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The many Basses of John McVie

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by EdwardofHuncote, Sep 23, 2017.


  1. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    A recent ad on Reverb got me wondering about the various basses John McVie has played over his 50+ year career. Back in the John Mayall and Peter Green days, I've seen pictures of Mac with both Fender P's and J's... one of which was stolen and never recovered. (I'll look for that story...)


    So this is the mysterious "Penguin & Porpoise" Alembic bass that got me wondering... it's only shown in partial, along with John's penguin tattoo, on the album cover of the Fleetwood-Mac 25 year anthology "The Chain".

    The Chain - 25 Years.

    Alembic Series Graphite John Mcvie actual bass

    No question, it's the same bass, but interestingly, nobody seems to recall much about this one, and I can't find any pictures or video of him playing it on stage. I suspect it was built from parts of a partially destroyed bass for use as a studio instrument, though that is purely conjecture on my part. In the ad description, Rick Turner muses the electronics may be a variation on Alembic's superfilter circuit. I really can't see McVie twiddling with all that stuff on stage in a live concert situation. I also believe that 23-fret Fender-shaped graphite neck was retro-fit to an Alembic body. Both of those would almost support my guess, but I may be full of bull-squeeze too. Anybody got another idea?


    Other than that one, he's known to have had Alembic #73-27, a very early Series I. This is probably the one he's been pictured with most often in the 70's.

    7cb3863d9abdc69e6795a25ea35efe6e.


    Then there's this one:

    61644.

    The actual bass used on "The Chain", and several other tracks from the "Rumours" album forward, is an Alembic Series I with a fretless fingerboard of stainless steel.

    209071.


    Another of John's basses seldom seen or mentioned is this Small Standard Series I with a graphite neck. It is reportedly one of two prototypes Alembic made in cahoots with Geoff Gould in 1976. (Stanley Clarke got the other one) Note that it has his name in pearl at the last fret. This one was for sale a couple years ago, along with the P&P bass. No idea if he still has it.

    2015-12-12-23-48-05-1626121655.

    These two basses of his are mentioned in the Alembic Company History page:

    Alembic History - Long Version


    Moving on, through the later 80's... he's often seen playing a Hamer bass, and the occasional Fender Precision. There's also an acoustic bass guitar I can't identify.

    e857f41e82939aae696eba6a63779b27--john-mcvie-mick-fleetwood.

    By the mid-90's it was a Tobias Classic, that is still seen in use up into the 2003-04 tour footage. It was in his road rack for the 2013-15 tours, but not played. I've read somewhere he also had a Tobias Growler, but never seen proof.

    downloadfile.

    Later 90's, he had a couple of Rick Turner's Electroline and Renaissance basses. (also seen these still in the road rack recently)

    220px-JohnMcVie.


    There was a pair of Lakland P-basses in 2013, black and natural.

    5b76cb8bc266c34eee046ff11b819e90--john-mcvie-mac-s.


    Two Godin 'Shifter' basses on the 2015 tour... one of them was de-tuned, presumably for key changes.

    McVie_Godin2.

    McVie_Godin.

    I know I'm missing a bunch... I believe the Ol' Boy might be a bigger gear-hoarder than I am! :bassist:

    So have fun with the thread... fill in the blanks with pictures and video, firsthand accounts welcome. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
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  2. Stainless steel fingerboard!
     
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  3. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    The One, and (as far as I know) Only. In action on the 1979 Tusk Tour.

     
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  4. The acoustic is a Kramer Ferrington bass that is fairly rare, I worked for a Kramer dealer back then and could not get one.
     
  5. knumbskull

    knumbskull

    Jul 28, 2007
    UK
    Anyone recognise this one? I think he used it when i saw them in 2014 but can't be sure...

    liveinbostona.
     
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  6. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    That is the other Turner Electroline. I believe that one is fretted, and the other is fretless, but not 100% sure. I do know Rick custom-built it for John... it's a one-off body shape and who-knows-what for electronics. This one looks pretty much standard.

    * this one is also featured prominently in the "Destiny Rules" documentary about the making of the 2003 album "Say You Will".
     
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  7. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Dang. There was one of those in the TalkBass Classifieds for dirt cheap... it sat for ages. I think it had a different headstock though... looked like a hockey stick if I remember right.
     
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  8. Posted from another thread.

     
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  9. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Here's a closer look at the other Electroline... 62573.

    ...the horns are symmetrical and it appears to have a dark 'pinstripe' layer between the body core and figured maple top.

    It's being played on "Silver Springs" here:

     
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  10. Glazenn

    Glazenn

    May 16, 2011
    France
    My post quoted above in post #8 relates to DREAMS, a Fleetwood Mac cover band from Canada.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  11. Ah, sorry. I thought I was being clever cross posting.

    I guess I should just go to bed!
     
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  12. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    John McVie was the bassist on the first club gig I went to.

    He was playing a very knocked about 3ts/tort/P bass with John Mayall.

    After that, how could I love anything else!
     
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  13. There are a few of those iirc they are short scale and many are branded 'Focus by Kramer' or 'Striker by Kramer' rather disappointing imports from Korea. I
     
  14. Anyone know what he used on The Green Manalishi? huh.

    I'm guessing a Fender Precision but don't know that for a fact.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  15. The Ferrington was long scale. McVie's appears to be a hybrid with a Fender neck bolted on.
     
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  16. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    There must be at least half a dozen different Fender basses, mostly Precision, and to this day there is always a P-type bass somewhere around in his rack.

    I wonder if this is the one? Can't tell if it's a 'burst or not.

    John-McVie.

    He must have had this sunburst Jazz bass for a good while too.

    202230d55b476f71a4e4c1eabb54c8a4.
     
  17. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    Excerpted from this Q&A interview,

    John McVie Q&A Session, September / October 2004

    John responds to a question about one of his basses.

    " I don't think that's one of mine. The only "P-Bass" I can't account for is my original bass that was ripped off in Manhattan Beach, California, back in the early seventies. It was stripped and had a carved dragon on it. I believe the serial # was L12304. Thanks again, McVie "
     
  18. chris_b

    chris_b

    Jun 2, 2007
    I've done some home work and I think I've traced the time line. The gig I saw was in October 65. I missed Clapton because he was on his trip to Greece.

    The photo of JM looks like he's playing a stripped P bass, but the poster behind him includes Jimi Hendrix. That dates the JM photo to Fleetwood Mac about 2 years later, maybe late 67 early 68.

    Magic times.
     
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  19. I recall seeing McVie playing a 56-ish s/c P bass, like Sting's.

    If memory serves, it may have been circa Bare Trees album.
     
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  20. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    This one maybe?

    john-mcvie-from-fleetwood-mac-performs-live-on-stage-at-newcastle-picture-id101553241.

    Can't see the headstock, but this certainly looks like a Telecaster bass... and the 1973 timeframe is about right for "Bare Trees".

    Also, what is that 'thud-bucker' in the neck position... mod or stock?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017

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