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NBD: Franz "Sirius" Fretless 5


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#1 walbassist

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 10:57 AM

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).

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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"

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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.

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In terms of ergonomics, the bass weighs 8 3/4 lbs, but balance is perfect. It's beautifully 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.

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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, 24 November 2016 - 02:06 PM.

Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#2 roman_sub

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 11:11 AM

Stunning instrument, love the extended fretboard :)

#3 Grahambythesea

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:22 PM

Looks beautiful and no doubt sounds it too, bet it weighs a ton!

#4 walbassist

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:24 PM

View PostGrahambythesea, on 23 June 2016 - 01:22 PM, said:

Looks beautiful and no doubt sounds it too, bet it weighs a ton!

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

Edited by walbassist, 04 July 2016 - 11:04 AM.

Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#5 philw

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 06:12 PM

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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#6 2elliot

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 06:36 PM

Wow, that's really nice
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#7 Daz39

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 07:02 PM

Jinkies

#8 walbassist

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 10:55 AM

View Postphilw, on 23 June 2016 - 06:12 PM, said:

PS. Do you still have a Wal on order?

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

View Post2elliot, on 23 June 2016 - 06:36 PM, said:

Wow, that's really nice

Thanks :)

View PostDaz39, on 23 June 2016 - 07:02 PM, said:

Jinkies

Is this good or bad? :)
Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#9 gary mac

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:05 PM

The timbers used and the workmanship look spectacular.

#10 keefbaker

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:08 PM

Absolutely.. Flipping.. Gorgeous. Normally singlecuts don't do it for me, but this... This is something else.
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#11 walbassist

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 03:22 PM

View Postgary mac, on 24 June 2016 - 03:05 PM, said:

The timbers used and the workmanship look spectacular.

View Postkeefbaker, on 24 June 2016 - 05:08 PM, said:

Absolutely.. Flipping.. Gorgeous. Normally singlecuts don't do it for me, but this... This is something else.

Thanks guys :)
Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#12 alembic1989

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 06:11 PM

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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#13 lowhand_mike

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 09:27 AM

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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#14 lowhand_mike

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 09:34 AM

just did a little search for franz basses and found this video, sounds as good as it looks
https://www.youtube....h?v=0AZlc7B7E8g
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Ashdown Rootmaster RM 800
Ashdown Mag 300 EvoIII head (poorly)
Ashdown Mag 4x10 deep cab

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#15 walbassist

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 02:09 PM

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

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Edited by walbassist, 04 July 2016 - 08:51 AM.

Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#16 Trueno

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 02:25 PM

You're really rubbing it in with the extra photos. Lovely bass.
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#17 walbassist

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Posted 07 August 2016 - 03:28 PM

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, 07 August 2016 - 05:16 PM.

Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#18 walbassist

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:24 PM

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

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New active setup

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And the stack knobs

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Basses: Franz Sirius fretless 5 // Franz Sirius DC fretted 5 (due 6/17) // Sigma BMC1-STE // Hora Slimline Upright
Amps: Markbass TTE500 // Bergantino AE210

FOR SALE: Pyramid flats // Noll knobs // 12V Centre +ve PSU

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#19 obbm

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 01:03 PM

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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