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What Sounds Like A Flea Bass, But Isn't?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EString, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    This sucks.

    I just got the new Red Hot Chili Peppers DVD, "Off the Map".

    Before, I had only heard Flea live through crummy mp3s recorded by concert-goers. I used to think that Flea's live tone really sucked. After seeing "Off the Map", I became a changed man.

    I want Flea's tone.

    That Modulus Flea with the Lane Poor pickup sounds INCREDIBLE. The bass sounded so transparent and growly, with plenty of attack.

    I would like a bass with a similar sound, but I don't want a Flea Bass. I just have a thing with signature basses. Another hurdle is the fact that Lane Poor is out of business.

    Can any Flea Bass owners or other experts recommend a upper mid-priced ($1800 street price or lower) bass that sounds something like a Modulus Flea with the Lane Poor pickup?

    Would a Stingray w/ an SD pickup do the trick?
  2. i would suggest a Quantum would sound more
    like a Flea bass than a Stingray.

    try a Q4 or 5 w/ EMG's?

    i have no problem at all with endorsement basses,
    but the flea bass sports goofy teeth on the headstock and an assortment of sparkly colors,
    neither of which i'm crazy aboout.
  3. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Well. Flea of course used to mainly play on Musicman basses for awhile until modulus made him his own signature bass. And honestly I like the tone of a stingray better. But thats just me. I have played the Flea bass and I like it alot. but the ray just calls to me.. maybe that is because it sits right beside me in my room :).. But I would say if you want growl. look at a musicman stingray or a sterling. I have a ray 5. Jazz basses have excellent growl if the holy growl is what you seek

  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Actually, a Stingray with a Moses graphite replacement neck and the Kent Armstrong MM replacement pickup should sound pretty close, if everything that I have been hearing on the KA pickup is true. It is supposed to be very transparent, and let the true sound of the bass come through, which was what everyone always said about Lane Poors. But IMHO you've gotta have a composite neck, too, not just the pickup.

    Of course, once you get the bass sounding like a Flea bass, then you have to get your rig sounding like Flea's, and steal his fingers to get his tone.;)
  5. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    I think most Jazz Basses are already out for me. I like Jazz Basses, but they are generally not as transparent sounding as something like the Flea.

    Right now I have a G&L L-2000 which I like very much, but the sound isn't detailed enough for me.
  6. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    I have a GK 1001RB amp.

    Also, I don't want to sound exactly Flea, there are just some qualities to his tone that I really love.
  7. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Why do you really care about who endorses the basses? If you like them, get them. The Flea bass with Seymour Duncan pickups, or a Quantum with Seymour Duncans (which you might have to specially order, or put in after you get it) would be the next best thing. They're very growly, which would help you get that tone you like without Lane Poors. But if you want a Flea bass...then get one. No substitute will do the job as well.
  8. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    You could go with the Quantum Sweetspot to put a single pickup in, well, the sweetspot (although its not a MM-style pickup). The Flea bass does come in some normal gloss colors now as well (so you could avoid the metallic/metal flake look). Stephen Lessard of the DMB is playing a Flea bass these days (according to the last BP interview). I think Zon does a single pickup bass as well.

    Or find a used Modulus Sonic Hammer that supposedly is "what every Stingray bass wants to be when it grows up" according to one quote I saw somewhere. It's the predecessor to the Flea.
  9. Si-bob


    Jun 30, 2001
    Hemel Hempstead, UK
    Focusrite / Novation
    i know what the guy means about signature basses.....u wanna have your own bass, not one with someone elses name on! i'd never buy a signature, if i had that kinda money, i'd have a custom built bass, and sign it myself! :)

    just my 2 pennies
  10. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    I have always been wary of signature basses myself, but after playing a friend's flea bass, not to mention seeing it used by other pros....
    I don't think it's your standard signature model. I personally prefer the sound of a good stingray with a maple neck, but if you want flea's bass tone, why not get flea's bass? Would you feel bad about buying a stingray because he used to play one? I certainly didn't. :)
  11. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    I guess you guys are right. If I want Flea Bass sound, I gotta get a Flea Bass.

    If I do get a Flea Bass, I want one like this!

  12. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    That one's definitely gorgeous!
  13. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Ya, get that one. If you try to mod up another bass to get the sound of the flea bass and then it doesn't work out as planned you will be pissed. And then if you turn around and try to sell a modified bass, you will get screwed on resale. I say the best bet is to get the flea. The only thing I have against signature basses is when they but a huge signature on the bass (like the body inlay on the Warwick Jack Bruce Thumb Bass...Yuck!!).

  14. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    Where did you find that one?
  15. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I don't know if it will deliver the sound you want, but i always thought of the peavey g-bass of a flea bass that isn't. sparkly, graphite neck, single pickup.
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I really laugh when I see this sort of question.

    Two problems:

    1. Most of Flea's tone is in Flea's ears and fingers. This is true for ANYBODY.

    2. Once you pick an instrument that will get the sound you want it's kind of silly to then say you want something LIKE it (especially if that something must be CHEAPER, although in your case you didn't specify this).

    OK, some basses you could go play:

    Peavey G-bass 4 string:
    Very similar design to the Flea bass, including the graphite neck but only about $700. Definitely worth trying to see if it'll work for you.

    Modulus Sonic Hammer:
    You'll need to find a used one as they no longer make this bass, but it was very similar to the Flea bass. In fact it was discontinued when the Flea was introduced. I forget what pickup was used.

    MM Sting Ray or Sterling:
    Stock or otherwise. Flea used rays for years and had a lot to do with the resurgence of interest in them (in the mid 1980s you couldn't give one away). If you haven't played one, go try one out and see what you think. It won't have as "refined" a tone as a Modulus Flea, but it might do the job for you.

    One more bit of advice:

    Once you set a budget (say $500, $100, $1500, whatever) you should try EVERY bass you can find in that price range. You might be surprised at what you find from actually playing basses as opposed to reading catalogs and spec sheets.
  17. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
  18. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i was thinking peavey G-bass as well.

    that flea bass tone is kinda what i'm going for with my sterling. i may be getting a moses neck really soon, and then i was thinking of getting a bart pickup for it (i don't want polepieces, but i want a triple coil pickup so i can still use the switch on my sterling)

    should sound kinda like a MM/zon/fleabass, but i'm sure it will sound awesome....

    anyways....i'd play a G-bass before you try anything else. they have pretty transparent pickups, play great, and are the cheapest graphite neck bass you can buy (i think?)

  19. @ basscentral...

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