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This article was originally published in issue #51
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The overall feel of the instrument is modern, and I really like the profile on the bass neck which as I said in my video actually feels a little bit wider but you know what?
Well know brand
Quality hardware and electronics
Passive for Plug and Play
Fretless marker inlays
You might prefer an Active EQ
The Spector SpectorCore 5 FL fretless bass comes in hot on the heels of the NS 2 CTB fretless we reviewed in issue 46. Not to be in any way overshadowed, the specifications are just as impressive here with the 5 FL, as Dan Veall puts his fretless skills to the test.
I will be the first to say that I’m not the strongest of fretless players. However, with a bass like in my life, the urge to improve that area of my playing would certainly be much more appealing. Featuring a three-piece bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard, this model includes white fret marker inlays to assist in more accurate intonation, and it really works!
From nut to saddles these basses are a 35-inch scale, and you know what? It is not too much of a stretch if you're more used to a 34-inch scale. You won’t struggle.
The body shape itself is based on the Spector NS2000 profile, making it Very comfortable due to those swooping cutaways and naturally downside body. Speaking of the which, all models feature a sculpted piece of Basswood, but as you’ll see in my video, it is hollowed out or ‘acoustically chambered’. This also means that the weight is kept down too. Perfect for those long gigs! Although this example featurs a solid finish, within the range are some translucent finishes that allow you to see Spector’s ‘genuine figured maple top’ wood grain. Tasty!
Taking care of electronics and transmitting those fretless tones, Fishman, like on the NS 2 CTB, are back on Piezo duties. Elements in the saddles picking up acoustic vibrations offer a naturally organic warmth but bright shimmering top end. In the middle position, Spector has installed an EMG passive pick up. I believe the HZ model here is a dual rail type configuration.
Both of those pickups go out to separate volume controls with their own passive tone adjustment (VVTT) and if you watch the video with decent speakers or quality earphones you'll hear the differences between those two pickups which you can blend to taste. The tone controls are a pretty standard feature on passive instruments and a welcome inclusion as I found in some ways the Piezo was a bit too bright with the knob ‘all the way open’. No problem, it’s always best to have too much that you can reign in rather than not enough to begin with. A quick twist and we have that under control. There’s a really nice sweet spot I found with both pickups on full but taking the edge off of the top-end gave me a full sound with just the right amount of that classic fretless ‘mwaaaah’ singing quality.
Interestingly in the blurb, I find that this instrument needs to use standard steel strings. Coated or Tapewound strings won't work!
The bass is very light in weight and with its smaller headstock (which I really like), sits balanced very well on my leg. I can imagine a long gig without any fatiguing of the shoulder or back problems.
The Spector models come in four different colour choices; the black that we have here, Amber Burst and a naked natural finish and finally a rather tasty walnut stain.
The overall feel of the instrument is modern, and I really like the profile on the bass neck which as I said in my video actually feels a little bit wider but you know what? I am sure it is probably not it is just the profile. It is slim front to back in my hand and I think if I'd drop the action just a little bit I’d be speeding round this one with no problem at all!
The Spectorcore models are also available in a fretted five string model but don't forget there are four string models as well both again in a fretless and fretted model.