The one that got away…

Is there a guitar or bass that you missed out on that just sticks with you? This is mine…

Back before I found my soul mate (my beautiful ’72 P-Bass) I was a bass player in limbo… longingly looking for the bass that would become my life partner in my journey to super stardom. I’ve spoken about this in a previous guitarnerd story (check it here) but there was a small chapter to the story that could’ve changed everything.

In 2003, when I was struggling (and failing) to get to grips with my silver PRS Bass, I was playing a show in Sydney and had a few hours to kill before our show. There was a very cool guitar shop in Newtown that sold nothing but vintage gear on consignment, like Swap Shop in Melbourne. When I walked in, the bass to end all basses was hanging on the wall. I’d never seen anything like it, and haven’t since.

It was a complete Frankenstein. The body was a black 70’s slab bodied Telecaster Bass with a white scratchplate. Nothing too weird there… there was the big Fender widerange humbucker at the neck, but someone had added a vintage Musicman Stingray humbucker in the middle along with a vintage Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge. From memory, switching was handled by a 5 way Stratocaster switch. Cool, huh?

But the coolness didn’t end there… whatever genius built this monster had fitted a LEFT HANDED 70’s Jazz Bass neck. It looked amazing, and the string tension was totally bizarre as the string lengths were totally different to what I was used to. I’ve drawn up what she looked like…

I was instantly in love. The price was $1100, which seems a lot for a bitsa bass, but I needed to own it. In my head, this was the bass that I was going to be known for… my signature instrument. I grabbed it and went to the counter… a bit light headed. This is when things didn’t go to plan.

The young guy behind the counter said one of his friends wanted the bass and had it on hold. I asked if he’d put any money on it yet. No.  I said I had money NOW and would pay in cash. The dude rang his friend and explained the situation, but his friend said he still wanted the bass, so the answer was no. I said I’d pay $1300. The guy behind the counter started squirming and rang his mate again. No dice… his mate said he’d have the money soon.

Disappointed (and I admit… a little teary) I put the bass back on the wall and walked out. To this day, I feel that me and that bass were meant for each other. We would’ve played some frikken’ amazing shows together. Who knows where it is now.

I keep thinking that I should build a replica… otherwise this sense of regret won’t go away. Hell, it’s been nearly ten years and I’m still pissed off about it. Yeah… I think I better do it. For closure.


Thanks to the internetz and the fantastic guitarnerd facebook group, the bass has been found!!! It’s in a Sydney band called Border Thieves. Here’s the bass in action. You can see why I wanted it so bad.


Thanks to Matt Rochester for his amazing detective skills. YAY INTERNET!