JADE GUITARS - Guitar Maintenance Services (703) 939 5551
This page of our website has been created for bassists. Here we will be featuring customers' basses and bass gear, bass accessories, vintage or cool basses and generally any items or articles that we think would be of interest to bass players and enthusiasts. Our repairman Graham is a working bassist himself, so it seems only fitting that our website should have a totally bass-oriented page.
Do you have some cool bass gear that you'd like to share with us? Drop us a line at service@jadeguitars.org and we'll feature your gear on this page! And scroll down the page to check out cool one-off custom builds and other modified basses.
***Scroll down the page to see some cool short scale basses in our Short Scale Bass Department***
One of our regular customers in the shop is bassist Denny Begle, bass player for the Northern Virginia based Chicago blues band Deja Blue. Denny owns and plays an impressive array of basses including various Fender Precision, Jazz and Jaguar basses, two Drew & Sebastian basses (a Swingmaster Bass and a Rialto Bass), two Fender Roscoe Beck signature basses (both 4 and 5-string), as well as a cool Gibson SG Bass and some Lakland basses too! Check out Denny's website to see all his cool gear and lots of useful links: http://www.dennybegle.com/
Every so often an instrument comes into the shop that we hope the customer will forget about (it never happens, of course!). One such instrument is this stunning '68 Coronado I Bass.
The bass is in superb original condition, and is a fantastic vintage piece. The electronics were shot and needed replacing, but other than that the bass is all stock with no modifications. It sounds truly wonderful, and has a somewhat rare finish - the top and back are translucent red, showing the grain of the wood, but there is a very fine Candy Apple Red burst effect around the edges of the top and back, and the sides are Candy Apple Red also. There is a stamp on the back of the headstock that says 'SPECIAL', which we assume means that it was a limited edition of some kind. In any case, it's beautiful and we were truly sorry to see it leave. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
Think the Fender Precision Bass is a one-trick pony? Think again. This P-Bass has been heavily modified and is capable of producing 400% more pickup tones than a regular P-Bass. How? Well, you see those two little toggle switches just above the volume control? That's the only visual evidence that something 'Awesome' lurks beneath the surface. It's the T2P P-Bass pickup upgrade system developed by Awesome Guitars, who specialize in switching systems that multiply the tones from your guitar or bass. The T2P system provides four distinct tones from a split Precision Bass pickup, but works best when the two coils are unmatched and unbalanced. Enter our friends over at Wizard Pickups in the UK, who cleverly made us a pickup where one half has Alnico V magnets and the other half has ceramic magnets, with both halves wound to different output levels. The resulting tones are, shall we say, awesome!
As for the rest of the bass, well, we just had to give it the 'Mod Shop' treatment and trick it out completely. The body was refinished in metallic orange pearl (actually a Lamborghini car colour) by custom painter Danny Knight and all of the hardware has been upgraded, including a chrome Leo Quan Badass II bridge, 70's style heavy gauge tuners and a 70's style Fender 'F' neck plate. Completing the picture is a parchment pearloid pickguard and naturally all of the electronics are top shelf including CTS pots, Switchcraft input jack, .047 orange drop capacitor and vintage spec cloth covered wiring.
Click on the images below to show larger versions.
Our customer Doug Young of Manassas, VA decided he didn't want to wait 60 years to have an 'original' relic P-Bass, so he did the full relic treatment on his Japanese reissue '51 P-Bass. The body and neck were distressed to look like they had over five decades of wear and tear, the hardware was made to look worn and rusty and the pickguard was similarly treated. Vintage style appointments include a two-saddle bridge with period-correct phenolic saddles, a maple finger rest and a Seymour Duncan Antiquity '51 P-Bass pickup. After Doug was finished with all the relic work, he brought the bass to us to be rebuilt, as well as having the electronics redone and all the cavities shielded. To top off the vintage vibe, we set the bass up with flatwound strings for the original 'boom' that Leo designed this bass to have. We've yet to experience a cooler '51 P-Bass!
This very interesting bass came into the shop recently, brought in by its new owner. Intrigued by the decoration on the body, we were informed by the owner that the bass had previously belonged to singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. The bass is in pretty good shape, although it did require some work to make it playable again, such as correcting a bow in the neck and giving it a thorough setup and adjustment.
Aimee apparently decorated the bass herself, using stickers ranging from bumble bees to The Beatles. The bass also came in its original hardshell case, which has Aimee's name on it, and it has obviously seen its fair share of the road over the years. Now the bass resides with its new owner, and plays and sounds just like a good vintage American P-Bass should. Below are a couple of shots of Aimee playing the bass (before its sticker job), one shot is of her playing solo and in the other she is playing with The Bus Kings.
This is a project that has turned out particularly well. We took a Lake Placid Blue Squier Classic Vibe '51 P-Bass body and added a Fender licensed maple neck with pau ferro fretboard, 21 frets and 50's style decal, vintage '51 reissue reverse tuners, 3-ply black/white/black pickguard, heavy mass bridge and a custom made P51 pickup from Wizard Pickups. The electronics are all top shelf - CTS pots, Switchcraft jack, orange drop capacitor, vintage style cloth covered wiring and an Electrosocket input jack cup. To say that this bass sounds good is an understatement - the Wizard P51 is every bit as good as the incredible Musicmaster Bass pickups Wizard makes, and we highly recommend this stunning new pickup as an upgrade for all '51 style basses.
In the early 1980's Fender, still under the ownership of CBS, was losing at a game that they had dominated for decades. Bad quality, lacklustre manufacturing and rapidly vanishing profits had Fender scrambing for ways to offer a USA made product that was affordable. Enter the Bullet guitars and basses in 1982. While the idea was good, the end result was not what Fender had hoped for, which was an American product line that players would take to easily. The Bullets offered very little in the way of features - no new ground was broken, and the company had resorted to the same techniques it had used when making some of their other less than successful models, which involved using up leftover or rejected bodies, neck and parts from some of the more popular models.
L-R: Torino Red Fender USA B34 Bullet Bass Deluxe, sunburst Squier Bullet Bass and black Squier Bullet BassThe Bullet Bass was offered in a short Mustang Bass-style 30" scale length (the B30), and a longer 34" scale length (the B34). The neck featured a headstock reminiscent of the early Precision Bass and the later Telecaster Bass, and the bodies were non-contoured slabs with cut-down horns. Leftover Mustang Bass pickups were used, but the overall impression to players was that this was not a quality bass, in fact the whole Bullet series offered a crash course in CBS-era cheapness, with ill-fitting parts and a pickguard assembly that looked like it belonged on another instrument (which it probably did). Even the volume and tone knobs were plain; CBS didn't even bother to colour in the words or numbers on the knobs, leaving them plain white.
After a year, production ceased on USA-made Bullets, and the series was shifted over to Japan where they were made under the Squier brand. Many players and collectors consider the Japanese-made instruments to be far superior to the cheaply made USA versions, and for good reason - in Japan the models were retooled, given 3-ply pickguards that reflected the body lines and better finishes. Nowadays, after languishing in obscurity for decades the Bullet Bass is more desirable than ever before. With the advent of an ever more expensive vintage market, USA-made Fender and Japanese-made Squier Bullets can be had for a relatively small amount of money, offering the possibility of vintage ownership to more players. While the Japanese Squiers are known for their high build quality, even the American models can be made to play well with some work, and they are actually quite fun and enjoyable basses to play once you get to know them. To get an idea of what they sound like, imagine what a Fender Mustang Bass would sound like if it had a full 34" scale length.
Here's where we'll feature cool short scale basses - many bass players have at least one 'shorty' in their arsenal, and deservedly so! Short scale basses have been around forever, and are a lot of fun to play.
Our ongoing quest to build the ultimate Musicmaster Bass has produced this cool looking instrument. We found a 1974 body that was refinished in a metallic cherry red sometime in the 1980's. It wasn't the best refinish job but it's fairly decent, and because the refinishing job was done a long time ago it exhibits some cool natural wear and tear. Next was a 1977 neck which exhibits some superb birdseye maple (you'd never see this type of wood on a budget instrument these days!). Naturally we put in the Wizard Musicmaster pickup with all premium components, and finished the bass off with a parchment pearloid pickguard from our friends at Pickguardian. The final piece of the puzzle was a set of Wilkinson brass swivel bridge saddles, which allow much better intonation than regular Musicmaster Bass saddles. We've pictured the bass with our early 70's Silverface Fender Musicmaster Bass amplifier - click on the image to see a larger version.
This bass blends together elements from Fender's Musicmaster and Mustang bass guitars. Starting off with the body of a 1977 Fender Musicmaster Bass that has been refinished in Blizzard Pearl (a very cool looking metallic white), the bass also features a maple Mustang Bass neck, vintage style tuners, an original early 70's Musicmaster Bass bridge, a Wizard Custom Musicmaster Bass single coil pickup, CTS pots with Switchcraft 1/4" jack and orange drop capacitor, and a custom made white pearloid pickguard from Pickguardian. Rounding out the package is a set of Rotosound Custom Short Scale 'Swing Bass' strings. Excellent!
Here we were thinking that our black Bronco Bass (below) had been heavily modified. We obviously hadn't seen this bass owned by Jerry Irwin, a regular customer of ours. Jerry owns some 20 basses, and this cool little piece has been modified just about every way you can think of. It's one of the coolest basses to cross our bench in quite a while. Aside from being refinished in a deep sparkle blue, the original pickup has been moved towards the neck and a new Music Man style humbucker has been installed. The neck has been treated to a vintage tinted finish, Fender decal, blue abalone diamond fretboard inlays and a blue abalone lizard inlay on the headstock, as well as new Schaller die cast tuners. Rounding out the package is a custom made white pearloid pickguard and abalone-topped chrome barrel knobs.
Featured here is our own modified Squier Bronco Bass. Most Squiers these days are very popular with modders as they offer a good platform for performing upgrades. Until recently, the only short scale bass available in quantity from Fender (aside from reissues of the Mustang Bass) has been the Bronco, but its low-end build quality and cheap hardware has always been off-putting to pro bassists who prefer the feel of a short scale bass. So, what we did was buy a Bronco with the sole intention of transforming it into a pro level bass.
The 'Squier' logo was sanded off (leaving the model name intact), and replaced with a 70's Fender logo then clearcoated over. A new custom made parchment pearloid pickguard from Pickguardian was put on, and two Jazz Bass knobs were added. The pickup is a custom handmade Musicmaster Bass pickup from Wizard Pickups. It's had new CTS pots, Switchcraft jack and orange drop capacitor. Even the string retainer was changed from the cheap looking Squier one to one from a MIM 60's Jazz Bass. But by far the biggest improvements have been the tuners, which are Hipshot Ultralite HB6C's with 3/8" posts, and the bridge, a heavyweight Schaller adjustable unit with roller saddles (the absolute best option for achieving the correct string spacing via the rolling saddles).

This bass is particularly heavy at 9lb 2oz, probably one of the heaviest Broncos we've encountered. The result of this is that its sound is clear and punchy. Because of the Schaller bridge it now plays and feels like a real bass, and it sounds really great. The Fender logo and pro level tuners make it look like a proper bass instead of a cheaper student bass.
Watch this space for more custom basses, including an extremely cool custom built Jaguar Bass with some serious appointments.
We do not currently have any basses for sale, but keep checking back - we may have something soon!
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