Throughout the '80s and '90s, in a unprepossessing 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.
"The Bass Centre is most certainly the centre of the British bass world" — Who legend, John Entwistle
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 inevitably saw it first in the UK at The Bass Centre.
Now, in the Bass Centre's fourth 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 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 instruments, strings, and accessories.
Advert from 1989 promoting the Bass Centre stores in London and Los Angeles
Elites artist Dave Bronze with Bass Centre directors Russell Prince & Barry Moorhouse
Bass superstar Billy Sheehan at the first of two sell-out clinic shows in the mid 1990s
Ultimate praise from OG bass master and our good friend, the one-and-only John Entwistle
Lenny Henry hunts the funk for London Weekend Televsion's South Bank Show in 1992...
...and discovers legendary James Brown/Funkadelic bassman Bootsy Collins, in the wilds of Wapping
Rainbow, Ozzy Osborne and Gary Moore stalwart Bob Daisley at the Wapping superstore
Status and a mountain of Trace Elliot - A typical Saturday at the Bass Centre circa 1986
Greg Lake, every inch the prog rock superstar, at the London Bass Centre with assorted Bass Centre and Trace Elliot staff
Sunday service in Wapping High Street with Black Sabbath's legendary metal god Geezer Butler
Jack Bruce with Ampeg Dan Armstrong lucite bass getting approval from BC guru Nick Owen
One of the many examples of Mark King dedicated Trace Elliot promo on the hallowed Wapping walls
Michael Anthony cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the Birmingham Bass Centre in 1993
Backdoor meastro and long-term BC friend Colin Hodgkinson, in action at Bass Centre Live in 2005
Jazz funk legend Marcus Miller with the Bass Centre's Dean Mitchell at another BC live exclusive in 2006
The brilliant Nathan East with Bass Centre London staffers Grant Collins, Dean Mitchell and Alex Carter
Level 42's Mark King posing with the lifesize cutout sign of himself on the Bass Centre wall in the '80s
The mighty Metallica celebrating the release of their 1987 "$5.98 EP - Garage Days Re-Revisited", with (then) new recruit Jason Newsted sporting the T-shirt of choice for discerning metal bass players the world over!
Neil Murray, Brit bass colossus & a loyal customer for over 3 decades
Dave Bronze taking a stand on behalf of the Wapping Popular Front
John Wetton under the bridge with Bass Centre Elites Strings
Down in the tube station with Malcolm Foster and Bruce Thomas
Jack Bruce in action at the first Bass Weekend at Nomis Studios, 1986
Super Swede Jonas Hellborg with Wal twin neck at Nomis in '86
Barry Moorhouse and Whitesnake's Neil Murray take a break at Nomis
Team photo for the official opening of the Bass Centre Birmingham
1986 promo for the first amazing star-studded "Bass Weekend"
Bass Centre founder Barry Moorhouse at Tower Bridge in 1985
Barry and Dr. Brian May in sister store the Acoustic Centre in 1998
1986 Mark King Trace Elliot poster from the Wapping superstore
Barry Moorhouse with virtuoso Jeff Berlin & Trace Elliot's Alan Morgan at the Los Angeles Guitar Show
Barry Moorhouse accepts another best UK Trace Elliot dealer award from the ever shy & retiring TE crew
Receiving the 1995 Making Music Award for Elites - "Best Bass Strings" - from the total legend Jools Holland
Nathan East celebrating the launch of the his Elites Signature Set at the London Music Show 1998
Barry Moorhouse at the launch of the Flea Bass at Selfridges, London with the incendiary Red Hot Chili Peppers' funkmaster himself
Mario Cipollini, bassist with Huey Lewis and The News in Wapping with Barry Moorhouse in '86
The late Mick Karn reunited with his famous Steve Klein Bass in Wapping, late 1990s
Dave Bronze, a big fan of Elites Detroit Flatwounds, and the Wapping Wall of Fender
Barry Moorhouse with the visionary luthier, and bass pioneer Ned Steinberger of NS Design
Stu Hamm, world renowned bass virtuoso, composer, clinician and educator, with Barry Moorhouse at the London Music Show
Jukebox fury! Metallica's Robert Trujillo with the Bass Centre's own dynamic duo, Alex "Hal" Carter and Grant Collins
International treasure Dr. Brian May at the grand opening of House of Guitars on the edge of London's Square Mile
Nathan East & Barry celebrate the launch of the Elites Nathan East Signature Set at the London Music Show 1998
Gail-Ann Dorsey, David Bowie collaborator, songwriter, solo artist, and a welcome Wapping regular
The Stranglers' Jean-Jacques Burnel with Bass Centre crew and Mark Gooday of Ashdown Engineering
Wowing a sell-out East London crowd, Billy Sheehan and his 'Great Wall of Ampeg'
Bass Centre tech Chris Ward with bass master Norman Watt-Roy and his famous shoreline gold Jazz
"Ready" Freddie Washington at the Bass Centre in July 1997, during Michael Jackson’s ‘History’ tour