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LeftyJ

Rare 1970s Bunker bass

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There is (seemingly unbeknownst to the seller) a rare 1970s Bunker bass advertised in the Netherlands, with a tension-free neck. In the only picture provided in the ad it is missing it's headstock (which is supposed to be bolted to the metal frame inside the neck. The outer wooden shell is just that: a shell. Interesting concept. Dave Bunker built the high end Ibanez USRG guitars and USATK basses in the mid 1990s.

https://link.marktplaats.nl/m1543395287 

$_86.JPG

Here's what it should have looked like, with the headstock attached:

bunkerbass.jpg

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Without the tuners, it could become a totally ergonomic bass...

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On 30/04/2020 at 00:03, Stub Mandrel said:

Raising the art of Bass Luthiery to new depths...

LOL, it's not a pretty sight, no.

On a serious note though, the tension-free neck was a really clever and innovative design that's still being used after almost 50 years! Ibanez even had the high-end USA-made versions of the RG guitars and ATK basses (USRG and USATK) made by Bunker with that neck design, and they're fantastic beasts if you know how to wield them. They look weird though, with the separate headstock mounted to the brass neck construction.

Here's one in pieces: http://www.strangeguitarworks.com/disassembling-an-ibanez-usatk-neck/ 

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3 hours ago, spectoremg said:

So the tension is between the headstock and the guitar body?

Yes. Born 2 Rock use a similar, but very different looking method, on their guitars and basses. Because theirs is done with an external "arm" it allows a much slimmer neck than normal since it doesn't have to accommodate a truss rod or withstand the tension of the strings. The only down side is because the arm is flexible tuning equilibrium works in a similar method to guitars fitted with vibrato mechanisms where the pull of the strings is counter-acted by the vibrato springs, and of course as soon as one of the strings breaks the whole instrument goes horribly out of tune.

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10 hours ago, LeftyJ said:

LOL, it's not a pretty sight, no.

On a serious note though, the tension-free neck was a really clever and innovative design that's still being used after almost 50 years! Ibanez even had the high-end USA-made versions of the RG guitars and ATK basses (USRG and USATK) made by Bunker with that neck design, and they're fantastic beasts if you know how to wield them. They look weird though, with the separate headstock mounted to the brass neck construction.

Here's one in pieces: http://www.strangeguitarworks.com/disassembling-an-ibanez-usatk-neck/ 

That's fascinating - I had no idea about those US Ibanezes. Will have to read more about them.

I've seen pics of the Bunker before but didn't know about the neck construction. Just assumed it was a hugely aesthetically challenged take on a headless design.

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An approach to a headless guitar: keep a headstock and give it a bulbous backside with normal tuners.

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