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Matsumoku basses


Wilco

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1 minute ago, Defo said:

That's interesting, thanks I think it was sold to me as an '86 (not that it matters) - will do some digging

The first digit of the serial number will tell you which year of the ‘80’s it was made

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 Hi,
Not sure if this adds much to the thread but here is the story .
I bought this Pearl precision bass many years ago, advertised in the local paper "express and echo" where I bought most of my things back then; cars from budleigh salterton ( because it's a retirement town and they never went anywhere), furniture from topsham (posh), hifi from all over the place...
Anyway, this bass was advertised by Norman, a local guitar hero and I loved it.
Then I couldn't get on with it.  Took the frets out...na. Added a rear pickup (from my steinburger q5) and cut a hole in the back for a battery, ....Na, decided to re finish the body, sandpaper or a blow torch wouldn't touch it, so my mate Malcolm took the finish off with a belt sander. I Finished it with tung oil.   Wow, a revelation, like playing with its straight jacket off.
Then a mate (joe) offered me a jazz neck he had bought but didn't like the feel, so I fitted this, plus the old machines, lovely.  Then I thought BEAD tuning.  

No bottom end.  Oh well
Next, after building a lap steel with lollar pickups, decided to fit a pair of his jazz pickups. Needed a custom scratch cover to hide all my previous holes and channels...filled in the old screw holes with match sticks, snapped off.  Back to standard tuning.
Then tried a set of flats. Bingo I've arrived.
It's a total mess but it's the bass I picked up most over lockdown.
Not worth much but wouldn't sell it, and bits of it are old.
I've messed up a few basses over the years, and sold too many, too cheap.
Oh well.

 

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Halo again folks.

I’ve been away from Basschat for a while, but I picked up another Matsumoku gem in the interim.

Aria SB Special-II. 

I’ve read that only 1000 of these were made, between 1982-84. The SB Special came in single and dual pickup versions, in either black or sunburst. These were the pre-cursor to the more common ‘RSB’ basses, though there are a few defining differences. The SB Specials have ash bodies whereas the RSBs are alder, the necks on the SB Specials are clear-coated whereas those on the RSBs are painted. The most notable difference is the bridge pickup on the dual pickup versions. The SB Special-II has a MB-III unlike the RSB, which sports a single coil MB-J. 

These may be among the ‘poor siblings’ of the Matsumoku Aria output, but they’re truly excellent instruments none the less, well made, beautifully balanced, and just oozing with Matsumoku mojo. I find this one more comfortable to play than either of my ‘full-weight’ SB’s, and it sounds amazing ... really clean, bright, and articulate, super smooth tones, fat thru glassy, with the same control set as on the SB900 and SB-R80 so, yes, very versatile. 

I’ve got a ton of love for this bass. 035B6FB9-8D7D-43F6-A4A2-7BD66D242D72.jpeg.1a506b1480753d3fbad151f6e0caa82c.jpeg01443706-7D7D-4ACA-939A-422DFBF2A65A.jpeg.921772af87c2c15115c47e1ad34ff458.jpeg2E54D852-A483-4050-A2E5-02A12C687ED2.thumb.jpeg.d9b215102c84ec19bf4b1ccd6128ca0e.jpeg

 

Edited by Fionn
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7 hours ago, Fionn said:

Halo again folks.

I’ve been away from Basschat for a while, but I picked up another Matsumoku gem in the interim.

Aria SB Special-II. 

I’ve read that only 1000 of these were made, between 1982-84. The SB Special came in single and dual pickup versions, in either black or sunburst. These were the pre-cursor to the more common ‘RSB’ basses, though there are a few defining differences. The SB Specials have ash bodies whereas the RSBs are alder, the necks on the SB Specials are clear-coated whereas those on the RSBs are painted. The most notable difference is the bridge pickup on the dual pickup versions. The SB Special-II has a MB-III unlike the RSB, which sports a single coil MB-J. 

These may be among the ‘poor siblings’ of the Matsumoku Aria output, but they’re truly excellent instruments none the less, well made, beautifully balanced, and just oozing with Matsumoku mojo. I find this one more comfortable to play than either of my ‘full-weight’ SB’s, and it sounds amazing ... really clean, bright, and articulate, super smooth tones, fat thru glassy, with the same control set as on the SB900 and SB-R80 so, yes, very versatile. 

I’ve got a ton of love for this bass.

That's a stunner, always had a bit of GAS for one of these, having had an RSB Deluxe II from new - my first Matsumoku, sem-retired now due to incurable corkscrew neck syndrome. Big fan of the control flexibility on my RSB, which has the same setup as the SB Special - the most versatile passive bass I'd heard until I played a Peavey T40.

I've heard the 'only 1000 made' suggestion but I'm a bit doubtful - they're reasonably common of you regularly peruse Ebay listings, in fact I'd say a bit more so than RSBs.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 18/02/2021 at 23:55, Bassassin said:

That's a stunner, always had a bit of GAS for one of these, having had an RSB Deluxe II from new - my first Matsumoku, sem-retired now due to incurable corkscrew neck syndrome. Big fan of the control flexibility on my RSB, which has the same setup as the SB Special - the most versatile passive bass I'd heard until I played a Peavey T40.

I've heard the 'only 1000 made' suggestion but I'm a bit doubtful - they're reasonably common of you regularly peruse Ebay listings, in fact I'd say a bit more so than RSBs.

As a fan of the T-40. I know what you mean. I am also a big fan of the SB Special SB Specialimage.png.461a5ed2b2bd5cfedca180e11a6bf811.png

 

 

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On the same tack, I also love the RSB Deluxe.

RSB Deluxe

Sort of the same but different! :D

Aria of late (speak to younger players to confirm) seems to be seen as low budget, which is such a shame as the heritage of Aria was solidly formed from high quality, with a range that many pros would seek out.

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I took some better photos today.

The fretless is in standard tuning with light strings, flat neck, and very low action. The black fretted one is the demon, tuned down to drop A,  heavy strung and set up for a pounding.

1981 Aria SB-900 (factory fretless)
1984 Aria SB Special-II

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1 hour ago, Deedee said:

What a lovely pair 😍

Talking of lovely pairs ...

The SB900’s last partner was more suited in the aesthetic sense (another ‘81 with walnut finish), but it didn’t stick. I’m a sucker for the passive twin pickups and that control set. Ahhh, I love that set up. I appreciated the SB1000, but wow, it’s not my thing. Horses for courses, n that.40805FB7-E261-4307-8CB5-D52491C74A75.thumb.jpeg.a91ee19438408dcda46febb87014b4ef.jpeg

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Always had a big soft spot for the SB Special II, owned a black one from '84 in the late 80's, 'til I stupidly part-exed it for an Encore Strat in the early 90's (shut up, I know! :| :D ). Always regretted that. I did however end up getting an '82 Westone Thunder 1A not long after.

Managed to find another one around 2006, but life hadn't been too kind to it. It was still a nice bass, but nowhere near as nice as my original one. Bizarrely, that one was an '84 model as well.

In all my research around the time, I could never find any info on the SB Special II, only the RSB Deluxe. From what I can gather, they were only made in 1984, as I've never seen one from any other year.

No doubt, @Fionn's and @FlatEric's ones will be from other years. :D 🙄

Edited by Skybone
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  • 2 months later...

Picked up this Thunder 1A a couple of months ago from @geoff90guitar .

Could see it was fundamentally a solid instrument that just needed a bit of fettling. Had a neck shim in which wasn’t actually needed so that came out, & there was a stuck solid pick up screw that my local guitar shop (Kempsters) sorted for me. Other than that, just a load of elbow grease on all parts. It’s 39 years old with some just right minimal mojo - very pleased with the end result! 🙂

 

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2 hours ago, Stingray5 said:

Lovin' the mojo! :) 

Thanks...it was in a pretty poor state when I got it (job lot, two guitars, this bass and a practice amp for £50!).  It needed a lot of TLC to get it playable... I've changed the bridge, pickup and pots, but it came with Schaller machines.  Every time it goes out I ensure it gets another ding.

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24 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

Thanks...it was in a pretty poor state when I got it (job lot, two guitars, this bass and a practice amp for £50!).  It needed a lot of TLC to get it playable... I've changed the bridge, pickup and pots, but it came with Schaller machines.  Every time it goes out I ensure it gets another ding.

Niiiice! :D 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

I’ve bought my third Westone Thunder in less than a year. This time a Thunder 3 fretless. Bloomin’ lovely it is too & matches my fretted Thunder 3 nicely. Well pleased.

 

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Edited by Wilco
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