The Wapping Years

Throughout the 80's and 90's, in a humble Victorian warehouse building at 131 Wapping High Street, directly opposite the historic Wapping Tube Station, The Bass Centre was - as John Entwistle famously declared - "the centre of the British bass world"....

Established in 1984, just as bass playing became cool and the UK music scene exploded in popularity internationally, The Bass Centre was the World's first dedicated bass superstore and our Wapping showroom quickly became a magnet for bassists from across the globe eager to check out the latest and greatest bass gear. 

Alongside a huge range of instruments, amplification and accessories from brands such as Fender, Musicman, Gibson, Guild, Ampeg, Peavey, Washburn, Yamaha, Ibanez, Marshall, Boss, Aria, Rickenbacker, SansAmp, EMG, Bartolini and Badass - the Bass Centre also showcased exclusive imports from Alembic, Ned Steinberger, Spector, Tune, Bass Collection, Moon, Sadowsky, Pedulla, Zon, Kubicki, Tobias, Ken Smith, Hipshot, SWR and Hartke as well as groundbreaking, homegrown product from Status, Wal, Trace Elliot, JayDee, Overwater, Sei and Goodfellow and European innovators, Warwick, Vigier and Sandberg. 

The bottom line... if it was bass related, you probably saw it first in the UK at The Bass Centre!

Now, in the Bass Centre's third decade we are now longer a "bricks & mortar" store, but our commitment and dedication to bass remains as strong today as it has always been, with our focus on a discrete selection of prestige lines and - of course - our own range of exclusive Bass Centre branded product, all informed by our experience and long history of communication with top players throughout the World.

Here, we celebrate The Bass Centre's golden "Wapping Years" and the huge number of pro players who frequented the Wapping superstore, many of whom become good friends along the way. Whilst some - The Who's John Entwistle, bass masters Greg Lake, Jack Bruce and John Wetton and the visionary Mick Karn - are now sadly departed, many of our long-standing customers - including Dave Bronze, Norman Watt-Roy, Peter Hook, Bruce Thomas, Colin Hodgkinson and Guy Pratt - continue to use, support and inspire the current range of Bass Centre brands... Bass Centre Elites Strings, Bass Collection, Bass Cables and The British Bass Masters Series.

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"If you're a bass player... " Magazine advert from 1989 promoting the Bass Centre stores in London & Los Angeles

Elites artist Dave Bronze flanked by House Music/Bass Centre directors, Russell Prince and Barry Moorhouse

Bass superstar Billy Sheehan, soundchecking for the first of his 2 sellout Bass Centre clinic shows in the mid 1990's

Rainbow/Ozzy Osborne man Bob Daisley at the Wapping superstore, mid 90's

Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo) and Kevin Powell (Steve Harley, Alison Moyet) jamming with Joe Hubbard & drummer Jeff Seopardie at the Bass Centre on the Wapping leg of the 1986 Trace Elliot UK tour

Nathan East with BC staffers, Grant Collins, Dean Mitchell and Alex Carter

Lenny Henry hunts the funk for London Weekend Television's South Bank Show and discovers the legendary Bootsy Collins... in the wilds of Wapping

A (very) quick clip of Bootsy in action during the filming of Lenny Henry's South Bank Show special. Way too funky.... way too short!!!!

The one and only Bootsy Collins "on the one" with his famous Larry Pless "Space Bass" at the 1992 South Bank Show film shoot in Wapping

Level 42's Mark King, posing with the lifesize cutout sign of himself on the wall of the Bass Centre, Wapping late 80's

Nathan East & Barry Moorhouse celebrate the launch of the Elites Nathan East Signature Set - London Music Show 1998

Backdoor bass meastro, and long-term friend of the store, Colin Hodgkinson, in action at Bass Centre Live in 2005.

Down in the tube station at midnight... An Elites photoshoot with Malcolm Foster (Simple Minds) and Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello)

John Wetton under the bridge with Bass Centre Elites Strings as part of the British Bass Masters advertising campaign

Neil Murray... Rock colossus, British bass master and a loyal Bass Centre customer and Elites artist for three decades

Out in the (high) street... The Czech built Bass Centre Stadium Bass range

Jazz funk legend Marcus Miller with the Bass Centre's Dean Mitchell

Bass Centre Elites Strings on tour - Worldwide in the 1990's

Barry Moorhouse accepts another best UK Trace Elliot dealer award from the ever shy & retiring Trace crew

Jukebox fury... Metallica's fearsome Robert Trujillo with The Bass Centre's dynamic duo, Alex "Hal" Carter and Grant Collins

Long serving Bass Centre guitar tech, Chris Ward with Norman Watt-Roy and his famous '62 Shoreline Gold Jazz Bass

The Stranglers' J.J. Burnel at Bass Centre Live with the Bass Centre crew and Mark Gooday from Ashdown Engineering

Barry Moorhouse with bass virtuoso, Jeff Berlin and Trace Elliot's Alan Morgan at the Los Angeles Guitar Show, late 1980's.

David Bowie bassist and top solo artist, Gail-Ann Dorsey, with The Bass Centre's Dean Mitchell, Grant Collins & Nick Owen

That man Sheehan again... with the great wall of Ampeg

"The Bass Centre is most certainly the centre of the British bass world" - Who legend, John Entwistle

The late Mick Karn with his Klein Bass at the Bass Centre, Wapping

Greg Lake, every inch the prog rock superstar, at the London Bass Centre with assorted Bass Centre and Trace Elliot staff

The world renowned Stu Hamm, famed for his incendiary solo career and work with guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani & Steve Vai, with Barry at the London Music Show

 

 

A big fan of Elites Detroit Flats - Dave Bronze, formerly with Eric Clapton and Robin Trower and currently with Andy Fairweather-Low, in front of the Wapping Wall of Fender... with a Sadowsky?

Barry Moorhouse receives the 1995 Making Music Award for Elites - "Best Bass Strings" - from legendary band leader, musician and broadcaster Jools Holland

 

 

Bass Centre magazine advert from 1984... "I buy all my smalls from the Bass Centre!" - Mark King

 

 

Advert from 1986 promoting the Bass Centre's amazing "Bass Weekend" featuring John Entwistle, Pino Palladino, Nick Beggs, Jonas Hellborg, Neil Murray, Colin Hodgkinson and Norman Watt-Roy

Bass Centre magazine advert from 1985... "If you're a bass player..." Where else would you be?!

 

 

Jack Bruce in action at the Bass Centre's star-studded Bass Weekend, 1986

John Entwistle live at The Bass Weekend at Nomis Studios in 1986 (audio only)

Barry Moorhouse and Whitesnake's Neil Murray take a break at Nomis, '86

 Magazine advert for the innovative, French company, Vigier... first at the Bass Centre, naturally!!

Van Halen's Michael Anthony cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the The Bass Centre's Birmingham branch in 1993

Yet another Bass Centre exclusive... part of our long standing collaboration with German bass giants Warwick

Former Jamiroquai bass man Nick Fyffe with Sandberg V at the new Brune Street store

The mighty Metallica, celebrating the release of their 1987 "$5.98 EP - Garage Days Re-Revisited", with (then) new recruit Jason Newsted (right) sporting the T-shirt of choice for discerning bass players the World over!

Brit bass superstar, Guy Pratt clutches a brace of pre-CBS Jazz Basses

Mark King Trace Elliot poster from the Wapping superstore

Sunday Opening in E1... with the mighty Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler

More MK related Trace Elliot promo from the hallowed walls

 

Status & LOTS of Trace Elliot... Saturday morning at The Bass Centre, circa 1986