Rogue SX100B: A Good Bass for New Players

While Rogue makes many entry-level instruments, from guitars to mandolins, few of its products are more than that — entry-level. Rogue’s SX100B four-string bass has its shortcomings, but can serve a new player well until he or she decides to upgrade.

Available in black, blue or red, the small-bodied Rogue bass has a large 24-fret fingerboard, tone and volume knobs, and a bolt-on maple neck.

One of the most notable problems with this bass is how easily pickups and the output jack can come loose, whether it’s slammed against walls or treated with care. This is a common complaint among Rogue players, but players familiar with tweaking guitars and basses can fix the loose parts with little difficulty. Strings equipped with the instrument should be changed, as factory strings tend to be poor quality.

The Rogue bass has pretty small frets, and buzzing is not uncommon even with proper technique. For a bass guitar, the action is low, which can contribute to the buzzing as well.

Most of the problems the Rogue bass has can be corrected with a professional setup. While the natural tone of this bass is somewhat thin compared to more expensive instruments, higher-end amps and effects can bridge the gap.

This starter bass does have many strong points, especially its low price of $80. With a minimal investment, new players can decide if they’ll stick to playing bass or not.

Tuning machines on low-end instruments are almost always poor quality; the Rogue bass has tuners that do their job surprisingly well. While some “touch-up” tuning is needed from time to time, the bass falling considerably out of tune is rare. The included truss rod helps insure playability.

Necks are often poorly finished — not the case with this Rogue bass. Smooth and thin, playing fast and “up the neck” are easy, especially compared to other entry-level instruments.

The finishes are glossy and impressive, while the maple neck can have some stunning figuring if it’s a good sample. The chrome hardware is simple but effective visually.

Rogue is known for manufacturing starter-level instruments, and the SX100B isn’t a break from tradition. Players with more money should pick up an Ibanez, but this bass is good for its very low price.

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