Thursday, 30 December 2010

A few questions to answer. . . . .

Hi to all out there. :)

I had intended to carry on to the next stage about Peter,
his work on John's other basses and the work he did for
Pete Townshend but I have had quite a few questions asked
of me and if I am able to, I would like to answer them at the
same time.
As it is the festive season, I don't intend to contact Peter
until the new year, as I am aiming to compile them into several
specific questions that could be answered easily, without any
lengthy dialogue.

Several visitors have asked if I have come to the end of the
No. Not by quite a long way, there is a lot more to come.
I have only moved into this section about Peter Cook and his
work, as I find it very interesting, myself and as I have been
lucky enough to speak to him, I wanted to detail it as soon as I could.
I would think that there are only three more parts to the story,
including the next one, so it is not extensive.
So, please sit tight, bear with me and I'll come back to you
in the new year.

If anyone has a Peter Cook instrument, knows of one, has images of one,
please drop me a line - I would love to hear from you, on the usual address
detailed below.

In the meantime, I would like to thank all of my visitors, from all over the
World, for dropping in and having a read.
For those who have contacted me personally, with their related stories,
thank you for taking the time and trouble - always nice to hear from you
and your tales or opinions on an instrument. Ta!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2011. :)

Cheers. :)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Peter Cook, Luthier - Part 2. . . . . . .

From the early days of getting together with a few friends . . . . . .

. . to playing guitar in pro bands and then on to guitar making
and expanding the Ned Callan range. . . . . the story continues
in Peter's own words.

When Tom sought fame and fortune with ‘July’ and later with
Richard Branson, (Tom produced Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells)
I continued to develop the Ned Callan Range, the concept was to
produce a quality guitar & bass within a budget price - this was
before the Japanese started to produce good instruments.

I got a distribution deal with Simms Watts and contracted the
body & necks out to Jack Golder of Shergold - they made the
earlier Burns guitars and latterly the Hayman guitars.
I had my own small production line where we made the pickups
& hardware and assembled and set up the final product.
I not sure how many units we made but it is in the hundreds.
The early models had glued in necks whilst the later models
had bolt on ones for the ease of production.

Things came to a halt when Rose Morris took over Simms Watts,
they cancelled a large order which was just about to be delivered
and after months of haggling the Cody range (Nobbly Neds) was
re-branded for Rose Morris but we were still left with a large number
of Custom and Salisbury guitars which were eventually sold off in
bulk, directly to retailers.
I didn’t really see eye to eye with Rose Morris and my association
with them ended soon after.

Part of the deal with Simms Watts was to tour the country with
their road show and on one of these occasions John Entwistle made
a guest appearance to promote Ned Callan.
We did a short set, with John on bass, Dave Simms on drums and
me on guitar - everyone wanted John to play Boris the Spider but
with my blues background we ended up playing Smokestack Lightning,
a Howling Wolf song.

Following this I set up a guitar repair workshop and started to
build custom guitars totally in house.

John started to bring bits of Thunderbirds to me to resurrect and it
became apparent that he liked the sound and appearance of the
Gibson Thunderbird but preferred the feel of Fender Precision necks.
So I made him a number of hybrids using Precision necks and custom
made bodies.

The FenderBird had landed.

As a natural progression I designed and built a number of ExplorerBirds
for John - same deal but with a custom Explorer body. . . . . . . . . . . .

Next time - ExplorerBirds, other projects for John, work for Peter and the
progression of Custom Builds and commission work.

Back next week, with more of Peter's story.

Cheers. :)

Monday, 20 December 2010

Peter Cook, Guitar Builder and Musician. . . . .

Peter Cook.
From the Horses Mouth. . . . . So to speak!

Tuesday the 7th of December, was a day I had been looking forward
to for some time - Scroll down a couple of posts and you can see how
this all started.

Peter has very kindly taken time to document the facts from our
conversation, so the next few installments are the words of the man, himself.
For anyone who is a fan of guitars, it is a very interesting read, from
someone who very heavily involved in the music industry, when things were
starting to get exciting.
A time when there were a lot of young bands around, with people hungry for
what was new, before the Disco boom and the advent of The Walkman and
later, MP3 players, people would go into town, to the village hall, anywhere
that they could see live bands and hear live music.

For most, who have heard of Peter Cook, their immediate thoughts turn to
his work with John and Pete, from The Who and perhaps don't realise, he
was involved in the music industry, many years before creating the
The Flame,
Fenderbirds, The lightning and several others.

I left school in 1962 when I was fifteen and got an apprenticeship in the
print trade but my heart was in music and I got the sack for bunking off one
time too many.

With my ‘proper job’ working life behind me, I became a ‘professional
musician’, initially with some old school mates (including Chris Jackson)
trying to emulate The Shadows.
Most of the old mates left and Alan James and Tom Newman joined me
& Chris, we started out as the ‘Dreamers’ playing Shadows & then the
Beatles material but with the advent of Freddie & The Dreamers we
became The Tomcats and established ourselves as a Rhythm & Blues
band, ending up being managed by Alexis Korner and became the
resident band at Beat City, in Oxford Street.

We have since found out that one of the demos we recorded at Regent
Sound (a Chuck Berry number) impressed the ‘Stones’ and they stole
our thunder by recorded and releasing it before us.

One of the gigs we did when we first started touring the UK as
The Tomcats, was
'Ma' Regans Ballroom circuit in Birmingham.
We played at the Old Hill Plaza, The Ritz Kings Heath, The Brum Cavern,
the Plaza Handsworth and on one
occasion we played 3 venues in one
night, on the same bill with The Redcaps,
The Brumbeats and The Searchers.

After I left the band they joined up with Tony Duhig and John Field
from another local group ‘The Second Thoughts’ and went to Spain as
‘Los Tomcats’.
When they returned I hooked up with Tom again and we started to write
songs together and seven of mine were recorded and released by Tom’s
new band ‘July’.

During this time Tom and I did many things to earn a buck including stage
managing at the Lyceum Theatre London and guitar repairs.
This was the genesis of my guitar repairing/making period, we made a
number of prototype guitars from some old necks we bought from a junk
shop in Kilburn, one of which the Beach Boys (I can’t remember which one
of them) wanted, unfortunately he didn’t pay for it or return it.
These were the first Ned Callans.
Tom & I call each other 'Ned' so we just added Callen, from the TV show
because we both liked the program and it had a good ring to it.

I think that will do for now, there is more to come, including magazine
cut-outs and more images.
Come back at the end of the week.

Cheers. :)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Tale of an Odyssey. . . . . or two . . . . .

My Odyssey is one of my favourites and was the first instruments I
featured in this blog.

Here's The Old Fella, week before last - sorry about the quality of the
pic and no, we weren't micing up the floor!!! This was pack up time -
bass drum mic! Just seen in the background is the SB 600 - he does
come out now and then!

This is the new boy, last week! Yep, I've now got two of them.
Big smiles all round.

Great night on both occasions - these things kick like a mule.
Seen with an Aria RSB Deluxe - great opalescent cream colour.
Also a couple of cracking SG's - not mine but they are part of
the team - without them, things would sound a little empty! :)

I will get some shots of the two together, as soon as I can.

Just a quick post today, back soon with something else -
perhaps a guitar, as I mentioned last!!

Cheers. :)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Peter Cook, Guitar Builder - Eric and Peter meet . . .

Tuesday was an exciting day, one that I had been looking forward
to for some time.

Being an enthusiast for hand made guitars and "one off"
I have always had an admiration for the makers and it would be hard
to mention custom guitars and basses, without the name of Peter Cook
being included.

Being fortunate enough to own two of Peter's instruments and knowing
of several other owners, I have spent some time trying to arrange a
meeting with him, which after some time, he kindly agreed to.

I spent a fascinating two and a half hours with Peter, discussing his earlier
days as a guitarist and the later periods including Ned Callan, work with
The Who and several other famous players, the custom building and the shop.

I shan't go any further at this stage, as I said I would detail what we
discussed and let him go through it, to make sure what I write is accurate.

I thoroughly enjoyed his company, he is a very interesting and engaging
person to talk to.

Sit tight and as soon as I am able to, I will post up what we discussed.

For me, a great day - one I will not forget!

Cheers. :)

If you have landed on this page and you want to go to the 
latest post, go here:
Latest post. 

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Aria SB-R60. . . . . . . . .

Sunday morning again!
Yep, hot coffee time, in front of the fire - toasty!!

Gig last night, some distance away, fair sized pub but I think
the current weather put some folks off. Shame but there you go!
I think there were about 30 in the pub and most stayed to the end
so not too bad.
Driving back - foggy or what?????? Not nice - rolled in at 2.30 ish
and have promised myself an easy day.

I have recently started looking at other collectors web sites and it is
amazing what is out there - I will try and sort out a couple of the good
ones and put up some links.

So, I said on my last post. . . . . . More Aria!

This is an SB-R60, yet another model number.
Aria of this period had subtle variations, cosmetic details, string spacings,
pick-up/circuit differences, gold or chrome etc, etc.
This one has a different make of strings to the 600, I have listed but
if you handed them to me in a a dark room and said not to go beyond the
twelfth fret, it would be so hard to tell them apart - certainly the sound is
practically identical.
This has a through neck, wider string spacings (the 600 is almost parallel)
and different jack socket area but sound wise. . . . . well I can't tell the difference!

Next week is the last gig of the year and then, as actors say when they
are out of work. . . . . We are resting!! :)
This year has not been as busy as previous years, enough to keep us going
but a lot of places that were doing two or 3 a week, have cut down to one.
A sign of the times.
Hey Ho, we have a handful to kick off the year, see how things go from there.

Anyway, I think we have done enough Aria, for the time being - still quite a
few to go but I'll come back to them later.

I thing it's time for a few guitars, as the basses have been hogging all the posts.

I really don't play guitar that much now and am thinking of letting some
of them go to new homes - it's just deciding which ones!
Pick one, open the case, plug it in, quick 5 minutes and then the doubt
kicks in. :)
This one or the other one, or that one - oh I don't know!

Never mind, I will take pics and details before they go.
Busy next week but hope to be back here on Friday.

See you then.

Cheers. :)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Guild B301-F. . . . . . . .

Guild Guitars are mainly associated with acoustic guitars, for folk,
country and traditional music, along with semi-acoustic archtops,
which gained a reputation with jazz players.
The company was established in 1953 and is still going today
but over the years has seen trouble and has had changes of

The first Guild I ever played was an acoustic, owned by a guy who
used to fix roads for a living and had a beautiful guitar, that thing
was LOUD!
It may have had something to do with the fact that it was strung
with the heaviest available gauge of Martin strings - basically
tow ropes.
I always amazed me how the top remained on the guitar and was
perhaps a testament to the strength and quality of it.

The next Guild instrument I played was a B-301-F, fretless.
This arrived in the shop, along with an S-300D guitar, direct from
the Guild distributors, "on approval".
Basically, they were doing promotions on the solid body range
and they were ours until we had sold them or handed them back.

I spent hours on that fretless! I loved the sound, although my main
leanings at the time were Rock, Prog and Funk - not quite fretless
territory but who cared, I was determined to master the thing.
Well, more years on than I care to mention, I am still not a proficient
fretless player, although I have several with un-marked boards.
Will I ever get it 100%? Maybe not and that is why I also have several
"lined" fretless - much better with those - you get the sound and a lot more
accuracy in hitting the note.

So here it is, my B-301-F, which is strung with black tape wound strings,
which give a lovely, thick, warm, wooden sound.
Not much else to say about it, one pick-up, volume and tone, plug it in
and off you go.

I also have the fretted version in the Mahogany finish, which I will come to
another time.
There is a great web site, full of interesting Guild info - well worth a look.

Back next time with another Aria!!

Well, while I was at it . . . . . . . I thought I might as well carry on!

Cheers. :)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Aria SB600, my first SB. . . . . . . . .

Well, it did snow - quite a lot, so not going out today!

Decided to go through some of my shots, delete the worst and
sort out the best. I still struggle with the photography.
Anyway, sat in front of a warm fire, I thought I might as well
carry on, so two entries in 2 days!

As you are probably now realising, I have a thing for well made
Japanese basses and guitars.
This was my first SB. I suppose I should have done it first but
some of the pics were not too good, so were binned.
These, I think, are much better and because it is such a cracker
this one also gets multiple shots.

Aria SB600, fixed neck.

This one came with it's original shaped case and I was quite excited
when I collected it, my first "SB". I had other Arias, in various
guises but not a single pick-up, natural grained SB.
The wood on this one has a lovely grain, front and back and the
set neck is very well put together.
There was also a bolt on version of the 600.

I was really pleased with it and after a dust off and clean up,
slapped some new strings on it and we were away.
Sounded really great and I fancied myself as a real 80's bass
player, until after a while, my thumb on my right hand started to
hurt quite a bit, after several days of some fairly inaccurate slapping.
I have got slightly better at it since then but I will never be Mark
King or any of the other great players that make that style of playing
look so easy! How do they do that? My thumb didn't fully recover
for several days!!!

I originally put Rotosound strings on it but after some time, I
changed them for Stadium Elites, after having a go on a friends
Jazz - they were quite bright and I thought they would really
suit the bass. It worked, much brighter and snappier, well
suited to the bass and because of that I fitted a lot of basses with
Elites, for some time after that.

Now, there are quite a few Aria's to go, both guitars and basses
but I have to admit. . . . . . . the single pick-up SB's are so difficult
to tell apart! The SB1000, is different but the SB R-60 and Elite 1,
with the same strings on. . . . . . . . very hard to tell.

Aria made so many models that were very close in spec, it is sometimes
difficult to work out the differences.
I think I may have put this link in before, it is Graeme Fyfe's excellent
site, all about Aria SB's. Top man, very interesting.

I will come back with more Aria, another time - next up will be my
Guild B301 Fretless, a Black Beauty with old school black tape strings.
Very double bass, very Jazz. Mmmm, nice!

Still snowing a bit, off to stoke the fire up!

Cheers. :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ibanez Musician MC924DS. . . . . .

Friday again and it's freezing outside!! Brrrrrrrrrrrr!!

This one has been a bit of a mystery to me - I have an MC924,
which is what most people associate with when you mention
Ibanez Musician Bass.

When I saw this, I couldn't believe the condition on it - you would
see worse in a music shop, after it had be on and off the hanger a
dozen times. I couldn't resist it!

I have not listed it up to now, as to be honest, I wasn't sure what
it was and have left it, hoping to find out more.
I have once again referred to a higher authority (thanks again)
and now found out that this bass is. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
an MC924! Huh?
Yes, same model number different bass, different era.
This is actually a MC924DS, which it the Dark Stained finish.

This is as it left the factory and reminds me why so many pro players
of the late 70's and 1980's, swapped over to the likes of Ibanez and Aria.
Beautifully made.
It is active, with the circuit actually in the pick-up but it is not as a 3 band
boost and cut, more of a crisp volume and tone control.
Really nice to play but I have never gigged it, fearing I will be the first
to put a ding into it, after surviving 25 years without a mark.

This one deserves four photographs!

Right, as snow is on the way, it's time to wrap up well and
prepare for the winter.

Brrrrrrrrrrr! :)

See you next week.

Cheers. :)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Status Shark & SB 70. . . . . .

Hi to all you visitors.

I have just dropped in for a late afternoon post, as curiosity
has got the better of me.
I have recently had searches arriving for SB 70 and also
for Status Shark - about 8 of these in the last couple of days.
I wonder what is creating the interest - visits from Norway,
Greece, England, USA and France.

Gone a bit quiet on the e.mail front, so if any of you fancy
dropping me a line, ping me a message and I'll get back to you.

Back at the end of the week with another Ibanez.

Cheers. :)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Columbus Telecaster Bass. . . . .

This was added to the collection, purely for nostalgic reasons.

In the 70's, most of the small town music shops had a fairly good
selection of copies, as the real thing was very expensive.
These were CSL, Antoria, Sumbro, Kimbara, CMI, Grant, Columbus
and quite a few others, that ranged from not bad at all to ermm. . .
not too good.
One of the more common ones was Columbus and someone I knew
had one of these.

He was about 10 years older than me and was in a band doing covers
of Stones, Quo, T Rex, Slade etc - not gigging, just getting together once
a week, so I used to pop down to see them.
I was always allowed a quick go, while he went out for a break and it
stuck with me, so when I spotted this one, I just had to have it.

I have no intention of playing it live, it is just a play-thing, which being
shorter scale, is easy to sit down and noodle on.
It is really quite playable and has a really nice sound to it but the look
of it and the memories it brings back, are more important.

This is one of the boys at work - this is the other Studio bass I have,
who had a very successful outing on Friday.

This one is the mate to the one I have already listed and both have
some great sounds and a great feel, although they are slightly heavier
than your average bass, they balance nicley and are very comfortable
to play.
A good night out.

Until the next time. . . . .

Cheers. :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Gordy Headless Bass. . . . . . .

You don't see many of these - in fact, I had never seen one until this
turned up for sale, a couple of years ago.
I had no idea what it would be like when it arrived - tried to find out
something about it but without any luck - Google "Gordy" and you get
details and images of all the people in the world called "Gordon"!!

So, when it arrived, I had a completely open mind about it, no
preconceptions no reviews, no comparisons. . . . Nothing.
Picked it up, gave it the "once over" and my first thoughts were how
well it was made, real quality and the fretwork is as good as I have ever seen.

The strings on it were VERY light, which at the time was not something I was
used to, as my usual preference is around 40 - 100.
Sat down, had a quick go - unplugged and found it so easy to play - thin
gauge strings encouraged a bit of bending, which is something I never
normally do - smiles all round.

When I did get round to plugging it in, smiles turned into frowns!
Nothing, dead! Bah - either there is something major here or we need a
new battery!
Battery installed, plugged in - WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was certainly a VERY powerful beast! It had a big punch to it, a lot of
depth plenty of brightness and loads of tone.
Put it on a strap, stood up - balanced perfectly and felt very light - just the job!
The strings were getting on a bit, so I ordered some of the same gauge,
having found that I liked the feel of them on that particular bass.
After fitting them, it sounded even better.
In a few words. . . a Cracking Bass!!

As I said, I know very little about it - from what I have found out, Gordy was
Gordon Witham and was originally part of Gordon Smith, who have been
making guitars for many years and are still very active.
I think it's a mid to late 80's and from what little I have found, they were very
expensive at the time - mainly used by pro bass players when in that era,
loads of players went headless.

Since I have had mine, I have only seen one other and the only image I
can find of it, is from the back, in a very tasteful red.

If you ever come across one, it would be well worth a second look
and I'd seriously doubt you would see another one, in the flesh,
for a very long time.

Back next week with something Japanese.

Cheers. :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ibanez Studio SB-70 - Aha!!. . . . . . .


Quick lunchtime post - I have now found out why there has been
so much interest in my Ibanez Studio SB-70.

I was put on to this little beauty, which has just sold in the USA.
This is what mine would have looked like, when it was new.

The one above, is not mine. . . . . . . . .

This is mine!!

What a difference!!

Cheers. :)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Back to the begining. . . . . . .

Sunday morning, steaming coffee and just checking e.mails and
related stuff.

I have read though some of my older posts this morning - nice to
revisit them - remind me of the guitars I have listed already and
noticed a couple of spelling mistakes and "grama-tickle" errors!! :)

Hey, Ho that's how they are and that's how they will stay!

It's great to see new visitor's and how they found me, so to all you
new visitors out there, Hi - Welcome. :)

You are probably here as fellow collecting/playing enthusiasts or
landed here on a search for something in particular.
If you are looking to acquire a bass or guitar, that is the same as I have,
I'm always happy to answer questions, honestly - not everything I have
is "Stunning" or "Out of this World".

You may be looking for an instrument you haven't seen here - I may have
one, just haven't listed it yet - there is still a long was to go and as I have
bought a couple more, over the last few months, may be never ending!! :)
Drop me a line and I will try and accelerate it to the top of the list.
I could pretty much evaluate and describe an instrument, within a day or
two - dig it out and have a go but the thing that holds me back is the task
of taking good/reasonable images. Must try harder!! :)

Would be great to here from you - perhaps you have something that you
have seen on my list, I would be interested in your opinion and could
probably use your comments as reference.

So, as I have been looking back, perhaps you would like to.
If you want to read this from the start and read towards today, shouldn't take
too long, as some of the earlier posts were a bit thin on the ground.
Click on the link and it will take you back to day one.

Right, off to get another coffee, see you all next week.

Cheers. :)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Speedster "Travels" a long way. . . . . .

Well, bit bleary eyed today - lunchtime and I've been up for nearly
9 hrs, already! Yawn!

I was going to come to this one a bit later on but things moved on
a bit quicker than I thought and as I am typing this, the Speedster
has probably already travelled about 1700 miles!!

It will be spending the next six months, sailing around the Caribbean
on the worlds largest cruise liner, so by the time it gets back, it will
be a Well travelled. . . . . Traveller!

It has gone with an MP3 Tascam and a small lead, in a suitcase!
I only got to play with for about half an hour but in that time I had a
lot of fun, with what is a serious instrument and not a toy.

Some great design features and to be honest, would be good enough
to gig, if you wanted to travel light.
The pic is from the net, as I didn't have time to get a shot of it but as
it is a "Travel Guitar", I'll see if I can get some shots sent to me, on
it's travels around the Caribbean seas!

Have a look at this - wouldn't love to spend a couple of weeks on board?

Back to dear old Blighty!!
Took my Greco Rickenbacker, often referred to as "Rickenfaker", to
rehearsals, last night, after having a string change.
What a difference it made!!
It was quite bright and punchy before but a new set of Picato strings
has brought out it's true character - both pick-ups on, front one backed
off, just a little, tones full up - Mmm, Nice!
I haven't got any photos of it but will try and get some sorted, as it is
a great looker as well as being a great player.

For my final comment - my live feed widget thing seems to be indicating
that there are several searches for "Ibanez Studio SB70".
I guess there may be one of for sale, somewhere.
Well to all those who might be interested in one, if you get it, I'm sure you
won't be disappointed - mine is, ermm, "Well used" but is still a cracker.
Go on, have a go - you know you want to. :)

Back next time with the "Unusual" thing I was going to do!
Cheers. :)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Peavey T-40 - Again? Oh, yes . . . . . . .

More T-40 - Well, why not?
Plenty more to come but all in good time. :)

This a 1979 Toaster and has a lovely warm tone, both on the single
coils and on the Humbucker, which fattens up the sound as it is brought
into play, at 7 on the dial.

I pull this out when I start to feel all "Vintage" and do "walking bass"
on it and anything that is a bit old school.
The older ones are more Slab Bodied than the later blade type T-40, so
is a bit like comparing an old Slab Precision to the the later contoured type.

This one is in great condition for something that is over 30 years old and
the body is one of the more rare "Three Piecer" T-40's.

There is a T-40 that I know of, which in my opinion, must be very rare.
This has a very large centre section, which I have never seen before and
belongs to a fellow enthusiast, who was happy to let me use his excellent
photos. Thanks Jon - top shots, a very good example of an early Forty.

As you can see, the centre section on Jon's is much wider than
on mine - nice piece of timber! :)

If any visitors know of another like this one, I'd love to see it.

Before I go, I will leave you with a little tip. Make sure the Jack
is pushed well home into the socket!

I took an 85 Musician out, the other night, which I haven't played
for some time, as it is MINT and I don't fancy putting the first ding
into the old fella!
Pushed the Jack in, all the way, or so I thought - pushed the other
end into the amp and got nothing. :( Fiddled around, still nothing!
Now you know one of those moments when you go "all hot" and you
start to think the worst?? . . . . . . I had one of those.
Battery was not that old - immediate thought was that the circuit
had gone and was going to be a bit of a nightmare to sort.
Fortunately, I had taken another bass to rehearsals, so plugged that
in quickly, before everyone else arrived - result!

Spent all night worrying about it and most of the following day.
Plugged in into a little practice amp, still nothing!!!!!!!
Took the Jack out, pushed in harder - bingo!
Felt like a bit of a Muppet!
To be fair, for some reason on that bass, you have to push it really firmly.

You live and learn. :)

Back next time, with something a bit different, rare, British and headless!

Cheers. :)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Kimbara, from under the bed. . . . .

This is a Kimbara Ripper Copy - the only one I have ever seen
in the flesh, so to speak

I remember having a go on a Gibson Grabber, years ago, when I
was playing mostly guitar and thinking what an ungainly beast it was.
The Grabber had a sliding pick-up, the same sort of idea that
The Rail uses.
Move the pick-up and change the tone.

The Ripper was different - it had two fixed pick-ups and a rotary switch.
I've had this for some time and gigged it last year, in drop D for a couple
of numbers we were doing at the time.
It has a good range of sounds and it surprisingly comfortable to play.
Balances nicely, just the right weight, nice neck.
The back pick-up is very slightly microphonic but not noticeable when
playing live and with the rotary in the "both pick-up" selection gives a
big, full sound, ideal for the songs we were doing.

This was described to me as "lived under the bed for years" and as
such was "almost as new"
Deal was done and I was going to be in the area, so I went to collect.
I was a bit surprised when I was shown towards a brick built
toilet/shed, at the bottom of the garden but was soon assured that it
was only in there as they were moving house.
It was summer, so no huge worries.
As the door opened into this 8 x 6 room, there was a full Trace rig,
all plugged in and ready to go, with the bass leaning against it.
WOW, it really is in good nick! Quick play and I was on my way.

Apart from seeing loads of "Kimbara" in a local music shop,
"when I were a nipper" they are not as common as some of the
other brands.
From memory, these were imported by FCN and according to the
only information I can find and from some help from a fellow enthusiast
from the fine City of Edinburgh, were probably made by Matsumoku.
The Kimbara shares a lot of features with some of the Aria range,
so it may have been made by them, in the earlier days.
This one is a neck through and is very similar in quality, to early Aria.

Would love to hear from anyone who has one of these.

Back next time with something a bit rare and a bit unusual,
which is what I really like.

Cheers. :) 

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