Norton Merlin Vinatge Fretless Bass, Aluminum tube frame with sliding pickups!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sobemtv, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. love

  2. hate

  3. so-so

  1. sobemtv


    Nov 1, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I have just got a Norton Merlin Bass 2 weeks ago, I think this is a vintage, I have told it bass may be a prototype made in 1981, no idea. I have emailed to Norton Guitars to get more date and detail about this bass. It made by aluminum frame, adjustable, tilt-able wood wings, slides up and down pickups. Those nowadays Norton Bass only got 2 sliding pickups, and mine got 4 pickups: 1) soapbar at Neck, Hum at middle with coil tap 3 ways toggle switch beside, jazz at the bridge, and a acoustic piezo pickup with a separate input jack below the bridge that make it like a upright sound. It has a master volume and tone knob, and 3 way pickup switch as well, very lovely look. Anyone got more information about this bass. please tell me, Steve
  2. sobemtv


    Nov 1, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Very cool. How does it sound?
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    This. :)

    It does seem like a very complicated way to do things when an all wood build would get the job done with one tenth the engineering and expense - unless this approach yielded some superior results.

    It does look interesting though. But the proof is in the pudding.

    Sound clips or video? :cool:
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  5. stacker

    stacker Inactive

    Feb 24, 2010
    Never heard of them. My first impression was that it came from Soviet Russia! I do know that that 'bucker is a DiMarzio Model 1; it's coil-split switch can be seen at the underside of the mounting.

    Is it heavy?
  6. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    The Rail DSCN1876.JPG
  7. jaybones

    jaybones Inactive

    Mar 4, 2015
    Kelleys Island, Ohio
    Reminds me of a Proto-pipe. Ultra technological answer to a question already solved with more traditional designs. Back when I puffed...

    And I've never been a fan of sliding pickups, although I've only ever played a very used Grabber. The plastic (I'd guess) slider was worn and if you had the pickup all het way forward in the neck position it would slowly creep back to the bridge before the ssong was over. Much rather have multiple pickups and a switching blending system.

    Piezo under bridge is pretty cool though. Have a Graph Tech Ghost system in a partscaster, really dig it, and thinking about incorporating the bass model into my latest build. Might have to hold off, as the more expensive stuff (Warmoth flamed maple neck with binding and block inlays is going to cost me a chunk of change, Omega bridge might not be compatible. Might have to go back to a Wilkinson or Fender style. And the pickups I haven't decided on yet, which are going to have on board electronics are going to cost me at least a hundred plus).

    And +1 on how does it sound??
  8. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    I love it. I don't care if it sounds like ass and weighs a ton. I'm a sucker for over-built, over-engineered things. Love the machined metal parts (presumably from aluminum billet).

    Someone put a lot of work into that thing, the execution looks first rate. It also looks........expensive.

    Cool score, even if it just hangs on a wall.
  9. stacker

    stacker Inactive

    Feb 24, 2010
  10. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    I checked so-so but it's already growing on me. I really hate the gold bridge and knobs though. Shouldn't be that hard to find a nicely worn replacement in black, nickel or chrome and it would go a long way to improving the look..
  11. I agree, that thing is awesome. Has a sort of almost steampunk vibe to it, or like an 80s Blade Runner future tech thing going on.

    It does remind a little of the Westone Rail, which I have always been on edge of hunting down. I think these kind of overengineered gizmo basses would be cool to experiment with MIDI electronics and stuff.
  12. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    this ...
    formula is: sounds good = is good :)
    as far as looks, it's a bit tech looking for my personal taste. Appearance is just aesthetics, and one mans cool look, is another's meh.... and then I would refer back to the formula above.
  13. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    That thing looks totally awesome. Just be sure to never play it naked - some serious injuries may result with all the exposed machinery on the back side.

    Where did you find this crazy thing? I'm jealous.
  14. eee

    eee Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    If you ever want to sell this, PM me
    comingxcurse likes this.
  15. P A U L

    P A U L

    Oct 18, 2015
    Los Angeles
    I have thought about doing this general design (on a smaller scale) w/ my '93 Strat Deluxe Plus. It has the swimming pool route & I had thought it would be great to have my favorite pickup in there & be able to use it at any (& every) point from bridge to neck & have it adjustable w/o having to detune the guitar...
  16. Would this be the best bass for metal?
    Drgonzonm, MYLOWFREQ and fretlessguy like this.
  17. jjmuckluckjr


    Mar 24, 2015
    Total steam punk. Who cares how it sounds, some hipsters are already breaking up the band they formed around it when this post started yesterday. Tomorrow, they will be nostalgic for this dream machine from a bygone era. Ah the memories. I wouldn't be surprised if it played/ sounded alright.
    comingxcurse, AltGrendel and sobemtv like this.
  18. CGremlin


    Nov 1, 2014
    Palm Bay, FL
    And "is this the best metal for bass?"
  19. sobemtv


    Nov 1, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    You are right, didn't notice those gold hardware doesn't match the rest of the color and design. if the knobs and bridge are gold, the tuner pegs should be gold too. I have no idea the screws dimension of the bridge are standard or what? it is mounting on the metal not wood, don't think I can change that bridge as easy as Fender stuff
  20. Joe Kyle

    Joe Kyle

    Oct 18, 2008

    Its like something from a vision......