There are good prices, and then there are prices that make you do a double take and ask "really?" The SX Ursa 3 RN falls squarely into the second category- offering an impressive set of features at an almost appallingly low price.
SX guitars and basses are made in China and, along with a few other brands of similarly priced instruments, are distributed in the US through Rondomusic.com, a site that has gained some degree of notoriety as THE place to find astoundingly inexpensive instruments. It was, therefore, a natural place for me to go searching when I recently found myself in need of an inexpensive bass for recording some scratch track bass lines and generally mucking about.
I am somewhat of a traditionalist in my bass tastes, and a Fender P-Bass has always been the sound that my ears seem to want to hear on the low end- so the SX Ursa series immediately caught my attention. Visually it is a P- bass clone in all areas but the (copyrighted) Fender headstock, with the least expensive model (the Ursa 1) having the same famous control and pickup layout and the "one step up" model, the Ursa 3 boasting the addition of a bridge position Jazz Bass style pickup to compliment its standard P Bass split coil pickup.
The difference between the two models was only roughly twenty dollars, so I decided to go for the Ursa 3 to expand my tonal options. For only $120 dollars I decided that it would be hard to go wrong.
Now, I'm no stranger to cheap guitars- I've had my share of virtually unplayable plywood specials, so my expectations for the Ursa 3 were very low. In fact, I intended to slowly upgrade it over time- a plan that would end with almost every original part being scrapped save for the body. The pickups were the first target, followed by the bridge, and even the neck.
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The end result would have still cost less than a Mexican Fender, and not much more than a Squire- it was a sound plan. But then, the Ursa arrived and plans changed when the bass did the one thing that caught me completely off guard.
It didn't suck! The body felt nice and solid and resonated like real wood, the neck was well made and buzz free- marred only by a few sharp fret ends and an unnecessarily thick coating of glossy paint. It even sported a dual truss rod (a great feature hardly ever found on production bolt ons, even on basses that cost several times as much as the Ursa) that had kept the action nice and the neck straight all the way from China to my door.
The knobs were heavy metal, not cheap "chromed" plastic like I had been expecting, and the pots felt smooth and steady, not cheap. Most surprisingly of all, even the pickups were usable.
The split P Bass pickup delivered all of the familiar grunt that I expect to hear, and the J Bass pickup provided all of the expected tonal variety when mixed in, in addition to having some nice tones when used all by itself.
I certainly wouldn't say that these are the best bass pickups I've ever used, but they are well above the level that I've come to expect from budget brand instruments, and will be staying in the Ursa until a great deal on some Duncan Basslines cross my path. There's no hurry though, which is both surprising and welcome.
I was absolutely blown away by the Ursa, probably because my expectations for it were so low, but for the bare bones price it delivers an insane amount of value and sounds as good as instruments costing twice as much or more.
Bestselling Sx Ursa 3 Electric Bass Product in 2020
Ursa 1 JR RN PK 3TS 3 Tones 3/4 Size Bass Guitar Package w/Amp Bag, Strap and On Line Video Instruction
- This Bass Package has everything you need to play bass guitar! Bass, Amp, Bass Bag, Strap, Cable, and Instructional Video that will get the player up and playing right away!
- This is the perfect package for the young beginner, or an adult who is looking for a lighter, more agile bass that is easier to handle.
- The body is contoured for hours of comfortable play, and the dual cutaway shape allows access to the highest frets.
- Ultra fast Rosewood fretboard with 21 jumbo frets!