Whether by phone or email, I’m most frequently contacted with this question: “I have three basses sitting in front of me, and I’m trying to decide which one I’m going to buy. What’s the best deal?”
Whether by phone or
email, I’m most frequently
contacted with this
question: “I have three basses
sitting in front of me, and I’m
trying to decide which one I’m
going to buy. What’s the best
deal?” I usually can’t answer this
question for several reasons:
One is due to liability, another
is I don’t know what’s right for
you, and finally—and this is
crucial—I don’t have the instruments
in front of me, which
makes it difficult to evaluate
To help you reach a decision the next time you’re pondering a purchase, I’ve summarized three actual deals in which I assisted the potential buyer. I hope this information will help you if you find yourself in a similar position. You may have some money for a bass burning a hole in your pocket and you’ve found several to choose from. You need to ask yourself if this bass is going to be a player, a closet queen, or a financial asset. Once you answer this question, your decision usually gets whittled down. If it doesn’t, that’s where Uncle Kebo’s Logic (aka UKL) comes in.
Deal One. My friend “Greg” called me and said, “Kev, I found three basses. I want all of them but I can only afford one.” Greg is a fine player who uses everything, but it has to play and sound great. This is what he’d found: (1) A 1958 P bass with a body-only refin and all parts present, but it had a refret and a new case. (2) A 1965 sunburst P bass in exquisite condition, frighteningly clean, no excuses, and 100 percent original. (3) A 1971 P bass finished in Firemist Gold, in nice, but not great shape. Each bass was a buck away from $6000—valued somewhat properly in my opinion—but each needed to be looked at on its own merits.
The 1958 is my favorite Fender of all time and my personal number-one bass is a ’58 P bass in beat-to-death condition. What this bass had going for it is that it was a ’58, all the parts were original, and it played and sounded great. The body-only refinish job was done by one of the best and was artificially aged to match the patina and wear of the neck—so it looked great too. This was a “fool your friends” refin, but the negative was that it was still a refin.
The ’65 was put under a bed when new and was so clean it glowed. All it needed was a level and dress of the frets for no other reason than it appeared to have been uplayed since 1965. We did not even need to open this bass up it was so honest, but the negative here was that the bass was really too clean to play—and Greg is a player.
The ’71 was a tough one. On the plus side, it was an all-original bass in a super-rare color that also played fantastically well. The drawback here is that the bass was competing against P basses from the ’50s and ’60s for about the same money. Had the ’71 been a sunburst, it would not have even been in the mix. So what to do? The ’71 was ruled out because unless you have the collection and needed the color, it just wasn’t as good as the other two. However, Greg still had a big dilemma. The ’65 was a relative bargain, but it would never be used. While the ’58 was a fantastic bass, it was a refin and ’58s are quite common.
In the end, Greg ended up with the ’65. It was one of the cleanest basses I have ever seen. In fact, I may only have seen two basses ever from this era that were cleaner. The ’65 was a once-in-a-lifetime find, and in my opinion, the price was light by about $3000. While the ’58 was a deadly good bass and fairly priced, Greg had four other basses he could rely on. So Greg’s closet has a new item.
Deal Two. “A regular customer of mine, “Joe” was looking at two Gibson Thunderbirds. One was a nice ’64 T-Bird IV and the other was a really nice ’64 T-Bird II. The Bird IV was a sunburst and 100 percent original, but had a very mild headstock break, though the break was nicely repaired and would not be noticed by a casual glance. The price on the T-Bird IV was $7000. The Bird II was super clean (8.9 condition) with no excuses, no breaks, 100 percent original, and priced at $7250. I knew both basses and thought the T-Bird II was crazy good—better than 90 percent of the others I’d seen over the past five years. The T-Bird IV was nice, not great, and it was repaired. But if I was deciding between the two, I would have opted for the IV if it was priced $1000 lower. As it stood, it was a tough choice with no wrong answer. Ultimately, Joe opted for the T-Bird II and ended up paying $7000 for it.
Deal Three. This is a deal that involved none other than me. A few years back, I wanted a nice Ricky 4001 to use in a power-pop band I was with at the time. Almost immediately, three basses found their way to my computer. One was a crazy-clean ’71 in Burgundyglo for $4000. The next was an original, fair-condition ’68 in Fireglo for $9500. The third was a ’67 Jetglo with some changed parts for $4500.
The ’71 was a super-nice bass, but it was full priced and I knew I was going to use it—I did not want to make a player out of a collector bass. The ’68 was intriguing: The bass was great and the price was right by a few grand, but I just didn’t want to spend that type of money on a player bass. The ’67 was also very intriguing because it was in my price range, it had newer, vintage 4003 pickups installed, newer tuners with extra holes, and a newer tailpiece. Essentially, the body and finish were real and everything else came off a 4001v63. It turns out that a prior owner swapped parts from the two basses and sold the ’67 off as “real” to an unsuspecting customer (who later received a rude awakening).
So I had to choose between the ’71 that was too nice and fully priced, the ’68 that was a light bargain, but too expensive for my needs, and the ’67—a nice bass with no real pedigree. I ended up buying the Jetglo ’67 because the bass fit my needs and it fit my budget. It’s a great player and did everything I needed it to do.
I hope these examples provide some useful perspectives you can use to solve your next bass-buying dilemma!
Kevin Borden has been playing bass since 1975. He is the principal and co-owner, with “Dr.” Ben Sopranzetti, of Kebo’s Bass Works (visit them online at kebosbassworks.com). You can reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to call him KeBo.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.