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 with Maccasar Ebony fingerboard
  • Original vintage style, grooved, roller bridge
  • Original 60's style flat-top, chrome control knobs
  • Custom wound pickups
  • Hand-signed book
  • 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 1964 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 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) 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 authentic 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.

Choosing 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" often associated with 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 reproduced 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 Bruce in 2013 with The Profile
Classic Bridge Styling

Bass Guitar Magazine Bass Centre Profile Bass • Joel McIver • February 2016

GEAR OF THE YEAR 2016 • BEST FRETTED BASS UNDER £500 "Bravo, chaps... a wonderful bass that you will not want to stop playing. And all for £495? A great F*nder alternative... Snap one up if you can"

  << Full review at      << Download PDF version

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 (22 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Great bass!
Thursday, 29 August 2019  | 

I bought this bass because I'm a huge fan of Bruce Thomas and his bass playing. After playing it at length a few times now, I just want to say that I am really very happy with this purchase. The neck is very smooth and easy to play - it arrived set up and ready to go with nice low action. The pickups cut through nicely and sound good to me.

It seems to hold a tuning very well as I tuned it up once and it has barely budged since. The color is definitely a conversation starter, especially since I'm not a flashy guy, but it looks great in person. It's definitely more of an orange than a pink to my eyes - I love it now.

On top of all that the bass is actually pretty light so it's a pleasure to play! This was a total impulse buy and I have to say that I am really happy to have it now.

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I cannot recommend this bass highly enough
Sunday, 20 May 2018  | 

It is a steal in terms of value for the build quality, play-ability and tone. Look into British Bass Centre - Americans pay no VAT on imports from them, also.

It is essentially the ultimate hybrid of Precision tone with Jazz sustain and play-ability/neck profile, but lighter and better balanced than either.

I am so delighted with it - brilliant!!


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Great job!
Friday, 20 April 2018  | 

Really pleased with the service. I enquired a few months ago about the Profile - it was out of stock but put my name down to be notified, ordered one when they became available and it arrived a few days later.

I play mainly in a covers band doing a lot of new wave stuff including Attractions numbers. I have an 80's Japanese Precision (owned since '93) which I love but it does have a thick neck and I tend to favour a Jazz ( Mexican) for live as it's more playable. The reviews and history of the Profile looked encouraging, particularly the time invested by Bruce himself to produce a specific instrument that isn't just a signature on a stock guitar, so I took the plunge.

I've hardly put it down since. It feels fantastic to play. I like the satin finish on the neck (was thinking of sanding the gloss neck on my Precision!) and the build quality is that of an instrument that should cost double. The pickups are fantastic - SO LOUD with loads of sustain and generally awesome tone. Also I was pleased to see that although the Profile looks red in a lot of internet pictures, it is definitely salmon pink like the original. Great job !!!!

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Fantastic value!
Thursday, 5 April 2018  | 

Reviewers are absolutely right to praise this great bass for its playability, sound and looks.
It's fantastic value!

But buyers, please note that mine came without the grooved, roller bridge and a signed certificate. I've suggested the Bass Centre should amend their description.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.


Sincere apologies for the oversight, the signed certificate is being replaced by a signed book, we will have these in stock imminently... In addition, the vintage style bridge with threaded rod saddles is still applicable... again, arriving shortly with both to be forwarded to recent purchasers.

Best 500 I ever spent
Monday, 26 March 2018  | 

Everything about this bass is perfect. It sounds amazing and the set up is great. It really is flawless. It's the best 500 I've ever spent on an instrument. Now, if only I could play it like Bruce or Bedders!

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Saturday, 4 November 2017  | 

Very pleased with the bass... and the delivery/service excellent too.

I swear this bass talks to me... so pleased!

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Amazing player
Saturday, 26 August 2017  | 

Thank you for sorting out the bass, it really is appreciated.


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Love it!
Sunday, 20 August 2017  | 

Bruce, my bass arrived a few days ago. My expectations were adjusted down for the known of buying a bass without ever having played it. Amazingly, it looks cleans but not special (which is just fine with me), but I was really not prepared for the sound of "Party Girl" coming out of my cheap ss amp.

And you are right about play-ability... The neck is great and the pick up fat. Love IT!

Thank you for doing this.


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Awesome and inspiring!
Monday, 7 August 2017  | 

So glad to have stumbled across this bass!

Bruce Thomas has long been a top favorite player so I jumped at the chance to own and play his signature model.

Despite its rather modest price this bass is definitely a high quality, well thought out instrument and as Bruce himself said "it's a real joy to play".
After fitting my preferred strings and with a small amount of adjustment, which the bass responded to quite well, I'm happy to report it has become nearly impossible to put down. Thanks Bass Centre, Barry and Co. and of course the man himself! I should also mention that the included gig bag is of surprisingly high quality. Bonus!!

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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.

Read all 22 customer reviews...