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Review

Roscoe SKB STD+ 6 Fretless Bass

Issue #58

We have Mark and the team at Bass Direct to thank once again for sending us another fine bass for us to drool over. The specifications we have taken from their website stock list.
Dan Veall

PROS:

At this price, it should be very good, and it is.

Lots of customisable options

Six string extended range joy!

CONS:

Wide fingerboard may put smaller players off.

Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5 stars

Roscoe SKB STD+ 6 Fretless Bass

MSRP £2999 (UK)  $TBC (US)


Roscoe SKB STD+ 6 Fretless Bass

Roscoe has built a reputation over 30 years of making some of the finest custom basses in the USA. Dan Veall tests out the brands high-end SKB shape fretless bass complete with a beautiful Pomelle Sapele top over a resonant Swamp ash body to see just how inspirational a bass like this can truly be.

Keith Roscoe and his team hand build each STD+  instruments to a spotless finish from their USA based workshops.

Their reputation for making some of the best custom basses the US has to offer has been built on a consistent quality output for some 25 years. The range of instruments are of striking beauty with a nod to classic lines and much thought for ergonomics.

Here's yet another example that we are excited to share with you all.

We have Mark and the team at Bass Direct to thank once again for sending us another fine bass for us to drool over. The specifications we have taken from their website stock list.

Let's get straight into the details: The medium weight body is faced with a lovely top of Sapele Pommele. Whereas the more premium models from Roscoe opt for a matching facing on the headstock, the STD+ models plump for a more wallet-friendly plain headstock but you know what? I don’t mind that at all!

We'll come back to the electronic side of things in a moment as we move away from the eye-catching natural finish of the body. The neck of the SKB STD+ is a Maple laminate and is super smooth all the way up its length with a satin finish. It's a beautifully carved and comfortable neck that has an effortless profile to play even being ‘6 strings’ wide.

Round to the front and we have a beautiful fretless Black Diamondwood fingerboard with shiny silvery fret marker lines! That's a really nice touch. Incidentally, the Diamondwood is actually a resin, pressure impregnated wood. This should hopefully put up with years of string vibrato abuse. Certainly, put up with my fumbling in the world of fretless bass!

Up towards the headstock, the strings pass over a Graphtec nut; tuning is taken care of by Hipshot ultra-light tuning keys. Of course, the action of these is smooth and positive as well as guaranteeing years of trouble-free usage. At the other end of the 24 ‘fret’ 35” scale the strings are anchored down by a Hipshot quick release bridge. Acoustically, the Roscoe imparts a woody smooth tone that is balanced all across the fingerboard.  Plugging in and we are graced with Bartolini electronics and pickups. The sound options available are pretty wide and I demonstrated only a few of the sounds available in the video review. For any fretless, the mid boost knob is your friend and I coaxed out some great sinewy sustaining sounds.

The Bartolini pickups are passive and when coupled with the preamp on board will give you superb tone-sculpting options. Take first of all a bass and treble concentric stacked control offering cut and boost which is enough on its own to allow the distinct and full voice of the bass through – but in addition a mid boost and cut with all featuring useful frequency centres. The preamp is topped off with a pan control for the two pickups and master volume control.

Plugged in, our ears are instantly greeted with a warm bass tone with a tight bottom end. I notched the tone controls up in boost a little for extra breadth that suited my reference bass amp, a Bergantino stack. Although I found a sweet spot on the EQ for my introduction, I did, for the benefit of the review, demonstrate a bit of knob twiddling to show off the variations available.

In all honesty, there's nothing I can comment negatively about this bass guitar. I have huge hands, so maybe for those with smaller pinkies, the extra string’s requirement for a wider fretboard could leave some stepping away.  We are all, of course, different and have our own tastes in instrument features. The Roscoe SKB STD+ 6 Fretless Bass sure is tasty!

SPECS

Swamp ash Body,

Pomelle Sapele top

Finish - satin finish

Three-piece Maple neck with contrasting stringers

For more information, please visit:

Bass Direct

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Issue #58

Synyster Gates

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