Thursday, 26 May 2011

CMI Artist Model Fretless. . . . . . .

I have had this for some time but lent it to a friend on a long
term loan and only realised how nice it was when
I got it back,
around Christmas time.

I had lent it out as it was, which could best be described as "well used",
with a couple of minor issues - pots slightly loose and needing a damn
good clean up.
When I got it back, that's exactly what I did.

I have never seen another one like this, although I have seen loads of
other CMI Guitars and Basses, so I asked Jon for his input.

Hi Eric,
Good to see some pics of this one, very classy old bass!

I think it's a late 70s copy, looks pretty accurate to me - in fact apart
from the logo & MIJ plate the only thing that would immediately ID it as
a copy is the 7-screw bridge.
Am I right in thinking it's a single-piece neck too, rather than having a
glued-on fretboard?

Anyway, the problem with later MIJ copies is that the more accurate
they got the harder it is to tell them apart, and CMI sourced from several
different factories.
This makes it pretty awkward to stick my neck out & name a factory!
Can you tell if the brass nut's original?

Certainly never seen this on a copy before but if it is original that would
definitely put it at late 70s, wherever it's from.
Neckplates are as always the best clue, and I can say it's not Matsumoku.
I think the bass is likely 76 - 78, and Mat plates would have either the factory
or a Steel Adjustable Neck stamp, as well as a dateable serial number by
this point. Probably.

Plates stamped on the lower half like this were very commonly used on
Fujigens - prior to the introduction of serials in late '75 they were all like this,
and I think non-serial plates were still used on the more generic off-brand

So Fujigen's a possibility if not a certainty.
A few other factories (not all of which have been specifically identified!) used
this style of plate so the only way of making a 100% positive ID would be to
find an identical bass with a brand with a known origin.
Personally I'd love to be able to compare this to say, an Ibanez Silver/Challenger
Series of the equivalent Antoria - with enough attention to detail you could work
out if the neck, body & routing had used the same templates or CNC settings.

Anyway, I'm inclined to say it might well be a Fujigen build - I'll have a dig & see
if I can find some comparable Ibanez, Antoria or Greco basses from the same
approximate era.

It is surprisingly nice to play, has a great feel and a great fretless
sound, with me doing the best I can on an unmarked board.
It also has that "old school" feel to it, like something you would find
leaning on an old amp in a blues club, while the owner went out for a
smoke and another swig of Jack Daniel's.
Love it to bits.
This CMI reminds me a lot of my Hondo Professional.

Hondo Professional

After Jon kindly sent me the info, I came across this a few days ago,
which shows a great deal of interest in CMI, from certain quarters.

One of the posts - SteveShark - tells of how he is a friend of Jim
Marshall's son, Terry, so I guess what he had to say was almost from
the horses mouth.

And finally. . . . . I went to have a look at one of my watchers sites,
which is in it's early days but has already got some great stuff on it.
Well worth a look.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Back next time with something different.

Cheers. :)

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