The Flea bass junior somehow slipped under my radar until today, but I’m quite impressed by what I’ve seen so far. This electric bass is a short scale (ie. 30″ scale instead of the standard 34″ scale) that will appeal to anyone looking for a slightly smaller bass guitar that is cool looking and by all indications – sounds great. Have you seen one of these babies yet? Flea apparently designed the Flea bass 32 model himself and according to the sales copy – technicians set it up to Flea’s specifications so that each bass sounds great and plays like butter.
Flea became famous while wailing away on the classic Music Man Stingray four string bass with the massive single pickup in the “sweet spot” between the bridge and the neck; so it’s no surprise that the Flea bass junior also has a single pickup. Sure, there’s less tonal versatility, but since this bass looks like it’s aimed squarely at beginners…keeping it simple can be a good thing.
The body is made of a solid piece of alder, the neck is maple and the fingerboard is rosewood. While this bass should appeal to anyone looking for a decent four string, the different color configurations have me thinking that this would be an excellent first bass for many kids out there. Perhaps I’m just biased since I play bass and I have a son who’s almost 9 years old and would probably be a good fit for this bass?
Personally, I like the black bass with the white pick guard which is also known as “Wild One”. You see, Flea does things a little bit different, so there’s a name for each of the four colour options for this bass. The blue with an orange pick guard is called “Water”, the green with a pink pick guard is called “Punk” and the orange with a yellow pick guard is called “Sunny” – take your pick!
Here’s a picture of the man behind the bass – Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: apparently clothing is optional when you play this bass!
I haven’t found any mention of what the controls do, but since there’s only two knobs and a single pickup I’m guessing that one knob is for volume and the other is for tone – yep, it’s a passive bass.
As I already mentioned, the bass is a 30″ scale and has 20 frets – that’s about 2 to 4 less frets than you’ll find on most modern basses but vintage basses (which many cool bass lines were written on by people like Jaco Pastorius and James Jamerson) had only 20 frets as well, so no worries there. The cool thing though is that you don’t have to buy short scale bass strings which can be harder to come by; the reason for this is that the strings go through the body so that it will accommodate regular bass strings for 34″ scale bass guitars – very smart indeed!
The bass has dual cutaways for easy access to the upper frets and the hardware features a chrome fully adjustable bridge coupled with classic open gear Elephant tuning machines.
Lastly, the bass comes with a case and a cable – definitely cool stuff to have when you’re starting out. While I haven’t played one of these basses for myself yet, I have to say that I’m very interested on checking one out – for my son of course!
“If they don’t play great, they’re not going to the stores. We’ll set up every one and make sure it’s perfect.” –Flea
Here’s a dude jamming on the Flea bass 32 going straight into a board with the original pickups.
So what is this puppy going to run you since it has a celebrity bassists name on the headstock? The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $399, however you can spot cheaper prices online, especially if you’re not picky about which finish the bass is. Check out the Best price online for Flea Bass Junior
So, to recap this post for those of you who were looking for a last excuse to buy a new bass:
- Kick-ass bass, great for beginners or those with small hands
- Setup to Flea’s personal specs before being shipped to stores
- 4 cool finishes to choose from (I like the Wild One).
- Comes with free bass cable and gig bag
So what are you waiting for? Check out the Best price online for Flea Bass Junior
I saw one available online for about the same price I paid for a piece of crap used P-bass in 1990 – I wish my first bass had been this cool!