Bass Station

Compiled by Steve Ball

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Wal Custom Mach 1 Ray Cooper Custom 5 string Squier Custom fretless Fender Jazz Igor the Orrible Dolly Bailey

About 15 years ago I came to my senses and stopped trading in perfectly good bass guitars for the latest perfectly good bass guitar, suffice to say that during my time I have owned basses by the likes of Fender (P & J style) Ibanez, Kramer, Westone, Maya, Epiphone and a Roland bass synth. I am proud to say that all bar one of the following instruments are working basses rather than trophy’s, I’ll let you work out which one that is……………………………………

WAL Custom Mach 1, 4 String (Wallie)
Bought direct from the maker Pete Stevens at his workshop in High Wycombe. I had wanted one of these ever since borrowing one in the mid 80’s. I had been looking out for one for a number of years only to discover that they rarely come up for sale on the used market. This is a standard Mach 1 Wal Custom, “Standard” includes the Famous Electric Wood pickups and electrics, shallow “V” neck profile and Jack & XLR balanced outputs. When I called Pete and explained my dilemma he was only too pleased to help out. Thanks Pete.

Ray Cooper Custom 5 String
This is one of a pair of basses commissioned by a BBC session player and is fitted out with Fender hardware & single “J” pickup, Active/Passive switch & an ebony fretboard, the other, a 5 string fretless is currently residing in Bromley. I only bought this bass due to work demands but it is a dream to play and sounds fantastic.

Squier P. Bass, Special
This started out as a standard fretted bass but has a great feel to it so I had an ebony fretless board put on it and a graphite nut, the “P” & “J” combination Pickups give a very wide range of sounds.

Jazz Bass
This was my main instrument for over 9 years until I replaced it with the Wal Custom, it now stays in its case because I can’t bring myself to get rid of it This guitar started out as a standard Jazz style bass from Kent Armstrong but has had a couple of up grades over the years including EMG active pickups, BADASS Bridge & Bone nut.

Igor the Orrible
This is one of a pair (the other being a right handed 6 string guitar owned by long term partner in crime Alan Long) This started as a project after finding Hofner Verythin bodies and is based (Excuse the pun) on a Fender Coronado. It has a 35” scale length, a mini Humbucker pickup, black Teflon coated strings and is a complete pig to play (hence the name) but it looks sooooo cool.

Dolly (3/4 German Double Bass)
When you play an instrument that stands taller than you it’s like having another band member next to you so it deserves a name (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) “Dolly” is a ¾ size double bass with an Ebony fingerboard and a swell back made in East Germany in the early 70’s, this one is all laminated wood with a lovely tiger stripe finish on the back and sides. I string my double basses with nylon G & D Strings & steel A & E strings, I find that this combination allows for deep tones on the E & A and a warm soft tone on the higher D & G strings, this is only a preference as there are a number of string combinations preferred by different players.

Bailey (3/4 Romanian Double Bass)
A Romanian ¾ size double bass from the late 50’s, this differs from Dolly as it is a flat back model with a solid wood top and the fingerboard has a bevelled edge under the “E” string (“G” string for all us “proper” left handed players) This bass has a lot of war wounds but was too good to let go to waste, to cover some of the scars I added some black piping and a picture of Bailey from Bailey’s Cat on the back.