The Bruce Thomas Profile Bass

Worldwide Price : £412.50
UK Price:  £495.00 - Inc. 20% VAT

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FREE SIGNED BOOK

Buy the best-selling Bass Centre Profile Bass and get a free hand signed copy of Bruce Thomas' excellent memoir 'Rough Notes'. A superb, personal account of the development of popular music over the last 50 years, as well as an intimate glimpse at the sometimes euphoric, often downright heartbreaking, life of a professional musician, this is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the music industry and the crazy world of rock 'n' roll.

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 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

body Custom basswood body profile with classic Salmon Pink finish and 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 Retro roller bridge with knurled saddles for string width adjustment
hardware Original '60s style chromed brass flat-top control knobs
strings Bass Centre Elites Standard Gauge Stadium Series
extras Bass Centre padded gig bag

Pump It Up!

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 Custom Profile Basswood with Salmon Pink Finish and Tortoise-shell Pickguard
Neck Custom Profile Satin Finish Maple
Fingerboard Macassar Ebony with Pre-CBS Style Clay Dot Markers
Frets 20 Medium Nickel Frets
Pickup Custom Split Single Coil with Exposed Pole Pieces
Controls Master Volume / Master Tone
Machineheads Chrome Vintage Style, Open-Gear Tuners
Hardware Vintage style Chromed Brass Flat-Top Control Knobs / 4 Bolt Engraved Chrome Neck Plate
Bridge Retro Roller Bridge with Knurled Saddles for String Width Adjustment
Scale Length 34" (864mm)
Neck Width at Nut 40mm
Neck Width at 12th Fret 57mm
Neck Depth at 1st Fret 20mm
Neck Depth at 12th Fret 22mm
String Spacing at Nut 11.5mm
String Spacing at Bridge 19.5mm
Weight 4.1kg (9.0lbs)
Strings Bass Centre Elites Player Series Nickel Plated Roundwound Standard Gauge .045 - .065 - .085 - .105
Extras Bass Centre Padded Gig Bag
Warranty All Bass Collection instruments come with a 1 year warranty
Country Of Origin World Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. • South Korea

Sometime Elvis Costello bassist Bruce Thomas comes up trumps with a signature bass from the Bass Centre. Joel McIver gives it a road-test

From the January 2016 issue of Bass Guitar magazine

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".

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

Average Rating (30 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

Rating:  
Exceeded my expectations in every way
Sunday, 9 May 2021  | 

The Profile has exceeded my expectations in every way and is as good a P as I've ever played....and thats a lot of P's.

The macassar ebony fingerboard is a big plus for me. What a colour... my Mrs reckons its orange! I've recently bought Korean-built basses from Ashdown & Anaconda (yes, still batting for British companies) and whilst they are very good indeed, they are around twice the price of the Profile.


Rating:  
Bruce Thomas Profile Bass Exceeds Expectations
Sunday, 25 April 2021  | 

I've got a fair number of basses, but not one Precision. I just never thought I sounded good on one. I'm a huge fan of Bruce's bass playing and, after reading a recent review of the bass on social media, I decided to take the plunge on a gut feeling. I'm in the US and was apprehensive about buying a bass from another country, but The Bass Centre made it a painless and worry free process. I had the bass within 5 day of shipment. Love the look. Love the sound. Fit and finish were great. I'm having a great time playing along with some of my favorite Bruce Thomas basslines on a bass that was inspired by his original warhorse. It feels a bit like being able to try on Superman's cape.

Not sure if this is allowed (if not, please just edit the link from the review), but here's a "review" I did on the bass, along with a play-along.

Thanks Bruce and Bass Centre!


Response:

Not just allowed, Troy, but actively encouraged! Huge thanks once again for your thoughtful, in-depth, and glowing evaluation.


Rating:  
An outstandingly good P-bass
Thursday, 1 April 2021  | 

I have been playing 5-strings for a few years live, but wanted a really good P-bass for home use and recording. The Bruce Thomas really hits the spot. I said outstanding build quality as it seems that a great deal of care has gone into designing this. Then there is the sound! Plenty of tone and thump here, so no need to play with everything turned up to max like many P-basses.. I never expected to find my perfect P-bass in this price bracket. Search over!


Rating:  
Taming the orange beast
Friday, 30 October 2020  | 

Great bass! the guys set it up with their Detroit flats, but I swapped them for low tension TI Jazz Flats and love it. Have played it for hours. The neck profile being between a J and P neck means the strings are nicely apart and the sheen on the back of the neck means your hand just glides, no stickiness, so Ė as others have said Ė a joy to play. Very clean fretted sound from the ebony board, dig in for growl.

Now let's talk about the pickups - Loud! Probably loudest ever Ė takes some playing with to get your sweet spot, but when you do... just sublime. I always prefer the volume not on full, I find you get fewer overtones, so these crazy puppies deliver there, on full it's too much. The tone control is great and wide, no drop in volume between high and low. The highs are clear, sharp and sustain for days, like a crisp bottle of Riesling. The lows are round and meaty, like a good bottle of Tannat.

The colour is orange to my eyes and it's just a cool looking piece of b-ass. Well done to all involved - if you ever do an aged natural version, then I'm in!


Rating:  
A thing of beauty
Tuesday, 20 October 2020  | 

I took delivery of the bass yesterday. Itís a thing of beauty. Great job with the set-up too, itís perfect. Many thanks


Rating:  
The bass Iíve been looking for!
Saturday, 18 July 2020  | 

Iíd spent a year searching for a new P-Bass. I looked at the Mexican and American Fenders. There was always something I didnít like about the ones I tried (yes, including colour!). I wanted a faster neck without the sticky lacquer, I needed a lightweight one due to shoulder and back issues. Iíd always expected to have to upgrade the pickups and probably add a pickguard in a better colour. Then I spoke to a couple of Profile bass owners and read some reviews. I wouldnít usually buy a bass without trying it first but everyone was saying the same things about the Bruce Thomas Profile; consistently lightweight, good pickups, fast, thin neck profile. And the price! I felt it was worth the risk. I wasnít disappointed. Itís a beauty too. Is it perfect? No, Iíll probably change the tuners for ultralights as it is the teeniest bit neck heavy. If you practice sitting down you probably wouldnít even notice it but, with my back, ergonomics are important.

In summary, itís a joy to play, I love the weight, sound and look of it. Once Iíve added new tuners , Itíll be my P-Bass for life.


Rating:  
Great bass for the price
Thursday, 4 June 2020  | 

I just wanted to let you know the BT bass arrived safely in France... It's a really great bass for the price and the first instrument I've ever bought new that has a perfect setup - there's literally nothing I would touch!

Looking forward to receiving the book.

Many thanks


Rating:  
Fantastic bass
Sunday, 13 October 2019  | 

A belated note to say a HUGE thank you for this fantastic bass.

Have gigged it twice now, and it's tremendous fun to play - the nut width, and most importantly, neck profile and finish make it much easier to play long sets on hot summer nights.

The pickup is a monster too, a perfect match with the Stainless Steel Elites! What more can I say? A brilliant package with the gig bag and Bruce's book... even the box the bass came in looks cool!

Congratulations on a real winner


Rating:  
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.


Rating:  
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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