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I just found some awesome basses in an unlikely Chicago locale

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, May 15, 2006.


  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Skip to paragraph 3 for the basses if you don't want the backstory....

    So I recenly disovered this place in my neighborhood "Andy's Music" (Belmont and Oakley) They are a drum shop and exotic music store. (ex. sitars to bajo sexto to cello to harpsichord to every kind of drum and chime in existance)

    They keep some Oscar Schmidt guitars on hand for the inevitable person who wants a guitar, but I did some digging (it's that kind of place) and found some extraordinary basses. After talking to the salesman I learned that they used to be a warwick dealer back around '01. I had to play through a keyboard amp, but I got to play....

    a 12 string Warwick neck-thru corvette: Really cool sounding bass. Strung four string with additional. Two smaller octave strings for each. Very eastern sounding. Had semour duncan soapbars in it.

    A warwick Alien. Good sounding acoustic bass. Looked really cool. not as phenomenal as I expected, but I didn't plug it in.

    A Warwick Fortress Flashback: the one with the lipstick pickups and pearloid picguard. I am not generally a warwick fan, but if it had a wider/flatter neck this is a warwick I could definately see myself purchasing. Oddly enough, it was passive... I did not realize that Flashbacks were passive, but it makes sense. A very lively versatile bass, considering it only had 3 knobs.

    A Frettless set neck viola/cello bass from Ecuador. This impecabe bass, made in the tradition of classical instruments, was a real Jem. The body was as wide as a standard semihollow bass, but roughly the same same shape as a slope shoulder upright bass, but somewhere between the size of a full size viola and a half size cello. The neck was shaped like a cello neck and had a fully carved scroll and a full scale (34")fingerboard that extended over the body like a cello, over a wooden bridge and attached to an ebony tailpiece. One pickup at the end of the fingerboard, and no knobs.
    Despite the comparatively small and thin body, the bass projected as well as almost any acoustic bass I have ever played. It sounded closer to an upright than any other electric bass, and most EUB's I have played. The story is that 4 of these were made by a luthier in Equador, one went to gibson, who obviously didn't decide to manufacture the instrument, one stayed in Equador, and two came to America via friends of the Andy. Any Gibson fans have any additional information about this?

    Suffice to say that that anyone with an interest in wierd instruments should check this place out. I found it by accident, but it was a really cool experience, with a real treasure hunt vibe.
     
  2. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Wow, those Fortress Flashback basses always really appealed to me. I always thought that was Warwick's best looking body style too. I was sad when they canned it. Cool find!
     
  3. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    For a second I thought you had stumbled across my house :)

    The 12 string Warwick(it's black) has been there for close to 10 years,it was originally ordered for Jason Newsted who felt the neck was to big once he checked it out and the other instruments that you mention have been there for a while as well.
     
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Well, well, I find a bassist neighbor 32 days before I move to the West Side.....

    I kind of figured that those basses had been there for a long time. I got the feeling talking to Alexander that they hadn't ordered an electric bass since the turn of the millenium. It seems like they make most of thier cash in the front room/basement (exotic instruments) and back room (drum shop) I think the oddites in the middle are the most fun though...

    Intereseting about the 12er being a Newsted order, I guess Andy's must have had a good rep as more than a drum/exotic shop at one time. The neck is exeptionally large, but I've only played one other 12 stringer, so I have little to compare it too.
     
  5. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Andy's music at one time was a Warwick dealer,when it was relised that Jason didn't want the 12 it was sent to Andy's(I remember that Bass had a giant price tag on it).a few years ago they kind of got out of the Bass and guitar market and now just concentrate on drums and exotic stringed instruments.

    the neck on that 12 is the largest I have ever encountered on a 12 string Bass,with that Bass you can get about three 12 string necks out of it and some left over for a decent 4.
     

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