bass

This not-so-special-looking Mustang bass sold for $384,000. Introduced in 1966 at just $189.50 (about $1,600 today), that’s a big markup for the historic and collector’s value it accrued on tour with the Rolling Stones.

Photo by Julien’s Auctions

In his final Bass Bench, our columnist ponders what innovations will come next.

Roughly 70 years into the history of the electric bass, I find myself wondering: Is there a target in the evolution of our instrument? Are we aiming for superb playability, the highest tuning stability, tonal superiority and versatility, ergonomics and comfort, or even all of these things?

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Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis may be rock's foremost ambassador of the Fender Jazzmaster, but a beloved 1958 Telecaster has long been his go-to instrument for tracking solos. The new signature Fender J Mascis Telecaster he's sporting here was inspired by that instrument in both features and aesthetics.

There's a perfectly good reason why the famous offset's most high-profile ambassador has a new signature Telecaster—and the silver-maned fuzz lord also turned to a number of other surprising choices for Dinosaur Jr.'s wonderfully varied new Sweep It Into Space.

Dinosaur Jr. has long had a home with fans of fuzzy indie rock, but they've also never sounded quite like any other band. The sour/sweet juxtaposition of J Mascis' gentle, reedy vocal textures against his hallmark wall of swirling, violently massive guitars isn't without precedent, yet in the context of Dinosaur Jr.'s music it's always stood out as something unique and genuine—and it's had a major influence on the hordes of contemporary artists chasing the alt-rock glory of the '90s.

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Bold, minimalist style meets multitudinous tones.

Solid build. Great onboard active EQ. Ultra-comfortable neck. Rock star looks.

A passive tone control would be nice. Limited paint options

$949

Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas PJ IV
charvel.com

4.5
4
5
4.5

For a large part of the guitar-playing population, seeing "Charvel" on a headstock inevitably leads to thoughts of over-the-top paint jobs and Floyd Rose tremolos. And while Charvel built great instruments for use outside the shred realm, traditionally shaped bass guitars are probably not the first thing you associate with the brand.

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