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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by drunkenDAYlewis, Jul 1, 2014.
Story's of the one bass that you love and favour
Ill start, firstly I want to state I was in a funk of bad luck with basses when I found this one, every thing from botched electronics to poor quality.
I walked in to a shop about 3 years ago and picked up an Olympic White Fender Jazz bass with a maple finger board, played two notes on it and just knew.... The funny part was I was just about to go on tour and blew half of my "safety cushion" on it.
But ultimately it worked out, this was the first bass I ever fell in love with. It made bass playing a lot easier and fun. After that tour I started practicing ALL the time, I love how that bass plays and looks and it made me a bassist... Truly!
To this day it always comes on tour with me and I (for some reason) prefer it to my american standard and many other basses I've played and/or owned. I play her every day, her name is Kasey.
Sometime you just find that diamond......
I don't know if it's "the one" but I have found my five string of choice after many years of buying different 5 string versions of my favorite 4 strings and never realy finding one that felt as natural as the fourstring counterpart my right hand always struggled with the string spacing and the fiver would get put aside and evenchualy sold and back to fourstrings I go but finding a spector rebop5 that I could achualy play almost as well as my main bass a 4 string zebop I decided that I was going to make the five string work and stuck with the spector for almost the last year but I still had ishues with the spacing until I stubled across the warmoth gecko on their website, low and behold a wide necked five string with 19mm spacing that I can afford without selling a kidney
so I order up a custom bass not having a clue what this thing is going to sound or play like but the one thing I know is its going to be beautiful, I orderd a zebrawood over swamp ash body, bubinga and wengay neck,macasar ebony fretboard and finished it off with emg twx pickups Michel pope preamp and a hipshot a style bridge. doing the finish and assembly myself I was able to complete this bass for just under $1500 thats about $1500 less than a comparable production bass with the same features but aside from the price this bass is amazing the tone is incredible and it plays just as naturaly as any 4 stringer and I never have to give a second thought to string spacing while playing. the asymmetrical neck shape is just unexplainable because the neck is just plain huge but it doesn't feel that way when you play it.
it's definetly not "the one" because I just orderd a fretless version just like it so I guess they will be
OK, I'll go. About four years ago I travel to Kansas City for a week-long job (this is half-way across the country for me). I'd only been playing a couple years at that point. Wanting to get out and explore the town, I wander through an area I've been told is the arts district, and come across a little local guitar shop. They seem to specialize in used and vintage gear, it's a refreshing change from the usual wall-o-Fender-and-Ibanez, but there isn't a whole lot of inventory. But I'm scanning what IS there, and the strangest bass I had yet seen jumps out at me; it looks like the way a Looney Tunes cartoonist would draw a bass; crazy offset body shape and big curly headstock. So I ask to try it out. Five strings, 35" scale, single EMG pickup, fast neck, and it turns out to be amazingly light and perfectly balanced and sounds fantastic. I'm in love.
I'm also broke, and it's $800. They tell me it's made by a local luthier named John Toon. So I go home to New Hampshire and daydream about it for a year.
I go back to Kansas City the next year (recurring annual job) and swing by the guitar shop again, hopeful because I'm in better shape financially this time. The bass isn't there, so I strike up a conversation with the manager and ask who bought it. Turns out that nobody did - it didn't sell, so the luthier took it back (it was on consignment or whatever you call that kind of arrangement). He gives me the contact information and I get in touch with John Toon, who winds up picking me up at my hotel and driving me to his house outside of town to try out different instruments he's made. Very nice guy. All his stuff is great - you can see Carl Thompson influence - but I immediately recognize the One. I buy it from him directly, play it at my hotel for the week (he lent me an amp), and then he shipped it to NH for me. Been my main gigging bass every since. I call it "Looney Toon" for its looks and after the luthier.
OK, why not.
I will try to keep it short, but you know me!
I grew up playing short-scalers, an Old Kraftsman, a Kalamazoo and a Gibson EB-0, but I never found them to be a fit. Later on in my army days, I bought a brand new natural ash 1972 Fender Jazz bass. It was full of dead spots as posted here and discussed on TB until everyone sickened of the topic. Frankly it WAS sickening - still is.
I borrowed a Rickenbacker 4001 fireglo from my singer - when the dead spots on the Jazz bass were so bad that my band insisted I get rid of it. It felt better to me than the Jazz bass, but at the time, I didn't realize the scale length was 3/4" shorter than the J Bass. Went out and bought my own mapleglo Rick and put a mahogany pick guard on it.
In 1976 we signed to a major label, I found out through some friends in Artful Dodger about a budding luthier named Paul Reed Smith, who was just down the road from me in Annapolis. One day when we were doing a show in Annapolis, my guitar player and I bumped into his tiny shop at 33 West street. We immediately recognized that this was the guy who in his first few guitars, had built guitars for Ted Nugent, Al Dimeola, Peter Frampton, Howard Leese and Nancy Wilson (Heart) and bass players Stanley Sheldon (Frampton) and Garry Tallent (Springsteen). Paul handed me the Sheldon bass which he was getting ready to ship out. I played it and it was magical - and even though it was fretless - the heavens were singing and calling out to me. I had no idea, until several years later - that I was playing my first medium scale bass. Paul had only made a couple of basses but he was making basses that felt good to HIM - and his choice in these early formative years happened to be medium scalers.
Paul came to the show later and was blown away - as we were blown away about him. My guitar player placed an order for a doubleneck and I placed on order for a bass. Paul loved the crunch of the Rickenbacker and I was in love with the wide thin neck of this particular Rick. He used his normal medium scale length but copied the profile of the Rick neck to a "T". These were likely the first two checks that Paul ever received to build an instrument. Usually he would study certain players and build instruments specifically for them - and then try and sell to them, with great success. He was building in groups of 6 or 7 instruments and it took him about a year to finish a batch.
At A&M studios when the basic tracks of our first record were finished - PRS #7 arrived. Yes, it was the seventh instrument that Paul ever made. I pulled it out and I can't even begin to describe what is was like to play it so I won't even bother. Suffice it to say - it was like I had never played bass before - everything was so effortless on the medium scale. Ken Scott our producer, let me go back and overdub one track - and he loved the "dial-a-brew" nine position rotary switch. I sold the Rick in a heartbeat but after a few months the neck and the setup began to give me problems. Paul was still experimenting with the truss rods on the basses and he made the neck on this one super thin. I got the bass back to him and he was kind enough to loan me #11, which was a twin sister of #7 except that he shaped the neck on this one more to his liking, and the honduras mahogany was darker and more exotic. He called me a couple of weeks later and told me the neck on #7 was not repairable and that he would have to build me another one. I refused, and told him I would keep #11 as an even swap for #7. He was very upset as he needed to try and sell #11 to make rent - but I was persistent. In the end he gave in and he transferred my Rick treble pickup for me from #7 into #11. He also remarked later that he thought he could improve on the sound of the Rick pickup, keep the crunch and get rid of some of the "clack". I let him rewind it and he not only improved it but made it a one-of-a-kinder.
To make a long story long - I played PRS #11 exclusively from 1978-1999. Didn't even own another bass. When my band got re-signed I had the bass appraised. I won't comment on the appraised value here, let's just say - it's rare to see a bass anywhere valued at more than mine, including the vintage Fenders. It has been published in Vintage Guitar Magazine, and I knew I could no longer take it out of the house. I had Keith Roscoe build the "twins" for me which are unbelievably great - but I have to tell you - there are several elements to the PRS that make it superior to any bass I have ever played.
Much more here: http://www.innertainment.net/PRS-A.html
I love these story's, more intresting than mine that's for sure! These basses are unique too!
I saw my Lull M5V on Adrian Garcia's website and knew when I first saw it I had to have it. I still have the original pics from the website.
I love this bass! Not long after purchasing it, Adrian succumbed to cancer. R.I.P. brother!
Other basses will come and go but this one will always be with me.
Mine is a bit of a two-parter on how the bass finally "came to be".
I sort of skirted around getting a 5 through various means, but truth is I didn't much care for them because I never found a comfortable one. Some of the Ibanez SR's were good, but the string spacing was just too tight, while on other basses the necks were too big and uncomfortable. I had a Peavey Cirrus USA 5'er, but the tone on that one (juuust...trust me on this one lol) wasn't what I was looking for at the time. The gold hardware on it was a huge turnoff to me as well. So as I had almost given up hope, I got an ultimatum that I am now thankful for. The project I jumped into was a prog metal one and the guitarists both had 7's, not in a rude way but the BL was strongly insisting on me getting a 5 saying that he believes I could really do a lot with it and would eventually find it essential to the music we were going to perform. So on a hunch, I found a sweet deal on GC's used section online. It was a mid-90's Ibanez CTB5 which I have never heard of. Satin natural finish on the body, very light finish on the neck, maple body and neck with a rosewood fretboard. When I picked it up at the store, it just felt right in my hand, sort of like putting on a tailored suit for the first time. It was as if someone took my hand measurements and made me a 5'er to suit me best. I walked out with the biggest smile on my face, so big that the girl at the door went "Wow, you certainly look happy! What did you find in there?" I just laughed and said "I'm just stoked that this is a satin natural finish". Oh, it also had all black hardware as well!
When I got it home and plugged it in, changed the strings, did some minor setup adjustments after cleaning it, I felt sort of crestfallen. Pickups and preamp were ok, it was EMG Selects which I'm assuming was like the HZ line back then. The preamp was a run-of-the-mill Ibanez 2-band preamp, so it wasn't anything special. I tossed around going with Bartolinis, MEC, and Dimarzios with Audere. I wanted to keep the "spirit" of the bass, as cheesy as that sounds, and decided to stick with EMG for the ease of wiring and because I knew the pickups would fit. It had two jazz style pickups and 4 holes for knobs, so I went all out and got two JX's and a BQC. For the longest time I wanted a bass that had the character of my Warwick Rockbass Corvette (active one), but with a more manageable neck. The thought crossed my mind as I was wiring everything up, and then I got the biggest grin on my face once everything was fixed and set to go. I couldn't play much since it was awful late, so I had to wait until later. When I got a chance to play it through my rig...H-O-L-Y C-R-A-P was this thing amazing! Feel and tone were both now in perfect harmony and it was the first time in a long time that a bass made me want to play more. I'm still getting my right hand used to the 5 strings, but every day I use it I get closer to it and how it's built. I use it for everything! Lessons, jamming, recording, and gigging! I wanted to get a backup bass, so I ended up getting an Ibanez SRA305 instead (it takes EMG 40's, wanted something with some other tone options). Waiting on pickups and preamp to come in for that one (EMG 40DCXs and BQC!). Vika (the CTB5) is still my #1 girl though
I found an e series mij fender fretless jazz at GC. Noiseless scn pickups that sound great. The way I want a bass to sound. I'm a hopeless failure at fretless, so I swapped out the neck with a modern player jazz. Great neck with the musicman truss wheel....but it was thin. I always liked chunkier necks but never loved the tone of pbasses. Then I got a cabronita. Puts that neck on the jazz and sold the cab body, and now I have MY bass. It's perfect for me. It's strung with a set of long discontinued daddario steel halfrounds that a daddario employee sent me from his stash of 20 year old strings in his garage at home. Basically the story is I got a bass and swapped necks twice.