NBD: Westone "Spectrum GT Bass" P/MM

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Eilif, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Couldn't resist this one on Craigslist.
    I won't be keeping it, but I have a fascination with Matsumoku basses and I had to own this one for at least a little while. This is my third Matsumoku. I've sampled Vantage and Aria, but both of those were beginners instruments while this one is clearly trying to punch a bit higher.

    I love Matsumoku's proprietary hardware and pickups and I find their designs are still a bit different from what other companies were doing, even into the 80's when so many companies seemed to start leaning toward "Superstrat" styled basses. My interest wanes when the headstocks get pointy and angled but this one looks nice to me.

    It's a P/MM. It has two finish cracks (probably from an impact at the jack) that were stabilized and a black ring glued around the jack. I checked inside the control cavity and there doesn't appear to be any wood breakage but I bet there's more paint chipped off under that ring. Doesn't look too bad though. I didn't even realize the ring wasn't original until I saw the finish cracks and looked at some pictures online.
    Hard to show in the pic, but it has cool large inverted control knobs.

    Check out this interesting bridge.
    Quite a heavy chunk of metal and it's not string-through body, but it has a cavity under the bridge so you can string it for a hard break angle if you prefer. Odd choice, IMHO, but I get happy anytime I see something other than the usual Fender/BAII/Gotoh/Hipshot clones.

    Sounds very good, though the pups are incredibly hot. I have to use the buffered input on my amp. It has a push-pull on the first volume. Kind of like a T-40 it turns out to be a phase switch. Only works when both pups are on, gives it a similar weird spanky/funky tone. The Spectrum plays well and there's less neck dive than you'd expect for a smaller body with shorter horns like this. A few dings and some spots on the black neck with odd discoloration, but not bad for a 30+ year old instrument.

    I knew it would be a flipper when I saw it on Craigslist, but it illustrates why I still occasionally pick up interesting basses. Not just to make a couple bucks (sometimes I don't...), but it's just good fun to spend some time with something different from time to time. Just seeing interesting designs and hardware and trying out unique pickups can be worth it. I like this one enough that I might keep it through the weekend and take it on my Friday gig just to see how it performs. I'll probably do a TB Gear Review as well.

    So yeah, I'm a happy boy today!

    EDIT 6/15. For sale here: For Sale - Westone Spectrum GT Bass (MIJ, P/MM, Matsumoku)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
    Carl320, SlimS, MVACCARO and 33 others like this.
  2. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Wow that's cool, someone's going to be happy with that!
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    These were on my.short lost when I was looking for an 80s bass recently. Very cool!
    Monterey Bay-ss and Reedt2000 like this.
  4. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Sweet! Love those pickups. Cool to see instruments like this getting the respect they deserve. Also cool to see one so well preserved, there was a time where things like this got chopped up and plastered with stickers and such.

    Good score :thumbsup:
  5. Resonance129


    Feb 15, 2011
    Never heard of Westone, but that looks cool. Kinda Aria-like, IMO, but has its own curves.
    I'll have to do some research. I'd be curious to hear some sound samples, especially since it's P/MM.
    Congrats on snaggin it, even if it's only temporary.
  6. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Not just for 'a hard break angle'... that is effectively an early "quick-release" bridge, for easier, less-destructive string changes... :)
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Thanks folks, I'm glad to have found it. The pickups are what got me interested in Matsumoku's years ago.

    The similarities with Arias are common throughout the brands as they all came from the same factory in Japan. There's quite a bit of cross pollination of features and sometimes even near-identical instruments that came out under Vantage, Aria, Westone and a couple other brands. You can get alot of info about them here:
    Models Specifications and Info
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  8. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Dang, think you're right. There aren't quick-release grooves for the holes in the back of the bridge, only in the base.
    Thanks for the heads up!

    I get a chuckle out of these kind of charming features that represent a sort of intermediate evolutionary iteration. Rather than just putting quick-release grooves in the back of the bridge, they put them in the bottom, necessitating routing a special cavity in the body. It's zany. Kind of the same kind of not-quite-complete development that lead to the massive-but-hollow T-40 bridge with a tiny inset "tone block" of metal that also requires a special routed cavity.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    jackn1202 and Reedt2000 like this.
  9. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Nice bass! I like them for their uniqueness as well. Had essentially the same 22 fret neck (but the LX model) in fretless - just sold it to another tb member. It was part of the two neck set that had a dedicated case for the bass and the second neck. Really liked the feel and my luthier is currently making me a neck that references it. (but fretted in walnut/ebony)

  10. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Very cool! From what I understand, the version with extra neck and special case is one of the rarest of the Westone basses.
    PiecesOfQuiet, Reedt2000 and JIO like this.
  11. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I've seen pics - just love how the case had a special cradle for the other neck - like someone would switch them mid-set! :laugh: The other cool thing about that fretless neck was that it's unlined and it has side markers for every position - standard positions in white - others in red.

  12. Congrats @Eilif

    Westones were very popular in 80's UK. They certainly were doing something different from the rest. This 1981 Thunder II being a good example.
    2031924front.jpg 2031924back.jpg
    Ash body,Maple/walnut neck with ebony fretboard. Brass nut,bridge and knobs. Active/Passive switch,pickups had series/parallel switch. In/Out phase. Also had an XLR option,a feature I'd only ever seen on Alembic and Wal basses.

    When I think of other basses from 81,the Thunder II was miles ahead.
    Peter Weil, tindrum, Tommy V and 9 others like this.
  13. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    These basses neck-dived yes?
    Monterey Bay-ss likes this.
  14. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    The Westone Thunder 1 & 1A certainly did "suffer" from neck dive, but they were so damn good, you put up with it! :D
  15. I had one of the first-run Westone Thunder II 6-string guitars - a friend of mine who ran a music shop was one of the first to stock them over here in the UK - and the build quality was superb. I gigged it for years as my main guitar. I've still got it, and I still love it.

    Here's a link to the Westone catalog and your bass in it. The site itself is a great Westone-lovers resource if you've never seen it before.
    kodiakblair, Bugeyed Earl and Skybone like this.
  16. Robert B

    Robert B Somewhere under the rainbow Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2000
    Rittman, OH, USA
    I like it!
  17. PiecesOfQuiet


    Jan 19, 2019
    and mine is damn lovely :D
    JIO likes this.
  18. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    There's a few basses like that - Ovation Magnum comes to mind...
  19. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    The Westone gear was pretty great stuff. It was a St. Louis Music line (along with Crate, Ampeg, Alverez and Audio Centron). Nice score
  20. Thorsoundcore


    Jan 22, 2009
    Hell, even the simplified, "cheap" versions of these basses sound killer..