I love good basses.
My father was a professional musician and would settle for nothing but the best instruments made. That meant that I grew up playing top quality basses and guitars. I learned to play on his 1960 Fender P, and 1964 Jazz bass. When I was thirteen years old he opened a very successful music store. Through my teenage years I owned and played all of the best basses of the era.
Playing my 1968 Gibson EBO - 1969
In 1969 I purchased a 1964 Epiphone Embassy Deluxe from a neighbor. That bass became my professional gigging electric bass for twenty years.
Eugene, Oregon 1975 Seattle, Washington. 1977
In 1986 I switched to a new Alembic Persuader and played 150 gigs a year on this great bass until I sold it to a student in 2001. During this period I was also performing 200 gigs a year on double bass.
Boston,1994 with Sarah
In 2001 I purchased my first Rob Allen bass, MB2 fretless 5-string. I own four different Rob Allen instruments now. I have performed and recorded many times with these great basses.
Over the years I have owned a number of other great electric basses. Three makers whose basses I played extensively are, Fodera, Stambaugh, and Lefay.
For about thirty years I did not own a Fender bass but that has changed. I began collecting vintage Fenders about ten years ago. I do have a fairly sizeable collection of Fenders from the '60s. My favorites are the P basses, 1960 and 1961 models.
I recently fell in love with a specific model Fender Custom Shop bass that they produced for their 2019 Collection. I have a few of those. The reason I like these basses are because of the combination of specs Fender chose.
- 9.5 radius fingerboard
- medium jumbo frets
- neck size and shape, .790 - .990
- low mass, original style bridge
- Time Machine Heavy Relic feel
- vintage appointments
- weight 8.1 - 8.8
- hand wound vintage sounding pickups
Plus, the craftsmanship of today's Fender Custom Shop bass is extremely high quality. So, I have sort of gone back to the beginning with my electric basses.
I am often asked, "Jim, if you could only have one electric bass what would it be?" My choice would be a Rob Allen Mouse, Fender Custom Shop 1960 P, and a Fender Custom Shop 1961 Jazz. That's "one" bass, right? :)
I have owned a few tremendous double basses over the years. My gigging bass for twenty-five years was a very old German bass, circa 1820. I also played many orchestral concerts on my Hawkes-Panormo 7/8 sized bass, circa 1920.
Today I play a Juzek plywood, French Barbee circa 1850, and a 7/8 German/English circa 1870.