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1975 .Fender Jazz Bass

Jazz Bass
** ON HOLD FOR JEFF ** A conversation with a Jazz...

I was at the Orlando guitar show on Friday and had managed to wander into the corner of the smaller half of the room, into the very corner booth. Just checking out the gear there when I heard, "Psst. Hey kid. Lemme show you suntin." I stopped in my tracks. I had suspected for years that I've heard voices from time to time and during the many shows I've attended, you would be absolutely shocked at some of the conversations I've heard as I walked the rooms on a dealer day, but this was different. "Hey, taterhead. I'm talkin' to you," the voice said and as I turned, I found myself staring at the only guitar in the booth that was directly facing me- this '75 Walnut Jazz bass. So, having thought I'd seen everything, I decided to play along and the conversation went a little like this:

  • Walnut Jazz: "I can't believe you stopped. I've been trying to talk to these goobers all day and nobody will give me the time of day."
  • Me: "I cannot believe I'm standing here, talking to a friggin' bass guitar. I gotta lay off the cheap booze."
  • WJ: "Yeah, whatever. You stopped, so it looks like we're dancin'. Well, whaddaya think?"
  • Me: "What do I think about what? This is just crazy."
  • WJ: (shaking his headstock) "What do you think about me? Buy me. Right now."
  • Me: (convinced I am having an acid flashback) "Dude, I ain't buyin' no heavy-ass walnut bass. I'll bet you weigh 13 or 14 lbs. Your buddies call you the Backbreaker, right?"
  • WJ: "If there's anybody in the room that cannot talk about weight, it would be you, fat boy. 50 bucks says you can't guess my weight within 2 pounds."
  • Me: " I already said 13 or 14 pounds. I'll be bold- you weigh 14 pounds."
  • WJ: "Wrong, tubby. I weigh exactly 10 lbs, 12 oz and that's with both covers on. You owe me 50 bucks. Now buy me."
  • Me: (now shaking my head) "That's just what I need- a crappy brown bass that comes in a gigbag. I'll take a case of the crabs instead. Mr. Jazz, you are the Leonardo DiCaprio dying on an iceberg of the bass world."
  • WJ: "Maybe I made a mistake stopping you. By the looks of your hairline, you've obviously been in a couple of real bad car accidents and now you just walk around like a head of lettuce. Aren't you supposed to be a professional? Yep- you're a professional dummy and obviously good at it."
  • Me: (fairly insulted) "Okay, okay- jeez, take it down a notch. It's just that I don't stand in the corner of a room and talk to a chunk of wood with four strings on it every day. This might be my first time. Screw it- I'll look in the case."

    So I hunkered down under the end table of this guys' booth and 'lo and behold, there lay a tail-logo Fender case that looked quite nice. I pulled it out and 'lo and behold again, inside the accessory pocket were the original owner's manual, polishing cloth, cord and strap. "Damn jackpot," I thought as I stood up. "I'm fixin' ta have my way with this bad boy."

  • Me: "Okay, brown boy. You got me and I'm all in. What's the tariff going to be?"
  • WJ: "Dude, there's no price tag. If you'll just slip me into my case and take me to your booth, you and the owner can work it out later. Trust me- he's cool like that."
  • Me: "You sure? I am not trying to have some guy trip out on me because I took a bass out of his booth without asking. I know I'd have a huge problem with that."
  • WJ: "Man, I'm tellin' you, my guy's not going to say a thing. He let this one guy with ladies hair gell in his hair and the shabbiest, no-sock-having shoes you ever saw paw me up for 15 minutes. I got fingerprints on my fingerprints. I'm begging now- please get me outta here."
  • Me: "It's done, son. I'll be the one pawing you up after a few margaritas tonight. Now get yo' ass in that box!"

    I took this Jazz bass and slipped it under the table in our booth. As I caught up with the owner later that morning, we set on a price and as I was paying him, I asked if he'd ever heard voices in his store when he was by himself. He looked at me and said, "You heard them too? I thought I was crazy. I got my phone records subpoenaed in a divorce proceeding because my ex-wife came into the store and somebody told her I was having an affair with Juanita down at the diner. Can you believe it? Come to find out, it was a sparkle blue, '71 Les Paul Custom that was the cause of all that and I was so happy, I put that guitar in a glass case over my desk. Good luck with that Jazz. It's got a real nasty attitude." "Don't worry about that," I said. "Down South, we got these things called crawl spaces and you'd be surprised how cool somebody can be after a 'week in the hole.'" "Trust me, I got this."

    So, before you is that very Jazz bass- detailed, set up, restrung and ready to go, complete with its attitude also adjusted. The only voice you'll hear now will be the one you give it.

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