The feature bass this week has gone through several changes to get where it is now and has been in the possession of the owner for over 30 years.
Jay Wilson writes:
This bass began as a project in 1984 when I lived in Honolulu when I was 19 with inspiration from fretless players as diverse as Jaco Pastorius and Eberhard Weber. I found the neck sitting in a box by the door of one music store and the body lying behind the counter at another. I can’t recall now which one was made by Mighty Mite, since neither has any markings. I just really loved the feel of the neck and the unique grain of the body and thought the binding made it even more special. The neck is maple with an ebony finger board and a brass nut. The body is a single solid piece of northern ash heartwood.
Phase 1 – Total 1st timer choices. I originally finished this bass in 1984 as blonde/natural finish and with no real wood working skills I just used polyurethane. My first bridge was a stud tailpiece (?) and it sucked. I quickly replaced it with a Leo Quan Bad Ass II and it made such a huge difference. The active pickups and electronics are Alembic and they work so well with the ash body. The tone pot has a broad sweep for a wide ranging tonal pallet between the two pickups. I first used pressure wound strings for less abrasion on the finger board, but now use La Bella nylon wrapped strings.
Phase II – 30 years later, in 2014, I decided I needed to renew my relationship with this instrument and give it a much more fitting finish to emphasize the grain. I stripped the poly with a heat gun and used Trans Tint dyes to make a honey-burst type stain on the top and mixed a custom stain for the back and sides, then hand finished with Tru-Oil. The back came out with these amazing coppery stripes and I had no idea how much figuring was possible on the top. I also upgraded the bridge to a Hipshot which added some extra depth.
At 34 years old, it is a bit of a relic, with filled holes from my original goofy J-bass pickup rings, ash laminate to cover the lamentable stud tail piece wholes, and old filler to patch a gouge in the back. But it now plays and sounds better than ever, through an Ampeg BA 115. Lastly, I decided to give it a whimsical name of Jazz Bastard for trying not to take itself (and myself) too seriously. FUN!!!
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