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Basses you can’t forget, but never owned.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by CGramazio, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. CGramazio

    CGramazio www.freebassing.com Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Gilbert, AZ
    After reading the fantastic Dr. Cheese’s thread about Stingray or Sterling over a Jazz it got my wheels spinning . . . Over my 35 years of 4 string slinging, what basses have I played that really left an impression but I never actually owned? I’ve been exclusively playing Rickenbackers and Stingrays since 1991 (with an occasional P dropped in there now and again), but there have been a few rogues — as I’ll call them — that have left an indelible impression. I’ll err on the side of brevity here but these are the three (and one honorable mention) I just can’t get out of my mind:

    Rogue 1 - Turn the dial back to around 1993 and I’m down at the music stores in NYC and I stumble on my first “missed opportunity,” a Ken Smith Burner. I can’t remember what store it was — it wasn’t Manny’s or Alex’s — but some other little boutique shop down there that I happened to wander into. I had heard about Ken Smith’s of course, but this was the first, and only time, I’ve ever gotten to play one. I can still recall the subtleness of the neck and the ease at which it played. Truly a masterpiece . . . but not something I could afford at the time.

    Rogue 2 - Fast forward to my time in LA, this must have been the late 90’s, and it was a quick drop in at the Sam Ash on Sunset. There it was a beautiful orange G&L ASAT. I had never played one before but I was immediately drawn to the Tele-type shape and the color was an eye catcher. The look of this one is forever burned into my mind, and it did play great, but like an old flame sometimes it’s just appearance that leaves a more lasting mark.

    Rogue 3 - Jump up to 2010 in Arizona for some studio work and I encounter the last of my three “ships in the night.” A more traditional love affair here as I got my hands on a Road Worn Fender Jazz. Just a beautiful bass . . . slick neck, great feel, wonderful tone. Love at first pluck.

    Honorable Mention - The late 80’s in my hometown at a store called Vincitore’s on Main St. A beautiful black Yamaha BB3000, I wasn’t a good enough player at the time to have a bass like that but it still pops up in my dreams now and then.

    Like a lost love or a one-time chance encounter, what bass leaves you still longing?
  2. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Would have to be either the '80 LPB Precision Special or one of the first Wunkays (trans red) — both showroom-new and contemporaneously in stock at the music store where I worked my senior year of high school.
    CGramazio likes this.
  3. CGramazio

    CGramazio www.freebassing.com Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Gilbert, AZ
    The '80 LPB P Special sounds sweet. I can picture it.
    dalkowski likes this.
  4. NigeJ


    Jul 23, 2019
    Thru neck Warwick Dolphin
  5. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
  6. For me, it would be a Mike Lull Jazz. I almost ordered one when you would buy one new for $1500! Saw one at a store back then, but it was a 5-string, and I'm a 4-string guy. Great basses.
    mambo4, db59 and CGramazio like this.
  7. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Ibanez Musician MC888. I own a couple of nice '80s Japan-built Ibanezes, but not this particular model. Played one circa '91, and was really impressed by it, but unfortunately didn't have the funds at the time. These days, they still pop up for sale from time to time, but they're usually too battle-scarred for my tastes. Also, I mainly play 5-string basses now, so can't really justify adding another 4-string to the herd. Lastly, it was available in just one finish: black. I've already got that covered, too.
    klyph and CGramazio like this.
  8. Jakeman

    Jakeman Swamp Thing Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    New Orleans, LA
    Once sat in at another guy's gig, years ago, and he let me use his bass - a Modulus 6-string fretless. It was incredible - I still wish I had offered to buy it from him. I also had played an Alembic decades ago when I was much younger but no option to buy and I didn't have that kind of money anyway. Fast forward to a week ago and I'm the proud owner of a 1994 Alembic Epic fretless. Dream come true, finally.

  9. CGramazio

    CGramazio www.freebassing.com Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Gilbert, AZ
    That's beautiful. Wow! Great score, congrats!!
    Jakeman likes this.
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
  11. Tari


    Feb 2, 2016
    Hamburg, Germany
    Many moons ago, I was in a music store just to kill some spare time towards a date I had that evening. They had an Ovation Magnum and I tried it. It was SO ugly. And SO heavy. And it played and sounded SO great. Had I had the money, I would have bought it. But I hadn't, so I just played and played until the shop closed. My date was forgotten, but not the bass. I still think of it today. Sadly, I never had the funds to buy one, they were always rare and expensive over here.
  12. It's nothing big or fancy and it's entirely different to my usual choices. My history of owned basses goes through Kubicki, Zon, Status Graphite, Alembic, Pedulla, Bogart etc etc. I love boutique kit.

    That said, I still remember playing modified jazz bass in a shop in Newcastle many years ago, a red MiM with a maple fretboard and EMG singlecoils. It sounded utterly fantastic, like Jaco's fretted jazz with the wick turned up! The action was so low and yet so clean, notes growled and literally seemed to fly off the fretboard. I'm telling ya, this thing would have kicked ass in a Rush tribute for sure. Best jazz I've ever laid hands on, other than the USA Jaco fretless model I owned a few years ago.
    Mastodon2, StevieMac, teh-slb and 2 others like this.
  13. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    An Alembic , back in early 70's . First one they got at Griggs music in Davenport , Iowa . Just awesome build and sound . It was just over $1000 then and I thought about financing one but all my gear then was already financed and I was making $3.50 and hour and $40 on the weekends gigging . My heroes were playing them , Lesh and Casaday and also Stanly Clarke . I could't do it but I was playing a 67 Guild Starfire II and was happy with that . If the Alembics could be compared to a famous sword it would be King Arthurs Excaliber , that's what it seemed to me at the time . I know now that it's the player , not the bass , that matters most . I love great basses though still .
  14. _Obra_


    Feb 22, 2011
    Gibson 20/20 Ned Steinberger Bass
    Philip Kubicki Factor Bass
    Hofner Violin Bass
    Dan Armstrong Ampeg Bass Acrylic Body
    Fender Tele Bass 72'-74'...:(
    CGramazio likes this.
  15. coy garcia

    coy garcia

    Jan 18, 2020
    Bruce Johnson Ampeg Aub. Best instrument I have ever played by a longshot. It's on loan atm.
    actualsize, mikecd1, teh-slb and 9 others like this.
  16. 5aP


    Jun 29, 2020
    Whichever Thunderbirds used on Pantera's concerts.
    StrangerBasses and CGramazio like this.
  17. 5aP


    Jun 29, 2020
    Whichever Thunderbirds used on Pantera's concerts.
  18. luciens


    Feb 9, 2020
    - Steinberger XL2. The singer in one of my bands in the early 90's had one and I got to borrow it from time to time. When soloed on the bridge PU and plucked directly over it a-la Jaco, it had this unbelievable gunshot sound on every note. Kind of like a suped up Jeff Berlin tone. It was all plastic and had no truss rod in the neck, but I was always amazed at how it never warped or changed relief like my trusty Rick did from time to time. I'll never forget that tone - I'd just barely touch it and these notes would just blast out of it like "kapow". I don't really want one anymore, but I still think about how it sounded live at gigs.

    - Rickenbacker 4005. This was The One That Got Away. I found it when I was in high school, 1979 or 80. One of the local shops had one on the rack used, a red fireglo that looked to me like it was in almost new condition. This was back in the bad old days when Ricks were everywhere and everyone hated them and were trying to sell them to buy a Precision bass. So Ricks of all makes were all over the place and dirt cheap. I think this 4005 was only $900 or $1000. I bought a hofner copy for like $200 instead because I just couldn't come up with the scratch for the 4005. It'd be worth over 10 grand today. But I remember how it played and sounded, even unplugged. Plugged in it gave a very acousticy 4003 sound, very Beatles-like.

    - G&L L2500 fretless. I did actually own one of these but only for about a week about 10 years ago. It got stolen out of my apt the same week it came in. I never got a chance to even set it up, much less play it. Even though I'm a 4 stringer these days, if I come across a factory new FL L2500, I'll try to come up with a way to get my hands on it probably...

  19. 5aP


    Jun 29, 2020
    Whichever Thunderbirds used on Pantera's concerts.
    StrangerBasses likes this.
  20. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    Well, I never got to play an original Steinberger (XL2) back in the day and the desire to play one has haunted me for 35 - 40 years now.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 17, 2021

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