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Startin' the (New Bass) Day by poundin' the Blacktop

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Malak the Mad, May 7, 2013.

  1. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Greetings All!

    Well, after a week-and-a-half of waiting, not to mention a year-and-a-half of learning/playing, I have finally acquired my first new-new (as opposed to new-used) bass. A brandy-brand new, sent directly from the factory, opened by me and not handled by other humanoid-types Fender Blacktop Jazz.





    I gotta tell all-y'all*, it was a steal! Everything running up to today just sorta fell into place. I brought an old, extra Squier P-Bass Special** I wasn't using to my local Guitar Center*** for their Used Gear Expo. All told, I got it for $350 plus a little bit for shipping. It seems it was on backorder, even at the level of the core-company. So the guy picks up the phone, gets Fender on the horn and places the order. Six business days later…violá!

    * For those from the Northeast, that's the plural form of "y'all" :D
    ** Not "My Sexy Beast". I'll never part with it, even through the Zombie Apocalypse.
    *** Unlike some of the other GC's I've heard tales about, this one seriously rocks…and not just because there's no sales tax here!

    I'm actually glad it came in on a weekday. Since there were very few customers in the store, I was able to give it a proper inspection and shakedown without crawling over tons of people or straining to hear the amp over others trying out gear. And it's a damn good thing I took my time to check it thoroughly. The E-string had a kink in it over the 17th fret. Nothing imminently disastrous, but worth pointing out. So I talked to my guy, he talked to his boss and they gave me a free single E-string. They even gave me a choice between an Ernie Ball and a D'Addario. (Ernie's been very good to me so far, so that was that)

    If you haven't heard it before, lemme tell ya…this supposedly mid-level, Mexican Fender is a Freakin' Cannon! :hyper: I plugged it into a 400 watt MarkBass with the EQ flat to really hear what it can do. It was no less impressive than the first one I got to try out a year ago. I had the in-house guitar tech coming over to check it out and one random shopper told me he "felt" that first pluck on the E-string from halfway across the floor.

    Speaking of it's sound, there's one thing that is important to point out. It's definitely a "sum is greater than it's parts" bass. The solo'd neck pickup has a classic P-bass sound, but the solo'd bridge pickup is a bit muddy. However, when both are brought to bear…boom, baby! Richly deep but with a strong mid-range, toothy bite…exactly the kind of "purr" I love!

    Fit and Finish? It feels just like a Jazz bass should. It's in great shape. No nicks, dings or issues. Everything works. All I need to do is raise the action just a hair's breadth. If the neck gloss doesn't "break in" over time, maybe I'll wave a little ultra-fine sandpaper over it.

    Mods? Down the road I might try some different strings to see if it enhances the sound. A Hipshot D-tuner is definitely going to happen sooner or later. Perhaps I'll install a stronger bridge pickup (an SPB-2 maybe?) and/or a Stellartone Tonestyler to really push it's limits. Who knows what the future might hold?

    Thank you to all who actually managed to finish reading (yet another!) my War-&-Peace-sized posts, but hey…if one can't ramble a bit in their own thread, what's the point of having all these keys in front of them? :p

    May the Force be with you, Live Long & Prosper and don't squeeze the Charmin.

    Peace out, y'all!!
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Congrats - cool bass. BTW, you can say "D," but not "G-D" here. Use network TV guidelines and you should be OK. Suggest a quick edit.
  3. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Fair enough and fixed.

    Sorry 'bout that. My excitement got the better of me. :oops:
  4. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Is great the "Y'all"... is very texan/ol'Miss/georgian/floridian... So you're from Dixieland I suppose;)

  5. Deechord


    Jan 1, 2013
    Lebanon, TN
    I especially like the wood on the pecker head. Wood peckered peg head...I mean.;)

  6. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Close, but I'm an Okie by birth, so I'm a little more "Southwestern" than "Southern". Y'see, the great thing about being born in a somewhat-cosmopolitan city like Tulsa is <switch on heavy twang> accents are optional. :D

    Ironically, despite that and having lived for a few years in the birthplace of the Oak Ridge Boys, I have little use or love of Country/Western music. You can probably blame too much "Hee Haw" while growing up. Consequently, the scene at Bob's Country Bunker in "The Blues Brothers" is especially close to my heart.

    "What kinda music do you usually have here?"
    "Oh, we got both kinds. We got Country and Western."

    Thank God Tejano music is it's own beast. ;)
    Count Bassie likes this.
  7. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    After about the same amount of time playing I bought my first new new bass recently too. It's a wonderful feeling.
  8. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I think I'm supposed to yell

    "Raw Hide!" right now, do I?

    Lead singer/rhythm guitarist and songwriter in my main band, thrash metal outfit Nowhere, comes from south of Italy, just like lead guitarist and myself

    It doesn't matter bein' born in Milan. Endin' migration abroad (US, Argentina, Brasil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Australia) people from the south of Italy headed for the north of the country,
    whenever industrial development popped out after the Second World War (and Marshall Plan, that's why I'll always be at US side) so did our parents.

    If I'm more for italian V-cilindered Moto Guzzi and twin-headed Alfa Romeo lead singer/rhythm guitarist/songwriter in Nowhere lives his personal American Dream thru Bay Area thrash heroes a Dodge pickup, a heavily customized "softail custom" Harley Davidson and, as I told ya, comin' from the south in a way, a Confederation flag aerographed helmet.


    Ps: ah, I forgot to say that country/western's not my bread n'butter, but we all love Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and... mighty Pantera:hyper:
  9. Habilis


    Jan 4, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for this post--I have been intrigued by the Double-P Pickup scenario for a while and it's interesting to hear your impressions. Congratulations, it sounds like you two will be very happy together.
  10. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Modifications Round 1: Cosmetic

    I said I'd do some mods, but I decided to start off with some small, cosmetic changes. Nothing too radical nor expensive. First up was changing the pickguard screws from chrome to black. I figured it'd better compliment the Step Two.

    Step Two was to attack the pickguard with a Sharpie marker to make it look like a Warmoth black/red/black guard. That alone probably saved me $35+shipping minimum, not to mention time spent waiting for it to arrive AND hoping that the new one fits at all. So, I saved some bucks and got the same result. Easy peasy! :D





    I'll post more pics if there's anything else worth documenting.

    P.S.: Is it just me or does this little bit o' cosmetic work make it look a bit like the 1960's Batmobile? I think that's kinda cool, right?

    Hmmm……Danah Danah Danah Danah BASSMAN! :bassist:
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  11. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

  12. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    I think the red rim works great on an all black bass! Not just popular with Batman - you can see similar designs on motorcycle weels nowadays. Is the body alder?
  13. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    According to Fender's website, it is indeed alder.

    I've also made another minor mod. I installed a BT7 Hipshot Drop-D tuner. For the record, it was a perfect fit for the existing screw holes.
  14. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Wow. It looks like you happened to get an exceptional bass.
  15. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    So it would seem. Nicer still was that it was brand-new directly from Fender, not a floor model. Guitar Center was backordered on this model, so the guy called up Fender and had them ship it from the manufacturer's distribution center.

    What I find really interesting though, despite getting it in May 2013, it has a 2011 serial number. Perhaps a lot of the big box stores aren't ordering many? I've only ever seen one "in the flesh" at Accent Music (a Delaware-local, three-store chain). Who knows?
  16. Nick303


    Jun 9, 2013

    I'm not really a fan if the double P pickup arrangement of the blacktop. But that is a truly stunning looking bass, excellent work.
  17. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Do these come with Alnico or the standard ceramic pickups?
  18. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    :cool: I gotta say, I dig it the most... And I will be stealing the sharpie idea and the black screws. I'm really happy for you, I know you keep walking in & looking at it...
  19. Nick303


    Jun 9, 2013

    I know this feeling ha!

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