"Bajo Misterioso" June 17 2014
I’ve had so many people ask me about one of my basses. If you’ve not seen it, the bass looks like a Fender Precision Bass that has no tone or volume controls and looks to have no pickup. A good friend of mine dubbed it the “Mystery Bass”. Me being from San Antonio, calls it “Bajo Misterioso”
Well, you would be “half” right. I got the idea from a very limited run Fender Custom Shop “Masterbuilt Stealth Esquire”. Basically what the custom shop did was to build what looked like an early 50’s Esquire. For those not familiar with the Esquire, it looks basically like a single pickup Telecaster with only the bridge pickup.What the Custom Shop did was to actually add 2 beefy “Strat” pickups under the bakelite pick guard and wired it like a “2 control” Strat with a 5 way switch. Again, visually it looks like a very vintage 50’s butterscotch Esquire. Surprisingly, the sound great!
With that, I thought it would be fun to have Fender Masterbuilder Jason Smith (http://www.fender.com/custom-life/meet-the-builders/#jason) build me a “Stealth P Bass”. I pitched the idea to him and he also thought that it might be a fun project also. I let him know that I’ve always had some Fender P Basses in may arsenal, but I want to do something really different. I shared my idea of a “Stealth P Bass”. As I told Jason “Think Stealth Esquire”. I commissioned him to build it with a huge “70’s” Tele Seth Lover designed humbucking bass pickup under the pickguard.
Being that when I do play a P Bass, I never seem to play around with the volume and tone control. When playing a P Bass, I realized that I’ve always used the volume and tone on the amp and never touched the controls on the P Bass. With that, I told Jason to “Leave them off, I never touch them!” So he did. The Tele Bass humbucker is hardwired directly to the output jack! Not pots - no caps to get in the way of the pure pickup tone! The bass sounds closer to an old single pickup Gibson Thunderbird than a Fender P Bass. Works for me!
Additionally, I had Jason build and utilize a flamed maple “Getty Lee” spec’d Jazz Bass neck with a rosewood fingerboard. This was easy for Jason simply because he had just built a neck spec’d like this for Getty. It’s super thin.
A five string version is in the works…