I've written about Tomson guitars before and had plenty of the Mustang style copies come through but I don't see as many of the basses and thought I'd do a quick blog before this one headed to the shop.
The story of Tomson is here if you need a catch up. They were an entry level brand that sold not only Fender copies (Mustangs, Strats, P and J basses etc) but also Les Paul copies and acoustics. Most of these were made by Suzuki (Kiso Suzuki Violin Co) and while moist of the entry level solid bodies were basic copies with generic hardware, some of the acoustics were quite nice intermediate level instruments.
The P bass here is like many other student guitars made in Japan around this period. It's a solid copy of the famous Fender bass using cheaper timbers and hardware to aim squarely at a price point.
These solid contoured bodies were all laminated and the Fender copies "mostly" follow the original outlines closely. The laminated bodies can make these feel quite hefty although this one isn't so bad and feel good with a strap. It's a thick body with plenty of bulk and resonates quite well.
The neck is a generic Asian timber much like Philippine mahogany as used by many Japanese builders from the mid 60's. The neck is substantial in size but not like the early Japanese basses that had tree trunks for necks. The fretboard is glued on maple making the process for trussrods much easier and more consistent across the range. It has basic generic tuners and Fender style nut.
The pickups are reasonably nice P bass copies and sound good with plenty of output and freq response. The electronics are standard P bass with good quality components throughout. Even well into the 70's entry level Japanese guitars were using reasonable quality electronics as Japan was impressing the world with it's electronics and this spilled over into all fields of their manufacturing.
The bridge is the standard fender style 4 saddle set up and works well and this bass still has it's original cover which are normally long gone by this stage.
This one is set up with flatwounds and has a good action and plays well. It gets a little buzzy up the dusty end of the fretboard but intonates and rings out unless you're really digging in.
This bass and Mustang copy went to the shop on the weekend for people to grab a couple of nice cheap well made guitars.
As I've said many times in thee blogs. These guitars are 50 years old and still all original and playing well. For an entry level guitar that shows the quality of materials and build that even cheap guitars coming out of Japan back then. With a little love they can be set up properly and played today all these years later and you know everything has settled in. Most of the stuff coming out of Asia now will not be able to boast that in 50 years.