This is still one of my favorite shapes ever. I have owned a bunch of these over the years and sold most of them as I never get around to using them. This was a bass I owned a while ago that needed a fair bit of work to get it running and I decided to "do it up" and sell it so someone could get some joy out of it.
This shape was used by Guyatone from around 1967 and is still available today in a form. It was taken on by Japanese instrumental band, the Sharp 5 and was their signature model for many years. The "Sharp 5" was essentially the same guitar and bass but with different hardware and a big Sharp 5 logo printed on the scratch plate just above, and between the pick ups.
The "normal" model was available in 2 or 3 pick up for the guitar and bass.
This one had seen some playing but was in good condition overall. The pick ups were dead and after rewinding one, decided it wasn't worth the effort as they had VERY little output and could have been a magnet issue. I decided it really is the shape of these that is what they're all about and thought what if I fit more modern pick ups that don't look too far wrong and see what it plays and sounds like ?
These are Kent Armstrong "Soapbar" bass pickups. They're blade style magnets so the narrow string spacing wouldn't be an issue as these (and many of these Japanese guitars and basses) have a very narrow string spacing which can prohibit the use of "Fender" spaced pickups.
It sounded ........... GREAT. Much better tone and sustain to the original pick ups so out it went to get used.
It now needed a re-fret as it had been played quite a bit and so back it came for some work, and I fell in love with it all over again.
The re-fret is pretty straight forward with the "fret over binding" neck as used by many manufacturers. This is a fairly easy job but each fret needs to be cut exactly to size before installing and the tangs need to be trimmed to go over the binding. This takes a little longer than a standard Fender style re-fret.
The fret slots were HUGE (and I mean huge) so I was going to need to use a fretwire with a big tang AND glue them in, which I don't have a problem with. The old frets were removed, the fretboard sanded and cleaned and then ready to start cutting new frets.
The new frets went in well and after a dress we're ready to put the bass back together and see how the neck reacts ? After a few adjustments and another slight dress it was all looking good.
This thing really is a quality bass with a great neck. Although the pick ups aren't original it improves the tone of the guitar immensely and makes it a real player in the modern sense, not just a novelty looking shape with OK pick ups.
The top of the line versions of these are truly great guitars. I have a couple of the guitar versions left that I've been saving simply because I will find it hard to sell them now. When I started buying and shipping guitars from Japan back in the early 2000's these were pretty readily available at good prices. Most Guyatones, Teiscos, Kawais, Kents, Yamahas, Grecos etc etc were.They have become much more collectible and expensive in the last few years and much more accessible to the "average" person.
It's not a bad thing that these guitars are finally being recognized for how good they are. It just means I can't find them and buy them for a steal anymore .............. Poor old Tim.