the volume pots, I'll be using cheaper mini-pots as I want to leave room for an S1 mini toggle switch. Good news is that the stock knobs fit the Fender pot shaft.

    Pickups - this is where things get dicey. I haven't looked at the coils, but the pickups are way too small to be standard 6-string bass pickups. They're only 3.96" and 4.09", compared to Aguilar 4.6". If you were thinking of upgrading these pickups, think again. The only way would be to re-route the channels and that might not work out so well. There might be a possibility of doing a Neodymium magnet upgrade, I don't know yet.

    I started tuning the High B string to C, but the Rotosound .035 is pretty stiff. There are singles available in .030, so I changed the top string to .030, tuned to C, it's perfect. Following the convention tuning of this string makes sense for six-string guitar players, because they have a high E string. Since the 6-string bass has no high E, tuning the high string is completely arbitrary. I like C because it maintains the box pattern (and keeps the guitar players from messing with my bass).

    some specs:
    string length: standard 34" scale
    Neck radius: 14"
    string spacing: 11/16" at bridge
    overall length: 47"
    maximum width: 14-1/4"
    body thickness: 1-11/16"
    neck Width / nut: 2-1/8"
    Neck width / 12th: 2-15/16"
    Neck width / 20th: 3"
    Neck pickup: 3-15/16" x 11/16"
    Bridge pickup: 4-1/16" x 11/16"
    Stock pickups:
    Neck: 3.96" (100.6mm)
    Bridge: 4.09375" (103.98mm)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2017
    SpazzTheBassist likes this.
  2. el_Bajo_Verde

    el_Bajo_Verde

    May 18, 2016
    USA
    If you want to host any images, try Imgur!

    I'd have gotten it a long time ago but there are no compatible pickups to swap in
     
  3. drdog

    drdog

    Apr 17, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    I also have a 6-string SX Ursa jazz bass. Mine is the natural finish with maple fretboard and black block inlays. I am totally impressed with the quality this bass. I'd say it sounds closer to any Fender Jazz Bass that I've heard other than a fender. Seriously I have done some recording lately on it and is blowing me away going straight into the board with no effects whatsoever. it sound great so I have to keep asking myself...why pay $1,500 or more for Fender Jazz Bass when this thing sounds so good as it is stock from the factory without modification ? 1I own 11 different bass guitars and I would say this is my 3rd or 4th best sounding one.
     
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  4. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    Frrrosty you forgot one important spec. Weight....;)
     
    wyrtti likes this.
  5. dabbler

    dabbler

    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Congrats! The Ursa 2 6 has somewhat of a following around here: SX Ursa 6-string Jazz bass

    I love mine too!



    IMGP3780.

    But, I'm an SX fanboy, anyway:

    IMGP1853a.
     
    DuranFanWI and bassbenj like this.
  6. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    I'll play too! Note 3 and 1/2 SX 6 strings. They are round wounds, flatwounds, and fretless plus a swamp ash body for the round wound version. Mods are Threaded inserts, string trees, different electronics (vol, mode sw, tone) Tort PGs and top loader bridge. (note dixicup headstock mod). The fretless 6 is right up there with my fretted Modulus as a favorite and great sounding bass! However, currently my most used axe is my Fretless G&L L2500.



    SXHerdB.
     
    DuranFanWI and dabbler like this.
  7. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    I'd been on the fence for years about buying one of these. Then they made a headstock upgrade and that pushed me over the edge. Pulled the trigger about ten minutes ago...

    ursa2rn6alderblack7.

    If this turns out to be the value I think it'll be, it'll get a 17mm bridge (I know Hipshot makes one- any other choices?) at the very least. Will have to get pups, too, I suppose, to cover the new spacing. $197.58 to my door leaves a lot of cash for mods.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
    ERIC31 likes this.
  8. SpazzTheBassist

    SpazzTheBassist

    Jun 20, 2006
    With a detailed review like that, pics werent required. Thank you for your time and expertise. Excellent read. :thumbsup:
     
  9. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    Wow , that new headstock looks way better than the previous ones .

    Also good review frrrosty , I'm an SX fan also .
    I don't have one now but have had quite a few and all were good basses . Congrats on your new one .
     
    Mastermold likes this.
  10. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    20170216_144938.


    (Sorry about the poor photo- that "smoke" at the nut is from the camera or something) It's here, but my amp is elsewhere, so I'll weigh in on sound later. But I have several other things to comment on:

    The good:
    1- The bass arrived with no finish flaws, the neck was straight, pocket tight, pg and control plate aligned properly, fretwork is fine (I'm playing it acoustically in my lap ATM), no sprout and the nut is serviceable (I'll probably replace it anyway, because I "bond" with my basses in part by adding a bone nut. Sue me).
    2- It's a very solid build that doesn't dive, but isn't stupid heavy either at 10.5 lbs (exactly what my Squier VMJ 5 weighed).

    The bad:
    1- The tuner holes are a bit large for the tuners, but they pivot to the proper angle when the strings are tuned. With no tension, they wiggle some. I can fix that if I want to by using a small piece of veneer in the hole to keep the key shaft perpendicular to the top edge of the headstock.
    2- The bridge is bent eeeehver so slightly behind the strings. You can see it only if you hold the bass up to light a certain way. I was able to slide a sheet of regular typing paper a distance of about 1/8" under the back, but two sheets would not fit. I noticed only because I was looking for it (due to reading the threads dedicated to the bass), and I'm 100% sure it's within tolerances for most bridges that aren't reinforced not to bend. I'm going to move the bridge back 3/8"-1/2" to alleviate the stress caused by the extreme E and A string break over the saddle. Ordered some 50mm M3 screws today on eBay.
    3- The fingerboard had some of the typical cheap bass white stuff in the grain (from polishing the neck, I assume). I took a toothbrush and got it out, then gave it a drink of mineral oil. It looks fantastic now, but my photos don't show it.
    4- The bag's zipper may fail at any time. Do NOT carry a bass in it unless you're holding BOTH hand straps, suitcase style. Forget about the backpack straps. Throw them out so you're not even tempted to try them.



    The Overall (pending the sound test): This bass, with the bits of creative wrenching listed above, could easily hang with an MIM Fender. Stock, it's easily as nice as my old Squier VMJ 5. I've never been this excited about a $200 bass in my life. The 16.2mm spacing (81mm overall) doesn't bother me at all (I've been an 18-19mm player the whole time). I went looking for an inexpensive sixer to get familiar with sixers again. I half expected a toy and what I got is a solid, giggable instrument that should hold up over time. Kudos to Rondo!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
    dabbler and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  11. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Oh, yeah, this is gonna get a black pearl pg (now that I know I don't need 17mm, I can keep the stock bridge/pups and put some of that money toward a pg) and I will nitro myself a matching headstock for sure!
     
  12. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Just an FYI for other Ursa 6 owners...

    I have a minor peeve about "Y" tuners on Fender-style basses. I thought about Hipshot Ultralite clovers, but IMO they would have sat too far out on a headstock that has tuners on both treble and bass sides. Just my luck, someone thought of it before I did! I found some clover tuner buttons on eBay a few days ago. They are designed specifically to replace the "Y" keys on mini tuners, but they will not fit the stock tuners on the Ursa. They did fit on some other minis I had lying around, so I swapped the buttons out on those and put them on the bass. I cannot tell a difference in weight on he bass, and I wasn't really sure with one of each in either hand. I happened to have several different sets of mini-tuners in the parts bin, but none in chrome. I'm using these black ones until I can get around to refinishing the headstock in black to match the body, by then I'll have some chrome ones. Doesn't look too bad from the front as it is.

    Put this in your eBay search if you're interested. I do not know this dude, and I don't work for him.
    NEW GUITAR TUNING MACHINE HEAD BUTTONS FOR 4 STRING BASS CHROME CLOVER LEAF

    Here's a photo of one button and a tuner I converted

    20170218_155240.
    Front view of six buttons installed on the bass, using black tuner bodies.

    20170218_172907.

    They ran me $7.80/set of 4, which works out to $1.95 per button. Ignore the fingerprints on the buttons- they're as well finished as the average mini tuner.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
    bassbenj and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  13. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Okay, one last post from a proud new SX owner...

    I tried fitting the remaining two buttons to other tuners to see if there was a way to determine in advance which would fit the buttons and which would not before buying. So far, what I do have might help.

    Here's an image of three tuners. The chrome is from the stock SX, but with the black threaded bushing and washer from the tuners I used. The nickel and gold are from my parts bin. The SX tuner is stamped "B Y3" (r something to that effect). The nickel and gold (which do fit the clover buttons) are stamped "Made In Korea" on the underside. The gold is additionally stamped "JIN HO LD", while the nickel is stamped "JIN HO LA".

    20170218_185919.

    An image of the chrome SX and the gold MIK with their buttons removed. You can't see it with the eye, but the square-shaped shaft on the chrome SX tuner is slightly larger than the one on the gold, and would not fit the hole in the clover button.

    20170218_190155.

    All of the tuners I have that are stamped "Made In Korea" fit. None of the tuners I have that are stamped "B Y3" did. Just thought I'd put that out there- might save somebody some cash.
     
    bassbenj likes this.
  14. RBrownBass

    RBrownBass Thoroughly Nice Guy Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Tuner update!

    The Wilkinson open-gear mini tuners (model # WOBT- also known as the WJB-750) fit the clover buttons perfectly. There are certainly others that do, but after I did the "Jin Ho" research, I found out that they make the Wilkinson line.

    s-l1600.

    Shown below with the button I just installed. Please forgive the fingerprints and my poor photography... the finish is fine.

    20170227_191734.
     
    dabbler likes this.
  15. ERIC31

    ERIC31

    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    How did I possibly miss this thread until now?? ;)

    I just ordered the SX black J 6 string the other day. UPS has it arriving at my door this Thursday. Can't wait!! After reading the posts here, I'm even more amped up! :) 2017-03-09 01.51.46.
     
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  16. bassksun

    bassksun

    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    My turn. Grabbed this puppy on saie! Ye shall be modded!

    ursa2mnash6na1.
     
    ERIC31 and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  17. dabbler

    dabbler

    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    I bought a b-stock one a few weeks back and put an Audere Pro Jazz pre in it. I played it this morning at church, and I really, really like it (on the right below):

    IMGP4051.

    But then I love all 5 of my passive Ursa 2 6es too!
     
  18. bassksun

    bassksun

    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    Hmmm...Audere now there's a thought! I have Nordy big singles as first phase. Might sound deadly with an Audere.
     
  19. bassksun

    bassksun

    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    We welcome the 6'er to the SX Family basses.
    Next month the mods begin.
     
    ERIC31 and dabbler like this.
  20. Gremson

    Gremson

    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    Oh man. I've been drooling over one of these for a couple years now. I just sold my Bass VI and put an SX on order. I'm looking at getting some new strings because I wanna tune it E-E, but I can't wait till it arrives!
     
    ERIC31 and bassksun like this.

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