Brice HXB-405 5-String Fretless Bass Reviews 4

I'm a New Jersey native who lives now in California. In 2003, I was in NJ for a visit and stopped in at one of my favorite stores, Rondo Music in Union, NJ, where I had bought gear as a teenager. I tried the Brice HXB-405 5-string fretless bass, liked it, and since Rondo handles Brice in the US, bought the bass to be shipped back to California. The price was $250.

Good tone with active pickups switched on. Quality, ultra-smooth fretless rosewood finger board. Light weight, well balanced. Bridge is obviously cheap yet works surprisingly well; string-through-body design helps. Tuners are solid and reliable. Neck is straight and true. Full 34-inch scale gives nice fat sound.

No complaints, none at all. Oh, perhaps I might have preferred a higher quality wood for the body, but really this doesn't detract from the instrument's overall quality.

Six-bolt neck is amazingly well anchored. Fairly short headstock reduces the distance from nut to tuning capstan, increases string bearing pressure; with roundwound strings (such as Fender Original Bass 7150s), sustain is amazing! Nut is well made, giving low action at the first "fret," reducing the sharpness that is common otherwise. I can play fretless without having to make intonation adjustments due to poor design in the instrument (a problem that is too often necessary on fretless basses).

An amazing value for the money! About the only change that I may make some day is a replacement neck with an ebony finger board, since I use roundwound strings and ebony is nearly indestructible. Buying a more expensive bass may give you more return on your long-term investment in terms of higher resale value, but not that much in terms of having a fine bass to play.

Thomas E. Braun rated this unit 4 on 2004-03-11.

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