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Latest project bass and a nice surprise - VMI Cruise Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MakoMan, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I picked up this little short scale VMI Cruise bass a couple of weeks ago. The seller had described it as needing a new nut and strings and was asking $40 for it.
    Upon arrival it was clear the bass had been tossed off a stage or something. The body was damaged, nut broken, one of the tuning keys ripped out of the headstock, damaged tone pot, and a big chip in the neck on the edge of the fretboard. It also was extremely dirty with rusty screws and springs on the bridge and pickups.
    I was going to pass but he let me have it for 20 bucks. I showed it to some buddies at that weekend's jam session and we all had quite a laugh. Their opinion was the bass was shot. My opinion was that if I could fix it up it might be nice to keep as a beater short scale and leave it beside the computer for use at any time.
    So the other day just to see if it worked, I cleaned it all up, fixed all the rusty screws and springs, found a not perfect, but usable nut for $5, tracked down the missing parts for the one tuning key, repaired the holes in the headstock and threw on some Fender extra light short scale strings I had gotten off Ebay for $10. Then I did a full set up and plugged it in.
    It's not perfect. Strings are not perfectly aligned with the pickups and the nut spacing is slightly off, but it plays very well with low action and no buzzing. I can fix all the little things and put a better nut on the next time I change strings, but for now it's fine. It should really thump with flatwounds.
    Amazingly, it sounds great! Kinda like a mini P-Bass. What blows me away is how quiet the electronics are when you are not playing it, as well as the fact both volume and tone work perfectly with zero buzzing or crackling. The tone pot feels weird put it seems to work perfectly and the volume pot is like new. I didn't know if the electronics would work at all until I tuned it through my electronic tuner after putting the new strings on it. And even then I had no idea how it would sound through an amp.
    It also weighs about 5 lbs and fits in a guitar case, despite being a full 30" scale.
    Anyway I love it. Should make a great beater and backup bass for my Squier Vista MusicMaster. It's got a bit of a chunky neck for a short scale, just like the Squier so they feel very similar. Total investment including the original $20 for the bass, cheapie nut and new strings ended up being $37.50.

    Attached Files:

  2. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    5 days in and I am still amazed at how well this little bass plays and sounds. Because it is always laying around I find I am playing more than ever in the past few days.
  3. what a cool little project...i dig that samurai headstock too
  4. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Thanks very much! Yep, the headstock has grown on me too. It's kind of a cool looking little retro '80s bass.
    I should have taken 'before' pictures but I really did not expect it to turn out so well. It truly was a horrible mess when I got it. Driving home all I could think was 'well that was a waste of gas and 20 bucks'. I was sure I would have to replace the tuners, bridge, screws and do some significant electrical work. But the clean up turned out so well I had to throw strings on it right away to see if it played.
    I hate to say this, but tonewise it really doesn't give up anything to my Gretsch G2202 Junior Jet.
    Pretty hard to beat as a practice, travel and beater bass.

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