First Bass…and then some! a personal history of my bass guitars through the decades

Following a completely unrelated post on Cafe Crem, the subject of bass guitars arose, and it got me thinking about the many that have passed through my hands over the years. Sadly, not many have stayed with me, either through being strapped for cash or just plain stupid, or occasionally because they simply weren’t very good. I don’t have photos of me with all of them (which believe me, may be a blessing), but where possible, I’ll find a pic and post that instead.

So…the year was 1975. I’d had enough of the drums (and sitting at the back) I had been mightily inspired by Glenn Hughes’ vocal and bass performance on Deep Purple‘s “Burn” album from the previous year and, somewhat optimistically, I thought “I want to do that.”

Much to my parents horror, it wasn’t long before the kit was gone and a brand new shiny CMI copy of a Fender precision was in my sweaty little hand. The other hand held a weekly payment book from HFC Finance. My life as permanently in-debt muso had begun. No sooner had I plucked my first note, than I cashed in a life insurance policy and armed with the princely sum of 70 quid, bought a second-hand HH bass head. they lit up in the dark, man! I was becoming seriously rock’n’roll!

Fender precision A real Fender precision relaxing yesterday. not one of yer crap CMI copies like wot I had.

The drums became a distant memory as I gingerly set foot in the spotlight with my bass, playing covers with a local band called Spice. (with a girl singer- does that make her the original Spice girl?) Within weeks, I felt confident enough to realise this bass would soon outgrow its usefulness as a serious instrument. In a move that signaled further financial ruin, I traded it in for a brand new Shaftesbury Rickenbacker 4001 copy, upping the limit on my little payment book. This bass saw me through the formative years of bands such as Crosstown Traffic, (one of whose songs was to appear many years later on the Tubeless Hearts CD “Three” ), and crowd favourites and pub-punk rockers Midnight Express.

I always loved the Ricky shape and sound, especially after seeing pics of Glenn Hughes, the source of my original inspiration, playing one. It would be some time before I reconciled the Ricky look with something approaching quality, but that’s for the next instalment. For now, recoil in horror at the frightening image of me in full flow with Midnight Express at The Derbyshire Yeoman, now sadly a McDonalds (isn’t everywhere?) playing my shiny new ricky-copy.

Next time: hand crafted with more knobs than sense.….

Kev Moore with ricky copyKev sports a pre-Oasis monobrow…

Kev Moore

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23 Responses to “First Bass…and then some! a personal history of my bass guitars through the decades”

  1. supersizeme Says:

    Kev! Now I’m really confused, that first pic no way looks like a bass.. neither does the one your holdng in your pic..they’re really gorgeous things though!
    I thought I could differentiate between the two but now I have NO idea.. whats it that I have to look out for the cutouts at the top of the guitar? a bass has one and guitar has two did you say?? and wait a sec does a string guitar have a cutout/hole at its centre??

    bloody hell.. this is gunna be harder than I thought!

    Hey thanks for this post though.. I so appreciate it and love the pic too.. monobrows are the epitome of masculinity none of these metrozuals with perfectly tweezed arches can cut the old school of bushy-brows! (on cue: hihihihihihi)

  2. supersizeme Says:

    *metrosexuals

  3. Right supe…lets sort this bass business out. Firstly, the first pic is THE bass guitar. the daddy. the design has remained basically the same for almost sixty years, because they got so much right the first time. Its the Fender Precision Bass designed by Leo Fender. Generally speaking, a bass will have just 4 strings, and larger machine heads (the silver knobs on the headstock) than a standard 6 string guitar. But the advent of 5 and six string basses has muddied the waters somewhat. The strings on a bass though are of a thicker gauge than normal guitars, so thats usually a clue.

  4. Kev, my man, you are writing about your Bass Guitars just like I will speak about my Kolinsky brushes (the Mercedes of brushes…)!

  5. Ah, yes Danu, we treasure our chosen instruments, do we not? I look forward to reading about your brushes!

  6. supersizeme Says:

    Aha!!
    That’s a massive clue, thanks! I’m 75% sure that when shown both instruments (guitar and bass), I’ll be able to tell which is which.

    Spice girls AND Liam Gallagher are a farce.. they obviously got their inspiration from you! Just wonder why you didn’t break into the mainstream? You’ve extensive knowledge and musical skills and do pretty catchy tunes! Have you ever had a record deal even?

  7. Well, I like to think my main achievement is to have earned a living from music for 30 years, something even some “recording artists” can’t claim. Most of my recorded works have been released on independent labels, save for Christie, which has mainly been issued in Germany. Working with Graham Oliver, my label is AngelAir, and that label will be issuing the projected album Graham and I are doing this year. Mainstream? I don’t think I have a prayer, Saj! Too old, and my dance moves are a little rusty, plus, I can’t mime to save my life! šŸ™‚

  8. supersizeme Says:

    Hahaha!!
    Yeah I suppose nowadays you need to know how to gyrate like Justin Timberlake or mime miserably like Craig David.

    So that means being a musician doesnt necessarily mean lotsa publicity.. hmmm!!! Well especially where one chooses to abstain from drab run-of-the-mill commercialism.
    Still wouldn’t it be nice to get wider appeal and recognition?

  9. Well, yes and no. Wider appeal means more work, longer tours and more time away from home, and while thats what I wanted once, I have a wonderful life and to be taken away from it kind of defeats the object, don’t you think? I’ve performed with all my idols from the 70’s, many of them now good friends, I even have Brian Connollys job in BC Sweet, a guy I used to watch on TOTP as a kid and met a few times before he died! I’ve played to crowds of 32,000, and venues as diverse as Moscow Dynamo Stadium and the legendary New York venue CBGBs. I’ve done TV shows in half a dozen countries, and have been, or still am, a member of bands that have all had Number 1 hit singles. I’ve played for royalty, and seen the world for free. So what do I need wider appeal for? By definition, it means compromising so the great unthinking masses might enjoy what I do, when I dont really care. If they like it, great. If they don’t, buy Boyzone!!! The album I’m recording with Graham Oliver will be released worldwide. It’s exactly what we want do, and we retain total creative control. It’ll be in the shops. Can’t really ask for more than that.

  10. supersizeme Says:

    WOW!! Bravo Kev! Really happy to know of this!
    So basically what you’re saying, you got all the recognition and appreciation you need but WHERE IT MATTERS!
    Being a household name is overrated anyway. Beside the main thing is knowing fame and music are two completely different things.
    Let me know the names of your records, I’d love to get ahold of them!

  11. The solo album i appeared on with Graham Oliver is called “End of an era” and is out on Angelair and available in most shops, internet etc. Our website, http://www.goodaboom.com sells a rare version of it with an unreleased Jimi Hendrix song on it that was only available on the first couple of thousand copies. It’s quite hard to find that version anywhere else. Most of the stuff i’ve recorded with Christie is on obscure compilation albums such as “Absence of time” and “Thommys christmas party”. Most likely to find those in Germany, but it won’t be easy! The two albums i released with Tubeless Hearts and Dedication are now deleted, but a limited number are still available from our website, along with my reggae covers album on our own label, and hopefully later in the year, my solo album.

  12. supersizeme Says:

    Impressive!!
    I’ll definitely have a gander!
    I’m still surprised though, you live a fairly wholesome healthy life as compared to other rockstars worth their salt, you really do rock!

  13. kevmoore Says:

    Aargh!
    Just did a Google image search for “Fender Precision Bass” and number 1 on the list is a picture with my name on it.
    Freaked me out a bit there…

  14. well, Kev, there;s a lot of us about…let me refer you to this post and comments from my blog

  15. supersizeme Says:

    are you talking to yourself kev?

  16. Haha! well..reaching 50, i guess its a real possibility! but no, we have other Kev Moores lurking around, and i think some are also musicians…weird, huh?

  17. supersizeme Says:

    haha.. yeah.. must feel weird.
    doesn’t it diminish your uniqueness factor anyhow?

    mind you i dont know anyone with my exact name but the ones i’ve met with close enough names (forname and similar-ish surname) they’ve been extremely nice, pleasant, ”beautiful”, intelligent, mild mannered girls.. how very ”me”! hehehe!!

  18. I love your self-effacing modesty, saj! šŸ™‚

  19. supersizeme Says:

    why yes.. I forgot to mention that we’re incredibly modest too, thanks for pointing that out Kev.. haha!

  20. Don’t forget to check out First Bass No.6 Supe, I scheduled it to appear while we are dossing about in Portugal! It features my “Thin Lizzy” bass.
    There’ll be more featured basses when we return in July.

  21. Excellent photo!

    As an aspiring Geddy Lee, my first Bass was a Shaftesbury 4001 Copy just as in your picture which I purchased in 1980 before buying a Fender Precision the following year.

    Even after purchasing the FP (would have gone Fender Jazz like Geddy, but got what I thought was a great deal on the Precision – Ā£258 in March 1981 šŸ™‚ found the receipt last week!), I still actively used the Shaftesbury. Although I have not played an original 4001 for sometime, I can remember thinking how evenly matched the Shaftesbury was to it.

    I’ve still got both Basses (the Shaftesbury is actually sitting next to me now), but they really only get used for home recording as I no longer gig. I am also actively encouraging my youngest Son (11) to compliment his 6 string abilities with some proper 4 string activity!

    Not sure what either basses are worth today, but would not / could not sell either.

    BW

  22. Bob, this comment somehow slipped past me, so apologies for taking so long to approve it! Really, great to think you still have your Shaftesbury, and proof, if it were needed, that i haven’t just looked back with rose-coloured spectacles – it was a pretty serviceable copy. I salute your efforts to get your son interested in a “proper” 4 string!! as Glenn Hughes says – “The bass it don’t lie!” P.S. – You keep receipts for 25 years???? Do you work for the IRS? šŸ™‚

  23. I have a Shaftesbury 4001 copy which is also sitting next to me right now. It’s a little war-scarred and hard work to play but sounds ace and still has a real punch to the sound! It’s probably older than me!

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