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'Tis the season of giving . . . a fretless bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BartmanPDX, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I've known my best friend Russ since the 6th grade -- over 20 years. He still lives in my home town, and though I've moved across the country, we still keep in touch, especially during football season (Go Dawgs!!!). A few months ago, he mentioned he really wanted to get a fretless some day. Russ is busy with the family thing, and mostly plays Hammond organ here and there on the weekends, so it didn't seem like something he was going to do right away. However, he's played bass for many years, and still owns one or two crappy ones. Having read the Megathread on SX basses, it occurred to me that I could probably round up a few old buddies and score him a fretless for Xmas if we all chipped in.

    While I was waiting to get closer to Xmas to order the SX, I looked from time to time on ebay and the TB classifieds to see if anyone was selling a cheap fretless, and one day, up pops this beauty -- a Brice fretless five-string, with ebony board, and Bartolini pickups. Brice bass in TB classified section I realized this must be fate. It was a few bucks more than the SX, but I emailed the guys, and they were 100% supportive -- Russ is a great dude who's probably kept us all from going to jail on one occasion or another. :D

    I jumped on it, and had the seller (Thanks, Chef !!!) send the bass to my parents' house, where I was spending Xmas, and when I got there, I checked out Russ' gift for myself. For a while, I thought seriously of abandoning the whole Xmas thing and keeping this bad boy for myself -- it played really well, and had a terrific tone from the Bartolinis. Chef did a terrific job setting this bass up, and I can't imagine a better fretless for the price. Great low action, no obvious dead spots, and a more-than-decent B string. The only complaints I had were that it had some neck dive issues, and the B string could have been a shade tighter, but these are really very minor issues. I was having so much fun playing it that my wife asked me if I'd rather give Russ the Godin A4 fretless semi-acoustic (which I had brought and let him take home and play for a while) instead. I actually had to think about it for a while -- but I love my Godin and couldn't do it. Still, it was hard to pack up the Brice and give it away, but Christmas is the season of giving, and Russ is my best friend, so I went ahead and gave it to him.

    He was completely blown away and totally surprised -- he didn't have the foggiest idea what we were cooking up. And boy, was he happy -- it was like watching a six-year-old with a new train set. So it was good to play Santa and make someone really happy. Still, I wish Brice still made these (Rondomusic doesn't seem to carry this model any more), and that I could get another one just like it -- with the proper "Chef" setup and Bartolini pickup upgrades, of course. :D

    Anyway, a big thanks to Chef for putting the right bass up for sale in the TB classifieds at the right time, and for setting it up so well. Thanks also to those who have contributed to the SX Megathread, which made me aware of the great value of SX and Brice basses so I could afford to play Santa. Happy New Year, TBers!!!

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  2. But can we be friends? :D I went to the 6th grade.
    Seriously cool thing to do, Bartman.
  3. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member


    Thanks. I guess the point of this thread was that there ARE amazing values to be found out there. It tends to get lost in the discussions on Sadowskys and Roscoes and all the other basses that we all covet that there are some pretty cool deals around that were unthinkable in terms of quality for the price even 15 years ago.

    It still amazes me that for around $50 each (not too much $$ for a gift), my buddies and I were able to score an incredible bass for a mutual long-time friend, and I probably had $50 worth of fun just shopping for it, playing it, and watching him happily groove out on his new bass on Christmas Eve. :bassist: