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. :)

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. :)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Fender Japan PB 57. . . . . .

I am in the process of getting some shots together,
in order to carry on with the collection, as time
constraints have meant that the blog has not had
my full attention, so sorry to all those who drop in.

Here is a blast from the past! :)

Whilst I was going through some images on a memory
stick, I came across these two, which to date, have
not been seen on here.

I had three Fender Japan basses, at one time - this one,
another precision, with a rosewood neck and a lovely
None are with me now but these two pictures have 
finally surfaced and I thought they were worthy of
sticking up on here. 

Next time - another Reeve and some more Reeve content.

Cheers. :)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Another Ibanez Blazer. . . . .

Around 4 years ago, I sold my old Blazer, to someone
who I have now got to know quite well, on line.

This one.

Well, after some time, he sold it and has regretted the moment, ever since!

This was a battered but trusty old friend - a cracking bass, in many respects.

I sort of regretted it, when I let it got but I had an RB650, which is the same
bass with a J type pick-up and that was also a joy to play. - I now have 3
of them but still lacking a Blazer.

That was until a few weeks ago, when another Blazer, joined the fold.

I sort of have plans for it but not sure if I have the courage to go ahead
with them!!
I am still thinking about it but those of a squeemish nature, may not want
to look, if I do!!!

Talking of Ibanez, I have been playing my old RS824, quite a lot, recently.
I have searched the blog but can't find it!
Can't believe I have not covered it.

So, next time - more Ibanez content!!

Cheers. :) 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Greco GOB II 750, one of the best!

Well, it's time to do this one.

I took this shot, quite a few years ago and was going 
to feature this truly great bass, some time ago... but. . 

I then had second thoughts.
If I tell everyone how good they are, they will be harder
to find!
So, I set about finding another one, which took several
years and when I'd got it, I thought I would do a post
on it and have it over and done with!
But. . . . . . they also did a Maple version and wouldn't
it be nice to add that one?

Well, I've decided, enough is enough, I'll just have 
to go ahead and do it!

There is just something I just love about this bass!
It feels just right, in almost every respect and has,
as I often describe when talking about pick-ups,
tone and sound - a punch that would destroy
kidney stones, at ten paces!!
Single pick-up, in just the right place, volume and
tone control - simple!

Both of mine are 1979, making them 36 years old.
The quality of build, is A1 Triple Star - Plus!!
The pick-up is the same used in another favourite
of mine - The Ibanez Blazer, 1980.
It is also used on the Roland, G-33 and G-88 Snyth
Bass, as used by. . . . . . Phil Lynott, so the pedigree
is all there!

There isn't much else to say - I'm not going to compare
it to a Gibson or Fender or anything, for that matter,
as it is what it is - a truly great instrument.

When you look at the quality of some of the bigger names,
during that period - let's face it, quite a lot has been 
said over the years about how some of them lost their
way, for a period of time - then look at what was coming
out of Japan.
Greco, Ibanez, Aria - you look at magazine adverts, around
that time - major artists were moving over in droves!!

As soon as you pick this bass up, you can see why.

Some one said, back end of last year "why don't you
list some of your favourites?" . . . . . well I certainly 
have done so with this one!!

Anyone out there got one - Would love to hear from you.

Anyone in the UK got a Maple one??

Cheers. :)