Thought I would do a Throwback Thursday post on a bass that I haven’t really covered here on PedalsAndEffects. That bass being my first ever Fender bass. When I moved back to Los Angeles in the 80’s, I was playing a Yamaha BB-800 bass which was Yamaha’s version of a Precision bass but the pickups were upside down. The neck on that bass was like a baseball bat and it weighed a ton so it was not the best bass for ripping fast Racer X type lines (though I used this bass on the first Racer X record, “Street Lethal” and ripped some fast breaks on that record). I had to find something I could shred on because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Paul Gilbert!
Paul and I ended up endorsing Ibanez and while Paul was happy, I never ended up with a bass that I particularly loved. We were deep into Racer X’s Second Heat writing/rehearsing and I decided to go to Guitar Center in Hollywood and check out what was available to shred. I remember there being hundreds of guitars and about thirty basses hanging on the wall back then and I diligently played every single bass they had. They had basses that were 3-4 thousand dollars and they had basses that were under $500.00. If I had to, I was willing to borrow money off my parents to buy the most expensive bass if that meant I found the bass.
The one bass I kept going back to was an inexpensive Squier jazz bass made in Japan for Fender. The bass resonated extremely well, was super balanced, and the neck was fast and slim too! (I was used to a 1.75 neck as opposed to this 1.5 neck which is a huge difference). I could rip anything I wanted on this bass and with the band’s composition, Scarified, in my future, I bought that bass in hopes that I could keep up!
That bass was my main bass from 1986 to the mid 90’s. I put in Bartolini pickups early on, added a Hipshot D-tuner and a Gotoh bridge and then the Fender custom shop put a “Fender” decal over the Squier on the headstock because they had no trouble selling the Squiers and were more interested in selling the USA Fenders. Any longtime fan of Fender knows that the 80’s Squier series that were made in Japan were better than most USA Fenders made at the time. The consistency was unmatched for that time and even my bass teacher, Steve Evans, plays his Squier I got for him at st, to this day.
Moral of the story? The most expensive instrument is not always the best instrument. I got this bass for $300.00 out the door with no case! I walked down Sunset Blvd with just this bass in my hands (and hella long hair!)