I bought this second-hand Vintage EST96 5-String a while ago. It was cheap and I felt like I needed to try an extra string again - I like the idea of 5 strings and the fact that they buy you the ability to play a bit higher up the register, but I’ve always found the low B a bit cumbersome. Anyway, it sat around the house for a while and eventually I decided to sell it. Before doing so I gave it a quick set-up and thought I’d record a bit of a demo tune to prove it works: the on-board active eq is faulty but the bass works fine (albeit with no tone adjustment) in passive mode. Hmm, I kinda like it now. Maybe I’ll hold on to it for a bit longer…
I’ve been having a bit of a mess around in Garageband with some drum loops, an M-Audio Oxygen25 midi keyboard and a bass (connected via a Line 6 Pod Studio GX - a truly great piece of kit!) Everything’s coming out very sci-fi soundtrack - just can’t keep my hands off that pitch-bend…
I bought this c1980 Fernandes copy of a ‘57 Precision bass a while back. Some refer to it as the ‘lawsuit’ model, although I take that with a pinch of salt. The previous owner had stripped what would have been the original sunburst finish and given it a rather poor sonic blue re-fin. At first I thought I could live with it, but with the one-piece maple neck being near pristine and such a lovely thing to play, I thought I’d spend some money on this one and get it looking, playing and sounding as good as it could. The body was replaced with a vintage white Warmoth. Pick-ups were replaced with lovely Jason Lollars going through CTS pots. All hardware (except for the knobs) remains original. Strings in the pics are Rotosound Nexus Bass Black Polymer Coated - they looked great but I didn’t get on with them brilliantly, so have changed to something a bit more conventional since. Probably my most loved bass, this one.
After the Tele/Bronco hybrid build, I promised myself that the next bass project would be one that involved actually making it. Well, a bit of it at least… I’m not ready to take on a neck just yet - I think I could do it, but I’d like to read a bit more on the subject and get some ideas together. I’m really happy on most Fender Jazz or Precision necks so I’ll stick to one of those for now. Yeah, a Fender headstock will look a bit weird on one of these but nothing’s forever, I can always change it down the line. Maybe a nice Fender spec copy will show up? For hardware and electronics I’m thinking of using a Babicz FCH bridge and a Musicman style pickup - perhaps a Bartolini. The colour in the clip is arbitrary - this could quite easily end up plain and oiled.
I’ll be cutting this using a Shopbot CNC router. I’m hoping to cut from a .pdf or .dwg file but might have a look at doing some additional contouring from an .stl file. I haven’t really got my head around the process just yet! Early days…
This was my first ever bass. The adult inside me says (reproachfully) that I should’ve bought a second-hand Wal or a Fender, but being 15 and having had no other guidance than the man in the shop (in this case the long since closed Bass Place in Birmingham) this bass made perfect sense:
It was BLACK
It was ACTIVE (whatever that meant)
Most of all, it was POINTY..!
It was time to rock.
I abused the shit out of it. The kid inside me points at the evidence and asks the grown-up: “Is this what you’d have wanted for that Wal, or that Fender..?” The kid’s got a point.
Whilst in my teens I had it de-fretted, fitted a D-tuner, covered it in stickers then some sort of gold car paint, then stripped it, binned the pick-ups and circuits (always intending to replace them, which I never did) before eventually sliding the pieces into the dust and darkness under my bed, where it lay unloved for 15-odd years.
Recently I discovered that I had enough bits in my parts bin to at least get this Aria playing again. Most of the hardware’s original (except the neck-plate, which is on another bitsa P-Bass of mine). The pickups came off my Korean Vulcan P-Bass and the pots are stamped ‘Kosmos’ and made in Japan - I do believe they fell off my CSL Jazz copy. It sounds pretty dark and with the tone rolled off I can get a lovely deep reggae tone - deeper than any of my other basses. I need to get cavity covers cut for this and maybe add a jazz pick-up. Maybe I’ll get it re-finished in its original black.
My Dremel 4000 stopped working for no apparent reason. Switching it on had no effect - it simply wouldn’t spin up. I found that the only way I could get it to spin was to smack it on my open palm. Even this method eventually stopped working but, being a trier, I figured out that squeezing (really hard) the outer casing of the tool near the speed setting dial would cause the motor to spin up, but to keep it spinning I had to keep applying the pressure. So much for ergonomics…
I checked for the usual, excessive dust, worn brushes, loose connections - nothing obvious as to what was causing this. After a fair amount of head scratching I thought I’d try starting it with the cover off (not recommended, all sorts of things could go wrong here…) After squeezing the brushes together and pushing down on the micro-switch (which is normally activated by the tool’s on/off switch) the motor spun up instantly - before stopping just as suddenly as bits rattled loose and I let go of the brushes in surprise (and mild horror).
It could only be that the tool’s on/off switch wasn’t pressing the internal micro-switch with enough pressure to activate it - I’m no design engineer, but this somehow seems really shoddy to me.
As it happens, this was a very simple fix: make the bit that’s meant to activate the switch a bit bigger by super-gluing a bit of extra plastic to it.
There’s a nice little recess in my spare room that I thought would be ideal for a bass wall. Whilst procrastinating about how this was going to look, I visited my dad and discovered that he’d broken apart my gran and granddad’s old armchairs and was planning on using them for firewood. The shapes of the bits of old armchair appealed to me and looked vaguely reminiscent of a headstock shape. I snapped them up before they became fuel and below you can see the finished article. Behold - the bass wall..!