My name is Bill. And I have G.A.S…
Among musicians, G.A.S. stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. When we have G.A.S., we can’t stop buying equipment. It can be a problem.
And when we come to our senses and realize, as I have recently, that we have too much equipment and it’s time to sell some, we call it “thinning the herd.”
It’s time for me to thin the herd.
So I thought I’d start taking pictures of the ones I should sell so I can post them online. Then I got the idea to take pictures of all of them so I can pick and choose. Once I had the photos, well… it’s halfway to a tnocs.com photo essay. So with no further delay, here are all 18 of my basses:
1976 Univox Rickenbacker Copy
I wrote about this one already. It’s the first bass I ever owned. I sold it and bought it back 39 years later.
I won’t sell it again. Next.
1983 Fender Precision
The reason I sold the Univox was to have enough money to buy this, brand new, in 1983. The Fender Precision was the first commercially available bass guitar. There have been some cosmetic and other changes over the years, but Precisions have been basically the same since 1957. This bass will get me through any gig and was my main instrument for over 20 years.
Nope, can’t sell it.
2010 Squier Classic Vibe Precision
This is sort of what the Fender Precision looked like when it first went on the market in 1951. It has the smaller headstock, the single bar pickup, and the two knobs on a metal plate. Of course, the originals were only available in a transparent butterscotch color with a black pickguard. They didn’t have covers over the bridge and pickup like this one does.
I got it at the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t played a gig with it yet.
Selling it seems premature.
2014 Fender Sandblasted Precision
Yes, it’s actually sandblasted down to the grain. I’ve read that Fender made only 150 of these, though they made some in blue and some in red, so I don’t know if it was 150 in each color, or 150 total, but there’s not many of them.
I can’t sell this. I mean, look at it. It’s beautiful.
2016 Squier Precision 5-String
Squier is a subsidiary of Fender. They make lower cost and lower quality instruments, but starting around 2010 their quality got a lot better. I had a 5-string Fender but the neck was too wide for me. The neck on this Squier is perfect. It plays like my 1983 Precision, but has the low B string.
It’s so useful. Can’t let this one out of the stable.
Fender Hybrid Precision/Jazz
After the Precision became really popular, like really, really popular, Fender decided to design a more upscale bass. They came up with the Jazz Bass. It has an offset body, two pickups, and a thinner neck. I like the way Jazz basses sound but the necks were always too thin for my liking, so when I saw this – a Precision neck on a Jazz body – on eBay, I had to get it. It’s really easy to play and rattles like a Rickenbacker.
That’s a good thing. Might have to hold on to this one, too.
2013 Squier Jazz 5-String
I had no intention of buying a 5-string Jazz Bass but I saw it online for a really good price, and did I mention I have G.A.S.? It plays and sounds great, the neck is just the right size. It does have two slight issues. It has active electronics, which sound great but you have to keep a supply of fresh 9 volt batteries with you at all times, and it’s really heavy. I can’t imagine playing a four hour gig with this hanging off my shoulder.
Hmmm, I’m on the fence.
2012 Squier Telecaster Bass Special
This one is heavy, too, even heavier than the Jazz 5, but it doesn’t sound like anything else I have. It goes BOOM! And like the Classic Vibe Precision, I got it during the pandemic and haven’t played a show with it. Its unique sound and shape are worth trying in a live situation but if it’s going to break my back, it may not be worth it.
I’m on the fence about this one, too.
Squier Hybrid Jazz/Precision
This is my most recent purchase and another one that’s a Precision neck on a Jazz body. However, in this case both the neck and body are by Squier, and some earlier owner replaced the original pickups with these chrome lipsticks. They’re called lipstick pickups because the Danelectro company used to buy empty lipstick containers for their pickups. I don’t think they do that anymore and these were purpose built to be pickups, but it’s a cool look and sound, and the Precision neck is perfect.
I’m definitely keeping this one, which leads us to…
Squier Hybrid Precision/Jazz
So when I bought the silver Jazz above, it had a Jazz neck on it. I wanted to switch it to a Precision neck, so I bought a Squier Precision and swapped the necks. This is now a Jazz neck on a Precision body, and…
… it’s definitely for sale here.
1999 Fernandes APB-8 8-String
The 90s were weird. Over the course of a few years, I saw John Entwhistle from The Who, Geddy Lee from Rush, and Doug Pinnick from King’s X playing 8-string basses. They’re like 12-string guitars in that there are pairs of strings tuned an octave apart. So instead of a single E string, there’s two. It sounds like a bass sitar.
I wanted one, of course, and I saw a print ad for a guitar shop in Clearwater, an hour and a half from where I lived at the time. They had an 8-string Rickenbacker. So I took a Saturday and drove up.
The Rickenbacker was beautiful but really hard to play. I’ve forgotten the price but I decided it just wasn’t the instrument for me. So I cruised to all the other music stores and found this. I didn’t expect to find another 8-string but there it was, and for under $1000. It was so much less than I expected to pay for the Rickenbacker that I also bought…
1999 Fernandes Target
…another Fernandes. If the sales guy is to be believed, Fernandes made some prototypes called the Silhouette Series. They were classic shapes of famous guitars and basses, but all in matte black with brass hardware. They decided not to put the series into production, and the shop bought it at the NAMM show, so this may be the only one like it. I certainly can’t find any information online about it. It’s the only bass I have with a two octave neck. Not that I use notes up that high very often but…
it’s better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.
2014 Italia Imola 5-String
When I joined Eight O’Five Jive, I wanted a lightweight 5-string bass with flatwound strings. I went to all the stores in Nashville, including the bass boutique store called The Low End. I played basses worth $3000 and $5000, but nothing really appealed to me. So I did a Google search and found that the Italia Imola was only $900, it weighs only 8.5 pounds, and it had a 30 day money back guarantee, so I tried it. It was great and was the only thing I played for my five years with Eight O’Five Jive. I’m not playing it much anymore, but, y’know, it’s a good bass.
I think I’ll keep it.
When I bought my first bass, the Univox Rickenbacker copy, back in 1976, there was another Univox hanging on the wall right next to it. This bass is the same model, the U1920, and it’s what we call a violin bass due to its shape. Paul McCartney made violin basses popular with his Hofner and soon every manufacturer under the sun, except Fender, released a violin model. Many of them were from the same factory in Japan but had different name tags. What’s really different about the U1920 is the headstock is a scroll, just like a violin. It’s another relatively recent purchase and hasn’t left the house since I got it.
It’d be a shame to part with it too soon.
2019 Rickenbacker 4003S/5
I wasn’t in the market for another bass. No, really, I wasn’t. But the lovely Ms. Virgindog and I were in Guitar Center in early December 2019 because I needed strings or something, and you can’t just buy something and walk out. You have to look around and see what they have. Just in case.
Well, the lovely Ms. Virgindog spotted this on the wall and said, “Wow, it’s beautiful. Do you want it?” I hadn’t really considered it because I knew they were expensive, but I pulled it down off the wall and plugged it in. And it sounded great. I quickly looked up some reviews on my phone and they were all positive. Only then did I look at the price tag and, surprise, it was marked as used and just under $1800. “It’ll be an early Christmas present,” she said.
Now, I can’t very well sell a present, can I?
Micheal Kelly Dragonfly 5-String Fretless
I moved to Nashville in 2007 with the J.C. Andersen Band. We worked our way up the club circuit pretty quickly and were soon the house band at the Wildhorse Saloon. It was a long night, starting with an hour of acoustic material, a 20 minute break, an hour electric set, a 20 minute break, an 90 minute set, a 15 minute break, and then another hour.
I needed the right instrument for the acoustic set and J.C. had a connection at Michael Kelly, so I got a really good price on this 5-string fretless. It’s beautiful, but we lost that gig after the 2010 flood when all the clubs were closed for months. Musicians gotta work so one by one we left the band to join other projects, and I really haven’t played this bass since.
Yeah, I think I can sell this one. Sadly.
Ovation Magnum I
One of the reasons I wanted to play bass in the first place was Elton John’s live album 11-17-70. It’s just vocals, piano, drums, and bass. And what a bass player! His name was Dee Murray and he’s one of those players who are always mentioned with the word “underrated” somewhere near their names. His playing on that record caught my ear and imagination. It was something I wanted to do.
After a drug-addled John fired his band, Murray ended up in Nashville. He died here of a stroke in 1992. So the rest of this story may actually be true.
I was going through the musical instrument section of Craigslist, as you do, and saw an ad for an Ovation Magnum bass. Buried in the description, it was mentioned that it had previously been owned by Dee Murray. What? That’s not the headline?
However, it also said that some pieces were missing. When I went to look at it, the seller told me that he and Murray used to jam with friends every so often. At one of these jams, Murray gave him this bass. I don’t know if he didn’t like it, or if he knew the guy wanted it, but whatever the reason, they finished their jam one night with “Rocket Man” and Murray just gave him the bass. He died not long after.
The guy put the bass in a closet and it stayed there until his teenage son decided he wanted to learn how to work on guitars. He took the bass out of the closet, disassembled it, and tried to put it back together but lost two of the bridge saddles in the process.
I bought it anyway. It took a while for my luthier to find bridge saddles but he did a great job getting it back in playing condition. I haven’t used it for much but I can’t really sell it. It belonged to one of my heroes, as nearly as I can tell, and I have Dee Murray’s business card, which had been in the case, framed and on my bookshelf.
I’ll try to shorten another long story. Before moving to Florida, I had a store credit at a shop in New York, and I needed to use it before I moved. I forget how much money it was but I wanted to use as much of it as I could because I’d never go back to that shop again. I bought a Mighty Mite neck and brought it to Florida with all our other possessions. And promptly did nothing with it.
In our local alternative weekly, I saw that Christy Canyon, the 1980s porn star, would be signing autographs at our local adult superstore. She was a favorite of the guys in my punk band, so for a laugh I brought the neck to her appearance and asked her autograph the headstock. I then had it lacquered over so the black marker wouldn’t wear off. And then promptly never did anything with it. I brought it and all our other possessions to Nashville 18 years later. And still did nothing with it.
Finally, I found this beautiful Squier Precision body with a Precision pickup and a Jazz pickup, in blue, my favorite color. Since it had a black bridge, I bought black tuners, including a Hipshot X-tender, which drops the E string down to a D with the flip of a switch.
It turned out to be a really nice bass, however, I didn’t discover until after I had the whole thing together that it’s a Jazz neck, and as you’ve been reading, I don’t really like Jazz necks. So yeah, I think I can sell this one. I have no idea what it’s worth, but I think I can let it go.
So that’s three basses I can sell. That’s not really thinning the herd, is it?
Did I mention I have G.A.S.?
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