Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guyatone Bass 1966

Here's a really interesting's a 1966 Guyatone Bass and I have no idea what model it is. But it's wacky and weird and really cool all at the same time. I found this for a whopping $40 at the Oceanside Swap Meet and left the parking lot feeling like the cat that ate the canary. Going to swap meets and garage sales and thrift stores hoping to find a gem is a LOT more about perseverance than anything else. I have been lucky enough to find some really cool items at these places, but more often than not I come home empty handed. But on those rare occasions that you do score big, you just can't help but feel like it's all worthwhile.

When I got this bass home I started trying to figure out what it was. There was no logo on the headstock, though later I noticed that there is the very faint mark left of a large "G" which can be found on old Guyatones. There are a lot of similar instruments to the Guyatones (though not this one) with a large "K" for Kent that look like the same art department made the logos. There was a sticker on the back of the dong-shaped headstock that just said, "Electric Bass No. 99-9920." It was actually in very good condition except for one area on the side that had lost a fair amount of finish. Otherwise it seemed good (more on that later). I took a bunch of photos and sent them to Mike Robinson over at My Rare Guitars. Mike is also the creative genius behind Eastwood Guitars and just happens to be an all-around nice guy. Mike knows a lot about these weird old guitars and has a lot of them for sure to click the first link and check out his archives of '60s and '70s oddballs.

Mike wrote back to inform me that from the looks of the inlays on the neck, and from his past experience with another similar instrument, he thought it was a Guyatone. It was only at that point that I recognized the faint outline of the G logo and confirmed that Mike was dead on. With this new knowledge at hand, I snapped a few more photos of the weird headstock, the odd bridge with actual cotton-like padding and a large screw holding things in place, and I listed it on eBay.

This thing was heavy, awkward to play, and although it was a great find, it was never something I was seriously going to keep for long. It was really more of a money maker.

To cut to the chase, the bass sold for a couple of hundred bucks (or somewhere in there...I don't remember exactly) and I shipped it out. Everything seemed to be in order. After about a week I got a not very nice email from the guy that bought it. He was really pissed off that "I had ripped him off...the neck was warped and bowed and the instrument was useless." I was really taken aback. I know a little something about guitars, but I would never claim to be anything close to a guitar tech or an expert of any kind. However I really think I would have noticed a warped and twisted neck. Since the bass was long gone and I couldn't inspect it myself, I just had to take the guy's word for it that I had made a colossal mistake and sold a faulty instrument. I don't remember the exact details, but I think we came to an agreement about how much I needed to refund him to make it worthwhile for him to try to get it fixed. Hopefully he ended up being happy about it...I really don't want anyone feeling ripped off from an eBay transaction. I know how I have felt about certain guitars that didn't meet my expectations.

Now to the question I ask myself about each and every instrument...would I want it back. I'll keep it short: no! Hell no, in fact. Heavy, uncomfortable, not great sounding, difficult to change strings, penis shaped headstock...need I go on? I think not.


Speedy said...

I've also got a Guyatone Mosrite'70s a time ago.
I have a problem with it, because I can make it sounds it tune. Its bridge is completely fixed to the body and there's no way to calibrate the strings. It's about a half tone down.
I'd like to ask you if you know somewhere I can to get a different bridge. I've been seing your pictures but the protection over the bridge doesn't let me see if your bridge is different.

erlangga said...

i ever seen Guyatone Bass 70`s at a second hand music instrumental shop. The body is like Yamaha Guitar 70`s. The weird thing is that it has switch up-down to switch the pick up, just like guitar. So i wonder if it is really a bass, i thought it`s a guitar that had been modified into bass. The sound is very very mellow when the switch turned to UP. It`s brighter and harder when turned to DOWN.

Dm said...

I'm cracking up over here.

That last bit was the FUNNIEST!


Anonymous said...

That's a Guyatone EB-8, and they aren't impossible to find in Japan. The neck is fat and feels almost like an upright.

Unknown said...

Just acquired This bass. It was given to me. The model is an EB8. Unplayable as it is now. The bridge is ridiculous. Ugly as sin. Strings have to sit an inch above the fret board. I'm going to fix it up and turn it into a fretless. There is just something about this bass that I like. A new bridge and nut. Rout out for adjustable pickups. The neck seems to be okay. We'll see what happens.