Monday, 28 December 2015

Reeve Headless Bass - Nearly There. . . . .

More progress has been made!

I tend to save old strings to mess around and do a basic set up.
I don't do it every time but this seemed like a good candidate.
These came from a Jazz bass and I think I may have cut them  
a little short!!

Never mind, they are only temporary, I'll correct that later on.

Having fixed the broken joint and fitted a new battery, it was time
to plug it in.
Very nice, indeed!!

On passive there is quite a big sound to it with some tones that are
more than acceptable - turn on the active - Wow!
As you have seen from the previous post, it has an "old fashioned" 
looking circuit but there is a lot going on in there.
The rear control knob operates a five position rotary switch, which
takes you from a deep, powerful thud, though to biting highs.
After playing around with it for a while, I think my favourite is
position two - big bottom end with some mid bite. Nice!
I must have taken the strings of the Jazz, as they were loosing their
edge but on this, they seem just fine!

The bridge is totally floating and to be honest a bit of a fiddle but
seems to follow the design of some other Reeve basses I have seen.
The action and intonation aren't set at the moment - I'll get around
to that soon, as I think I will leave these strings on for the time being.

The frets have come up really nicely and the wonderfully "hand made"
string anchor works a treat, with the setting being done with the little
tool screwed into the bottom. How thoughtful!

A few minor jobs to finish off and then time to plug it into something
big and powerful!

Back next time with a full report.

Cheers. :)


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Reeve Headless - The Re-build Continues. . . .

Hi to all you patient readers. :)

Right, where are we up to now?


The top shot show the tuners finished and re-fitted and the
one above shows it when I took the cover plate off it.

As you can see, in red marker, it says "Derek".

I have no idea who Derek is or was - or what the arrow is for, 
unless Derek was the engraver and the instruction is "this
is the top"? 

All cleaned up inside with a dab of white grease, to keep it
running smoothly.

The other day, whilst I had the iron out, I sorted out the 
wayward wire, which was the only thing that was wrong
with the electronics.

And finally, for this post - I cleaned up the board, making 
the frets and the brass position markers stand out very
nicely - all shiny.
One coat of lemon oil, job done.

Currently, I am in the middle of cleaning the body and 
refitting the bridge, then the string retainer and the knobs
for the pots and selector switch.

So, back next time with more details and pics.

Cheers. :)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Peter Cook - Guitars, Basses and July. . .

Any regular readers will know I did a big feature on 
Peter cook, the guitar builder - perhaps most famous
for his work with The Who.

He also made many other instruments, including these.


Quite a long time ago, Peter and I arranged another meeting
but Peter was not well at the time and that has sort of been
on-going, for some time.
In his own words, he said that the "Nuking" was over and he
is back in the loop.

So, after some considerable time, we are going to meet up,
early next year and chew over some of the other work he did,
as well as catching up.

I am pleased to tell you that he is back out gigging again, 
with "July"

July - The Band 

I had a lot of readers follow Peter's story, so. . . .  sit tight
and I'll keep you posted!!

The Reeve is coming on nicely - pics and details to follow!

Cheers. :)  

Monday, 19 October 2015

Bass Guitar Collection!

Dear readers.

I have had a bit of a telling off, which to be fair, is probably well deserved!

One of my long time readers, sent me several screen shots a few months
ago and said, that having done a search on various search engines, my
collection came first, top left, on a lot of the ones he tried.
Fair enough!

He continued with "so why don't you get cracking and show us some more!!"

Well, it's finding the time!!
The Reeve project has taken so much longer than it should - the weather
has not been too bad over the summer - hedges to trim, grass to be cut, gigs
to do and go to, several trots down to the pub and all manner of other things!!

I have apologised in the past, for my lack of continuity but anyone who runs
a blog, will know it takes more than just a few words.
Some I know, make an entry almost every day!

So, this is not an apology, more of a I will try harder - the winter is on it's way
so I may be able to knuckle down again.

And. . . . while I'm here, this is a call to anyone who has a Reeve Guitar or Bass.
I have had several good contacts from owners and would like to hear from others.

The Reeve is in hand and I will be putting up another post. . . . Real Soon!!

Cheers. :) 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Flat Eric. . . . Fame, at last!

Two posts in one day!! 

Yep, it's like London busses - you wait for ages and then
several all turn up at once!!

Back at the start of the year, I was contacted by Willie Mosely,
who writes for The Vintage Guitar magazine - he was writing a
book on Peavey guitars and basses and had read some of my features
that I had done with the help of Chip Todd.

Well, the book is finished, a few of my examples have been used in the 
book and my copy arrived today. 

If you are interested in Peavey, a very worthwhile purchace!

Fame at last!!

Cheers. :) 

Back onto the Reeve restoration next time. :)

Reeve - Other owner.

I've just received this comment and thought it worthy of posting up.

"Hi Flat Eric, Some info on Reeve guitars - bear with me it's a bit of a yarn! 

First, I bought a Mex Tele (I'm a 6 stringer by the way) that needed a set up. 
My bassist at the time suggested I take to a mate of his, one Jez Reeve in Luton. This we did and Jez did a splendid job for really no money and whilst I was there I took a shine to one of Jez's creations, a Tele shaped beast with stunning looks and magic action that I nicked from him for £300 (his asking price) - the hardware alone is worth twice that! My abiding memory is how utterly charming, generous and talented Jez was and what a lovely wife he had. 

Sadly I heard about a year later that Jez had passed away and that makes my Reeve Tele so much more special. 
The world of music is a much poorer place for not having Jez around but I am privileged to have a fine example of his artistry. One other piece of info: in conversation Jez mentioned that in his early days he was associated in some way with the old Alligator guitar company.

I do have the name of the person but won't post it up.

Please, please get in touch - more and more Reeve are coming out of
the woodwork, all with similar tales of how pleasant the two of them were.

Contact me here  

Cheers. :)


Friday, 24 July 2015

More Reeve and - Nick Smith. . . . .

I have finally managed to get back onto the Reeve!

Just so busy, these days!! :)

Before that. . . .  how about this!

This is Nick Smith's Collection!

I've know about Nick for around 6 or 7 years, corresponded
with him quite a few times - helped me out with details of
the controls on my Axis (he had one) but to date, never met
this collector, extraordinaire!!
Our mutual connection here, is Lars Mullen.
He is always on the lookout for another collector, so I put
forward Nick's name.
This is a link the the whole feature:
Nick Smith's Collection 


Right, so this is how all the brass ware looked:

This is what they look like now:

There is a little more work on these required - re-assembly
etc and then they will be put to one side, ready for re-fitting
when the other work is done.

Hope to be back soon.

Cheers. :)  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bass Restoration - Kent Armstrong. . . . .

After a bit of research and a few pointers from readers,
I decided to approach  Kent Armstrong, to confirm that 
the pick-ups in the Reeve, were his. 

This was his reply and the subsequent conversation: 

Yes they are mine that I made many years ago !!   
What do you need to know ???

Kent, Hi.

Just a few questions. :)

On that type of pick-up, could you put a date on them - sort 

of 19** to 19**.
What sort of output would they have - they seem nice and punchy!
What would the connections be? 

The tabs to solder to, on the underside

And finally - Until I took them out, I was convinced that they 

were wooden covers.
Is the grain part of the mould?

Look forward to your reply.

Cheers. :)

Well let us see they were made in the early eighties . 
They are ceramic magneted to give that crunch. 

They are made from a wooden master but are cast epoxy .
The connectors are from left to right either way 

1= finish coil one ,2= start coil one,3= start coil two 
and 4=finish coil two.

Hope this helps you ??

I am in the process of cleaning up all the brass parts, at the moment.

A thorough clean of the board and the frets - re-solder the broken 
joint and a few other jobs.

Details and pictures next time.

On a different note, an avid reader of this blog - Hi, you know who
you are!! - has asked if I would be doing another part of the collection
with Lars Mullen.

All I can say at this stage is. . . . . let's see what happens next spring!

Cheers. :)




Friday, 5 June 2015

Bass Strip Down - Reeve Headless. . . . .

More Parts Removed.

The bridge is a fully floating type and this one seems to be hand made,
as a one off, using engineering equipment.
As yet, I don't know if the brothers did this in house or put the work 
out to a friend.

The string anchor has also been made from scratch. 

This was not an "assembled from a box of parts" instrument.

I have someone who remembers Reeve and as a younger player, had a Reeve
high on his list of instruments to have.

I remember them.

They were very well known in the Luton music scene back in the 80's and had a workshop next to their house on Gooseberry Hill.

Their attention to detail was truly astounding for the time and, as a fresh faced teen, owning a Reeve was high up on my list of 'must haves'.

Sadly that never happened.

Maybe when it's finished, he should have a go.

Underneath the grime, the position markers are brass and even with a gentle
clean, come up like gold.


The purpose made strap button and adjustment tool are also removed.
Looks like the original slot-head screw!

Last of the brass parts, for the time being -  are the control knobs - Vol, Tone and Five Position Switch, which from my trial run, give a great deal of tone variations.

The only thing I couldn't take off, was the tuners!
Every single key but one, in the toolbox and the one I didn't have. . . . was the one that I needed!!

That will be off soon.

Back with more.

Cheers. :)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Bass Restoration - Pick-ups. . . . . . .

Stripping down work has now started. 

Sure looks like wood!!

When I did get both pick-ups going, I was pleased with the output.
Having started the strip down, I was quite shocked to find that they
are not wooden covers - they are carefully moulded resin!
What a surprise.

I currently have no idea of the make.
They would be around 25 - 28 years old, I believe, so could be anyone
of the specialists from the 60's, 70's or 80's, who would have developed
more and more advanced pick-ups, over the years.

I am sort of thinking of Rainbow/Armstrong??
Needs more investigation.
If anyone has any clues, drop me a line in the comments.

Back next time with other parts removed.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bass Restoration - Reeve - The electronics. . . .

Before I started this feature, I had only had it out of the case once.
This was to give it a look over and plug it in.
The first thing that came to light, was the neck pick-up didn't work,
which wasn't a surprise as it was noted that the electrics were not
all fully functioning.

Having got the back off, it didn't take long to work out why!
The red and blue wires for the neck pick-up, had broken away
from the switch.
So, just after this shot was taken, I positioned the wires on the 
contact and bingo! It worked!

With the jack plug not fully pressed in, the active is not powered.
Jack in and the active circuit has power.
Micro switch forward and the active is engaged.

All I can say is - with some really old strings on, I got some great
sounds from the rotary switch - from bass boost to mids to highs.
Very nice indeed!
All the fun came to an end when the wire fell off again! 

All of it works - the pots are a little scratchy but nothing a clean
won't cure.
Very pleased so far!

I'm still not sure what the pick-ups are - that will be investigated
on the next post.

The bridge is very well made and is fully floating.
Height adjustment is in the usual manner but the intonation is
altered by physically pushing the saddles, backwards and forwards.
When all is correct, they are locked into place, with a grub screw
either side, which clamps them together and are then solid!

I'm quite looking forward to working on this one.

Back next time - pick-ups out and bridge and tuners off.

Cheers. :)

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

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Bass Restoration - Reeve Headless Bass. . . .

I sometimes get emails asking what sort of condition 
I look for, when adding to the collection.
Well, the short answer is - as good as I can find.
That said, when you come to something unique, you
just have to go with what you have got.

So, for something a little different, I thought I would
show you something a little unusual - how it looked
when it came to me and after several updates, how
it looks when finished.

Not a common name in instruments but I now have two
and have come across several others.
My other one is "Mr Lee" - a twin neck.

This is exactly how it came to me, untouched.
I have plugged it in - there are some wheezes and crackles
but you can get a sound out of it - other than that, it comes
with the finger marks of the previous owner/player and no
attention from me, whatsoever!

Next post will be all about a first going over - check the truss 
rod, a brief investigate into the crackles and a general check,
before the work begins.

I'll leave you with this - what a great little feature - keeps the 
bass upright, when stood up and doubles as a tool for string
changing. Brilliant!! 

Cheers. :)

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