Where does my "Bird Electric Bass" come from?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BikerMouse, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. BikerMouse


    Jun 12, 2019
    My dear fellow musicians,

    I have a burning question. Since 16 years I own a p-bass, never played her since I am a guitar player. Last week I decided to sell her to a dedicated bass player, it's a shame to leave her untouched and let her gather dust.

    After doing some research, I suspect my bass to to be built in Matsumoku factory late 60s - early 70s (probably law suit era??) but I am not an expert.

    Does anyone have some information or know where to get some information about my precision bass?

    Some info I have:
    Fender copy/imitation made in Japan
    Brand: BIRD Electric bass
    Model: Precision bass
    Pickup: Lipstick???

    Thanks a lot in advance for every little bit of info. IMG_20190611_062804.jpg IMG_20190611_062804.jpg IMG_20190611_062811.jpg IMG_20190611_062822.jpg IMG_20190611_062859.jpg IMG_20190611_062912.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    The three screws on the pickup are a giveaway. I'm just not sure for what factory. Someone on here knows. Might be Matsomoku.
    BikerMouse likes this.
  3. BikerMouse


    Jun 12, 2019
    Thanks bholder! That's something new to explore, never knew that the way pickups are screwed may differ at other factories. I'll look into that.

    Hopefully more people can help me :)
  4. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The "lipstick" pickup isn't. It looks more like a Telecaster guitar style neck pickup but with the three mounting screw arrangement of the Telecaster bridge pickup...Like this Matsumoku I found on Reverb...

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    BikerMouse likes this.
  5. BikerMouse


    Jun 12, 2019
    I doubted it was a lipstick pickup, someone told me it was. It isn't a cylinder and does not have a "split". I am not familiar with all kinds of pickups, so I appreciate your help!
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I edited my post with a photo as an example of the pickup in a Tele style guitar by Matsumoku.
    BikerMouse likes this.
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    All I can add is plywood body - see how the black extends over the contours to cover the layers that would otherwise be exposed. Typical of most generic Japanese copies of the time.
    ajkula66 and BikerMouse like this.
  8. I have seen that style of pickup in old Ibanez basses that were purported to be original. I don’t remember who made Ibanez back then, maybe Matsumoku. That’s the thing, it’s all a little murky from back then with Japanese manufacturers. The same instrument was sold under a variety of names. Heck, if you ordered enough they would put “BikerMouse” on the headstock.
    BikerMouse likes this.
  9. BikerMouse


    Jun 12, 2019
    Damn, I was born to late...

    Thanks Matt and Steve for your input! It is indeed vague where she was manufactured.
  10. Oh, I’m sure the Chinese would be happy to put whatever name on instruments for you...
  11. BikerMouse


    Jun 12, 2019
    I found a similar P bass, finally. It's an (El) Maya, same pickup, same bridge, same logo style, even the thumb rest.
    Maya Precision Bass 4 String 1970's 3 Color Sunburst

    Found some more:
    Maya Precision Bass 1970s 3 Color Sunburst
    Maya precision bass '70s vintage MIJ | #538430163

    I am pretty close to her origin, I think. It might be Matsumoku or Maya Guitar Company (copy).
    Going to brush and polish her up and decide whether I will sell this beauty or keep her myself.

    One more question for the real bass players. I am a guitar player and barely know anything about bass guitars. Can I connect a bass guitar to a guitar amp (Fender Mustang GT 40)?
  12. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    If you are just wanting to test the bass electronics for functionality, a guitar amp will suffice. If you are trying to get good sound out of your bass, a guitar amp isn't suitable.
    Good luck!
  13. _One//Man//Mutiny_

    _One//Man//Mutiny_ Gold Supporting Member

    The bridge and tuners say matsumoku I had an 70s epiphone that had them. IMG_20190429_104201.jpg
    flatwound62p likes this.

  14. My bench amp is one of those little tuck and roll Kustom Darts. Everything gets checked with it. Keep the volume low and it should be fine. May not sound great but shouldn’t hurt the amp.
  15. I only saw this name of a Six String Acoustic once

    this is what I found out for you.

    It appears to be one of the many hundreds of brands japan made for export in the late 60's and early seventies . seems like a lot of the bigger music stores and Merchandise stores had their own brand ( very common at that time ). The name Bird on the top may of been from a Japanese store or quite possibly the original manufacturer in Japan
  16. Scott C.

    Scott C.

    Nov 24, 2014
    Washington, USA
    Looks like you have Charlie Parker's bass.
    BikerMouse likes this.
  17. I went through this entire thread that was started back in 2009 :)
    not one person I saw posted a Bird badge out of 43 pages but hey I could have missed it happy hunting
    Post your vintage Japanese basses
  18. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
  19. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Gold Supporting Member

    Let’s get @GretschWretch involved