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Another Mystery Japanese Precision Copy

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Philonius, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. I picked this up on a whim because I've had a hankering to own a Japanese Fender clone, and it seemed to deserve a new home. The CL ad listed it as a 70's copy, and that's about all I know about it. It had a few of the common issues, terrible setup, dead strings, missing a bridge saddle adjustment screw, mismatched tuner, and gunky sweat stains.

    A few parts, a used set of strings from the classifieds, a good cleaning, light fret dressing, and a decent setup turned it into a pretty decent P. Oh, new custom deluxe Teak thumb bar too!

    I have no idea what it is, and have never seen the mysterious IC headstock logo before. It reminds me of some college fraternity or obscure religious symbolism. Other than that, the MADE IN JAPAN neck plate, and a 2 stamped (not ink stamped, embossed) on the neck heel, no identifying marks. The body is made of a ligher mahogany type wood ("Luan"?), veneered in birch/maple/something similar, and finished in a rather bright sunburst. The neck is two piece maple construction, with a thinner fingerboard slab laid over the main blank. Nice feeling neck, and sounds real thumpy like a P should.

    If any of you bass geniuses out there have any idea what it is, that would be cool. Pictures or it didn't happen:




  2. skibass94


    Jul 10, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    I would shield the pups if it hasn't already been done
  3. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    Very cool - hope you find some info!
  4. wolfmancharlie


    Nov 28, 2009
    The IC on the headstock converts to Iota Chi but when overlaid like on your headstock stands for Jesus Christ.Looks like a late sixties Matsomuko. The neckplate with made in Japan and the tunners and bridge look a lot loike their 60's guitars and basses .and it also looks like a Dimarzio pup. However the neck looks like Fuigen. I can't remember ever seeing that lettering on a headstock before but it could be aftermarket and one of the Greek frats use the IC but not imposed on each other. probably not much help but I tried.
  5. Shameless bump. I'm always impressed with the way people here zero in on small but significant details. Like how in the heck can anyone tell those might be De Marzio pups? To me they look like just about every other P pup in the world.

    Anyway, thanks WMC and if anyone else has any insights, have at it.
  6. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Nice find! Sorry I have no info... I love stuff like this though...
  7. Jedson


    Apr 1, 2011
    there are holes for the bridge & pickup guards. it would look nice with them on..
  8. Don't think those particular pups are DiMarzios as they had adjustable pole pieces via small Allan key.

  9. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I have to say that is impressive if I nab something similar you will be getting a PM nice work.
  10. Warhawk


    Jan 31, 2003
    Canton, Ohio
  11. Avalon


    Feb 28, 2009
    Hmmmm.... did you happen to see the second page of that forum thread.....

    "The guy who owns the Truetone Music guitar store in Santa Monica CA finally solved the mystery. There is a Pawn Shop in Pasadena CA called Crown City Jewelry and Loan (possibly) and in the 70's (and maybe 60's) he was selling huge amounts of guitars. At some point he decided to simply start importing guitars under his own company banner. Hence the name Crown City imports. Don't know who actually manufactured them but this is, apparently, for whom they were manufactured. Pasadena's nickname, by the way, is the Crown City."
  12. Warhawk


    Jan 31, 2003
    Canton, Ohio
    Good catch Avalon! I didn't even notice there was a second page to the thread.
  13. You dudes are awesome, thanks.
  14. Warhawk


    Jan 31, 2003
    Canton, Ohio
    No problem. Glad we were able to help! :)
  15. wolfmancharlie


    Nov 28, 2009
    Mainly because at that point in time that is what Matsomuko was putting in their basses..De Marzios in 3 of my basses,2 are Westones ,No adjustable pole peices..I probably should have said that if it is from Matsomuko the pups may be De Marzio.
  16. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Do any of you think the body is veneered? Nice 1-piece otherwise.
  17. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The sunburst pattern conveniently covers both the tummy cut and the forearm cut in solid black. A good indication that the body is veneered or laminated - but not conclusive.

    That bass looks like a real nice find.
  18. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Check out my items for sale in the classifieds! Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    what did you pay for it?
  19. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    Sorry but I doubt its a Matsumoku product. They made P basses with one piece necks and three piece necks as well as ones with three piece and two veneers. I have not encountered a two piece neck. Also, Matt used neck plates that read "Steel Adjustable Neck, Made in Japan" and usually a serial number.

    Many Matt made lines included an option to have DiMarzio pups in the late 70's through their closing in '87. I don't recall that option being available in the earlier copies but rather in their original designs. Early Matt's sourced pups from a number of Japanese makers until they started making their own.

    That said it looks like a nice bass made by one of the other quality Japanese makers.
  20. The body is definitely veneered- see OP. There are faint seam marks on the edges which tells me that the body is two pieces of "mahogany" (clearly not Honduran, some open grained lower density species) with veneered faces. The face wood might be maple, but looks a bit coarser grained, more like birch. Not a bad body, fairly light and resonant.

    Fair disclosure, I paid $185 and have another $10.50 in parts into it. One of the tuners was a complete mismatch, wrong sized ferrule and all, but I was able to find an old Fender branded tuner that works pretty well. Chances are it will show up in the classified soon, as I'm trying to simplify my life and get back to one really good bass (plus the Cort Steinberger copy that lives under my desk at work- for the slow times.) I don't expect to do much more than break even, and fugeddabout making any money for my time. All this GAS is keeping me from practicing which is what o' Philonius really needs.