Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Retro Instant Vintage Barker B1 Bass

Mr Holly enjoyed looking at my wall of Barker Bass Mistakes.  Bass bodies that didn't make the grade.  That failed just late enough that they look done but never were.  Some that got assembled, and played, and then up and failed, for any of several reasons:  finish, material, unequal expansion of woody cells (splitting and cracking, in layperson language) or something I cannot remember. 

He picked out one and asked if I could make a bass out of that.  "Sure!"   There was nothing of failure about this bass body.  It must have been excluded from the line on a whim.  He sensed the quality apparently.

We worked out a price and a schedule and a down payment and I gathered parts.

So much is the same.  Sonically, the instrument has not changed since the beginning.  Esthetically, however, it has changed more than a teenager gone from home for a year of college 4000 miles away. 

Assembling this instrument for Mr. Holly has been a nostalgic journey.  I have come to appreciate how many little things are different, slightly or emphatically, from serial #1 (which you see hanging in the background).  Here is a picture of the first sounds that came from this rare birdseye pine bass:

Royal Thumpety, Batman!  Sounds great!  EMG pickups, which I'd had in stock but never used, have a nice, crisp sound with plenty of underneath.  The strings are LaBella Super Steps, which look odd on the bridge but  respond nicely and predictably.

And finally the formal portrait, having received the tailpiece, the monogram, the truss rod cover and the final buff.

And some closeups of this amazing piece of wood.

It looks like it was built 7 years ago or so, but no.  It's a New Retro Instant Vintage Barker B1 Bass, ready for some serious playing on Mr. Holly's porch.  Hand me that cord!  Plug in that amplifier!  Somebody count it off!