Here’s a piece of history on the workbench. A fantastic Precision Bass made by Leo Fender in 1963, two years before the company was sold to the mighty CBS Broadcasting Inc. Its age makes this instrument a fascinating, valuable, and classic piece of music industry folklore. Leo Fender/CBS history here…
It also has an interesting ownership history as it was owned and played by Richard McCracken who was the bassist in Rory Gallagher’s band Taste. The bass can be seen being played by Richard on stage here… at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. More festival history here…
The current owner bought the bass sometime in the 1970s from a well known music shop in South East London. It enjoyed a busy playing life for a few years but eventually got put into storage. And there it has remained until now. The owner has decided to start playing again and needs his bass back.
After an extensive workshop examination it was decided that the bass should remain fairly unchanged if it is to retain its authenticity and value. With vintage guitars this workshop prefers to adopt a “less is more” work ethic.
The good news is that the guitar has very little wrong with it. The pick-ups and electrics are in working order. The truss-rod, bridge-saddles and machine heads still work properly. The only work required is for a few frets to be replaced, two new speed knobs, new strings and a set-up.
The neck angle is a little shallow, causing a high playing action. This is easy to adjust with this type of bolt-on neck.
The factory date stamp verifies the age of the neck. The prefix “C” indicates the neck profile type ~ Frets 1 – 11 are showing signs of heavy wear
The frets are gently heated and removed. The fingerboard is lightly sanded and the fret slots slightly enlarged
The following video clip shows the partial re-fret in Fast Mo
Meet the owner Jim, he’s the man with the bass (and the shades)
More enlarged photos here…
Soundtrack: Bass Instinct 5 by Chris Norton and Frank Mizen
A week or so later I received this email from Teresa, Jim’s partner and instigator of the restoration work.
I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for the work you have done on Jimmy’s guitar. He can’t believe it’s the same instrument, the magic you have worked on his baby is unbelievable. Great service, from your initial advice on the phone, for recognising that it is a rare vintage guitar and for your sympathetic restoration. We really appreciate your less is more approach to work carried out on this type of guitar. You have managed to improve the playability yet retain the character of this wonderful old beast. We had not realised how important it was to retain as much of the originality of an instrument from that era, and your knowledge and expertise was greatly appreciated. Your passion in your work is something very rare in this day and age. The additional research you did, finding a YouTube clip of the guitar being played at the Isle of Wight festival was very impressive.
Having looked at the piece about the guitar on your web site we thought you might also like to know a little bit more about the missing years. Jimmy played in a band called Michael Robinson and in several pub/club bands in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the South East London area. The Michael Robinson band even had a single (Rich Man) released on President Record label which had airplay on Radio 1 and was slated by Tony Blackburn. At which point Jimmy decided to join the ‘establishment’ and get a proper job!!!!!!
When we dropped off the guitar another one of your clients was just leaving and his passing comment to us was, “it’s in good hands” and he was right. We would recommend your service to anyone with a guitar in need of some love, care and restoration; because we know that’s what any instrument left with you will receive.
You will be pleased to know that Jimmy has now bought a guitar stand is about to invest in a case…..lol!!!!
Teresa and Jimmy