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Posted (edited)

This arrived today! I can’t believe that I haven’t gone down the Bass Collection route before. They are stunning basses. I am a convert. I have been very tempted in the past - from positive posts on here and seeing bassists like Bedders from Madness playing the Profile bass, etc. I knew that they were highly rated and now I understand why. Went for the Betsy as it’s a beauty - burgundy mist with a matching headstock. It was well packaged and in a really neat Bass Collection gig bag. Really neat. And, I kid you not, it was in tune when I took it out of the box! It's well set up with a good action and EMG pickups sound great. The build quality is excellent. When I have played it a bit I will update this in more detail. 

Unlike my Squier Matt Freeman Precision and my Flea Jazz bass (both brilliant bassists in their own right), I got this as I really like Guy Pratt’s playing and his, erm, his Betsy bass. The other two I bought as they were great basses rather than me being a fan of the players – although I appreciate their playing. Now, can Bass Collection now do a Herbie Flowers signature bass or a Klaus Voormann one? Whilst I wait I might check out their Profile, and the fretless Jazz, and the option to customise…

Thought it would make sense to add the more detailed review here:

Neck

The neck is really comfortable and in shape and feel is not too dissimilar to the Flea. They are both based on 60s basses – a ’64 (Betsy) and a ’61 (Flea) – with the Betsy having a Super Slim Sixties’ Profile. I’m not usually a fan of satin necks as all of my guitars and basses, by complete chance, have had either glossy necks or painted ones. However, I really like this one. It is smooth to the touch and easy to play. It feels right. The frets are well dressed and there are no sharp ends. It is easy to play. The frets are medium and are larger than the vintage-style thinner ones on the Flea. The Macassar Ebony fingerboard looks lovely and I prefer it to the lighter Pau Ferro on some basses at the moment. 

Hardware

The four bolt engraved chrome neck plate has the new Bass Centre logo on it, which is a nice touch.  The vintage control knobs have screws to attach them rather than pull on/off ones. The bridge, like the Flea bass, has a traditional roller bridge and the tuners are more substantial than my Matt Freeman P Bass. 

Body

The body is rather lovely. It’s a burgundy mist (pink) with matching headstock. The fit between the body and neck is perfect. No gaps here. The paint job is great and I think I can just see the wood grain. Really like the headstock that has ‘Betsy’ and Guy Pratt’s signature on it. The headstock is fairly close to the Flea bass compared to some of the other BC basses. It’s a good weight – about the same as the Flea. The body on the Betsy seems a bit more substantial, a little bit thicker? 

Pickups and Strings

Now here’s the interesting bit. I rather like both the strings (Bass Centre Elites Stadium Series Roundwound Standard Gauge .045 - .065 - .085 - .105) and the EMG Pickups. I usually use flatwounds or nylon tapewounds and only roundwounds if playing in the pit band of a musical if needed. (I have the Flea to play 50s/60s music - ideal for 'Hairspray' and 'West Side Story' - and the Betsy for more contemporary musicals like 'Billy Eliot' and 'Our House'. Likewise, when playing in our band - the two basses cover both contemporary and non-contemporary songs.) This is a bit of a game changer. The strings and the EMGs (powered by a 9 volt battery under the control plate – just like the real Betsy) are really consistent and I haven’t yet heard any buzzing. Are EMGs noise cancelling? Not sure. Anyone help here, as I've never had a bass with EMGs or with a battery?

Price

The cost of the Betsy is £595. The Flea bass is nearly twice the price. I am glad and lucky to have both but would be more than happy if I just had the Betsy as it is a really well made and fantastically sounding bass in its own right. 

What next? 

On the basis of how good this bass is I am now sorely tempted to go with a fretless Jive after playing the Betsy for a few days. 

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Edited by Mister RLP
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Congratulations on that one... it looks fantastic. I think the EMG pickups are the icing on the cake (in my humble opinion).

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Congratulations on that one... it looks fantastic. I think the EMG pickups are the icing on the cake (in my humble opinion).

Agree. It's a lot of quality bass. Highly recommended. 

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Hard to lose with that, and it's a great look!

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Next to the neck pickup are those screws placed so you can easily drop on am ashtray..?! If so, that's great attention to detail. Have to admit I'm also tempted by these! 

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Posted (edited)

That's a stunning looking bass! Nice one. I have the Sire in the same burgundy. One of those colours that just looks amazing.

Edited by la bam
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That's a stunning looking bass! Nice one. I have the Sire in the same burgundy. One of those colours that just looks amazing.

Thanks. Although when I got it out of the box both my wife and daughter both said 'another pink bass'. 

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Posted (edited)

The Bass Collection instruments are top class. Not 'great for the price' in my opinion, just great. 

The Profile was my first, but over the years I will be getting more. Not the worlds biggest Jazz fan  but this one looks like a seriously sexy bit of wood and wire 

Congratulations. 

Edited by stewblack
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Looks really good and the word out there is very positive about the BC basses. Personally I'm delighted that the old Bass Centre heritage is alive and well. It was a legend in its lifetime and deserves to be a prominent feature in the bass world. Anyone know, is Barry the man behind this? (I know he's big mates with Colin Hodgkinson who gets mentioned quite often in Bass Collection/Centre circles).

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How does it compare to the Flea Jazz?

Going to add to my original post with info about the build and playability soon and more pics. The short answer is very favourably:

I have TI Flats on my Flea which sound great. I tried putting on a set of nylon tape wounds on the Betsy bass as I don't usually favour roundwound strings but the Elite Stadium Series sounds and feels great. I haven't yet played them side by side but the EMGs sounds similar (to my ears) to the vintage '64 Jazz bass pickups. This could of course be because of my playing. Or the 9v battery. 

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Looks really good and the word out there is very positive about the BC basses. Personally I'm delighted that the old Bass Centre heritage is alive and well. It was a legend in its lifetime and deserves to be a prominent feature in the bass world. Anyone know, is Barry the man behind this? (I know he's big mates with Colin Hodgkinson who gets mentioned quite often in Bass Collection/Centre circles).

Wish I had visited the Bass Centre in Wapping in the 80s/90s. Used to pop into Wapping quite a bit as that was where the Doctor Who Shop was. 

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Posted (edited)

Bass Centre appear to have upped the prices of most of the other British bass Masters models by £100. Blockhead Jazz still looks nice for the price

Edited by Mark A
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That's a lovely looking bass, and I am sure you will enjoy the experience. I really like the colour matched headstock and the nicer logo. 

Congratulations, put some recordings up when you have time.

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That's a lovely looking bass, and I am sure you will enjoy the experience. I really like the colour matched headstock and the nicer logo. 

Congratulations, put some recordings up when you have time.

Thanks. I love the matching headstock. Will have a go at putting up a recording. If I can Zoom an do Teams I can manage to do this. 

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45 minutes ago, Mister RLP said:

Wish I had visited the Bass Centre in Wapping in the 80s/90s. Used to pop into Wapping quite a bit as that was where the Doctor Who Shop was. 

Me too. I remember the photos in the pages of Bassist with the vast array of Warwicks in every flavour and all sorts of exotic stuff

This bass is really good value as you can pay up to £140 for the pickups alone and matching headstocks are always more expensive than plain ones. Me likey

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Next to the neck pickup are those screws placed so you can easily drop on am ashtray..?! If so, that's great attention to detail. Have to admit I'm also tempted by these! 

Hadn't even noticed. Good call. Not sure. The one to the right looks slightly further away but maybe that's how they fit. Never had a bass with an ashtray. 

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That's stunning. How does the neck compare to other jazzes and bass? I don't mind the narrow neck at the nut but prefer a wider neck at the 12th fret. I'm currently borrowing a Marcus Miller Jazz which has a neck that i really like.

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I could be wrong, but I would imagine the neck is based on that of Guy’s actual bass. 

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3 hours ago, Mark A said:

Bass Centre appear to have upped the prices of most of the other British bass Masters models by £100. Blockhead Jazz still looks nice for the price

The Phil Lynott one is at 2 different prices depending on where you look. I'd have been sorely tempted at the lower price

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There's an option on some of the basses to have a Babiscz bridge - that bumps it up £100 on them. Maybe thats where you can see 2 prices?

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

I could be wrong, but I would imagine the neck is based on that of Guy’s actual bass. 

I have had the pleasure of playing Guy's bass many years ago but didn't have my ruler with me😀

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12 hours ago, stewblack said:

The Phil Lynott one is at 2 different prices depending on where you look. I'd have been sorely tempted at the lower price

Hi i can only see one price £495

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