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Author Topic: forum newbie, long term Bantam cusodian  (Read 1971 times)

Offline DynamoHum

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forum newbie, long term Bantam cusodian
« on: January 12, 2012, 08:10:27 PM »
hi folks, first post here, and a bit of a plea for information.  It's a bit of a story, but indulge me if you will...

Recently, my son announced his desire to learn and play bass... and his mother prompted him to approach me about borrowing my aged and care-worn bass for the task.  He lives with his mum, and is really a little young to get his hands over the big strings properly (he's about to turn 10), and sentimentality for my old bass had me reluctant to hand it over...

My bass is an old headless Bantam of indeterminate age: back in the days when I was a callow youth, I would spend whatever of my spare cash wasn't going on guitar strings, car mags or smokes on new instruments and the like.  I'd spent my teens aspiring to play in bands, having grown up among a group of older, long-haired cousins who played loud covers throughout the 70's, and who had fostered my own love of music.  By the time I left home at 18, I'd gigged as a bass-player (primarily as a means of getting a foot in the door, as I aspired to play loud, wild guitar - my ambition outstripping my talent by a fair margin), and later as a rhythm guitarist in what I fancied was the Malcom Young mould...

Anyhow, on one of my weekly visits to the local guitar shop in Wollongong, I spotted a cream-coloured Bantam B-60 bass.  Older kids at school had used other Steinberger copies, which I thought were pretty cool (being the 80's and all), and with a bit of a leaning towards the strange and unusual (the purchase of the bass precluded me buying the perspex-bodied guitar I'd originally ambled in to buy), I hefted the bass, and deemed it compact and light enough - as well as its striking looks - to fill the bass-sized hole in my collection.  You see, I moderately loathed the traditional Fender Precisions on the basis of their bulk and mass, and just wanted something I could pick up and play, when the mood took me, and later once I had purchased my four track, would make enough low notes to fill out the sounds I was chasing.

So I bought it without even plugging it into anything.

It served that purpose for the next 7-8 years, until mates lured me into gigging as their bass player, and then it really came into its own.  And then it sat in a dark cupboard, while I got married, had kids, hocked myself to the eyeballs and generally resigned from the human race.

No.1 Son's request had me thinking that the initial reasons I picked the Bantam might've made it suitable for him too (even if I couldn't bring myself to hand it over), and so I've spent this morning trying to find another one at a reasonable spend.  Futilely, I might add.  But it ignited some personal curiosity about the Bantam bass, raising questions I've ignored for around 20 years, simply because I was busy enjoying it for what it is.

So, how do I go about finding more info on my little Bantam?  I wouldn't have imagined that they were really all that rare, but it has always generated comment for its shape, and praise among players for its tone and the grunt you get from something that looks more like a cricket bat than a stringed instrument. 

It's Serial No. 341357, and I couldn't be sure that it was new when I bought it circa 1991-2.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2012, 08:16:41 PM by DynamoHum »

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: forum newbie, long term Bantam cusodian
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 10:19:54 AM »
Seems like everyone who has a Washburn headless bass loves the thing!! They don't show up very often, for sure. Personally, I've been interested in a B-20 since playing one back in the 1980s when I was flat broke, & while not "a collector" in the market, I've yet to see one used....

Offhand, all I know is that it's an unlicensed copy of the Steinberger, but without the double-ball string system. (I can't find any indication that this copying led to a cease-&-desist, so I suspect that production was never very large.) Yet I have seen at least one strung with double-ball strings, so maybe it'll handle both?

At a guess, I think it's Matsumoku era, which would be pre-1987. If so, one source says the first digit is the year, so then 1983.

Seems like the (licensed) Hohner version is a LOT more common on the market. If you find any more info on the Washburns, I hope you'll keep us informed!!
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