Jo’s ‘Butcher Bird’ Bass


A vintage bass doesn’t have to be expensive to be cool…

Butcher Birds are an awesome Brisbane grunge-core band made up of my mates Jo Nilson, Jacinta Walker, Stacie & Donny. Their songs are full of doom laden drop-D riff goodness and they’ve been one of my faves for ages.

Jo’s main bass is my old white Japanese P-Bass that I sold to her years ago. I wanted a backup bass for my vintage ’72 Fender P-Bass, which has a factory Jazz neck on it. So I bought a 70’s reissue Japanese P-Bass (GREAT basses for the money) and then found an AllParts Jazz neck with black block inlays on eBay… Tim bolted it togther, added a Bad Ass bridge and for 800 bucks I had an awesome bass to take on the road with me. Anyway, after playing it for a year or two I’d only used it a few times which I thought was a waste of a great bass, so I sold it to Jo as I knew she needed a quality battle axe.


Unknown to me, Jo also had this cool Sakai lying around… here’s the story.

“I got this Sakai bass guitar when I expressed some interest in music when I was about 14 I suppose. My friend, who I hung out in the quadrangle being a weirdo with, gave it to me. Or let me borrow it and I never gave it back. I think it was an old one of his dad’s. This kid was white but wore one of those colourful round “African guy” hats and played a lot of van morrison covers, slap bass and looked like he didn’t brush his teeth a lot, bless.


Anyway, I’m sort of embarrassed of it, but love it to bits at the same time, it really captures a classic moment in teen-angst. I was heavily into Riot Grrl at the time as you can probably see. There’s a lot of Hole, Nine Inch Nails, Kyuss, Bikini Kill and Queens of The Stoneage stuff on there, all painted with PVC glue.


Many years later, I got annoyed and tried to rip it all off, wanting to repaint it, but then I felt bad and whacked a Giants sticker on there. My boyfriend got it rewired and set-up for my birthday a couple of years back, which was lovely of him, and it’s my spare in my band, Butcher Birds. I never have to play it because my current bass is basically the Stegosaurus of basses and i don’t really like playing short scale. My hands get confused. Plus it sounds pretty trebly. I really like the unusual Tele shape, the switches and the old-school bridge cover.



I think Sakai went bankrupt the year I was born, as an interesting sidenote.”