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Weird old bass i found. What is it?! (Pics)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lemming16, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Lemming16


    Oct 13, 2010
    Hi everyone. So, i found an old bass on a pawn shop. The brand its "Melodier", on the neckplate says "Made in Japan". I got it for $60 bucks, the neck was somewhat warped (not too much, i hope it still workls :( ), but it worked when connected to an amp, and to my ears, it sounded nice. However i just can't find anything about this brand. I also noticed that the pickups were mostly used in almost any Hofner bass (at least the same shape of pickup).

    The bass seems to been been abused by some punk teen, because it has an horrible paiting, it had stickers, and some other esthetical things.

    Here's the pics, sorry for the bad quality.


    Also, the wood feels rock hard, and it is very heavy.
    the wood of the neck its very brown, i never saw wood like that on a neck.

    I would like to know anything you guys know about this bass.
    Did i got ripped off? This would be my only bass, and i would use it only for practicing and some recording maybe.

    Thanks in advance!.
  2. Dan B

    Dan B

    Oct 19, 2008
    Amherst, MA
    This looks EXACTLY like the bass I am restoring here:

    What I can tell you is this: the body of mine at least is plywood, most likely mahogany plywood (as judged by the technician at my local music store), though yours might be a different material. The pickups are not Hofner-type humbuckers but rather single coils housed in a Hofner pickup casing (see picture). I have no clue what the neck is, though it does have a rosewood fretboard.

    Here is the picture of the pickups without their casings. This is a really interesting bass, and it is funny to see you are now the third that owns one of these instruments.

    Also, for the record, I got that bass for $70.
  3. Lemming16


    Oct 13, 2010
    Whoa, they really look the same! it even has the same pickup switches! and the knobs. I'm thinking 'bout upgrading it (tuners and some other things). Do you think it'll worth it?
  4. Dan B

    Dan B

    Oct 19, 2008
    Amherst, MA
    I replaced the bridge because it was more of a liability than anything (the E string was about to pop out and hit me in the face); that, and I could never get the lower two strings in tune so that went. The pots went out the door (replaced with CTS 500Ks) and I'm putting in a new capacitor since the old one didn't do anything; I also got rid of the old jack and put in a new one. Tuners are also being replaced, as well as the pickups (using AllParts Hofner-type pickups) and switches (the new ones will be black instead of white), and the knobs I got some nice ebony bell knobs that fit the new pots. The nut I'm probably replacing as well.

    It's running me past $100 but I think it'll be worth it, just for the sake of playing a cool instrument.
  5. Lemming16


    Oct 13, 2010
    I guess i'll invest some money on it too :D. If anyone has any information about it, i'd love to read it. :D
  6. Dan B

    Dan B

    Oct 19, 2008
    Amherst, MA
    Just a heads up: the pots are actually mini-pots and while I did get normal pots to fit I had to scrape and file at the holes some to get them to fit. For whatever reason, the older pots were slightly slimmer than the new ones, and even if I were to get mini-pots I would have had the same issue.

    How are the electronics? Any hum or popping at all?
  7. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
  8. Lemming16


    Oct 13, 2010
    In a few hours i'm taking it to a tech. I hope everything is ok :D.
  9. those two basses (the OPs and the Kingston) look almost identical to my early 70s "Lero", but it had one of exactly those pickups, same bridge, same tuners, same dark stained mahogany neck, and mahogany plywood body. Short scale. No switches since it was a single pickup, but the same pseudo-JBass pickguard.

    Replaced the bridge w/a Fender, rewound the pickup at Dan Torres when he was in Saratoga, and repainted the body. It worked, but was much happier when I finally got a P Bass :cool: But for what it was, not bad. Still have both of those instruments, too.
  10. puremusic


    Nov 1, 2009
    Saginaw, MI
    This bass resembles my Teisco bass with the wood of the neck except mine has a zero fret same switches for pickups sounds great with flats and original sponge under bridge plate and shortscale neck.
  11. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    My school had one of those in much worse condition. I remember it being very very microphonic and having a really thin body. Wish I had paid it more attention but at the time I considered it junk.
  12. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    i like the tuning machines- cool variety of shapes!
  13. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    I think the OPs bass is a later Japanese Kapa.

    I just bought a 1967 Kapa Continental bass, (65 bucks). Short scale. Hofner parts, assembled in USA. I found very little information about these. A guy whose father was a luthier in the Netherlands had a music store in Maryland, and made bodies in a domestic factory, and used Hofner necks, bridges, tuners, and pickups to make his own line of guitars. I bought mine on CL near Milwaukee. The guy said he bought it in New Jersey from a guy who was in a band called the Critters, I have actually found the original owner of this 1967 instrument, and sent him an email asking him about the bass. We shall see if he responds.

    I read that later instruments were built somewhere in the Asian part of the world. The tuners, pickups, and bridge cover look like the Hofner parts on my USA made Kapa Continental.
  14. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    That, my friend, is a beauty.
  15. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    I have a Magnum Japanese Jazz copy from the 70s. Dark neck like that, and very heavy plywood body. The neck was terrible. I took it apart because it's unplayable. I hope your's is better! Good luck.
  16. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Aha. Ted Veneman strikes again.

    I was a regular customer of Veneman Music in the late 70s and remember their Kapa line as being somewhat akin to Gibson's Kalamazoo branded instruments...workmanlike journeyman axes, but nothing exciting. Veneman's Bradley and Nagoya lines were much nicer, most likely coming from the Matsomoku factory.
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In the 60s and early 70s many Japanese and Korean mfrs built instruments with a blank headstock and wholesaled them to importers who put their name on.

    I remember seeing that exact bass sold under the Kimberly brand at the local Lafayette Radio store (they also sold rebranded Univox amps). I think the price was about $70...at the time a real J-bass was about $350.
  18. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    All of these basses look like close kin to my first bass, purchased at a Chicago pawn shop in '64 for $40. It was similar except for being single pickup, with a metal P-style guard, kind of. It was brick-heavy, mahogany where I could see the grain, badged with the name "Kent". I remember thinking the neck was big, so maybe the scale was longer ?? Two years later I traded it plus a Vox Bill Wyman tear drop bass for my first Fender Jazz bass, a '64 with a case. The woman at the music store who made the trade said nobody wanted to buy a Jazz bass, but a Vox, she could sell.
  19. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I'd clean it up and have fun with it, but I would consider that a money pit as far as improvements go. Especially with a neck problem.