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Rare Geddy Lee or big rip-off??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by purfektstranger, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
  2. a link for those of us who are too lazy to search for it? (including me)
  3. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO

    I found this with some google time:

    The actual "Signature Guitar Company" existed around 1987-1990 in Aurora,
    Ontario, started by luthier Russ Heinl, a friend of Alex Lifeson of Rush.
    Together they designed a series of guitars that Alex used in the "Hold Your
    Fire" era. The guitars never caught on, and Alex went to PRS shortly after.
    The company folded in 1990, and no more guitars were ever made. They are
    sort of collectors items now since they are rare and extremely high quality,
    but amazingly cheap - people don't know what they are, and they sell for
    less than $500 if you can find them. An Aurora guitar recently sold on E-Bay
    for $460, although its original sticker price was over $1500. Some have sold
    in pawnshops for as low as $250.

    They also had a line of basses called "Excalibre" with only 2 models - a 4
    string and a 5 string (fretted and fretless). They were neck-through
    laminated maple necks (ebony fretboard) with alder sides and hand-carved
    flame maple tops, with P-J active pickup configurations. Guy Pratt of recent
    Pink Floyd fame is probably the only well-known bassist to have used them.
    They are truly extraordinary. I recently picked up an Excalibre for $250.

    However, they have NEVER made bolt-ons or copies of any kind, and the J-bass
    model referred to in the Harmony Central is totally different and unrelated.
    Therefore the claims on the Ebay auction are false. The J-bass review if
    from a different company.

    Leftover parts for the Signatures were sold to an Ottawa luthier who is no
    longer in business, and all remaining instruments have been sold. The last 2
    Excalibres went in 2000 for about $1000 each to people in the States and

    For more info on the Signature Guitar Company, go to this site, they have
    all the info and pictures, including the basses:
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Not bad, actually. I'd buy it, if it was cheaper.
  5. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Well... not bad looking I guess, but without more info hard to verify that it is actually linked to "Signature Guitars" the Canadian enterprise that had an affiliition with Rush.
  6. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    There's a seller on EBay, Slonk18, who's been flogging these parts for a number of years now. His story is basically the same as the one in the auction. I don't know how much truth there is in it, but I'd say there's a good chance that the bass in this auction has come from him. And I think he's a bit cheaper than what this guy (the auction seller) is trying to sell this bass for.

    For example, a fully loaded body in the same colour for $240


    and a maple "Signature" neck, for $180

  7. There's much to be learned just from the pics. Here's what I've found...

    - The control plate isn't any type I've seen before. Fenders and believe it or not even SX's have a slightly different shape. Note where the plate flairs out to meet the pg. The left side of the plate has a different contour than the right side. That's way off compared to the originals. I doubt seriously that Signature would have had their own control plates made with this detail when there are so many that could have been bought aftermarket in bulk.

    - The control plate itself doesn't mate with the pickguard like a quality bass.

    - The tuners are very contemporary, cheap, imported tuners. In fact those are the same tuners used on SX basses - small stamped frame, turned decorative shaft and and an elephant ear that doesn't blend with the shaft. These aren't quality pieces by any means.

    - The owner claims a "micro-tilt" feature. Hmmm, where would one adjust the tilt mechanism if the bass has a 4 hole neckplate without a hole for adjustment?

    - I find it very hard to believe that the trainwreck of typefaces shown on the headstock was concieved and executed by a company making quality instruments. Hell, even an SX has well designed graphics. These are simply the meanderings of a criminal mind.

    - The complete neck itself doesn't have any distinguishing marks from a current SX neck. Here's why I say that - Quite a number of necks from SX with the "fishhook" headstock have tremendous flame in their grain and the winter wood lines are quite close together. Looking at the face of the headstock in the pics, those lines (and the flame grain on the back) are perfectly consistent with the woods that were used in the SX's. The shape of the headstock also is a clue. I've converted a fishhook headstock to one of my signature shapes that is very similar to what's in the pic. To do this, you have to exaggerate the swoop to include the "hook" portion of the original shape. When you're done it looks nearly exactly like the one pictured. Now it might be a stretch to say that's definitely an SX neck but if I were to try to build a counterfit instrument, I would start with the best "looking" cheap materials I could find and that would include an SX blank for modifying.

    - The link to the other auctions provides us some more contradictory evidence - For instance, note the difference in the shape of the Signature headstock compard to the one in the Geddy ad. That is simply an original SX headstock before they changed the design to the fishhook. It's also a very light color, consistent with the finishes these originals had. The darker, more amber finishes seemed to appear only on the old rosewood necks and the newer fishhooks. So that begs the question, why would a high quality guitar company alter their headstock shape mid production when it's evident that they were in business for only a short time?

    - And finally, doesn anyone find it peculiar that the maple neck in question has 21 frets - eerily similar to the SX and totally unlike a Fender?

    But I guess it's all moot since the expert said that Signature never made any bolt-ons. :D
  8. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    I think this "Signature Handmade Basses" isn't the same as the "Signature Guitar Company" of Rush/Canadian fame and people are either confused or being lied to.
  9. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Couldn't find a bass headstock, but here is a guitar

    The one on e-bay.
  10. kirin


    Jan 11, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    sjb62ct4. spb5734lpb4.
  11. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
  12. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I don't think he means to actually imply Geddy played one of these. He is just referring to the block neck.
  13. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO

  14. UtBDan


    Oct 29, 2004
    Im sure he's not implying that. He just wants buyers to think he is and get his money. lol
  15. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    He might not be saying that Geddy played one, but he's certainly implying that there's a connection between the instrument and Geddy, and it goes beyond block markers!
  16. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001

    It's hard to avoid the comparison. Well spotted.

    I actually think this is a bit disappointing, as I've always thought that these parts were quite well priced, and having spoken with the guy who sells them (as mentioned above) he seems like a really nice guy. I really hope that there's another explanation to all this, but it does look a bit dodgy.

    This is from the auction I linked to above. Doesn't look good.

  17. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    The only Rush connection I can actually recall was that Alex Lifeson did briefly play and even endorsed these Canadian made Signature guitars (super Strats not unlike the one pictured on this thread). This was in the early to mid-80s. During this time Geddy was playing a Steinberger and eventually his Wal basses. I don't recall Geddy ever playing these basses or making reference to them ever. And I don't think Lifeson played their guitars all that long either.

    And the resemblance of that headstock to the uber-budget SX is...well...quite remarkable. AND SUSPICIOUS!!!!

  18. gambit0714


    May 19, 2004
    Suffolk, VA
    This is more likely a s101 bass

    The head stock fading under the "Signature" where it looks like it was sanded matches exactly were the original logo for the S101 is located. With a little sanding and some creatative graphics, This is exactly what you have. Check the lick.

  19. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Well, this is an interesting one...the guy running the auction certainly talks the talk! I loved Lifesons tone when he was using Signature, but then he stopped :( Good thing his PRS tone was great too!

    I'd have been interested, but I played a Marcus Miller Jazz today and I feel..a little but "put off" jazz basses.
  20. kelbrihan

    kelbrihan Banned [Deceiving users with multiple usernames] Banned

    Dec 2, 2004
    I sent the guy an exert from this thread and he was very hostile with me about it, but he did include it in his auction.