A tribute to long term Bass Centre comrade, Guy Pratt, this new addition to our British Bass Masters range is a glorious tribute to "Betsy", the storied 1964 Jazz Bass which has been Guy's go-to instrument for many years. As he enthuses, "Betsy is the best bass guitar in the world. I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise! It has a little date carved inside it - June 7, 1964 - which I love because it’s my dad’s birthday, and it was him who gave me my first bass."
Purchased from the legendary John Entwistle in 1987 after Guy's mate Johnny Marr insisted that if they were going to play together he needed a Fender - a good one! (It was actually Johnny who inspired the nickname ‘Betsy’), Guy collected the original 1964 Burgundy Mist beauty from the Bass Centre’s Wapping HQ in London, after a set-up by the store’s long-serving, in-house tech Chris Ward.
"It's a fab instrument!"
Fast forward to 2019 when, searching for a new road-worthy, high performance instrument for his touring commitments with Saucerful of Secrets in, Guy was suitably impressed with the quality of the Bass Centre's vintage styled Bass Collection range and, in conjunction with Bass Centre MD Barry Moorhouse, struck upon the idea of a modern, commercial recreation of Betsy in all her Burgundy Mist glory, incorporating the Bass Centre's "Super Slim Sixties" neck profile, period accurate detailing, and beautifully balanced, lightweight construction.
Like its namesake, the new Betsy is loaded with EMG's superb, low-impedance J pickups. Guy's original got an active upgrade during early rehearsals with Pink Floyd in August '87. "I said to my tech, Syd Price, one day, ‘These pickups are a bit quiet, maybe we should think about getting some new ones?’ - and the next morning, it had EMGs in it. I shouted ‘What the f*ck have you done? You can’t put EMGs in a ’64 Jazz!’ but when I plugged it in, it sounded amazing!"
Needless to say, the Betsy also comes complete with Guy's strings of choice - "I play Elites roundwounds and have done for decades. They’re utterly reliable."
Completing the circle, every new Betsy bass will have its pickups installed and be set up by none other than Chris Ward, still taking care of business in the Bass Centre workshop after 35 years!!
A versatile, stage and studio workhorse, The Betsy has been designed for Guy, not just to appease his own exacting standards, but also to deliver a superb, competitively priced instrument to modern players. The fact that Guy is using one for the demands of Saucerful Of Secrets is testament to the success of the project... "It's a fab instrument, and very reasonably priced."
The Betsy Features
- Classic Burgundy Mist finish, with mint-green scratchplate.
- EMG active pickups
- Satin finish "Super Slim Sixties" Maple neck with Maccasar Ebony fingerboard
- Original, vintage style, roller bridge
- Original 60's style control knobs
- Strung with Bass Centre Elites Stadium Series strings
- Built in South Korea in the same factory responsible for our superb Bass Collection range
- Complete with Bass Centre padded gig bag and 12 month warranty.
Guy with Betsy at Friars Aylesbury on the UK Saucerful of Secrets Tour, April 2019 (photo : John Phillips)
Guy Pratt is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, comedian and actor whose career took off at the tender age of 19, when he was asked to join Australian act, Icehouse for their prestigious support slot on David Bowie legendary 1983 “Serious Moonlight” tour. This led to him being asked to perform with Robert Palmer, Bryan Ferry, Womack & Womack, and The Smiths (for a week!), before being promoted to the global bass premier league when David Gilmour selected him for Pink Floyd's post-Roger Waters "Delicate Sound of Thunder" and "P*U*L*S*E" world tours in 1987 and 1994. He also toured as part of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's "On An Island" band
Beyond the Floyd fam, Guy has worked with Gary Moore, Roxy Music, Michael Jackson, Echo & The Bunnymen, Kirsty MacColl, Tears For Fears, Lemon Jelly, The Orb, All Saints, Madonna, Stephen Duffy, Robbie Robertson, Tom Jones, Iggy Pop, Coverdale/Page, The Power Station, Bond, Natalie Imbruglia, The Pretenders and The Transit Kings (with The Orb's Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty of The KLF) amongst many, many others.
As a composer, he has written TV scores for "Spaced", "The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star", the Vic Reeves re-boot of "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)" and Jimmy Nail's "Crocodile Tears", won a Grammy and been nominated for 2 Ivor Novello Awards and co-wrote the UK Number 1 hit "Ain't No Doubt" (sung by Jimmy Nail). Amazingly, Guy has also found time to present his one-man music and comedy show, "My Bass & Other Animals" around the World, AND write a best-selling book based on the show (a signed copy of which accompanies every purchase of the Betsy Bass!).
In 2018 Guy joined Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets, performing early Pink Floyd classics with the new Bass Centre Betsy now an integral part of his on stage arsenal.
Of course, Bass Centre Elites Strings have also been with him for the last 25 years... even if, as the man himself claims, the "jury's still out!!"
Guy with Bass Centre MD Barry Moorhouse at the London Bass Guitar Show, September 2019