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walbassist

NBD: Franz "Sirius" Fretless 5

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Hello all

I just wanted to share my new bass with you, a Sirius fretless, made by Xaver Tremel at Franz Bass Guitars in Bavaria.

As many BC folk know, I play fretless almost exclusively, and have searched for many years to find "the one". I've come close a few times, most notably with a Veillette Archtop and the ACG Recurve I'm selling at the moment, but with this bass, I truly believe that my search is over :)

The body is walnut, chambered and very slightly curved, with a "thermo" maple top. My understanding of the "thermo" process is the wood is heat treated, which apart from changing the colour also makes it respond in a way that is more typical of older wood (i.e. more resonant, better sustain).






The through-neck is a nine piece combination of "thermo" ash, with walnut stripes and what look like maple stringers. The neck has an asymmetric profile (thinner on the treble side than the bass) and also features carbon fibre reinforcement. The fingerboard is ebony, radiused from 10" to 16" and extended (to what would be 32 "frets") all the way to the pickup, so it also makes a great ramp. Scale length is 34.5"



I wasn't sure about the end of the fingerboard shape when looking at the pictures initially, as I'd have preferred to see the fingerboard either echo the pickup shape or just have a straight end, but it actually works really well.

The hardware is all top notch: Gotoh tuners, and ETS 3D bridge with a lovely ebony-block to pass the strings through the body. The pickup is a Delano Xtender twin coil in line humbucker, with passive electronics of just volume, tone, and a switch to change the output between humbucker, single coil and parallel.



In terms of ergonomics, the bass weighs 8 3/4 lbs, but balance is perfect. It's [i]beautifully[/i] put together, and finished in an oil wax finish that feels wonderfully tactile and organic. The carving is smooth, gentle curves, all executed perfectly; you can tell that Xaver trained as a cabinet maker!

The neck is amazing. It's thin, front to back, and there are no dead spots anywhere. Every note rings out loud and true - the bass sings - and with the rigid neck and chambered body the sustain is wonderful. String spacing is set at 19mm, so there's load of space, but it can be adjusted up or down should you wish.



The electronics are simple but effective. The tone control is useful at every position, unlike on some basses where anything less than "full up" results in a quacky sort of thump. The pickup switch also gives three very different flavours to the tone, so lots of variation on tap at the flick of a switch.

Xaver's basses are not cheap, but the minute you hold one you know it's a piece of exquisite craftsmanship B)

Gareth

Edited by walbassist
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[quote name='Grahambythesea' timestamp='1466688173' post='3077903']
Looks beautiful and no doubt sounds it too, bet it weighs a ton!
[/quote]

Thanks, and thanks to the chambered body it actually weighs in at 8 3/4 lbs :)

Edited by walbassist

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That looks unbearably cool Gareth. I'm sure you want to bring it to Brighton some day so I can have a go :-)

Phil

PS. Do you still have a Wal on order?

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[quote name='philw' timestamp='1466705548' post='3078084']
PS. Do you still have a Wal on order?
[/quote]

Hi Phil, no I cancelled that some time ago...

[quote name='2elliot' timestamp='1466707008' post='3078093']
Wow, that's really nice
[/quote]

Thanks :)

[quote name='Daz39' timestamp='1466708563' post='3078110']
Jinkies
[/quote]

Is this good or bad? :)

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[quote name='gary mac' timestamp='1466780731' post='3078782']
The timbers used and the workmanship look spectacular.
[/quote]
[quote name='keefbaker' timestamp='1466788129' post='3078886']
Absolutely.. Flipping.. Gorgeous. Normally singlecuts don't do it for me, but this... This is something else.
[/quote]

Thanks guys :)

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That is just stunning. I'm also envious that you've found ' the one'... I have several fretelesses..all good in their own way...but I'm still looking for ' the one :

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very nice and i dont really like single cuts normally, the carving on the back where the neck meets the body is reall nice. Bet it looks better in the flesh too

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Popped some La Bella black nylons on and thought I'd snap a few more pictures at the same time :)





















Edited by walbassist

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Just fitted Gotoh Resolites tuners and shaved a quarter of a pound off the total weight of the bass. It's now a very lovely 8lb 6oz, or 3.8kg in new money :)

Edited by walbassist

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How to make a great bass better? Add a Noll preamp :)

Neck stack is volume on top and midrange below, pull up for passive operation. Bridge stack is passive tone on top with bass below. It's whisper quiet and suits the bass perfectly.

Installed by our very own OBBM - thanks Dave! :)

Original passive setup



New active setup



And the stack knobs

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I must say it was a real pleasure to sit down and do this for Gareth yesterday. It is just a beautiful instrument and of course I took the opportunity to have a noodle before he came and collected it. Such a wonderful tone. It makes my MIJ fretless Jazz sound complete rubbish. Now what can I sell?

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[quote name='BaconCheese' timestamp='1495908509' post='3307520']
I got one too... very convincing tone. I am pretty shure that it covers any tones I need.
[/quote]

Excellent, let's see it!

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