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anzoid

NBD - RedSub INF5 Fan Fret Multi-Scale 5 String

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Spotted yesterday morning, ordered yesterday afteroon, arrived this morning.

Cheap 5-string fan fret with passive humbuckers. Not spent a huge amount of time with it so far but thought I'd do some first impressions. Paid under £170 for this so, to be honest, didn't have amazingly high expectations. My experience of 5-strings has been everything from grotty 90s Westfield to Status Streamline with a Yamaha, two MTD Kingstons, an Aria and some other stuff in between. I have also briefly owned a Dingwall ABZ 4 so have at least tried the fan fret thing.

First thing - this thing is light. Weighs just 3.65kg, which for a fiver isn't bad at all. On a strap it's well balanced with no neck dive and everything is nicely within reach. Scale length is 34.5" to 35.5" (apparently, not measured it...) and the longish top horn means it doesn't feel like a huge reach down to the end. Pickups are vey generic looking humbuckers, it's passive and the controls are VVTT from the neck end. Volumes are progressive, tones - feel pretty "on/off" with not a lot inbetween.

Neck isn't too chunky, but not as slim as 5-string Ibanez. Depth is about 23mm at the nut, with the nut being 45mm (not quite sure whether you measure along the nut or perpendicular to the neck on a fan fret...?) Neck is also about 23mm at the 12th fret and 61mm wide. Shape is a gentle C and quite comfortable. Spacing at the bridge is 18mm so doesn't feel too cramped. The monorail bridge pieces are about what you would expect and seem sturdy enough with a good finish. Tuners seem to be good quality - quite smooth and hold tuning fine. I've got a set of Gotoh tuners I might put on it, but not a vital instant upgrade.

Overall, the finish is probably an 8.5 out of 10. Paintework on the front is good, but there are scratches near the strap button (rough handling somewhere?) and the finish on the back is smooth but has a weird pattern to it - that may buff out though. Otherwise not much to complain about really. The headstock is good, couple of globs of hardened glue(?) that will probably come off quite easily.

Frets and action: frets are all good, a bit dull but no particularly sharp ends and minimal fret buzzing. The action is pretty low. Fretboard wood is, apparently, "Thermally Treated Maple Ply" and you can just about make out the ply if you look real close. Otherwise looks like a decent bit of rosewood, not heavily figured or anything but quite consistent. The only minus neck-wise is the nut. It's not great, when your hand bumps against it it's got a sharp edge on the G side. It's kinda scuffed and is slightly too wide for the fretboard.

How does it sound you ask... well, not too bad actually. The multiscale definitely works to this guitar's advantage. Sound is clear and even across the top four strings and the B is pretty close behind - it's slightly, fractionally, more muffled, but that's being pretty picky, and could also be down to only being able to try it through my TCE BG250-208. With a bit of tweaking of pickup heights and maybe a decent set of strings (can't imagine the ones on it are the best available) I think you'd be hard pressed to notice any variation.

Sound is typical, modern humbucker sound - with clear highs but not single coil like highs, kept wanting to dial in a bit more treble, but it wasn't there :D Low end is quite growly and I could see using this at a gig quite happily (if I ever get one...)

This is definitely a bass I would be happy to pour some money into for a couple of upgrades. Tuners - yeah probably, as mentioned above. Pickups - they're 38 x 100mm so I think there are off-the-shelf soapbars that might fit (EMG?). A nice three band pre would be a good addition too.

OK - it's not a Dingwall!!! But for a tenth the price it's a very nice bass indeed. If you're looking for a cheap way into fan fret and/or 5-strings this really is worth a look. I'll probably keep this one around at least for a while.

And to finish... without pictures it didn't happen, etc...

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Edited by anzoid
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I had the sharp nut issue on a fanned fret Ibanez when I owned one - easy to sort out with a file (I used a nail file!). Sounds like this is worth the asking price!

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Thanks Anzoid, nice review. That looks like good value for money to me. Think you are spot on with the EMGs, I reckon a set of Nordstrand Big Singles would also fit. Hmmm. 

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I got to try this today - for the money it's really good. A couple of upgrades and an afternoon fettling will make it great. Excellent B string on it, punches well above it's price point to be fair. 

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Just upgraded the machineheads with a set of Gotoh GB707s that I had sitting around from another 5-string project that went nowhere. Quite an improvement on tuning - smoother and hold tune better than the stock machineheads (which weren't too bad). Holes were the correct size - the reason these never went on the other 5-string was that the headstock holes were under-sized (and those machineheads were real cheapo jobs... and I couldn't be bothered to enlarge the holes.)

Whilst all the strings were off I lemon-oiled the fretboard, the grain is rather nice. Also took out one of the pups and measured it up - an EMG 40 series should be a straight drop in replacement, so just need to decide what to try. Anyone had any experience with the 40TWs? Single-coil and humbucker in one package with a pull-pot to switch. They look good but can't work out from the EMG site how to wire up a pair of them (VVTT, rather than the VVT on the site...), and apparently they don't play nice with any of the EMG EQ systems because of the pull-pot switching - so only an active tone available per pickup... what are those like?

Edited by anzoid

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Good review. Thanks. So it begs the broader question, is multiscale the way forward or just another quirk like true temperament frets, etc?

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11 hours ago, visog said:

Good review. Thanks. So it begs the broader question, is multiscale the way forward or just another quirk like true temperament frets, etc?

Thank you :) Funnily enough, I wonder whether fan fret may make better sense at the cheap end of the 5-string market where cheap basses seem to often suffer from floppy and indistinct B strings. The extra scale length that comes built-in on multi-scale works to their advantage and, as this bass proves, can be done for bargain bucket prices. As the strings on this have mellowed slightly from a week of playing I would say that the tone across all five strings has evened out more.

As mentioned in what I said above, this isn't Dingwall quality, but it's get definite mod potential as everything seems to use standard size parts (though I'm going to have to enlarge the pot holes to put in anything other than cheap min-pots like it has now. And above all, the neck is really good, and that's what counts, at least for me, to make this worth putting a bit more money into.

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On 02/02/2019 at 19:33, anzoid said:

<snip>. Anyone had any experience with the 40TWs? Single-coil and humbucker in one package with a pull-pot to switch. They look good but can't work out from the EMG site how to wire up a pair of them (VVTT, rather than the VVT on the site...), and apparently they don't play nice with any of the EMG EQ systems because of the pull-pot switching - so only an active tone available per pickup... what are those like?

I have a bass with the 6-string equivalent of the TW pickups. Twin & single-coil sound is very different, and in this case i prefer the extra punch of the single-coil variant.  Wired into a 3-band EQ in my case, so no "tone" control per se. What i'd really like to do is put in a series/parallel switch that puts the two coil-tapped TW's in series with each other... but this being EMG, it's more hassle than necessary. 

Edit: Also had a look at the EMG eq/tone preamps, and i can't see a reason why the TW pickups would have any issues working with them?

One way of doing a 4-pot config would be to do VV with push-pull pots for coil tapping, then either a master-tone (ABC) + a 2-band stacked EQ (e.g. BTC). Or use a 3-band-2-pot EQ instead (BQC).

Admittedly, none of these give you VVTT wiring, but maybe the EQ may make up for that? (I don't think i've ever seen a bass with VVTT controls before - curious how that works :) ). If you're set on VVTT with EMG's - i hope someone else will chime in ;)

 

Edited by kumimajava
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On 03/02/2019 at 08:29, anzoid said:

Thank you :) Funnily enough, I wonder whether fan fret may make better sense at the cheap end of the 5-string market where cheap basses seem to often suffer from floppy and indistinct B strings. The extra scale length that comes built-in on multi-scale works to their advantage and, as this bass proves, can be done for bargain bucket prices. As the strings on this have mellowed slightly from a week of playing I would say that the tone across all five strings has evened out more.

I guess the main obstacle there is the cost of tooling, but looks like these guys have figured that out. 

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Hi, i'm french bassmann :)

(sorry for my bad speaking, i'm helping whith google transale ^^)

What rope pull does it take? 40-125 ; 45-130 ; 50-135 ? without regulating the truss rod..?

Best regards :)

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How about an update on this bass, still working OK? Do you still like it? Would you buy it again?

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking of getting a RedSub for pub gigs, glad to hear there are no issues that aren't easily sorted and that the important bits are all up to snuff!

Edited by NicoMcJ

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Hey guys i have question.

I thinking about buying this one but they said Delivery is gonna be in October....? There is anyway to get it faster?

 

https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and-Bass/RedSub-Coliseum-Fanned-Fret-6-String-Bass-Purple-Burl-Burst/31J4

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