NVBBD (New Vintage British Bass Day) - Hayman 4040

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by discreet, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. discreet


    Feb 14, 2010
    London UK
    A bit of history, first: 'The Hayman Company was formed in 1969 when Jim Burns and Ivor Arbiter went into partnership. Also involved was Bob Pearson from Vox (designer of the Phantom range) and two former Burns colleagues, Jack Golder and Norman Holder, who took care of the woodworking and truss rod engineering.

    Hayman produced three guitar designs but the 4040 was the only bass. Something of a heavyweight, these basses were good to play however and produced sounds somewhere between a P-Bass and a Rickenbacker. Each Superflux pickup had eight adjustable screw pole pieces so it was easy to balance the output from the strings, and they benefited from the hidden vibrasonic chamber beneath. Joint string trees neatly feed the strings from nut to tuners.

    The bridge was a curious affair with a clear plastic anchor and the steel saddles on a separate plate. The slab body had minimal curving to the body edge front and back and the overall shape is similar to the early Wal Pro basses that would appear a little later on. The neck was fixed using a standard 4-bolt plate with a separate chromed plate displaying the serial number. Lefties were made to order. The company morphed into Shergold, controlled by Golder and Holder, after Jim Burns pulled out.

    The confusion as to when production finished is due to their serial numbering system, which suggests some Hayman basses appeared in 1975. The Hayman brand name was applied to instruments distributed by Dallas Arbiter until termination of the contract in 1975. From 1975 to 1982 their guitars and basses appeared under their own 'Shergold' brand.'

    So there you have it. When I acquired this 1975 Hayman it was in a fairly sorry state - the body was originally sunburst but was painted black on the front, and it was not a great finish, tbh. Also, the neck had been de-fretted and was bowed, banana-like, making it unplayable and leaving the action way high at the mid-point. BUT, the electrics and hardware were in good order and unusually, the perspex bridge anchor block was undamaged - which was a big plus.

    The bass in its original state

    An original perspex 'H' logo

    Long story short, The Bass Doc refinished the body (in vintage white, of course), removed the binding, lightly planed the fingerboard (to give some natural back-bow), carried out a re-fret, fitted new binding, re-lacquered the neck with a vintage tint and laboriously sorted out the truss rod so that it worked properly. And I think you would have to agree that he's done a great job, to say the very least.

    The 'H' logo featured on these basses was originally of perspex, which fitted into a round hole in the headstock and were notorious for going AWOL - they are as rare as rocking-horse teeth. So I approached Ian Halstead (ShergoldSnickers of BassChat) to see if he would consider making a replica in sterling silver. He did and I am delighted with the results. It is the icing on the cake and makes an already rare bass much rarer.

    Now some pics:






    This has become my go-to bass - which is not to detract any from my Custom P Bass (another Bass Doc creation), it's just that I'm now fully into the sound and fury of twin pickups thrumming and roaring away in the band - to the extent that I'm having the P fitted with a 'J' pickup at the bridge (by The Bass Doc, naturally) so I'm looking forward to that one - pics to come.

    Many thanks and eternal gratitude to Ash, who very kindly supplied the project bass, Howard (The Bass Doc) and Ian (ShergoldSnickers) for the skill, dedication and sheer hard work that has brought this iconic British bass back to life. Thanks, guys! The bass is fantastic to play, sounds amazing and I couldn't be happier with the result. :)
    JamesHardiman, Bass V, pudge and 9 others like this.
  2. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Very cool.
  3. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    OMG x Infinity
  4. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Really nice job.
  5. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Nicely done. A rare bird indeed. They do have a great tone, and a good feel to the neck.
    I have a couple of them - one in white, which is pretty beat, and one in natural, in very good shape, which came with the original bridge and PU covers, as well as the hard case.
  6. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Cool bass, nice restore job.

    Looks great in white.
  7. Goatee


    Aug 28, 2006
    You mention the perspex logo in the headstock (and mine has the original) I recall seeing on a forum somewhere a 40/40 for sale was being discussed and the insert was missing, the reason given for the hole in the headstock was so you could hang the bass on a hook..!
  8. discreet


    Feb 14, 2010
    London UK
    Ha! Haven't heard that one before! Most imaginative... :D
  9. sixway


    Aug 20, 2006
    Kailua, Hawaii
    A member at my lefty bass forum posted a picture, and a video of one of these...got to say, a lot of usable sounds! Just curious why you decided not to use new screws in place of the old rusty ones... unless they're an homage to it's original roots. I think I'd replace them with new, and keep the old ones just to say you still have them... Very cool bass, and thanks for taking the time to keep an English bass alive!

    Here's that video...
    bullitproof likes this.
  10. discreet


    Feb 14, 2010
    London UK
    Thanks for the comments and video... I used the old screws to keep it as original as possible. Plus, using new screws and keeping the old ones would carry a high risk of loss. ;)
  11. Boom762

    Boom762 I AM the one who Booms! Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Alpine, TX
    OMG! Beautiful bass. I need one, now. I love instruments that look original and utilize their own innovations. I'm looking at what I have now that might be trade-worthy lol
    discreet likes this.
  12. dangnewt

    dangnewt Veteran Dispenser

    Jun 6, 2003
    MetroWest Boston
  13. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    These are cool! The bassist in a band we played with last year had one of these in a natural finish. He was running into an old Zoom multi-effects unit with quite a nasty chorus-y tone, so I still don't know what it really sounded like.

    Their retro-futuristic aesthetics remind me of the Triumph TR7.


    What the future used to look like!! The smoked plexiglass, angular metal control plate, and cooker knobs, are definitely of the era.

    I think these look the best in white, so good job on the refin! I've seen some of these basses with crazing in the original finish.

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