This is not a fresh news as the model has been revealed at the NAMM show a few months back, but I finally had the time to do some research on this beasst bass. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers is now also an actor of the musical instruments business as he founded the Fleabass company. The company’s goal is to produce the Fleabass, a budget bass made for beginners. And maybe for those like me who are eternal beginners in the matter of lo frequencies…
Big hand, small hand? You’ll find a match anyway.
There are 2 versions of the Fleabass: a standard model (34” scale) and short scale model (30”) specially made for those with small hands (kids or not). The Fleabass design is mainly inspired by the Modulus basses that Flea use to play (he even have a signature model made by this brand), and according to him, the Fleabass main purpose is to be an affordable instrument that had to be simple, equipped with a good pickup, efficient electronics, and a comfortable neck (in Bassiste N°26, French bass mag). And of course it had to be a an awesome looking instrument.
Nowadays, Asia and its numerous instruments factories are the place to meet this challenge as most of the series instruments in the market are produced there. The Fleabass is made in China. Dave Lee (guitar tech of the RHCP) regularly goes to the factory to be in charge with the quality control. As a result:
- The price of the instrument is between 400€ and 450€ (US $ 400 to 500) which is still a bit high to be able to properly call it a cheap instrument, but it remains affordable.
- A funky looking instrument and if you don’t like the green/pink or the blue/orange blends then you’ll still have the black/white version which is awesome too (less funky though).
- It comes with a gigbag and introduction DVD with Flea.
- A minimalistic configuration to begin bass, or for me who sold the 2 pickups basses I used to have (3 basses).
No new models are announced yet, but Flea doesn’t say that there won’t be any. To be followed…
Flea: a man on a mission
I like this initiative from Flea because as a renowned bass player he could have chosen to just have an endorsement contract with a famous brand (or an avatar of a big company) rather than creating his own. But the underlying ”project” at the origin of the Fleabass idea is quite a good story and makes the approach even more worth and interesting. Indeed, Flea founded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music which is a non-profit organization that provides private music lessons at reasonable cost to children in need. I love this consistent approach, and I wonder if actually the Fleabass company is not partially funding Silverlake conservatory?
Flea jamming with Chad Smith on a Fleabass at NAMM 2009. Too bad the camera is placed behind the drums, but it’s always a pleasure to see those 2 jamming together.
As soon as I get my hands on a Fleabass, I’ll tell you what I think about it… And if one of you guys already has one, and is willing to share his opinion or a video… You are welcome to proceed.
To go further
- Website of the Fleabass brand.http://www.fleabass.com/
- Website of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. http://www.silverlakeconservatory.com/