The Bruce Thomas Profile Bass - Solar FlareThe Bruce Thomas Profile Bass - Solar FlareThe Bruce Thomas Profile Bass - Solar Flare

The Bruce Thomas Profile Bass - Solar Flare

UK Price:  £595.00 Inc. 20% VAT
Worldwide Price: £495.83

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Pump It Up!

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 melodic 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 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, initially true to the original's striking Salmon Pink finish and now also, by popular demand, in an authentic sunburst Solar Flare option.

The Profile Bass Features

body Lightweight basswood custom body profile
FINISH Classic 3-tone Solar Flare with tortoise-shell pickguard
neck Satin finish custom profile neck with 20 fret Maccasar ebony fingerboard
pickups Passive, custom wound, vintage style pickups with exposed pole pieces
bridge Vintage "Retro Roller" bridge with knurled saddles for string width adjustment
hardware Original '60s style chromed brass flat-top control knobs, Bass "C" engraved 4-bolt chrome neck plate
strings Bass Centre Elites
extras Premium quality Bass Centre padded gig bag included

World recognised for his contribution to Elvis Costello and The Attractions – one of the greatest British groups of the post-punk era – Bruce Thomas has been both a friend and Bass Centre Elites user for 20 years and counting, so it was natural that CEO Barry Moorhouse would jump at the opportunity to get involved in a signature bass project.

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, and 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 as part of their new British Bass Masters Series."

"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

"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 and 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 and abandoning distressed early prototypes in favour of a pristine authentic look. As he explains, "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".

After taking delivery of several sample instruments, 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 confirms. "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 lighter weight timbers 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, and without the notorious "dead spots" often associated with Precision-style instruments. The pure, acoustic sound quality can be heard clearly on the the video clips on this page, 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!"

Body Lightweight, custom profile basswood body
FINISH Classic Solar Flare polyurethane gloss finish with tortoise-shell pickguard
Neck Satin finish maple with custom profile
Fingerboard Macassar ebony with pearloid dot markers
Frets 20 medium nickel frets
Pickup Custom split single coil with exposed pole ieces
Controls Master Volume / Master Tone
Machineheads Chrome vintage style, clover leaf, open-gear tuners
BRIDGE Chrome "Retro Roller" bridge with knurled saddles for string width adjustment
Hardware Vintage '60s style chromed brass flat top control knobs / Bass "C" engraved 4-bolt chrome neck plate
Scale Length 34" (864mm)
Neck Width at Nut 40mm (1.57")
Neck Width at 12th Fret 57mm (2.24")
Neck Depth at 1st Fret 20mm (0.8")
Neck Depth at 12th Fret 22mm (0.87")
String Spacing at Nut 11.5mm (0.45")
String Spacing at Bridge 19.5mm (0.77")
Weight 4.1kg (9.0lb)
Strings Bass Centre Elites
INCLUDED Extras Premium quality Bass Centre padded gig bag with dual handles, cushioned shoulder strap and zip-up accessory pocket
Warranty All Bass Collection instruments come with a 1 year warranty
Country Of Origin World Musical Instruments Co. Ltd., South Korea

BROOKSY'S BASS CORNER

Mike Brooks provides a brilliant a bite-sized introduction to the powerhouse Profile Bass, all strung up with Elites Stadium Series strings and sounding absolutely fantastic.

Troy Hughes Profile Review

Thanks to prolific YouTuber and low-end guru Troy Hughes for this deep, deep dive into our fab reimagining of Brit Bass Master Bruce Thomas' long-lost '64 P-Bass...

"No problems with the payment, purchase and delivery... I really love the colour... the finish is perfect... it looks great, it's comfortable to play, especially the neck profile… it sounds as much like a Precision as any I have heard, and it's got a very even string output."

Although the real action starts at around 17:47 with Troy ably demonstrating the Profile's wonderful full-bodied power and punch on a great cover of Elvis Costello & The Attractions' 'The Loved Ones', the preceding, thoughtful analysis is well worth a watch for anyone in any doubt about how cool and inspiring this bass really is... as well as how easy it is to purchase from the Bass Centre!

Bruce Thomas Demos The Profile Bass

Joel McIver | Bass Guitar Magazine | January 2016

Elvis Costello wouldn’t be quite the household name he is today without the assistance in the early part of his career of the Attractions, a seasoned band in which Bruce Thomas supplied iconic bass-lines known to anyone into post-punk music.

Thomas was known in the middle years of his career for playing a salmon-pink Fender Precision, but this splendid instrument – responsible for many of his best bass parts – was half-inched by some callous swine in the 1980s. In that instrument’s continued absence, Thomas has got together with Barry Moorhouse of the Bass Centre to create a Precision-esque bass that mirrors the many modifications that Thomas made to the original – a process obviously made trickier by not having the original around for comparison. However, Thomas reckons Moorhouse has pulled it off perfectly, in a feat of collaborative design and engineering that pretty much beggars belief. 

As Thomas himself puts it, “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.”

Thomas, now the author of several books including a recent autobiography titled Rough Notes, is interviewed in the next issue of BGM, when you’ll also have a chance to win his signature bass courtesy of the Bass Centre – so let’s give the Profile a spin, just to let you know what you’re getting... 

Build Quality

At a London pint’s value less than £500, the Profile has some serious competition, not least from Fender’s own Mexican-built models. Splendid as those instruments undoubtedly are, the Profile is a signature instrument which comes with a certificate of authenticity, a copy of Rough Notes and the knowledge that the bloke who made the bass will pick up the phone.

Not that you’re likely to need to make that call: the Profile has been constructed with attention to detail at the top of the agenda, from the slotted-saddle bridge – specified by Thomas in preference to a more modern, sustain-heavy design, because he prefers this older design’s easier adjustability – to the frets, which are dressed with all the smoothness you’d wish for. The intention to create a player-friendly Precision clone is obvious, from the familiar volume and tone controls via the genuine salmon-pink finish to the tuners – which may be generic, but that’s to be expected at this relatively modest price point.

Sounds & Playability

This bass has earned its name thanks to the changes made to it from the original design – notably the slimmer neck. The slender, almost Jazz-like neck profile lends itself immediately to fast, melodic playing: pick the Profile up and you won’t be putting it back in its box any time soon. It’s just too much fun to play.

Jazz basses are often as playable as this, but in our experience Precisions rarely are, thanks to their traditional neck mass. Of course, you know that is not meant as a slur. Precisions are perhaps the ultimate example of a future-proof design, anywhere in the engineering world, and far be it from us to diminish that. It’s just that a touch of reshaping to the neck makes a whole lot of difference – and that, readers, is what has happened here.

In any case, plug the Profile in and those familiar Precision tones are there. Tone-wise, neither Thomas nor Moorhouse intended to stray far from recognisable Fender-esque sounds, and in this they’ve been wholly successful. There’s solidity and power here, with a high mids-heavy tone achievable with a tweak to the left of the tone control, but glassy highs are not what this bass is about, and nor should they be. It’s a modern replica of a vintage instrument, with all that entails.

Conclusion

Bravo, chaps – the goal of replicating that long-lost Precision, now doubtless in a lock-up somewhere or on some unsuspecting bassist’s wall, has been achieved. The Profile takes the tangible design, as well as the intangible but still detectable ethos of his modifications, and combines them into a wonderful bass that you will not want to stop playing. And all for £495? Make sure you investigate it.

What We Think

Plus Super-playable profile, hence the name
Minus At this price, nothing springs to mind
Overall A great Fender alternative – Snap one up if you can

BGM Rating

Build Quality
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Sound Quality
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Value
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Gear Of The Year

Further BGM praise came from regular contributor Mike Brooks in his round up of the Gear of the Year, with the Profile Bass scooping the magazine's hotly contested 'Best Fretted Bass Under £500' category.

"Enticing playability courtesy of the slimmed-down neck, powerful tones from the custom wound pickup and all the classic features of a Precision".

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