The Bruce Thomas Profile Bass

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"Our intention was not to produce a phoney vintage guitar, but to create a new instrument true to the spirit of the original... a bass that's a joy to play. I'm happy to say that's now been achieved" 

Bruce Thomas • August 2013


Continuing the British Bass Master Series, The Bass Centre is proud to present the Profile Bass, the result of a unique collaboration with UK bass icon, Bruce Thomas.

As a member of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Bruce is celebrated for the soulful, supple & inventive bass lines that were the powerhouse pulse behind one of the best live acts, and one of the greatest English songwriters, of the post-punk era. Although he used a number of instruments during his tenure with The Attractions, it was his '64 Salmon Pink Fender P-Bass that he was most famous for using. When that bass was stolen from his car during a recording session in Los Angeles, Bruce began the search for a suitable replacement but, as it had been so heavily modified, he eventually decided that rather than adapting another vintage model, he'd build one from scratch. When, by chance, he mentioned the concept to Barry Moorhouse at The Bass Centre, the idea of producing a signature model was born...

The Profile Bass has been designed personally by Bruce from the ground up, not just to appease his own exacting demands, but to create a real, modern player's instrument. 

The Profile Bass Features


  • Classic Salmon Pink finish, with tortoise-shell scratchplate.
  • Custom body profile
  • Satin finish custom profile neck
  • Original 60's style, grooved, roller bridge
  • Original 60's style flat-top, chrome control knobs
  • Custom wound pickups
  • Hand-signed certificate
  • Built in Korea by the same manufacturer responsible for the superb Bass Collection range
  • Complete with Bass Centre padded gig bag and 12 month warranty.

  << Read the full story on the Profile Bass and its development in Bruce's own words

Fresh from the Bass Centre - the latest addition to our British Bass Masters Series, we are very proud to unleash the result of a truly unique collaboration with UK bass icon Bruce Thomas

Bruce Thomas, one of the all-time great UK bass-men, whose sinuous, inventive & melodic bass lines contributed to one of the greatest British groups of the post-punk era, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, has long been a friend of the Bass Centre... a customer and Elites user for 20 years and counting, it was a chance meeting with The Bass Centre's Barry Moorhouse that sowed the seeds of the latest addition to The British Bass Master Series... 

As Bruce explains...

"The well-known pink Fender Precision bass I used for twenty years, on and off, with the Attractions was stolen from my car while I was in Los Angeles doing some session work after I “left” the band. Though I tried, in vain, to find a suitable replacement, it wasn’t simply a matter of replacing an early 1960's P-Bass, as I’d made many modifications to it. I’d reshaped the body and the neck, rewired it and re-sprayed it. I came to the conclusion that I’d have to start again and try to reproduce it from scratch.

"I’d been a customer and friend of Barry Moorhouse at the Bass Centre in London for many years. When I told him what I was doing, he reckoned that other people would be interested in having a similar bass, so he offered to make a BT signature model bass as part of their new British Bass Masters Series."

"Barry started looking for the best manufacturer he could find, while I set about recreating the right body shape and doing test paint mixes in various shades of ‘faded red’. But the most important thing was getting the neck profile right to give maximum ‘playability’."

"After a bit of experimenting on my part and many meetings with Barry, we had samples built in factories across Europe and the Far East — we worked on everything from entry-level basses to the elite bespoke instruments. One day we were sent a bass that stood out a mile from anything else we’d seen or played. Although getting the right bass was our only consideration, it turned out that this one was also one of the most affordable."

"Anyone who’s watched the development of the Profile Bass over the past couple of years will know that it’s not a stock bass I’ve simply added my name to — but a genuine personally-developed signature guitar.  Our intention was not to produce a replica model or a phoney vintage guitar, but to create a new instrument true to the spirit of the original... a bass that’s a joy to play...

I’m happy to say that’s now been achieved."

With no access to his cherished (and heavily modified) '64 P-Bass, Bruce used Barry's own 1964 model as reference, paying particular attention to obtaining the perfect "Salmon Pink" finish, abandoning "distressed" early prototypes in favour of a pristine look.

As Bruce himself says... "the best way to make a guitar look used, is simply to use it. And this is a bass you’ll certainly want to use".

  << Read Bruce's take on the "salmon pink myth" here

Taking delivery of several basses from Barry, Bruce experimented with creating a new body design, sanding them down to create the perfect shape. Ostensibly recognisable as "Precision-esque", the final instrument has a markedly different profile... hence the name.
Choosin

g the optimum neck was another primary concern, with the production instrument having a width at the 

nut that falls exactly between the classic P-Bass and J-bass widths with a depth that provides for both an ideal action and string tension.

Bruce specified that the Profile be fitted with a classic, slotted-screw bridge, allowing for adjustment to the string spacing... 

"I personally prefer the strings set at 20mm apart, rather than the standard 19mm" Bruce says. "In the past I used to ‘heavy string’ my bass with thicker gauge strings, but no longer feel the need to do that as the Profile offers as-near-perfect a playing feel as I’ve ever found."

The choice of a lighter weight body wood and the superb quality of neck and body build (courtesy of the same Korean factory that produces the Bass Collection range) gives the Profile a rich, warm sustain, without the notorious ‘dead spots’ typical of Precision-style instruments.

The acoustic sound quality can be heard clearly on the the video clips in the adjoining tab, with the Profile's natural warm punchy mid-range perfectly brought out by pickups that have been custom wound according to the modifications Bruce had made to his original bass.

In summing up the Profile Bass, it is clear that Bruce is happy with the results of the joint endeavour...

"I’m more than happy and confident that all of the essential ingredients of a truly great bass guitar are firmly in place."

"The best thing I can say is that I no longer miss my old bass when I pick up The Profile Bass to play"

  << Read the full story on the Profile Bass and its development in Bruce's own words

Bruce Thomas live in 1977
Bruce Thomas with Elvis Costello in 1980
 
Down in the Tube Station... Wapping 1996
Early "road-worn" prototypeBruce in 2013 with The ProfileClassic Bridge Styling

Rod MacKay
Hard-driving bassist with great UK based funky blues act, The Deluxe | 2014

"The bass is a beautiful colour - that's what strikes you first. The neck has a great satin finish with a shallow profile which makes it very easy to play and a very distinct variant of the "P". The sound is very much as one would expect from a split "P" configuration... a well-built, very playable, striking instrument. 

"Having played & owned the instrument for a few months, I think it is probably the most “Rod Mackay” bass I own... and I have a lot of Fenders! Tone, neck profile, colour, cost.... Good effort!"

Bruce Thomas Demos The Profile Bass


Average Rating (13 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
Plays beautifully
Tuesday, 1 August 2017  | 

The Profile Bass arrived at the alternative address and I collected it last night just prior to taking it for its first gig. It plays beautifully. In fact, it sounds so good that my other Precision sounds downright wimpy in comparison.

Question... Is it possible to purchase the BTPB pickup separately? I'd love to put one in my other Precision so that, as a newly relegated backup, it'll sound as close to my new Profile bass as possible. I've got a Duncan SB1 Pickup in my Fender that I got from the Bass Centre back in the Wapping days and the Profile pickup leaves it for dust.

Well done Team Bass Centre!

Thanks for all your help sorting delivery.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Absolutely wonderful
Friday, 30 December 2016  | 

Hi Bruce

Guess what Santa brought me?

It's ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL, hands-down the best action, set-up and playability Iíve ever encountered on a bass!

Itís incredibly light, but has waaayy more power. The pickups sound like bloody Jazz pickups with the belly of a split-single ó how did you do that?! What is the special secret behind the pickup? I've never heard a P-bass (style) pickup with this much clarity - none of them sound this balanced and bright at the same time, whilst also being clean and noise-free! So easy to get your classic tone, now all I have to work on is my playing.

I never do reviews or demos, but I'll have to do one on this occasion, it's such an amazing piece. Phenomenal instrument, better than I could have hoped for.

Thanks so much for making this beautiful piece of craftsmanship!!

via Facebook; re-posted by kind permission

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Bruce Thomas Profile Bass
Monday, 11 April 2016  | 

Arrived 'Down Under' 10 days after shipping from the UK, all in one piece and - straight out of the box and gig bag - almost in tune! Looks and sounds great! Came with a spare set of strings and a copy of (Bruce Thomas' new book) 'Rough Notes' too! No complaints!

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Rating:  
Glorious
Wednesday, 30 March 2016  | 

Dear Barry

I received my Bruce Thomas Profile bass today and I have to say it is glorious. Played brilliantly straight out of the box. Beautiful salmon pink paint finish, superb neck and a fabulous sound. I have used it on two recording sessions today already. Totally knocked out. Nothing this good anywhere at this price point.

My bass of choice from now on. Thank you and best wishes.

Clive

 

This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
WOW!
Saturday, 1 November 2014  | 

Hi Guys Big Al back again..
This is Bass Collection #6 & WOW, WHAT A BASS. I totally agree with everyone who has bought this bass this IS the doggie's danglie bits.... Ain`t put it down since i`ve got it.... THANX Guys, another Winner ....
Cheers, Big Al

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Simply Stunning!
Friday, 19 September 2014  | 

Hi, Barry and colleagues

Just to say a big thank you. I received my Profile bass today, and what an instrument it is!

Fantastic clarity of tone (and loud!), super smooth neck, harmonics to die for - and all this straight out of the box!

And it looks simply stunning!

If you're planning on buying the Mexican-built model of a rather famous brand, do yourself a favour and buy this instead. Why buy generic, when you can have something unique, with a certificate signed by a British bass legend, no less, for the same, indeed slightly less, money?

Well done Bruce and everyone at The Bass Centre!

 

This review has not been appraised.


Rating:  
Bruce Thomas Profile Bass
Monday, 31 March 2014  | 

Do what you have to do to get a Profile!

Iíve got 2 í60s Precisions and they are both in the cases. Iím in the US and I think I ended up spending around $900 total with the shipping and import fees. I have not came across anything in that range of price that can touch it. I've got 4-year old strings on it and it sounds great!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Gets A Lot Of Compliments!
Sunday, 26 January 2014  | 

Now that it's finally arrived and I've played it for a few weeks, I've got to say I'm very favorably impressed. Out of the box it was set up perfectly, and oddly enough, very nearly in tune. Rather surprising considering it was shipped to the US, spending several weeks in a UPS warehouse for customs clearance, and this during the coldest December in years.

The first thing about it that stood out was that the pickup is probably the loudest P-Bass style pickup I've ever heard, and the low end response on it is astonishing! For sure, this bass can rumble the house! But it also has a clear ringing high end when the tone control is dialed up (personally I generally prefer to dial down most of the treble, but YMMV). Also notable is the sustain... hit a note and it'll ring for nearly a minute.

The neck is great! The fingerboard width is reminiscent of a 60's P-Bass, but the neck width is somewhat slimmer, making it really easy to play. The frets are nicely levelled and crowned, no problems with sharp, errant frets extending over the edge of the fretboard.

The hardware is adequate... the tuning keys obviously aren't high-end, but they're perfectly functional and when I tune it, it stays tuned. I suppose they could be upgraded, but I don't really see the need. The volume and tone controls kick in rather abruptly when dialed up from a zero position, but they work smoothly and noiselessly. The instrument is light and very comfortably balanced.

All in all it's great instrument for the money, and it's a world of fun to play. I've been using it nearly exclusively since I got it, and getting a lot of compliments on it from other bass players.

I have to say, out of the box, I was a lot more pleased with it than with the last few new Fender basses I've bought. It certainly holds its own compared to other instruments of any price.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.


Rating:  
Good Effort!
Wednesday, 15 January 2014  | 

Having played & owned the instrument for a few months, I think it is probably the most ďRod MackayĒ bass I own... and I have a lot of Fenders! Tone, neck profile, colour, cost. Good effort!

 

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Rating:  
Addicted!
Saturday, 14 December 2013  | 

Hello. I have now made a successful order on your website. Sorry for any trouble i made for you, but this bass is amazing and I make you responsible for making me totally addicted to it! Best regards, Carsten

 

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