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Belka

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  1. It would definitely matter if ever he needed to take it or sell it abroad due to CITES regulations on rosewood.
  2. I used them for a bit in the 1990s and thought they were ok. I've got a set which is a bout 20 years old on an old fretless and they still have just a bit of brightness left. They were certainly better than the short-lived Trace Elliot strings which died completely within a week, and infinitely better than Elites, which I found to be my least favourite strings of all time. After trying out LaBella, Fender, Fodera and D'Addario in recent years I've settled on D'Addario nickels. As imported brands go, they're not too expensive, they last a long time, the B strings are firm, and they sound really good. It's all subjective though - I'm sure there are players out there who hate D'Addario and make Elites sound great.
  3. That's a great price for this bass - if I didn't have so many expenses at the moment I'd seriously consider it. If it's still around in Spring....
  4. The only thing you can really do if you want to truly keep your input stage passive is get a more powerful amp. A clean boost/preamp/equalizer pedal will help with output but will also add hiss and may affect your tone just like an active preamp would. Essentially they are nothing more than active preamps, but in a pedal rather than onboard your bass. If you don't want to get a more powerful amp then I would look into fitting a Bartolini preamp to the bass. As active preamps go, they are very quiet (although not as quiet as passive electronics) and they complement the tone of Bartolini pickups very well. They also have an active/passive switch which you could use if you DI the bass to keep it passive.
  5. The white pickguard definitely looks original. By the late '70s the only basses that you really saw with white pickguards were in natural, so I'd guess this bass was that originally.
  6. I recently moved back to the UK after a long time abroad (non EU country) with basses I'd purchased abroad and just walked through the green channel with no questions asked. I didn't do this deliberately, I had owned them for a minimum of two years and so didn't even think of them as purchases that needed to be declared. If I had gone abroad to buy them I would have declared them. As for rosewood, you can take one bass back from the US with you if belongs to you (and it will be your bass if you buy it, obviously). It's when you send them abroad/import from abroad that you need a CITES cert. If it's Brazilian rosewood however you will need a CITES cert to take it out of the States/bring it to the UK as I think it's in a different category to other rosewood types.
  7. He was great in Jamiroqaui. He is just very talented to be able to do what he did after playing for so short a time. He also said that he doesn't really practice (by himself, I'm sure he does practice with the bands he's been in). By the way, was the identity of Mr X (who played on the album version of Return of the Space Cowboy, Zender played on the single) ever established? Anyone here in the know?
  8. Belka

    1959 Jazz Bass

    I've wondered about the authenticity of some vintage guitars for years. A skilled luthier who knows a lot about vintage guitars could pretty much fake anything, but I guess to make it worth the scammer's while they would stick to the really high dollar stuff like '50s Gibsons and pre-CBS Fender. Strangely enough, I would imagine it's easier to fake a '50s Les Paul than it would be to do a '60s Fender. Laminate (non slab) Brazilian rosewood necks would have to be done as one-offs and aside from Spitfire, it's almost impossible to come up with tortoiseshell that looks vintage. I guess that's more of an incentive to fake slab board custom colour Fenders with white/mint guards which would claim a higher price anyway.
  9. This topic has been a massive pain for me over the last year. I moved back to the UK from Ukraine and had to take 4 basses with me. I took a few risks and was lucky but came to realise just how annoying this is if you have to travel regularly. The first two basses I put in a Mono M80. One was a neck through, one bolt on. I actually put the body of the bolt-on in my suitcase and the neck in the Mono, wrapped in clothes to keep it from hitting the other bass. I gate checked the Mono so it wasn’t under anything and everything was fine when I collected it at gatwick. I planned to gate check another bass but when I got to the gate it was too late and I had to carry it on with me and put it in a spare seat. Luckily I wasn’t made to pay for this. Finally with my last bolt on bass I put the body in the suitcase again and just had the neck in my carry on rucksack. It was sticking out but no one at the airport raised a fuss. Even though I consider myself lucky not to have had any damage to the basses, each time the process was stressful as you just can’t predict how staff at the airports are going to behave when they see a guitar case.
  10. I agree with you there. I think the sunburst '60s Fenders with tort guards look the best. Personally I like the 66-72 models best, TV logos but still with tort before going to black in the early '70s. I actually though sonic blue was one of the more common custom colours. It was available all the way from 60-72, but will admit there don't seem to be many out there with matching headstocks, and I do see it more on P basses than Jazzes. Black seemed more common on '60s guitars than basses. I guess the really high prices would be for colours such as burgundy mist, Sherwood green, charcoal frost, all the silvers and golds, teal green, blue ice metallic, ocean turquoise metallic and shell pink. Those seem to be particularly rare. Olympic white, all of the reds, and lake placid blue seem to be the most common. I have heard (but have no concrete proof that it's true) that you could choose your own paint and ask Fender to do custom colours that weren't offered in the brochures, although you'd have to pay extra of course. Apparently there may be a Capri yellow Strat (built in '60s, not on of the international colours from 1980) and a metallic purple Mustang out there somewhere. I guess today though unless you could show evidence they came like that from the Fender factory people would assume they were refins.
  11. Look, you know more about vintage instrument prices than I do, and you're obviously involved in the trade in some way, so I'm not going too debate this further. One thing you should remember however is that the vintage guitar market is a global one. In 2008 the pound was at the highest point it had been since the early '80s, trading at over 2 dollars to 1 pound. It has since crashed to well below that while the dollar has remained strong throughout the last 10 years. So actually, while prices in the UK may have doubled since 2008, the actual worth of the guitar has not really grown much at all. However, I will concede that in the context of the UK, if you have bought a guitar which has doubled in value, you've done a lot better than keeping that money in the bank. But to get back to the topic of the thread, after looking briefly at the basses currently for sale at Andy Baxter, Reverb, eBay, Vintage and Rare, Talkbass, the Jazz on sale for £23,000 is not 'on the high side' , it's way overpriced. I do agree with your earlier point however that if it is a sonic blue matching headstock near mint condition '60s bass you want, and you have the money for it, someone may pay near to that price. At the same time, however, the seller has to consider the fact that such a person may not come along for a good few years, if at all, while people who are prepared to pay a realistic price will be put off and not even bother bidding on it. Dave Markee's custom colour 1964 Jazz has been on sale in Vintage and Rare for years at less than half the price of this.
  12. Sorry Rick, but I have to disagree with you there. Read what George Gruhn has to say about it: George Gruhn: I have been collecting and dealing fretted instruments since 1963 and have operated my shop since January 1970. During that time I have seen many twists and turns, peaks and valleys in the vintage and used instrument market as well as dramatic change in the market for new instruments. There have been times when prices were going up at a rapid rate and other periods in which they were plateaued and other times in which prices were falling due to a variety of factors. From 1959 through 1963 during the great folk music boom, prices of acoustic instruments were rapidly rising while prices of used and vintage electric guitars were very low due to general lack of demand. It should be borne in mind, however, although prices of acoustic instruments were rapidly rising, they were rising from extremely low prices to prices that were beginning to approach the equivalent cost of a new guitar. People were not paying super premium prices over and above the cost of a new one to get a vintage instrument. In the mid-1960s the folk boom was winding down, but the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and other rock bands hit, tremendously increasing the demand for guitars both acoustic and electric and many students on college campuses nationwide discovered the appeal of R&B music, and soon thereafter psychedelic rock. Prices of vintage electric guitars soared when some of the premier players discovered the merits of vintage guitars, resulting in rapid escalation of prices of pre-CBS Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters as well as original 1950s Les Paul Gibson models such that some of these instruments increased in value sufficiently that vintage examples were bringing more money than an equivalent new electric guitar in the case of Fenders. Since the single cutaway Gibson Les Paul Junior and Special models were discontinued in mid 1958, the sunburst Les Paul Standard at the end of 1960, and the black Les Paul triple pickup Custom in very early 1961, there was no equivalent new Gibson in the mid-to late 1960s, but original examples were bringing more money than most new Gibson electric guitars at that time. From 1969 through 1975, during the great folk rock era, rock ‘n roll money was injected into the acoustic market and acoustic and electric guitar prices escalated rapidly with many instruments costing significantly more money than a similar looking new example. Prices stagnated from 1966 through the mid-1980s and the fretted instrument music scene was at best lethargic. This was a very difficult time for music dealers due to the fact that the baby boomers had largely dropped out of the market and not yet reentered after their midlife crisis. Inflation was very high, and prime rate interest by 1981 was over 20%. This was an extremely tough time for musicians as well as musical instrument dealers. Market conditions turned around considerably in the mid-1980s when baby boomers re-entered the market and prices escalated significantly, although they slowed down from 1993 through 2002 due in part to the fact that during the so called “Dot-Com” era it was more profitable to put money in the stock market than into guitars. From mid-2002 through early 2007 prices of many vintage collectible fretted instruments escalated at an unprecedented pace such that prices of some of these instruments went up tenfold in a matter of 3 & 1/2 years. This pace was unsustainable and came to a crashing halt in late 2007. There are essentially three different types of buyers for fretted instruments: utility tool users, true collectors, and speculators. These are three very different types of buyers who have different goals and motivations. Utility tool users often are expert musicians, but they are not greatly concerned with age of an instrument or its total originality. Collectors are interested in having a coordinated collection with a theme and are very willing to pay more money than a utility tool user for the right item. Speculators frequently have more money than either utility tool users or collectors, but their ultimate goal is not to keep an instrument for more than two years before selling it. They target instruments which they feel are going up in value such that they can pay full current retail at the time of their purchase and sell at a profit after holding the instrument for a couple of years. When the economy hit the skids in late 2008, many musicians simply held onto their instruments, but many musicians who had no “rainy day cash fund” to help them get through hard times were forced to sell. Prices dropped dramatically such that after three years many instruments had fallen to less than half their price at the peak of the bubble in the beginning of 2007. The speculators had dropped out and to this day many have not returned to this market Recently, the market is showing some signs of revival, but many instruments still are bringing very significantly less today than they were a decade ago when the market was at its peak. I used to claim that I did not have a crystal ball to help me see where things were going, but I corrected that recently by purchasing a 10-inch crystal ball, which I now have on the small table in front of my desk. When I look through it, it is evident that the world is upside down since crystal balls act like a lens, which flips the image. In summary, prices at the moment appear to have stabilized, but many very fine rare vintage instruments are significantly harder to sell today than they were 20 years ago. What is evident, however, is that the true golden era instruments such as pre-World War II Martin and Gibson acoustics made during the 1930s and 1950s electric guitars by makers such as Gibson, Fender, and Gretsch are viewed by collectors as the most desirable and the best investments. Today the market is under stress due to changing demographics with aging baby boomers, millennials who do not share the boomers interest in vintage instruments, competition from eBay, Reverb, Craig’s list, and Amazon, a market flooded with highly discounted new instruments due to overproduction by manufacturers, and fierce competition from brick-and-mortar dealers as well as online sales. All my crystal ball tells me at the moment is the world has gone topsy-turvy upside down.
  13. I guess your first point is subjective, so fine. But with all due respect, your point about neck-through vs. bolt-on is not accurate. The whole 'bolt-ons have more punch' and 'neck-throughs have more sustain' is a misconception that came about because Fender basses, with a scale length and positioning of pickups that gave them a lot of punch, happened to be bolt-on. Early neck-through basses, such as Rickenbackers, Alembics, and Gibson (ok, I know they're technically set-neck but some people might not get the difference) had very different electronics and in some cases scale length that didn't give that punchy Fender sound. The sustain thing probably came about because in the '70s early custom builders like Alembic, who typically made neck-throughs, also incorporated things like brass nuts, heavy brass bridges (Badass) and roundwound strings as standard. Where I do agree with you is that neck-throughs are not better than bolt-on, although equally, nor are they worse. Here, it's subjective again - there are different pluses/minuses of both. Bolt-on necks are easily replaceable. Neck-throughs typically give better access to the upper frets. People's needs/preferences here vary. For what it's worth Fodera did an experiment. They made basses identical in every respect apart from the neck joint. So, a bolt-on, a neck-through, and a set-neck. The differences in sound were so small as to make the type of neck joint almost irrelevant.
  14. My experience with Fender Jazzes from the 1970s is that the 76-80 models, although the most likely to be boat anchors and have shoddy construction, actually sound a lot better than 70-75 models, but then again I really like the snappy Marcus Miller tone that only the 76-80 models provide. It might be to do with the weight but I think it's more likely to be a change of pickup done around this time - I think they went from alnico to ceramic magnets which really gave them that snap. If you're after rock/reggae/indie/soul tones however the 70-75s will do very well for you, I'm sure. I think it's the 70-75 models that look the best, with the big TV logo and the proper knobs (not strat knobs).
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