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Al Krow

Loyalty doesn't need to cost

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I've bought and sold a fair few basses over the past 5 years and find myself really happy with the shape and balance of my herd. I'm fortunate to have some lovely basses including a Ken Smith and a Yamaha BB NE2. However...
I was taken aback recently when the penny dropped that the three basses I have owned the longest are actually my three least expensive ones!
Here's a pic of my second oldest, a Yamaha BB1025, bought end of line from the Yamaha store in London for a very decent price, to get the ball rolling. It's seen off several other PJs and I suspect I'll never move this one on:

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Any of you got a similar story about your budget basses being the ones that have best weathered the test of time?

And of course, it doesn't have to be just basses that can inspire loyalty! I bet there are some wonderful amps out there too that you've held on to 'cos they sounded great but didn't cost the earth? 

Edited by Al Krow
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I’ve owned many very expensive basses and the two I’m left with cost me a total of around £800. Part of it is increasingly high levels of skintness,  but also a recognition of what I need versus what I want. The latter tends to be where the expense creeps in :)

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I don’t know about budget so to speak, but my fave US Precision, which cost me less than all of my other basses is the one that I’ll keep no matter what. Only downside is it has such sentimental value I won’t take it out of the house.

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I've got highly specialised requirements in terms of both looks and functionality when it come to my musical equipment and unfortunately neither of those things come cheap.

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One of the very first batch of Squier '57 Precisions, imported with the Fender logo

Bought new in 1983 for £150.

It's an absolute keeper !

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Hmmm, not necessarily a 'budget' bass, but my first 'proper' bass was an S9-era Precision. I bought it in 1999 for about £380 as back then the late 70s/early 80s period of Fenders were not really considered as particularly desirable and it was easier for 13 year old me to afford than a new 1999 American Standard.

Previous owner had cut the scratch plate in two, I think to allow easy access to the jack socket which was a bit dodgy when I got it. I got the jack socket re-soldered and it has been fine ever since. Apart from that it was in pretty much spotless condition when I got it. Not so much anymore! The lacquer on the neck is flaking off at an accelerated rate. Still, this is a 'never sell' bass, even ahead of the two Vigiers and Sadowskys I have. Also, considering the state the bass is in, nobody would really want it anyway!

The Precision is still my 'benchmark' bass, in that if a bass doesn't feel as nice to play as the Precision then I have to rule it out. That has had unfortunate consequences as if I hadn't had had my bloody Precision to hand when I walked into Guitar Guitar in about 2010, I would have probably bought a Wal MK 1 for 'only' £2,000 which I would probably be selling for £4k now...

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Just to go against the grain...

The bass I've owned the longest is my Veillette Citron which I had to import from The States. One of maybe 3 in the UK it is lovely to play, great balance and amazing tones. I generally let visiting bass players play it since it may be the only opportunity they'll get to play one of these 80s masterpieces..

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Edited by TheGreek
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I have 5 and a half basses at the moment. My cheapest and my most expensive are my keepers. Here's the cheap one around 2017, and around 2002 or 3. It was less than 300 quid all in imported from the US as a brand new instrument in 2002 for my 18th birthday. Times were hard in my house so I paid a third of it, my parents each paid a third. I will never, ever part with it. I recently upgraded the loom to a Kiogon special and it turbo charged the shoddy standard electronics, just going to get some rounds on it soon. My 80s band love it. I also gig it on deps and with my function band, just because having had it so long it is just so natural to play. 

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Gents - be great to see some pics of the kit you've mentioned! 

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I've had my ESP 400 Series since late 92. At the time, I was deciding between a 75 Precision for £250 and the ESP for £300. Financially, I made the wrong choice and went with the substantially better bass.

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My longest-owned bass is my Ellio Martina Forza 5-string, that I bought used in 2006 for €1300 (which also firmly made it my most expensive bass for a long time, until I bought a brand new Rick 4003 in 2009) and is still The One that I would keep if I was forced to sell all but one. I barely play it at the moment because my 5-string Status has stolen its limelight, but it fits me like a glove and the range of sounds is huge, from passive Jazz Bass to modern boutique tones. 

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Edited by LeftyJ
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I've owned Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, Overwater and more top end basses than I can list here but the bass I always play and keep is the one I built myself.  It just plays and sounds perfect.

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My 1968 Fender Precision (A neck) is sitting in its case in the corner of the room. It's only been out of the case twice in nearly 20 years! It was seriously modded in the 90's, so there is little "original" value there. I have no urge to gig it and it's been around for so long I'll probably never sell it either. Here it is . . . .

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Maybe I just got lucky on this one, but the bit of bass gear that I've held onto the longest is actually an amp not a bass. I fell in love with it the instant I first played through it. It was housed originally in a PH212 combo and together weighed a staggering 80+ lbs! I managed to offload the cab in a trade for another cab which I then managed to shift to buyer in NI with a ridiculously large courier fee plus a few pedals that no one really should have wanted, except that surprisingly there were some on eBay that did. Anyway after considerable effort and wheeling & dealing I ended up with just the bit of kit I really wanted, the Mesa M6 amp and for a fraction of what they can go for new. And at 25 lbs it's literally staying put :)

I bet I'm not unique on this and that there are a fair few valve amps and Trace Elliot heads that are still besting modern D class gear! 

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Edited by Al Krow
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The bit of bass related gear that I’ve had the longest would be my fender CS ‘64 jazz, sonic blue with matching headstock. It even featured in bass guitar magazine. @molan helped me obtain it via the old shop and I think (he may be able to confirm) that this was April 2015 ish. I gigged it a lot up until 2018... not played it for a long time as the Status and Sadowsky now get all the gigs. 

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Edited by bassfan
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40 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Maybe I just got lucky on this one, but the bit of bass gear that I've held onto the longest is actually an amp not a bass. I fell in love with it the instant I first played through it. It was housed originally in a PH212 combo and together weighed a staggering 80+ lbs! I managed to offload the cab in a trade for another cab which I then managed to shift to buyer in NI with a ridiculously large courier fee plus a few pedals that no one really should have wanted, except that surprisingly there were some on eBay that did. Anyway after considerable effort and wheeling & dealing I ended up with just the bit of kit I really wanted, the Mesa M6 amp and for a fraction of what they can go for new. And at 25 lbs it's literally staying put :)

I bet I'm not unique on this and that there are a fair few valve amps and Trace Elliot heads that are still besting modern D class gear! 

 

I've had the Ashdown ABM rig in the above picture since the early 2000's. It has done everything I needed of it. I picked up the little GK thing to see what they're like but it doesn't have the balls of the ABM. I now use the Ashdown into the 1x15 for meat and the GK, fed by the line out of the ABM, for filth into the 2x10, something it does very well, actually. If I had to choose, though, the ABM wouldn't be the one to go.

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3 minutes ago, Doctor J said:

I've had the Ashdown ABM rig in the above picture since the early 2000's. It has done everything I needed of it. I picked up the little GK thing to see what they're like but it doesn't have the balls of the ABM. I now use the Ashdown into the 1x15 for meat and the GK, fed by the line out of the ABM, for filth into the 2x10, something it does very well, actually. If I had to choose, though, the ABM wouldn't be the one to go.

So a serious bit of bi-amping then?!

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It's a surprising amount of fun. You can have all the dirt you could wish for without ever losing the huge low end.

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I must admit I’ve thought about doing that, ABM600 into the lower one of my 210s for clean lows then the RM500 into the upper one for highs with a bit of drive. As I’ll only likely be using my own rig from now on I can experiment a bit.

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5 hours ago, bassfan said:

The bit of bass related gear that I’ve had the longest would be my fender CS ‘64 jazz, sonic blue with matching headstock. It even featured in bass guitar magazine. @molan helped me obtain it via the old shop and I think (he may be able to confirm) that this was April 2015 ish. I gigged it a lot up until 2018... not played it for a long time as the Status and Sadowsky now get all the gigs. 

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Still looking lovely too. 

The first bass I put together as a stock order when we were awarded a Fender CS dealership. 

If you ever decide to be ‘disloyal’ you know where I am 🤣

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Just now, molan said:

Still looking lovely too. 

The first bass I put together as a stock order when we were awarded a Fender CS dealership. 

If you ever decide to be ‘disloyal’ you know where I am 🤣

You are top of the list mate 👍🏻

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I think the bass I’ve owned longest is, technically, one of the ones that cost e least but only because of the state I bought it in. 

It’s a ‘64 P that had been stripped and refinished in a horrendous natural lacquer that looked & felt like Ronseal. The neck was particularly hideous and sticky (although the fingerboard is lovely). 

I bought it in pieces from the USA where someone had started a restoration but ran out of money. It turned up, in the original ‘64 case that’s obviously been gigged within an inch of its life, with all the bits in little ziplock bags, right down to original screws and wiring loom etc. 

It sat in pieces whilst I tried to think of what colour to have it finished in. One day I was randomly chatting to a luthier friend and asked who he’d recommend for the refin and what he thought of possible colours. He asked to take a look and found traces of the original Olympic White in the neck pocket and cavity routing. 

He had officially stopped doing refins but, by complete chance, had one last quantity of nitro left and it was Oly White!

He volunteered to finish it off and put it all back together at a ‘mate’s rate’ price. Took about 2 years before he was entirely happy with the finish but he did an amazing job. 

The nitro has aged quickly and is already fading and checking beautifully.

On a personal note it has an attachment as it’s the bass my gorgeous grandson chose (out of a rack of about 12) when he told me he wanted to learn to play when he ‘grew up’. 

Unfortunately we lost him later that year but I’ll always remember that day and have a pic of him trying to play it somewhere. 

Can’t imagine I’ll ever sell it. 

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10 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Any of you got a similar story about your budget basses being the ones that have best weathered the test of time?

 

No, not at all. I've had a few cheaper basses over the years (usually as a spare), but I always moved them on for something better after a few months.

7 hours ago, chris_b said:

My 1968 Fender Precision (A neck) is sitting in its case in the corner of the room. It's only been out of the case twice in nearly 20 years! It was seriously modded in the 90's, so there is little "original" value there. I have no urge to gig it and it's been around for so long I'll probably never sell it either. Here it is . . . .

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Like Chris, I bought my first Fender Precision as soon as I got my first job (working backstage at a theatre as an 18 year old). It was a really nice mocha brown P bass with a maple neck. This travelled up and down the country with me for 6 or 7 years (acquiring a pretty crappy 77 Precision as a spare along the way), before I sold it when I first discovered the joys of active basses back in the mid 80s. 

Bizarrely, my old brown P bass came up for sale a few months ago and I ended up buying it back for five times what I sold it for 24 years ago!  It has seen a bit of life since we have been apart, belonging to a couple of session musicians, doing loads of soul gigs, living in a recording studio and apparently even being used to settle a drug debt several years ago! But now it's back with me, been cleaned up and wearing an old badass bridge that I've had in my spares box for years as wellas a bart pickup and still sounding as great as ever. Sounds and feels like a proper Fender (to me at least). So my oldest bass is one I bought a couple of months ago, which was the first really good bass that I owned...! 

78 P BASS.jpg

Edited by peteb
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9 hours ago, chris_b said:

My 1968 Fender Precision (A neck) is sitting in its case in the corner of the room. It's only been out of the case twice in nearly 20 years! It was seriously modded in the 90's, so there is little "original" value there. I have no urge to gig it and it's been around for so long I'll probably never sell it either. Here it is . . . .

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I love this!!!!

So it's had a new bridge, an active preamp fitted along with new pickups (and obviously the J routed in)?

Also do I see a brass nut?

It looks brilliant.

Only thing I want to do is fabricate a subtle surround for the P, attached via the pickup mounting screws just to soften the look of the route.

May I ask why you play your other basses more?

Edited by Woodwind

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2 minutes ago, Woodwind said:

Also do I see a brass nut?

May I ask why you play your other basses more?

Hi, the bridge and tuners are Schaller, the pu's and pre amp are Barts. All work done by Chandlers at Kew.  The  nut is plastic. The original snapped under the E string during a gig in 1971 and had to be replaced. The frets had to be replaced, also in 1971. I'd just finished a 7 month stint playing 6 x 45 min sets, 6 days a week on the US airbases in Germany and they were wearing out!! 1968 was not a great year down at the Fender factory! After all that work, it sounds like a million dollars. Way better than it ever did in its original state.

I don't play it because I've only played 5 string basses since 1996. Cheers.

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