No kidding! I saw somewhere that this guy in England who was making fretboard-topped boxes was using surplus cuttings to make thumbrests out of ebony, rosewood, and kingwood. Now when I went looking for a pre-'57 style P bass "tug bar" for my homebrew '54 copy, the only thing I found online was an ebony one from www.grguitars.com
, and I was struck at how much I liked it. So I gambled the $17 apiece and got a few for a couple of Js
and a '75 P I have laying around.
Naturally if you don't use a thumbrest this has nothing to do with you. But if you do, you know how they feel exactly like what they are: cheap hollow plastic. They kind of give a little bit and just generally feel flimsy. These solid wood thumbrests are like rocks. The ebony rest is a perfect match for the plastic Fender style rest. Every detail is perfect, and the maker's name (Guy Lewis) is even stamped into the bottom. Cosmetically the ebony is indistinguishable from the 'stock correct' part.
Now I know this might sound silly--but the ebony thumbrest feels awesome. I myself couldn't believe how different the feel of a piece of ebony screwed directly into the body wood was. It really feels solid and secure, like it's actually a part of the bass and not just a chinsy bolted-on piece of plastic. The metaphor that ran through my mind was that it's like (brace yourself) wearing a really good pair of socks. You know, nobody else might notice the difference, and you wouldn't think something so minor and utilitarian would make much of a difference. And I guess it doesn't tonally and such. But to me, the interface parts between me and the bass really do make a difference. I put deep-knurled Callaham knobs on the '54 P copy and now I can't even look at metal knobs with less grip.
Anyway, the guy I got my rests from was Guy Lewis whose work can be seen online at www.classicguitarboxes.com
. They're $17, $5 for S&H (and they got to me surprisingly quick seeing as they came air mail from the UK). I highly recommend trying one and seeing if you appreciate the difference in feel.