The Guy Pratt Betsy Bass

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

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FREE SIGNED BOOK

Buy the best-selling Bass Centre Betsy Bass and get a free hand signed copy of Guy Pratt's fantastic autobiography ‘My Bass and Other Animals”. Following on from the success of his 2005 Edinburgh Festival show and stand-up tour of the same name, this bold and upfront memoir charts Guy's hilarious journey from playing in a mod band in Southend to performing on stage and in studios worldwide with Icehouse, Pink Floyd,  David Gilmour, Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music,  Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Smiths, and Robert Palmer.

A tribute to long term Bass Centre comrade, Guy Pratt, this new addition to our British Bass Masters range is a glorious recreation of "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 also Marr 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 and Guy was searching for a new road-worthy, high performance instrument for his touring commitments with Saucerful of Secrets. Suitably impressed with the quality of the vintage themed Bass Collection range Guy, and Bass Centre MD Barry Moorhouse, struck upon the idea of a modern, commercial recreation of Betsy in all her 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, active, low-impedance J pickups. The original received an active upgrade during early rehearsals with Pink Floyd in August '87, although not without controversy : "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 Bass Features

body Classic Burgundy Mist finish, with period-accurate, mint-green scratchplate
neck Satin finish Bass Centre "Super Slim Sixties"® maple neck with Maccasar ebony fingerboard
pickups EMG Active J pickups
bridge Retro roller bridge with knurled saddles for string width adjustment
hardware Engraved Chrome Neck Plate, Chrome Control Plate, Vintage style Black Control Knobs
strings Bass Centre Elites Standard Gauge Stadium Series
extras Bass Centre padded gig bag
Guy with Betsy at Friars Aylesbury on the Saucerful of Secrets Tour, April 2019 — Photo: David Phillips

"The Jury's Still Out!"

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's 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 also worked with Roxy Music, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Echo & The Bunnymen, Kirsty MacColl, Tears For Fears, Lemon Jelly, The Orb, All Saints, Stephen Duffy, Robbie Robertson, Tom Jones, Iggy Pop, Gary Moore, Whitesnake, 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 Jimmy Nail's UK Number 1 hit "Ain't No Doubt". Amazingly, Guy has also found time to present his one-man music and comedy show "My Bass & Other Animals" around the world, as well as 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 (alongside Spandau Ballet guitarist and fellow Rockonteurs podcast presenter Gary Kemp), performing early Pink Floyd classics with the new Bass Centre Betsy now an integral part of his on-stage arsenal.

And, of course, Bass Centre Elites Strings have also been with him for the last 25+ years — even if, as he maintains, "the jury's still out!!"

Guy and Bass Centre MD Barry Moorhouse at the London Bass Guitar Show, September 2019
Body Basswood
Finish Burgundy Mist with Matching Headstock
Neck Satin Finish Maple with "Super Slim Sixties" Profile
Fingerboard Macassar Ebony with Pre-CBS-Style Clay Dot Markers
Frets 20 Medium Nickel Frets
Pickup 2 x EMG J Pickups
Controls Volume/Volume/Master Tone
Tuning Machines Chrome Vintage-Style, Open-Gear Tuners
Hardware 4 Bolt Engraved Chrome Neck Plate, Chrome Control Plate & Vintage Control Knobs
Bridge Traditional Roller Bridge
Pickguard 3-ply Vintage Mint-Green
Scale Length 34" (864mm)
Neck Width at Nut 38mm
Neck Width at 12th Fret 57mm
Neck Depth at 1st Fret 20mm
Neck Depth at 12th Fret 22mm
String Spacing at Nut 10mm
String Spacing at Bridge 19mm
Weight 4.05kg (8.9lbs)
Strings Bass Centre Elites Stadium Series Roundwound Standard Gauge .040 - .060 - .080 - .100
Extras Bass Centre Padded Gig Bag
Warranty All Bass Collection instruments come with a 1 year warranty

A veritable classic with many stories to tell has been modelled for this new Guy Pratt Signature model. "Anyone interested in some Burgundy Mist?" asks Mike Brooks

From the February 2020 issue of Bass Guitar and Bass Player magazines

Guy Pratt's well-travelled 1964 Fender Jazz, referred to as 'Betsy', was previously owned by John Entwistle of the Who and despite her vintage, value and general desirability – Burgundy Mist was a very limited colour – has covered many miles on the road with Guy. There comes a time, however, when taking certain basses away from home isn't practical, so Barry Moorhouse suggested copying Betsy as part of his Bass Collection British Bass Masters range, so that Guy will no longer need to take Betsy away from home.

As Mr Pratt says : "They've really captured the feel of the old girl, and it sounds great. There's a really nice punch and depth. I don't like taking Betsy on the road too much, so I've used two of these on tour now and intend to continue doing so next year. It's great that it's so affordable, too."

Let's plug in and play – and see if we agree...

Build Quality

Having played the original Betsy back in 2013, what struck me was how playable the bass was and how it naturally resonated, still with a massive spring in its step. This new signature copy certainly catches the eye, matching headstock, chrome hardware and white three-ply scratch plate. All the usual Jazz characteristics and features have been lovingly replicated.

Wear and tear aside, the contouring at front and rear and the cutaways – with excellent access to the upper region of the 20 fret Macassar ebony fingerboard – retain all the charm of the original, while the team have sensibly opted to fit the bass with passive EMG single-coil pickups, just as Guy did when he purchased the bass. The hardware is simple and efficient : The chrome machine heads, bridge and control plate set off the vintage vibe a treat and work as they should. A nice touch is the inclusion of a vintage-correct bridge with string-spacing options.

The player-friendly neck dimensions have been retained : The neck profile and nut are a slinky as you could ask for, and the satin neck finish is the icing on the cake. The traditional three-control layout (volume/volume/tone) should be familiar to most of you, and mother-of-pearl position markers adorn the front-facing of the fingerboard, with white dots along the side. If you like your bass to look as a classic Jazz should, the Betsy ticks all the boxes.

Sounds & Playability

Betsy has a standout tonal character and this model retains much of that. The basswood body (alder was trialed but was heavier with no tonal improvement over basswood) and maple neck are aided by the ebony fingerboard which gives the note increased definition due to the hardness of the timber. Playing the bass acoustically, the whole length of the neck has a natural bounce and bite, while retaining the natural woody characteristics of a Jazz.

Plugging in, those familiar single-coil tones jump out at you : Checking each pickup individually, the EMG units really deliver the goods. Thankfully, the D and G strings don't sound clinical, but match the warmth of the E and A strings, and considering this is a passive bass, the tonal delivery is substantial. There is clarity, matched with a solid, powerful response, especially in the low-mid register. All three controls works across the whole turn, as opposed to the all-too-familiar on-off response which e sometimes see.

Both pickups provide a responsive display and in a band mix, the bass doesn't disappoint, bubbling along nicely without sounding wooly or indistinct. In terms of playability, the 19mm string spacing at the bridge is instantly familiar, while the neck dimensions make you feel very much at home. There is some minor headstock bias, but the bass sits perfectly on a strap.

Conclusion

This bass is an absolute joy to play – I can't recommend it highly enough. It's solidly constructed, with a cool finish, playability and comfort by the bucketload, and a tonal performance that out-boxes many a bass at double the price. The Bass Centre have a winner on their hands – check out Betsy's sibling as soon as possible.

What We Think

Plus Faithful Jazz tones and playability
Minus None
Overall A 24-carat winner

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Brooksy's Soundbite & Full Review

Mike Brooks, pro bassist, Bass Guitar Magazine/Bass Player contributor, and host of YouTube channel 'Brooksy's Bass Corner', provides a cracking introduction to the myriad sonic delights of the Betsy Bass, as well as a thorough, deep-dive review of this wonderful instrument.

Detroit, Betsy-Style

The Bass Centre Betsy Bass in action on a slap-tastic version of Marcus Miller's 'Detroit', from our good friends at the Sims Custom Shop.

Average Rating (14 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
My go-to funk machine
Friday, 12 November 2021  | 

If any of you are on the fence about this bass, let me just say this: I got mine about a year ago, and it is my favorite Jazz, by far; even more so than my Geddy Lee bass, which the bass playing consensus ranks that bass highly. It is my go-to funk machine, it just has the right feel and sound!! I even love the strings it came with - 100-40 Elites Stadiums. I am gonna try my usual DR High Beams when I change them (soon), but I have a feeling I am gonna end up with more Elites or something similar (I haven't looked for a US dealer, but ordering strings overseas, especially right now, seems a bit silly). The Elites do have a great feel and sound.... sometimes I wish they had a bit more bite, but they are nearly a year old now and have logged quite a few hours - haha.

But, for the price, you can't beat it. Similar money to (maybe even less than) a Mexican Fender and nearly the quality of an American Fender Jazz Bass. They save a little money on the hardware, but most of you serious players swap that stuff anyways. I just don't find the need to because like I said, I love the feel and sound of this bass!! Only people who look at the bass up close will notice the bridge and tuners to be on the cheap side, but from 5 feet or further away, who can tell?

The wood work feels great!! It's not the most beautiful neck grain, but it feels perfect and the fingerboard looks great!! Who looks at the back of a neck during a show? The basswood body is very lightweight by comparison and, coupled with the EMG, it's a sound machine!

Man, I look like a crazy Guy worshipper, but it just fell that way. He is one of my several bass heroes, but the ABM-600 was my favorite that I tried when my old SWR SM-400 finally died on me 5 years ago. I admit that I noticed he used Ashdown with David Gilmour which is what put it on my radar, but I was pretty positive I was going to go with Aguilar or Eden. Tried them, like the ABM the best. Then, I saw the Bass Centre Betsy bass (when I was trying to find out the story of the actual Betsy) and thought, "cool, but I don't need a knock-off Fender, especially in that weird color" LOL. I told my bass playing buddy & fellow Guy fan, but kind of put it out of my mind. A few months later I saw some serious players who also worship at the throne of Fender (in a Fender Jazz bass forum) give soaring reviews to this bass, ranking it comparable to their American Fender Jazz basses. Coming in at a bit under $800 with the exchange rate, I had to give it a whirl (and had assumed I could get rid of it on Reverb if I didn't like it). Man, from the second I played it, I connected with it, and my Geddy and a few others have not received much attention since (except I still use my #1 Precision a lot, but 2 totally different sounds). It's a bit flashy for me, but if I am playing funk, I am playing that one and could probably use something (anything) to flash up my stage presence... because who listens to bass players, except bass players?! 🤣

Anyways, sorry to be long-winded, but to sum it up, if you are thinking about it, DO IT!!

PS - this has me wanting to try other Bass Centre basses!

PPS - just noticed it says it is out of stock. It was out of stock when I decided to order, but I signed up for them to email me when it came back in stock, and they did! It went to my junk mail folder, but luckily I went through it and saw it, and immediately order it!! I was opening it roughly 2.5 weeks later!!!


Rating:  
Betsy is really cool!
Monday, 30 August 2021  | 

Betsy arrived from London, and was put to work at first chance. This seems to be a very very nice bass. It's a lot easier to play than my Squier Precision '70s retro that I got last year, that I thought was super... It sounds great and very loud, has very good balance, and is set up better from the start than the Squier. No adjustments needed on this one! Frets are precise. Really amasing sustain and nice tones. Holds the tuning very well. A lot of bass for the money! Happy bringing this one home to Norway!


Rating:  
Excellent instument
Monday, 23 August 2021  | 

Really impressed with the Betsy bass.

The build is excellent and the cherry on the cake is the set up by Chris Ward. Cannot believe the price as it is superior to many instruments three times the price, especially as it is fitted with the EMG pickups.

Great service from the Bass Centre. Would highly recommend.


Rating:  
I don't know how they do it!
Friday, 21 May 2021  | 

I can't really add any more that hasn't already been said. Betsy is an absolute steal. The EMGs work a treat in delivering a punchy tone that can be diluted to taste. She was set up beautifully and ready to rock (jazz?) right out of the box (gig bag and Guy's signed book included, too). The only downside was a personal one in that I learned I've been using the wrong gauge strings for years!!!

Thank you Bass Centre. Service was great and delivery was rapid, expect an order for some more (light gauge) strings in the not too distant future...


Rating:  
Seriously impressive bass
Saturday, 1 May 2021  | 

Had my Betsy for about a month now, and I've barely played my other basses. This is a quality instrument, and the set up is great. Slim neck, fast action, wide range of tones, and the EMG pickups sound fantastic.

Like the strings too - normally I use flats but these are great. Service from the Bass Centre was excellent, the gig bag is quality, and the signed copy of Guy Pratt's book is a nice touch.


Rating:  
One of the best bass guitars I've ever owned!
Wednesday, 21 April 2021  | 

Absolutely amazed by the build quality, the playability, and the sounds you can get out of this bass. This walks all over modern Fender instruments that you'd pay over a grand for. I love the EMGs, so powerful and punchy. There's lots of clarity with the tone control all the way up, and the bass warms up lovely when you turn that tone control down.

I've owned many bass guitars in the past and this is certainly something special. It just shows that a quality instrument doesn't have to be expensive! 😊


Rating:  
Happy with Bass Centre and Betsy.
Thursday, 21 January 2021  | 

Well happy with Betsy, slick, smooth and a great tone.


Rating:  
They forgot to add a '1' to the start of the price!
Friday, 20 November 2020  | 

Being a fan of Guy Pratt, regardless of quality of this bass, I was always going to be ordering one eventually. I decided it best to live with it for a short while before writing a review, spend plenty of time with it and get to know it instead of just making assumptions based on anything. For context, my other 'main' basses are a Musicman Stingray Special and a Musicman Caprice.

Now, there aren't many videos of this bass online or sound examples to really get to know how it sounds but, being the price it is, I thought, what's to lose?! And I'm very glad that I did.

Being an active jazz, its sound is my exact cup of tea. I have to say I was blown away with the quality. Of course it sounds like a jazz bass, but the active nature of it adds a hi-fi/clear quality that I just wasn't expecting to come out of a £500/£600 bass. Add the stainless strings and it reminded me of a Modulus (think Flea) high end with the growl of a vintage jazz. Bright and punchy are perfect words to describe this bass. The tone dial has a lot of room before it starts to get muddy, which is a mark of quality to me. Feeling almost like a one dial EQ (treble cut/bass boost etc) rather than the muddy honk I've experienced on other basses.

Trust the other reviews when they say how easy this bass is to play. I can play fast bass parts on this and with more precision than I can with basses I own 3 times the price. The slim neck is great, ebony with a satin finish which glides rather than the sticky gloss necks available elsewhere.

Betsy has become my number two, shouldering my Caprice out of it's spot. Which is remarkable given that the Caprice is an £1,800 bass. If you like active basses or jazz's then you won't be disappointed. Buy one now before The Bass Centre realise they forgot to add a '1' to the start of the price.

Now ... I'm off to browse P basses from this range.


Rating:  
There's a 1 missing from the beginning of the price tag
Tuesday, 8 September 2020  | 

I must admit I was still slightly cynical after reading the independent reviews of the Betsy bass but, after listening to a few examples on YouTube, I decided that £595 was a safe bet. I've had a custom Status Series II for the last 17 years and fancied something fresh so for me, playing in a couple of Pink Floyd tributes, having a replica of Guy's famous Jazz bass seemed like a no-brainer.

I haven't put this bass down since taking delivery last month and I haven't stopped grinning yet - there's nothing I don't like about it. The bass is setup with 40-100 strings and a lovely low action against a fast neck that feels so light and easy to play. The EMG pickups are fantastic and offer a wide range of tones; I pretty much stick with the bridge on full and the neck rolled off slightly and the bass does all the talking from there, it just loves to groove and party. And the overall balance (when I finally remembered to belatedly order a strap from The Bass Centre!) is perfect for me.

So, yes, if I had picked up and tried one of these basses without knowing the price beforehand I would have guessed it was it was priced at £1,595. Oh, and you get a soft case, AND a signed copy of Guy's book. It's an absolute joy to play and an amazing bargain, I'm so pleased (my wife let me) buy it!

Now Covid, please **** off and let us all go out and play again


Rating:  
Welcome to Jazz Club
Monday, 22 June 2020  | 

I donít normally write reviews, but Iím making an exception for Betsy. Iím lucky enough to own a few basses and wanted a back up for my American made Jazz Bass (ok 2 Jazz basses!).

Iíd read the review in Bass Guitar Magazine and Iím a big fan of Mr. Prattís bass playing, plus who doesnít love burgundy mist, so took the plunge and ordered one.

Iíve owned Betsy a few weeks now, so what can I tell you? The bass arrived with a perfect action and set up out of the box, she has a very slim neck, bright snappy tone and the build quality and finish are on a par with many of my more expensive instruments.

I donít think Betsy will just be a back up bass, but donít tell Nina and Kaelene!


Read all 14 customer reviews...