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Spector NS-JH5CM Fretless Bass

Stuart Spector basses have been some of the finest instruments produced in the last 20 years. In recent times the line has been expanded to meet a wide range of taste and budgets, including the NS-JH5CM, a beautiful five-sting fretless bolt-on.

In the past Spector basses were a part of a small group of high-end custom-built instruments reserved for the bass elite. But the bolt-on, versus the neck-through, design helps lower the cost for a midrange buyer. The instrument is fairly lightweight, which helps facilitate a smooth playing action. This bass requires a fairly light touch to achieve a good response, and I think most players will find this a selling point. The fingerboard is pau ferro with 35-inch scale and 24-fret length. The sound of the bass is very articulate, producing a characteristically Jacoish sound quality, probably due to the lightness of the wood in the body.

I found the bass very even throughout in all the registers, though lacking a deep low-end. The NS-JH5CM would be at home in numerous musical settings, particularly fusion and Latin music. Bassists inclined toward soloing also will love this instrument. The neck design and wood choice of the body, coupled with the EMG pickups, contribute to strong punchiness in the mids. The pickup configuration is one EMG SJ5 at the neck, and one EMG 45CSTW (switchable between humbucker and single J via push-pull on the volume control) at the bridge.

This is a very modern sounding bass, which is why I would recommend the aforementioned styles. It would also fit most pop or rock situations equally well. There are two options with regard to body-wood type: swamp ash (NS-JH5) or curly maple (NS-JH5CM). The design and curvature of the body make for a very comfortable playing position when standing or sitting. Ned Steinberger conceived this body design in 1977. Natural oil and wax finishes are available in natural, black stain, violet stain, peacock blue stain, royal blue stain and golden stain. The neck design is a three-piece maple neck with one truss rod and graphite stiffening rods in the neck for added stability.

The bass plays wonderfully and has all the great characteristics of the Spector line. Most players gravitating toward fretless playing should really love this bass.

Originally Published