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SX Ursa 3 RN CAR Review + Mod.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mh6string, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. mh6string


    Mar 18, 2010
    First of all I'm new to this forum, and I'm a guitarist. I have a need for an affordable 4 string bass for recording, and this forum was an excellent source of information...thanks !!!

    I am not new to Rondo, having purchased and modded some guitars from there with excellent results. I also have owned some basses in the past, but have always given them away to "real" bass players, or sold them following recording ventures...my loss...(besides, I have way too many guitars already!).

    I figured after receiving so much good information here at this forum, it was the least I could do to review and post some quick pics.

    I purchased the SX Ursa 3 RN CAR ...nice !! Great finish, and played great out of the box. Of course there is setup to be done....right ?!....but prior to the initial setup, it played real nice !
    - Neck...straight and true, perfectly functional truss. A little lemon oil, and fret cleaning...done.
    - Frets...Chinese dirty, but well dressed, no sharp edges, zero fret outs, cannot complain.
    - Body...Super nice metalic deep red (metalic, not super sparkly metal flake)...but a nice deep red metalic, with nice depth .(color almost exactly as pictured at Rondo), http://www.rondomusic.com/product828.html
    - Sound...acoustically has a nice ring and sustain, plugged in , sounds good with stock pups. The P pup(s) are dead quiet, the J hums 60 hz. pretty bad.
    - Balance and weight are real nice.
    - Pickguard....3 ply (BWB)...but, a matt finish..I like it.

    Chinese guitars are BATHED in gloss poly....the first thing I do is remove the neck, and 000 steel wool the finish to a reasonable, and comfortable matt finish...always...and did so with this bass. I opted to leave the "vintage"...."freakin' orange" ...finish, instead of a full strip down to maple (way less work...it's a $120 bass !!). However, after taking down the gloss poly (way down), there is a lot less orange tint...it turned out nice.

    Like most of the folks here....I was sickened by the head stock !! :( But because of the research here, I knew that I would mod it....which I did, as soon as I knew that I was not going to return it !! One of the posters here, had a lefty maple, and did a nice simple rounding of the hideous knife edge. I decided to go this route, as I did not want a "Tele" style bass headstock look. Did the cutting, sanded, applied some reasonable stain match to the cut, a little matt poly, done in an hour. It's NOT exciting....but it is not HIDEOUS anymore...kinda like a boring Lakland.

    Here are the pics....my camera sucks...any time I photo guitars , they NEVER look the same as in person. The body as mentioned is a nice deep red metalic. I don't have a before pic....I think most have seen the famous original headstock !

    P.S. I wanted to attach a 3rd pic of the body closer...but this site has tied my hands to 2 attachments...sorry...also..

    Question: Do the "jazz" pups always 60 hz hum ? ...are they single coils ?...I thought they were hum canceling (I always used P style in the past) ?

    Hope this was helpful to some budget minded player...later..

    Attached Files:

  2. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Big improvement on the headstock. Nice looking bass, and nice report.
    You can get hum cacelling J pups, but the original ones are single coil and therefore hum-prone.
  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Very nice review. I love the Ursa headstock mod that has developed here. Maybe SX will get the message and start shipping "pre-rounded" headstocks! ;)

    Yes, the Jazz SX pickups are all single coil and hence give "single coil hum". Jazz basses are this way too. If you don't have both pickups on to the same volume, they hum. A P/J is a worse problem because the neck pickup is a humbucker and doesn't hum, while the bridge pickup (J) is single coil and does. Thus even if you use them together they still hum. The only answer is to fork out for a two coil humbucking J pickup. I haven't done this on my SX basses (all are Jazz) because I love the SX tone better than that on my Fender with "noiseless" pickups. A number of pickup makers sell two coil humbucking Jazz pickups.

    On my SX basses I've found that while shielding doesn't really help single coil hum, I noticed that once I shielded the bass, the normal hum dropped very low and the single coil hum was less noticeable.

    If only SX made a 5 string P or p/J I'd be sending the order right now!
  4. mh6string


    Mar 18, 2010
    Thanks guys for the info on the J pups. I'll be getting a noiseless J for sure. Thankfully, I really like the P pup by itself....and will probably just blend in the bridge J about 25% for a little more snap (if the noiseless J's still produce some snap).

    BTW....forgot to mention that I changed the knobs from pretty nice looking chrome, to real nice Gibson ES-335 chrome insert skirted knobs. I did this because I'm a "numbers" guy, and have a problem flying blind with zero numbering. It's probably a guitarist thing.
  5. mh6string


    Mar 18, 2010
    Closer body shot.....There is a nice depth to the metalic finish, which my camera just will not pickup. Also, the red color is deeper than my flash seems to allow.

    Attached Files:

  6. exceta


    Apr 5, 2010
    Do you know where the post is for modding the headstock? Or do you have some simple steps. It looks really good!
  7. SamTheButcher

    SamTheButcher Yis, actually. Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Charlotte NC
    It's here:

    Ursa Headstock Mod

    I used a dixie cup for a template to trace the end radius. gjbassist did the same mod and I think he said he used a shot glass.
    For the cut, I used a stationary bandsaw at our shop at work. I think in the original post I said jigsaw....that would work too. Just make sure to make the cut slightly to the scrap side of the radius line, then sand down to the radius mark. Depending upon how rough the original cut is, sand down with ascending grades of sandpaper....get it pretty close using 80-100 grit, then use 220-400 grit to shape it up, and 800-1000 to 1500 maybe to smooth it out before refinishing. The smoother it is, the better.

    Good luck with it.
  8. exceta


    Apr 5, 2010
    Thank you very much!
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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