Jump to content
Why become a member? Read more... ×
Basschat podcast: Episode 3 Read more... ×
Bafflegab

I played the Holy Grail of bass

Recommended Posts

Yesterday morning I had the amazing chance to play the Holy Grail (for me) of bass - a 1960 Fender Jazz

 

What an incredible bass, and a wonderful piece of history.  

 

It belonged to the the owner of my favourite music store, who sadly passed away in 2016, but his wife still owns it.  

 

All original, and he had it strung with medium gauge flatwounds, which were nicely broken in, and it played and sounded incredible.

 

Needless to say I was pretty stoked to have the chance to play such a bass, definitely a day I’ll remember for a very long time!

 

Here’s the beast in question (pic attached).

 

Cheers,

Ryan

7748DAA2-9D2A-40B2-A639-95309F5669B6.jpeg

  • Like 19
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks absolutely stunning!

Here’s a pic of a much younger me, reunited for quick play with a 61 Jazz Bass that I’d played a few years earlier. It changed everything for me that first time round and lead to me buying my first pre CBS basses. This 61 was always the special one for me. 

3CB4D75D-46F5-4107-B2AD-128BFF56EA85.jpeg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeez - almost 60 years old, and I bet it's seen more debauchery, sin and abuse in it's lifetime than I have.

I'd be quite happy to take care of it and give it lengthy counselling sessions to help undo the traumas built up over many years.........  9_9

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undoubtedly a piece of history, and as suggested above, one with many a story to tell, but I'm sorry, I could never let anything get into that rough state, no matter how much I used it.  I never go on stage without giving my bass at least a rub over to remove any fingermarks, and take care to avoid knocks and dings.

But that’s me, and I also can't see the point of the Fender Road Worn (?) range, or pre-ripped jeans!! (It’s probably my RAF training.........)

Edited by Baxlin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Baxlin said:

Undoubtedly a piece of history, and as suggested above, one with many a story to tell, but I'm sorry, I could never let anything get into that rough state, no matter how much I used it.  I never go on stage without giving my bass at least a rub over to remove any fingermarks, and take care to avoid knocks and dings.

But that’s me, and I also can't see the point of the Fender Road Worn (?) range, or pre-ripped jeans!! (It’s probably my RAF training.........)

I totally agree. Hard to imagine how you would let it get in that state even if you're gigging it every day for 50 years. But having said that, at least that is original and authentic battle scars. I find the purposefully road worn look of new instruments utterly ridiculous. Take a perfectly good, brand new instrument, make it look knackered, triple the price. WTF is that all about? 

I mean I kind of get it if you're in a tribute band and you absolutely have to have the exact look of the original instrument. Even then it seems a bit silly unless you're going to go with hair dye and plastic surgery on yourself first. 

Edited by Newfoundfreedom
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that bass and the last time I was in the shop I thought it had almost found a home with a new owner.

Sadly I never had a chance to play it, despite the offer to bring it into the shop for me to try. It looks incredible and what a wonderful experience it must have been.

It was a big blow to the local music community when it’s owner passed away and it is sad that the shop has come to the end of its days too. I used to spend a lot of time and money in there.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I totally agree. Hard to imagine how you would let it get in that state even if you're gigging it every day for 50 years. But having said that, at least that is original and authentic battle scars. I find the purposefully road worn look of new instruments utterly ridiculous. Take a perfectly good, brand new instrument, make it look knackered, triple the price. WTF is that all about? 

I mean I kind of get it if you're in a tribute band and you absolutely have to have the exact look of the original instrument. Even then it seems a bit silly unless you're going to go with hair dye and plastic surgery on yourself first. 

/\   This. All of it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, NJE said:

I know that bass and the last time I was in the shop I thought it had almost found a home with a new owner.

Sadly I never had a chance to play it, despite the offer to bring it into the shop for me to try. It looks incredible and what a wonderful experience it must have been.

It was a big blow to the local music community when it’s owner passed away and it is sad that the shop has come to the end of its days too. I used to spend a lot of time and money in there.

 

I’m impressed that you recognise the owner and the shop from one photo of the bass :) 

Yeah, Mark was a great guy - I bought quite a few guitars, basses, setups, strings etc, from him over the years.  

Boring story alert...

First visit was just before Christmas 1992 (I was 10 years old) for a replacement string for my terrible catalogue guitar.  So obviously when my birthday came round a few months later, I wanted a new guitar and I begged my Dad to take me to Mark’s shop so I could try some out and choose one.

I fell in love with a Yamaha Pacifica which was £25 over budget, but Mark overheard my Dad trying to steer me towards something cheaper and reduced the price on the Yammy.  And threw in a gig bag as well.  That was the kind of guy he was :)

And his setups were second to none, extremely thorough and quality service.  Great guy, great musician, great shop.

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Bafflegab said:

 

I’m impressed that you recognise the owner and the shop from one photo of the bass :) 

Yeah, Mark was a great guy - I bought quite a few guitars, basses, setups, strings etc, from him over the years.  

Boring story alert...

First visit was just before Christmas 1992 (I was 10 years old) for a replacement string for my terrible catalogue guitar.  So obviously when my birthday came round a few months later, I wanted a new guitar and I begged my Dad to take me to Mark’s shop so I could try some out and choose one.

I fell in love with a Yamaha Pacifica which was £25 over budget, but Mark overheard my Dad trying to steer me towards something cheaper and reduced the price on the Yammy.  And threw in a gig bag as well.  That was the kind of guy he was :)

And his setups were second to none, extremely thorough and quality service.  Great guy, great musician, great shop.

 

That’s a lovely story, sounds like a great guy. What was the shop called?

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Chiliwailer said:

That’s a lovely story, sounds like a great guy. What was the shop called?

 

Yeah he was awesome :) It was called Aroundabout Sound.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Bafflegab said:

Yeah he was awesome :) It was called Aroundabout Sound.  

Great shop. Used to go there and Remus Sounds in Gloucester all the time. When a 70s Ricky could be had for £600. Great days...

Edited by Burns-bass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great bass that, nice you got to play it.

I can totally understand the owner wearing the finish away though, looked like Is was an horrific turdburst - about the worst finish of all time.

Now it looks bloody mint

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really do like the look of naturally worn instruments and in the meantime I love brand new shining basses. What a dilemma when it comes to choose one would you say ? Not at all, just play both and pick up the best sounding one and the most ergonomic too. And it won't be the worn one as you would bet even if they are history pieces for sure, most of the time they are just dull sounding. If you don't believe me, try to make the blind test that we've all been through, you'll be surprised by your favourite instrument under these conditions. This test has also been conducted many times with the famous Stradivarius compared to modern designed violins, and even the best players acknowledge that the Stradivarius sounded dull, lacking huge harmonic content, compared to a modern violin crafted by a real master luthier. Sad but true.

I've sold all my vintage instruments (and I've owned a lot) when I decided to listen with my ears and not my eyes, or even worst my emotions, and I don't even mention the retail value syndrome here. That said if I had a ridiculous amount of money to throw away, I would buy one of these history pieces, just to hang it on the wall as it's a beautiful work of art when correctly worn...

Won't make friends, I know. 😉

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

I really do like the look of naturally worn instruments and in the meantime I love brand new shining basses. What a dilemma when it comes to choose one would you say ? Not at all, just play both and pick up the best sounding one and the most ergonomic too. And it won't be the worn one as you would bet even if they are history pieces for sure, most of the time they are just dull sounding. If you don't believe me, try to make the blind test that we've all been through, you'll be surprised by your favourite instrument under these conditions. This test has also been conducted many times with the famous Stradivarius compared to modern designed violins, and even the best players acknowledge that the Stradivarius sounded dull, lacking huge harmonic content, compared to a modern violin crafted by a real master luthier. Sad but true.

I've sold all my vintage instruments (and I've owned a lot) when I decided to listen with my ears and not my eyes, or even worst my emotions, and I don't even mention the retail value syndrome here. That said if I had a ridiculous amount of money to throw away, I would buy one of these history pieces, just to hang it on the wall as it's a beautiful work of art when correctly worn...

Won't make friends, I know. 😉

 

This is exactly the same process I went through. The only one I kept is a 66 jazz bass that I'd owned for 12 years and used on recordings and tours. That's under the bed in its case loved, but unused. 

The bass I use the most now (and absolutely love) is a Mexican jazz I got in the Richtone sale for less than £400. It's beautiful, cheap and always makes me smile. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Burns-bass said:

Great shop. Used to go there and Remus Sounds in Gloucester all the time. When a 70s Ricky could be had for £600. Great days...

Haven't been over to Gloucester in a while, is Remus Sounds still there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hellzero said:

I really do like the look of naturally worn instruments and in the meantime I love brand new shining basses. What a dilemma when it comes to choose one would you say ? Not at all, just play both and pick up the best sounding one and the most ergonomic too. And it won't be the worn one as you would bet even if they are history pieces for sure, most of the time they are just dull sounding. If you don't believe me, try to make the blind test that we've all been through, you'll be surprised by your favourite instrument under these conditions. This test has also been conducted many times with the famous Stradivarius compared to modern designed violins, and even the best players acknowledge that the Stradivarius sounded dull, lacking huge harmonic content, compared to a modern violin crafted by a real master luthier. Sad but true.

I've sold all my vintage instruments (and I've owned a lot) when I decided to listen with my ears and not my eyes, or even worst my emotions, and I don't even mention the retail value syndrome here. That said if I had a ridiculous amount of money to throw away, I would buy one of these history pieces, just to hang it on the wall as it's a beautiful work of art when correctly worn...

Won't make friends, I know. 😉

 

Not even necessarily most of the time. I would suggest SOME of the time. My favourite-sounding bass that I've ever owned or played (and yes I've done blind tests) remains the first of my 2 current basses. I wish it was the other one, which I prefer the look of, but it isn't. It didn't cost much when I bought it, though it happens to be worth about ten times that now. And of course whether an instrument sounds better or worse than another is entirely subjective. What's dull-sounding to one might be perfect for another, and any instrument will sound different in different hands.

I've yet to play any custom-built bass by any high-end luthier - and I've played hundreds - that has a sound that has really blown me away, because most of them seem to be trying to achieve something I don't really want. I've played many that look amazing, are beautifully made and play fantastically, and I've really wanted them to sound great, but have they, in terms of what I want? No. To be fair, I've also never played a Fender-type - vintage or otherwise - that has really blown me away sonically either; they just don't do it in my hands, although I've heard them sound fantastic in the hands of others, as the sound of an instrument is a combination of the instrument and the player.   

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally understand your point of view.

That said, I explained what I meant by dull sounding : lacking huge harmonic content, which is exactly what a dull sounding instrument does.

The funny thing is that it is exactly what some people are searching for, especially those after vintage instruments and to be sure it's definitely dull, they put dead flat wounds strings on these basses and sometimes mute them when playing. :dash1:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is, for many bass players the most important thing about an instrument is how the sound fits in a mix, not how it sounds in isolation. The sound of a bass, or any other instrument, is just another brick in the wall of the sound of a band, unless you're a soloist. 

Mike Rutherford mentioned in his autobiography that at one point he was playing a Steinberger guitar, which was small-sounding, and that was exactly what he wanted at the time because it was easy to fit in a mix and didn't interfere with anything else. I've experienced the same thing many times when recording various instruments. Indeed my chosen instruments have occasionally been much harder to get to work in context than others I like the sound of less. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Bafflegab said:

Haven't been over to Gloucester in a while, is Remus Sounds still there?

It is! Mark and his dad are still there. They’re no longer Fender dealers and more guitars than bass but still a great and very friendly little shop.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×