Vintage Guitar Price Guide – The One Book For Serious Bass Collectors

2014 Vintage Guitar Price Guide

If you are serious about collecting guitars and bass guitars then the The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2014 is the one book you just have to have. But let’s be real, you’ll never read this book. Instead you will find yourself thumbing through it for hours on end.

And, you’ll  find yourself grabbing for this book every time you see an interesting or rare bass online or in a music store.  And guess what, before long, you’re  going to throw this into the recycling bin.  Why?!  Because every year you are going to want to buy the newest issue.  (Or maybe you’ll collect the old issues so you can track how much your investment appreciates ever year.)

Guitar dealers, music shops, professional players, and collectors trust it as the only source for accurate values on vintage gear!  (My favorite guitar shop always has a beat up copy on his work bench.)

So don’t delay, and order your copy directly from Amazon.com and save a bundle off the publishers direct online price.  The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2014 (Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide)

Highly recommended
Terri

The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2014 offers the data experts use to track the values of guitars, basses, lap steels, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos, amps, and effects. And, new this year is practical, professional advice on maintaining your collection! With more 176,000 copies sold to date, The Guide has long been the industry-leading reference, trusted by guitar dealers, professional players, and collectors worldwide! The Guide includes historical data along with values derived from comprehensive research and hard-nosed, realistic market analysis. At over 600 pages with information on more than 2,000 brands, and illustrated with 1,300 photos, no other source offers more information. — Amazon.com

Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars – The 101 Basses Best List

Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars

Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars

Trying to make a list of The Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars is not all that easy.  Everyone has a different favourite and there are over 900 bass brands to choose from .  And even though there are so many brands, there are lots that just cannot be called boutique.

To get a good sampling of “who thought which was best”, I setup a polling page through TalkBASS.  I got a great number of responses, but there were lots of votes for great basses that I really wouldn’t consider boutique.   Sorry guys, but Fender Custom Shop is not boutique.  They are special order, big production basses.

There was  also a number of brands that we all think of as boutique, which have really crossed the line to main stream production.  Two that made the list, Spector and Sadowsky, have a long history of being thought of as boutique, but have really grown to being quite large companies.  I considered that offshore production should disqualify the brand, but still kept these two brands on the list, just because they really started out as being great boutique basses.  And in the case of Spector, they really were at the forefront of what is now a Renaissance of fine bass luthiery.

The Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars List…


#10 – Atlansia Victoria

Atlansia Victoria 5-string Fretless

Atlansia Victoria 5-string Fretless

Atlansia is a personal favourite of mine.  The only reason this brand is so low on the list is because the brand is not well known in the western world.  President and designer Nobuaki Hayashi (aka H.Noble) is a creative genius.  From art school to chief designer at Aria Pro II in the 70′s, to compulsive inventor Mr. Hayashi, produces some of the most innovative basses around.  The Victoria is, in my opinion, the most elegant of his designs.  Click for lots more information on Atlansia.  MSRP $4500 est.


#9 – Spector NS

NS-2-Black-Cherry

Spector NS Series

Stuart Spector’s career started out because he wanted to have a quality instrument, but couldn’t afford one.  He set out to build the bass he couldn’t afford.  His first workbench was bolted to his bedroom.  Later on he met and befriended another young builder, Ned Steinburger.  Steinberger reworked one of Spector’s builds. That bass became the Spector NS and the rest, as they say, is history. The NS series basses are among the best known and loved of the boutiques.  Click for more info on Spector.


#8 – Ken Smith

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Ken Smith

I have to admit, at the time of writing, that I do not know a lot about Ken Smith and really wasn’t sure what all the hoopla was about. So I turned to my trusty book American Basses: An Illustrated History and Player’s Guide to the Bass Guitar and read up. One of the interesting tidbits is that Mr. Smith was one of the early builders to build basses with a “B” string. This dating back to 1981. Click for more info on Ken Smith Basses.


#7 – Fodera

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Fodera Yin Yang

Probably the most famous Fodera bass is the Yin Yang bass played by Victor Wooten. Vinnie Fodera started out by taking a guitar building class with Thomas Humphrey. Then he landed a job with Stuart Spector, working with Ned Steinberger and Ken Smith, all of whom are mentioned in this Top Ten Boutique Basses list. There must be something in the water at the Spector factory.  Click for more info on Fodera Basses.


#6 – Sadowsky

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Sadowsky Bass

Roger Sadowsky does something very well that Fender seems to struggle with; He makes amazing Jazz Basses. For some time I didn’t realize that a lot of professional bassists weren’t playing Fenders. They were playing Sadowskys. Tal Wilkenfeld is one current endorser that shows just how good these basses sound. My own personal experience is comparing the Metro bass line to the American Jazz Deluxe’s at local stores. You might pay an extra grand, but you get that million dollar sound. Click for more info on Sadowsky Basses.


#5 – F Bass

George Furlanetto - F Bass AC-6 Fretless 6-String

George Furlanetto – F Bass AC-6 Fretless 6-String

The AC-6 from George Furlanetto is pure elegance.  The only thing I don’t like about F Bass is trying to search for it in Google.  But I guess Furlanetto Bass might be too hard for some to remember.  However, for some quite memorable playing of this bass you must check out F Bass endorser Alain Caron.  (Video)   Click for more info on F Bass.


#4 – Jerzy Drozd

Jerzy Drozd Barcelona

Jerzy Drozd Barcelona

Of all the basses on this list the Jerzy Drozd Barcelona is probably the most exotic. The styling of many of his basses are more like artistic wood sculptures made from many layers of many types of wood. Lots of stylized inlays and sound holes make these to-die-for instruments. For lots more info on Jerzy Drozd click here.


#3 – Carl Thompson

Carl Thompson Bass

Carl Thompson Bass

A while back I came across a video series on Carl Thompson.  If you’d like to get a sense of the man and his craft, this is really an excellent series to watch.  Carl Thompson’s basses have been around for quite a while, but they really came to fame when Primus bassist Les Claypool started playing a number of CT models.  Claypool bought his first CT by accident, finding a used one in a music store.  Later Claypool asked CT to build him more instruments.  CT basses with their distinctive hooked top horn have become a favorite amongst bassists seeking high quality boutiques.  Click for more info on Carl Thompson Basses


#2 – Jens Ritter Roya

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Jens Ritter Instruments – Roya

Jens Ritter is firstly a luthier, but he is also a builder that has an unequaled sense of style.  He builds some of the finest basses, but these basses are also some of the most elegant instruments around.  Jens Ritter Instruments is located in the small wine town of Deidesheim, Germany.  Ritter has been building basses since the mid 1990′s.  The Roya is my favorite model, but there are lots of other awesome choices.  One of the most distinguishing features of Ritter basses and guitars are their finishes.  They produce finishes that stand by themselves as works of art.  Click for more information.  MSRP: unpublished


#1 – Alembic Series II

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Alembic Classic II

If you needed to give another name to boutiques you might call them “Alembics”.  Alembic is arguably the original boutique bass guitar.  Alembic started out in a time when virtually all basses were either the big name (classic) brands or were cheap offshore knockoffs.  The company started out, not in luthiery but as a research group focused on improving concert and recorded sound.  Although the company builds guitars, the company is best known for its basses and has received a lot of high profile exposure from players such as Stanley Clarke and John Paul JonesThe Alembic Series II gets my vote for The Number One Top Boutique Bass Guitar  Click for lots more information and links on Alembic.  MSRP $23,000-$25,0000 est.


Americanism

I noticed while I was building this list that six of the top ten boutique basses were American built. I wondered if that was because Americans built the best basses or just possibly the most popular (or best marketed) boutiques. In the end, it’s my belief that a great number of the best boutique bass guitars do come from the US, but the results on this list may be skewed due to the fact that the poll I took was taken on a predominantly American bass guitar forum.

BTW, if you’re a fan of American build basses please check out, American Basses: An Illustrated History and Player’s Guide to the Bass Guitar  (This is one of my faves)

The Best Boutique in So Many Ways

Ranking the basses on this list was problematic because some basses were better in some ways than others. Sadowsky for example really couldn’t rank in the original styling category could it?

Here are my “other best” on the list based on some individual attributes:

  • For Pure Technical Innovation — Atlansia  - When it comes to pushing the limits of technology and trying to “go where no bass has gone before”. H. Noble has it down.
  • For Building The Better Fender — Sadowsky – When it comes to taking the most popular bass ever built and making it one of the best basses ever built, the award has to go to Roger Sadowsky.
  • For Building The Bugatti of Basses — Alembic – (Notice I didn’t say Cadillac or Rolls Royce.)  Alembic is just the best.
  • For The Most Beautiful Woodwork — Jerzy Drozd – When wood and steel strings become art.
  • For The Most Beautiful Finishes — Jens Ritter – Almost every day it seems Jens Ritter posts another new bass with a finish that is new and original and just plain awesome.

… and of course I could go on all day.

toptenboutiques copyOkay, Let’s Get Shopping Now!

If you’ve read this far, you are probably looking for more.  So…

Shop eBay for the 101 Basses Top Ten Best Boutique Bass Guitars

Don’t Stop With Ten

Bass-Aholic currently lists close to 1000 brands of bass guitars.  Of those, over 100 are categorized as “boutiques”, but the list truly could be closer to 800.  The candidate list of about 100 brands was used as the basis for this list.  Check out the Boutique Bass Guitars Category on Bass-Aholic.  And, your GAS will continue to grow.

“Boutique Bass Guitar” – Defined

What is a boutique bass guitar?  Read the official 101 Basses Boutique Bass Guitar Definition.

More Resources

For the serious collector, or even for those that are just plain obsessed, you need to have a copy of the Vintage Guitar Price Guide.  (If you don’t know about the guide, read our review.)

Always Stay Tuned - Terri

Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars – “Boutique” Defined

So what is a “Boutique Bass Guitar”?  Before you can build a list of the Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars you really need to define exactly what a Boutique Bass Guitar *is*.

Even answering that basic question is open to lots of interpretation.  Some time ago I asked this question on my favourite bass forum TalkBASS.  You can read that thread here.

The official 101 Basses definition of a boutique bass is as follows:

Boutique Bass: “A high end, hand crafted bass made by a low production luthier that has been tailored for a specific bassists’ needs and requirements.”

Once you have a definition, the next step is trying to figure out which bass builders fit the bill.  The Bass-Aholic DataBass keeps information on over 900 brands of bass guitar.  So which of those 900 are boutique?

Once again I went to TalkBASS and started a thread there asking which bass guitar builders would be considered boutique.  The response was overwhelming . And if I took the advice of everyone that responded I think all 900 would have been contenders.  But in the end I was able to come up with about 100 bass brands that could be considered “boutique”.  The Bass-Aholic list of Boutique Basses can be found here.

In the end there were well over one hundred contenders for the top ten boutique basses.  I then setup a polling form and recorded the results from TalkBASS members.  Most of the results were not so surprising.  Some of the builders I was familiar with, but didn’t realize they had such a following.  The top two, however, seem to be no contest hands down winners.  Who were they?

» Click here to see the Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars List «

Terri

Top Ten Boutique Bass Guitars – #10 Atlansia Victoria

Atlansia Logo

Atlansia Logo

The only reason that Atlansia is at the bottom of this list is due to their lack of popularity in the market outside of Japan. This in no takes away from the products importance. Quite to the contrary,  Atlansia is one of the most innovative builders on this list.

Atlansia is the brain child of Nobuaki Hayashi from Nagano Japan. Mr Hayashi goes by the pseudonym of H. Noble, a name that is well known to anyone that is a fan of the works of Matsumoku. Matsumoku was a giant in the Japanese guitar building industry for decades, but unfortunately closed in 1987.

H. Hoble was part of Matsumoku during its period of going from budget guitar builder to producing products that rivaled the big American builders. He was, most notably, the designer of the Aria Pro II SB-1000 Bass that was used by several well known bassists.

After Matsumoku, Noble founded Atlansia and is currently it’s president and designer.

Noble is a true inventor and creative genius. Many of his designs are completely original and have features not found on other instruments. He has a long list of patents registered in his name for innovations in guitar and bass guitar design, and also in areas of design outside of guitar building.

Historically, the typical bass guitar had four strings, but over the years has has come in five, six or even more strings. Atlansia has bass models covering those, but also has a one string model, the Solitaire, a two string, the Dualist and a three string, the Trister.

Atlansia Victoria 5-String Fretless

Atlansia Victoria 5-String Fretless

Of all the bass guitar models built by Atlansia, my all time favorite is the Victoria. This bass comes in a number of configurations from 4-string to 6-string, fretted or fretless and with a variety of pickups, electronics and tailpieces.

Atlansia Victoria
(specs for model shown)
Body Walnut 2p Over 12years
Neck Canadian Hard Rock Maple,(Option : Carbon Fiber Reinforced )
Fingerboard Ebony 300-400r
Scale ( 0f-B ) 864mm ( 34 Inch )
Winder Goto
Tensioner Roller Type
String Nut Adjustable Screw Nut(Fit
Fret Jumbo Sbb-215
Position Marker Side Only 5mmdot
Pick-Up Atlansia Original Arcx5
Tailpiece Atlansia Original
Bridge Screw Type
Metal Coating
Controls 1v,3eq,
Finger-Rest None
Hi-Posi Cutaway Atlansia Cutaway
Body-Finish Oil
Neck-Finish Urethan Mut
Neck Joint Bolt On Joint
Case With Soft Case
Warrantee 5 Years

One of the nicest styling features, in my opinion, is the use of the bird as a sound hole instead of the tradition f-hole that most hollow bodied instruments have.

Of the more innovative features of this bass are the individual string humbucking pickups. This design allows for having one pickup that can be used for any string configuration. But beyond that, on many models, the pickups can be rotated to adjust the phasing of the field around the string.

The Atlansia Victoria comes in several configurations…

Atlansia Victoria 4-string Red

Atlansia Victoria 4-string Red

Atlansia Victoria 6-String Bass Guitar

Atlansia Victoria 6-String Bass Guitar

Atlansia Victoria Guitar

The Victoria has a similar guitar model

Pricing for this model is in the range of around $4500.00 to $5000.00 depending on features and current exchange from Japanese Yen.

Although I’ve yet to play one of these basses, what I’ve read about them and all my research indicates them to be a truly unique and a great contender for my Top Ten Boutique Basses List.

More sources of information on Atlansia:
New Atlansia Breeze Bass
Atlansia Guitars (English Version)
Atlansia Japan Website 

“Stay Tuned” as the Top Ten Boutique Bass countdown continues
Terri

Always Stay Tuned - Terri

 

Fender Serial Numbers – Finding The Age of Your Guitar

Fender Guitar Serial Numbers

Fender Dating – Written in Stone

Fender Guitar and Bass Guitar Dating

Leo Fender started building electric guitar backs in 1950 and produced his first bass guitar a year later.  Fender guitars and basses are easily the most popular instruments ever made.

The Fender company has gone through three major periods or eras in its existence.

  • The original company headed by Leo Fender ran from 1946 to 1965.  (Usually referred to as “Pre-CBS”)
  • From 1965 to 1985 Fender was owned by CBS (Usually referred to as “CBS era Fender”)
  • From 1985 to present the company (originally headed by William Schultz) is called Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

Initially all Fender production was done if Fullerton, California, but in recent decades Fender guitars are made in the United States, Mexico, Japan, Korea and China.

Collectors value instruments based on a number of factors.  Dating the guitar via serial numbers is of key importance.  In general the older the instrument the more valuable it is and having a pre-CBS era instrument is highly desirable.  A 1964 instrument can be worth 25% more than an instrument from 1966.  So knowing what you have can affect the price from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.  It’s no wonder there is such a fuss about guitar serial numbers and dating your guitar.

Fortunately, there are plenty of sources for dating your guitar and tracking its serial number, but sometimes it’s hard to find them all. This article will hopefully help to put the best resources in one place.


2013 Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide (Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide)

The Vintage Guitar Price Guide is an amazing resource for Fender guitar and pretty much any popular manufacturer. There is a new issue every year that reflects current trends. But if you are a casual observer you don’t need to buy a new one every year.

 


Vintage & Rare – Serial number identification and decoding

vintage-and-rareThis article “Serial Number Identification and Decoding” article on Vintage & Rare’s website is probably one of the most complete resources of serial number information for Fender guitars and basses.

 


The Guitar Dater Project

guitar-dater-project

The Guitar Dater Project is a great quick and easy way to date a number of brands including Fender.  By entering the instrument’s serial number and a few other pieces of info you can get the year of manufacture and sometimes information about the factor where the instrument was built.  There’s not a lot of information here, but it’s another good resource.

 


Vintage Guitar Info

Vintage Fender Guitars, Basses, Amps. — Introduction and General Specs.  This web page and associated pages provide a wealth of information about Fender guitars.  It’s a great source of serial number information, but also shows how to recognize differences in logos and other details that help with the history of your guitar.


The Fender Bass: An Illustrated History

The Fender Book: A Complete History of Fender Electric Guitars

American Basses – An Illustrated History & Player’s Guide

Hope you find these links useful
Terri

Terri Tunes – A Bunch of Demo Music by Terri Breeze

TerriBreezeTerriTunes

Terri Breeze – Terri Tunes on Soundcloud

I’ve recently gone back and reworked my Soundcloud account.  I’ve got quite a bit of material that I’ve been working on over the past few years and I thought it was time to organize it in to something that can be shared, listened to and enjoyed.

I always say that I’m a bassist first and a bassist at heart.  But I really do enjoy playing a lot of other instruments too.  For those that know me as a bassist, this is not just bass music.  There is a lot of bass, but there’s also guitar, piano, ukulele and probably lot of other stuff too.  And, yes, sadly, I use a drum machine.  (I just don’t play drums that well)

I know so many talented people that produce volumes of wonderful music that is never heard.  I hope that my little attempt here might serve to show all of those people that getting it out there is not so hard.

Terri Tunes is all about me, and all about what I like to play.  I hope you find something here that you enjoy.

Thanks for listening!
Terri :)

PS Everything is copyright 2009-2013 by Terri Breeze – All rights reserved.

sdfgsdfg

Luthier Roger Rossmeisl Riding the Crested Wave

Roger-Rossmeisl-Fender

Roger Rossmeisl at Fender c.mid-1960′s

(b.1927 in Kiel, Germany – d.1979 in Berlin, Germany) Rossmeisl, son of luthier Wenzel Rossmeisl, was a luthier that worked for Fender, Gibson and Rickenbacker.  Roger Rossmeisl was hired by F.C. Hall in 1954 and was responsible for a number of Rickenbacker designs of the era.  Most notably, Rossmeisl designed the Rickenbacker 4000 electric bass guitar which was released in the 1957.  The 4000 design featured the “crested wave” body and headstock which has become one of the most iconic basses ever designed.  By the early 1960′s a second pickup had and a new pickguard emerged as the model 4001 (also RM1999) becoming probably the second most icon bass ever made.

Reference: German Wiki, Fender NewsJim Roberts American Basses

Specialty Bass Guitar Strings

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Bass-Aholic String Shop

Shopping for bass strings can be complicated. There are so many different types of strings. There’s roundwound, flatwound, halfwound, tapewound and coated strings. There’s short scale, medium scale, long scale, (which is really the “standard” scale) and super-long scale. And, there’s 4-string, 5-string, 6-string and 8-string.  There are also basses that have 1-string, 2-strings, 3-strings, and 12-strings.  Really there seems to be no limit to the variation in basses and their string combinations.

A previous 101 Basses article, The Confusion on Shopping for Bass Guitar Strings,  discusses many of the common types of strings for bass guitars.

da_exl280

D’Addario EXL280 Nickel Wound Piccolo Bass Strings, 20-52, Long Scale

This article goes into more detail about some specialty string sets for specific type of bass guitars.

Three Specialty Bass Guitar String Sets from D’Addario…

Piccolo Bass Strings: According to Wikipedia there are at least two types of piccolo basses.  Typically electric piccolo basses have 4-strings tuned one octave higher than a traditional bass.  These basses are made by Zon, Carl Thompson and probably others.  D’Addario produces one set of their most common XL-Nickel Wound strings in a size specifically for piccolo bass.

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D’Addario ESXL170 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Light, 45-100, Double Ball End, Long Scale

Ned Steinberger – TransTrem – Double Ballend Strings:  Back in the 1980′s Ned Steinberger developed what is known as a the headless bass (and guitars too).  These instruments became quite iconic in their day.  Steinberger developed a bridge, called the TransTrem bridge that was a tailpiece, bridge, tuner and vibrato all in one.  The bass requires a special string that has ball ends on both ends of the string.  (Most strings have a ballend only on the bridge end of the string).  D’Addario produces two sets of strings for this bridge.

XL156

D’Addario XL156 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar/Nickel Wound Bass Strings, Fender Nickel Wound Bass VI, 24-84

Fender Bass VI:  The Fender Bass VI is one of the original 6-string basses dating back to 1961.  But is NOT typical of modern day 6-string basses.  The typical 6-string bass has a 34″ scale and is tuned B-E-A-D-G-C.  The Fender Bass VI has a 30″ scale and is tuned E-A-D-G-B-E.  Just like a standard guitar, but one octave lower.  D’Addario produces a set of strings specifically for this bass.

The Bass-Aholic String finder page is designed to help you sort out the over 60 string sets produced by D’Addario.  Check it out here.  D’Addario products are supplied and shipped from Amazon.com, so you assured of satisfaction and great prices.  Bass-Aholic is an affiliate of Amazon.com.  Remember that when you order through the string finder you are helping to support Bass-Aholic.

Notice: It’s easy to order the wrong strings.  Bass-Aholic provides information only and cannot be responsible errors or omissions.  Do your homework before purchasing.

Terri

All About Tone Woods In Guitar Building

There has always been a lot of discussion and lots of mystery behind the subject of tonewoods in guitar building.  That is, how does the wood used in building a guitar affect its sound and overall quality.

The Fender Custom Shop has a Youtube channel with a good number of videos. 

Fender’s Mike Eldred goes into a lot of detail about the standard woods used in the construction of Fender guitars and basses. He also talks about why you might choose one wood over another and how one cut of wood is not like another.

This series is well worth watching.

Tone Woods Part 1 of 3 – Philosophy

Tone Woods Part 2 of 3 – Bodies

Tone Woods Part 3 of 3 – Necks

Terri

Wishing for a Better Wishbass?

Wishbass

Wishbass

I’ve talked a lot about boutique basses in the past.  You can see my definition here.  Even though Wishbass contradicts part of my own definition of a boutique bass, I still like to think of them as boutique.  They don’t really fit the definition because they are NOT high-end by any stretch.  In fact Steve Wishnevsky often sells his basses new for about $100 per string.  Yup $400 or so for a boutique instrument.  But the reason I like to think of them as boutique is because they are all unique, completely original in design and are made from all kinds of unusual woods.  If nothing else they are quirky and fun.  So let’s say Wishbass is boutique.

Recently I came across someone that’s a fan this brand, by the name of Dave.  Dave has a website aptly named “Dave’s Bass Place”.  His website has a sub section that’s all about refinishing Wishbasses.  The section should perhaps be called “Finishing Wishbasses” as Dave likes to take them apart and rebuild them doing a lot of the stuff that maybe should have been done in the original build.  Regardless, what he does is pretty interesting and just another facet of never ending and totally interesting world of bass.

Please check out his page here.

And see more about Wishbass at Bass-Aholic.

Terri