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Stanley Clarke Spellcaster Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Clark W, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:57 PM.

  1. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Kind of like what they did with the MIM Fender Reverse Pawn Shop Jaguar Bass?

  2. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I dig it. I wouldn't pay the asking price for it, but I dig it.
    nbsipics likes this.
  3. So. It's a stratocaster bass with the telecaster pickup mod switch (a popular mod on strats and most 3 pickup guitars). Even has a stratocaster whammy which will never stay in tune, just like on a stratocaster guitar (I can't stand stock strats.... horrible things to keep in tune... I played lead guitar professionally for years too, just not as often as bass).

    I'm shocked that someone finally built this bass. I mean, I was shocked that Fender never built it in the first place 65 years ago... like it should have been obvious that the bass version of a guitar was the guitar built to bass measurements. Godin has a stratocaster style bass (pickup-wise). Why the heck doesn't Fender?

    Weird. Anyhow - I'm sure it'll be cool... but that trem doesn't look likely to stay in tune (it's actually the nut and post-nut string area that is most likely to cause tuning issues).

    And can you set levels between pickups variably? NOPE. It's setup like a strat - so you are missing out on the critical tone control changes that come from varying pickup mix (mids scooped/boosted to whatever levels you like with more or less of a P bass tone or a burpy bridge pickup tone).

    Heck, it's only 5 inches longer scale length than a stratocaster guitar! This took zero ingenuity.

    I can't believe Clarke actually put his name behind it.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 1:51 PM
  4. It's a strat with the bridge pickup always-on mod switch. Standard stuff in the guitar world, and totally lacking in the mix control between pickups that bassists need.
  5. MustangWally


    Feb 5, 2019
    Houston TX
    For years I have toyed with the idea of a Strat body with a Mustang neck - I just love the look of the Strat, it seems to me to be the perfect set of proportions. Given the cost of the Spellcaster I will still probably just do it myself eventually, but I sure do like the look of this thing!
  6. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Why not? It’s easy money for him. I doubt he has to do much.
    12BitSlab and nbsipics like this.
  7. Because, other than the (imho not very attractive) headstock, it is a strat, made to short scale bass measurements and with 4 bass strings. It has nothing innovative in it at all. The strat trem is the single least innovative tremolo system out there, if that is what they are calling innovative. The extra switch isn't innovative... I added one to my RG770 a while back along with a fully single coil mode.

    And I'm trying to recall him ever playing anything remotely similar to this instrument. And innovation? Bass tremolos (with far better designs that would stay in tune) existed in the 80s. 3 pickups on a bass? Gibson B3, Godin Shifter. Make it look like a strat? Um, the precision bass, but replace the pickups and controls with those from a strat. Short scale length? That's been done for decades.

    Clarke is a guy who plays Alembics mostly. There's not a chance in hell he thinks this has any innovation.
  8. selowitch

    selowitch Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    I agree it’s not a bass that aligns with Mr. Clarke creatively or musically, but the dude is almost 70 years old now and like many 70-year-old musicians, he has to be thinking about retirement at some point, and if this is a low-effort way to make some additional bucks, what’s the downside, really? I’m merely playing devil’s advocate here.
    BurningSkies likes this.
  9. That, sir, was very observant! I hadn't thought about that at all. LoL
  10. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    I noticed in the interview from 2018 above that the original plan was to have Fender build this bass.
    For whatever reason it looks like Oneont guitar built it instead. Never heard of them.
    Home | Oneonta Guitar
  11. MustangWally


    Feb 5, 2019
    Houston TX
  12. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    He’s played short scale Alembics for years. Maybe he just wants to mix it up a little more? Who knows?
    It’d be interesting to try it out.
  13. nellie48


    Mar 12, 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A3348B7F-A709-4CA6-97FB-DBEF63C67C7E.jpeg The immediate thing that came to my mind is where the bridge is located. My plucking hand normally hangs somewhere behind the bridge on this bass. This would take some getting used to.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 4:43 PM
    BurningSkies likes this.
  14. Yup. It's designed for guitarists (hand position is in standard position for most electric guitars)... not for bassists. Sorry folks
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    That pretty much describes my experience when I was at the very first show of the first tour of SMV. :thumbsup: Marcus and Victor were Stanley's "second" and "third" bassists.
    As mentioned above a couple times, this simply brings the bridge pickup into play so, depending on the setting of the blade switch, all three pickups are active at the same time.

    BassGuitar? :D
    bench and nbsipics like this.
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I think we have the answer for 'what bass do you play if you really want to be a guitarist."

    ...I was thinking the same thing. Save a few hundred bucks...

    The bridge location on the body, the fact that one strap pin is way back then the other pin is well north of the 12th fret suggests that even with a short neck this very may be the most neck-dive prone short scale. It will also hang in a strange way, with the neck extending pretty far to the left so that you'll be happy that it's a 30" scale. ;)

    On the business side of things...reading the tea leaves looks like:

    -The Fender deal evaporated.
    -Stanley formed his own "company" in tandem with working with Leiber to actually design and either build or outsource the bass. Then to sell and market the bass, the Oneonta Guitar entity was formed...it creates a bit of visible space between and from Leiber and Clarke's individual enterprises which aren't necessarily the same vibe.
    nbsipics and Clark W like this.
  17. nbsipics

    nbsipics Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I can verify this - he can palm a Volkswagen Beatle. Ringo's head too I imagine.

    Next! ( and I am a 40 year fan of the man ): The Stanley Clarke signature 2 String!
  18. swamp2


    Feb 27, 2008
    I'm having a hard time figuring out my feelings about this thing. I love short scales, and it's different, and Stanley has long been my bass playing idol. And if it's really US made in probably low-ish volumes, the price really isn't ridiculous. But I don't play bass because I want to look like a guitar player and never thought there was a need for a bass version of a Strat. Anyway, if Oneonta Guitars is in Oneonta NY (as the 607 area code might imply) it wouldn't be a long drive for me. Might be worth a road trip to see if that helped figure out what I think!
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    All of us regionals to the area could show up and throw a good old fashioned boot party until they give up the whole story?

  20. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Wow. Someone handed out a bunch of sour persimmons this week, huh? :D

    Anyway... This all seems pretty obvious to me.

    It's a specialty instrument designed for soloing on bass. It is not a general purpose bass, though I am sure you could use it that way if you wanted.

    Referring to it as "innovative" is a bit of a stretch. So is every other iota of marketing around instruments you've ever read. :D (If anything, I find Lieber insisting that his Garcia Tiger replicas are "not replicas" to be a bit more egregious.) That said, putting all this together in a Strat style body seems like a nice twist.

    I for one have no use for this bass, I'm just not that good of a soloist. I'm not a big Clarke fan, either. Still, it seems to me like a fun instrument, and I hope whoever buys one puts it to good use. And at least it isn't Seafoam Green... << shudder >>
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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