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Big Al

Built a JJ Burnel tribute bass...

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Just finished building a tribute to JJ Burnel's original 1963 green bass this morning, and I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out. If you've listened to the basslines on the first albums (Rattus Norvegicus' and 'No More Heroes'), you'll know what a unique sound he made with this instrument - and the sole reason I ever picked up a bass in the first place.

I'd built one before maybe 15 years ago (the one in my avatar pic), but had used a Squier P-bass then.

This one is a genuine USA Fender, which I built to the following specs:-

1962 re-issue USA neck (made in 2010), finished in aged nitrocellulose lacquer, with vintage genuine Fender tuners, string guide, 'hootenanny' strap button, and a very accurate 1963 decal from oldfret.com. Nut width is the 1.75 inch 'C' neck.
New genuine USA Fender alder body (dated 2013), re-shaped to vintage contours. Finished in nitrocellulose sealer, primer, base coat, sunburst, and clear gloss lacquer layers, applied with an airbrush.
Genuine vintage Fender bridge, strap buttons, control knobs, and tugbar.
USA 'Spitfire' hand made pickguard, in vintage burgundy with a 1960s speckle - probably the best available.
Genuine 'L' serial number neck plate.
Seymour Duncan Quarterpounder pickups.
[attachment=182676:Finished-Burnel-bass-front.jpg][attachment=182678:Finished-Burnel-bass-rear.jpg][attachment=182677:Finished-Burnel-bass-Pickgu.jpg]

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Congrats , that looks like a labour of love , nice one

Now all you need to do is puncture your drivers

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Nice job mate! LOVE those albums!

Out of interest, why did you go for Quarter pounders? As they weren't around in the '70s. Wouldn't JJ's bass just have had the stock pickups fitted?

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1422860894' post='2677542']
Congrats , that looks like a labour of love , nice one

Now all you need to do is puncture your drivers
[/quote]

and get a Hiwatt 50w guitar amp. :-)

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That's gorgeous!

Why did Fender never give JJ a signature bass? They seem to hand them out like confetti, until it comes to a truly iconic and influential player like JJ.

Scandalous! :o

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1422860894' post='2677542']
Congrats , that looks like a labour of love , nice one

Now all you need to do is puncture your drivers
[/quote]

It always amazes me how much effort is put into recreating 'JJ's' tone on those early tracks, especially compared to how much effort he put into it? :D

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[quote name='miles'tone' timestamp='1422869514' post='2677615']
Out of interest, why did you go for Quarter pounders? As they weren't around in the '70s. Wouldn't JJ's bass just have had the stock pickups fitted?
[/quote]
[color=#0000ff]His early green bass probably still has the 1963 pickups, but I read (http://stranglers-ratter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/basses-and-bad-backs.html) that Shuker used the green bass as a template for the JJ signature basses, and used overwound pickups to emulate the sound. I thought the bigger magnets and higher output windings would have the same effect. I've used them a lot, and like the bottom end grunt they give.[/color]
[quote name='Norm' timestamp='1422873134' post='2677667']
and get a Hiwatt 50w guitar amp. :-)
[/quote]
[color=#0000ff]Interesting that he went back to a Hiwatt 50 for some tracks on the album 'Written in Red', and he also used a Hiwatt 200 in the late 1970s. I used a Hiwatt 100 and 2 Hiwatt 4X10s stack (see my avatar) to get that Stranglers sound, and it worked a treat.[/color]
[quote name='mentalextra' timestamp='1422909545' post='2678316']
It always amazes me how much effort is put into recreating 'JJ's' tone on those early tracks, especially compared to how much effort he put into it? :D
[/quote]
[color=#0000ff]His present tone using his signature Shuker bass and Ashdown amps and cabinets is very reminiscent of that classic early JJ sound - as can be heard on the Youtube video of 'Rattus at the Roundhouse' gig https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SItRVpLjAI0.[/color]
[color=#0000ff]Well worth watching![/color]

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[quote name='Big Al' timestamp='1422912205' post='2678380']

[color=#0000ff]His early green bass probably still has the 1963 pickups, but I read (http://stranglers-ratter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/basses-and-bad-backs.html) that Shuker used the green bass as a template for the JJ signature basses, and used overwound pickups to emulate the sound. I thought the bigger magnets and higher output windings would have the same effect. I've used them a lot, and like the bottom end grunt they give.[/color]

[color=#0000ff]Interesting that he went back to a Hiwatt 50 for some tracks on the album 'Written in Red', and he also used a Hiwatt 200 in the late 1970s. I used a Hiwatt 100 and 2 Hiwatt 4X10s stack (see my avatar) to get that Stranglers sound, and it worked a treat.[/color]

[color=#0000ff]His present tone using his signature Shuker bass and Ashdown amps and cabinets is very reminiscent of that classic early JJ sound - as can be heard on the Youtube video of 'Rattus at the Roundhouse' gig https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SItRVpLjAI0.[/color]
[color=#0000ff]Well worth watching![/color]
[/quote]

I really like that you've gone to great lengths to recreate that bass and have put your own twist on it too with the pups. (I had quarterpounders in a previously anaemic jazz bass once - it used to make me laugh how good they were, gave that bass BALLS and great dynamics - good choice!)
Bet it feels and sounds awesome :) \m/

+1 Regarding the Roundhouse gig footage by the way.

Edited by miles'tone

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Hugh Cornwell had taken the bass back with him from Sweden prior to the Stranglers forming, and sold it to JJ for £35! The bass would have been one of Fender's white finishes originally, maybe an aged and yellowed Olympic White, then at some point someone crudely applied an aerosol green sunburst.
I had the choice of trying to recreate his bass as faithfully as I could, but even in the 1970s it looked like it had been through a cement mixer, with all the paint gouges and scratches. Detailed photos of the bass are very hard to find on the internet, so a lot of it would have been guesswork.
Instead, I opted to finish the bass as if it had been painted like that by Fender from new - no doubt the finish will mellow and collect a few dings over the years, which can only make it look more like the original!
Incidentally, the original bass was badly damaged late in 1977, and after it was repaired it never sounded the same, which is why JJ started using black 1970s Precisions, along with the odd Yamaha, Wahl, Steinberger XL2, and now his Shukers.
The green bass is still around, but really it should be preserved for posterity in some major museum...

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Yeah - it used to get dragged out when Baz and JJ would do a bass duet on 'Dead Los Angeles'...[attachment=182789:www.pinterest.comhgjdghj.jpg]

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[quote name='Big Al' timestamp='1422912205' post='2678380']

[color=#0000ff]Interesting that he went back to a Hiwatt 50 for some tracks on the album'Written in Red', and he also used a Hiwatt 200 in the late 1970s. I used a Hiwatt 100 and 2 Hiwatt 4X10s stack (see my avatar) to get that Stranglers sound, and it worked a treat.
[/quote]

I bet it did work a treat! Nice stack & a cool bass, good work, fella!

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Funny you should mention that Roger - I have an Ashdown D600 (the amp the JJB500 evolved from) which I've sprayed black!
The D600 and the MK500 are probably better amps than the JJ signature model, as he rightly wanted to keep the price down for his fans - and Ashdown made a few cost-cutting changes, like moving the off/on button from the front face to the rear.
I'm fairly sure JJ's gigging amps were black D600s, with ABM900s as spares...
[attachment=183578:Paint-it-Black-2.jpg]

Edited by Big Al

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Hey that bass is great!
And spotting this thread is topical for me...
Saw the Stranglers in Cardiff last night :)

They were really good
But I was disappointed that Jet Black didn't play
I had hoped to see him for what may be his last tour.... :(

JJ was still in great shape though
Still playing fab, and adding the odd Karate kick

JJ, his playing, his sound etc etc
and those early Stranglers albums are what got me into bass too
Such an inspiration - and yes, why have Fender not made a signature JJ bass?

Glad to see you have - loverly stuff :)

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I've got a vague recollection that he actually approached Fender at some point and they weren't interested, so he went with Shuker. I doubt he'd go back to Fender either.

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maybe Fender haven't got a clue how to get JJ's signature sound lol, there's been enough debate on here about it

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