Price paid: £ 161
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features: I have the Water blue version of the Flea bass and I have had it over a year now, therefore I thought it was suitable to review it.
- Made in china (probably made in late 2011 since the company went into administration which is a shame.
- Full 34 inch scale with 20 frets (with medium jumbo frets I assume)
- Solid alder body with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard.
- Quite a Glossy polyurethane, its surprising how good it looks.
- Body style is somewhat a mixture of a modulus, a Precision Bass and a Musicman.
- A big hefty bridge which can either be strung on top of the bridge or through the body.
- Passive alnico humbucking bridge pickup with a 1 tone and 1 volume.
- Standard elephant ear gear tuning heads.
- Included a black padded tweed gig bag, a allen key for the truss rod and a small cable.
Really I just wish it had more frets that's the only thing which lets it down for me. // 8
Sound: I play mix of alternative rock, pop and funk in my band and the bass puts up very well, I use it with a Gallien Krueger MB200 (with matching cab) and overall I get a fairly bright well rounded sound the bass sits well in the mix of my band without it being too warm or being too "midrangey" or "trebly". Even when I've distorted the bass with the use of a ProCo Turbo rat the bass doesn't sound muddy, it still retains clarity with the individual notes. The bass doesn't buzz or hum even at the loudest volumes.
I mainly play with my fingers whilst playing bass and I still can comfortably hear the individual notes whilst playing live and the bass sounds just as good when slapping or using a pick. For those looking to play RHCP (like me) the bass is ideal however as I mentioned before you will be missing the extra frets. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: When I first got the bass (I ordered off the internet off the Thomann website) the bass wasn't exactly play out the box material, the bass was in need of a dire setup. The G string was virtually unplayable the neck was bent and the volume control was very crackly and was offset from the body. After the bass was setup it was right as rain, very comfortable and easy to play. The neck isn't as thick or wide as a Precision Bass or as slim as a Jazz Bass, its a nice balance between the two. So with low action (like flea basses are meant to be setup) you can play and flow very fluently throughout a song. Those looking to slap mainly of all the basses I've play this is one of the easiest to slap, the string spacing and low action make it ideal. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I've played the bass live about 5 times last year (all of them being about half hour sets) and it's withstood live playing with ease I've never had any problems. The bass does most definitely seem like it will last, I've knocked it on a she'd load of different objects and I can't find any dents or damaged hardware whatsoever which keeps me faithful to many more years of playing!
The strap buttons are really thick and solid, with my current strap I don't feel the need to use strap locks the strap just retains its place even with quick movement. I feel very safe when playing live with the bass I've never felt the need to have a backup when using it. The finish to me is impeccable, very full, bright and seems like it would take quite a deal of work just to remove it. I'm not the biggest fan of polyurethane finishes because of fingermarks and dirt but its non existent on this bass. // 9
Overall Impression: Definitely a good match for the style music me and my band play since we all are big chili pepper fans but other bands which we are big fans of like KOL and QOTSA it still puts up very well with. I've played guitar for 5 years and bass for about 18 months now and gradually I am becoming better even preferring to play bass than guitar.
If it was stolen or lost without thought I would pick another one up (if I could find one since they aren't being made no more.) I love how the bass is quite eye catching but so comfortable and how it sounds great especially for the price I picked it up for. At first I was going to buy a Squier Classic Vibe Bass but since this was an unusual bass and different to your usual jazz basses and Precision Bass I thought why not give it a chance. I just wish it had more frets! // 9