Tokai Precision Bass
say you traveled through time to the day before I bought this bass.
Let's say you gave me a line-up of a million basses and gave me a million
guesses. This would have been the last one I would have said I would
have ended up with.
When I picked this one up, I had literally
been actively looking for a bass for about six months or more. On
that particular day, I went to a local music store to get an amp, believe
it or not. I already had the Curbow.
I was trying out different amps with different basses, but I kept coming
back to this one.
I have discussed elsewhere on this site
how there are three aspects of any instrument: Its aesthetics, its playability,
and its sound. I'll address these one at a time for this bass...
Aesthetics: It's just a copy of a standard
Fender Precision bass, and a none-too-attractive one at that. It
has a front-mounted jack (something I hate), a rosewood fretboard with
dot inlays (worst possible combination of all possible options), and the
original white plastic pickguard has been replaced with a gold-colored
aluminum plate instead that has holes for a block that isn't even there.
The logo is a joke; Tokai used to style their name to look like Fender's
traditional logo until an inevitable threat from the former's lawyers dissuaded
them. In short: At best, it's a bad knock-off of a boring bass, only
they've taken to into the realm of ugly..
Playability: This is where it gets
good. Like I said, I've played a lot of basses, but this one was
just super fast. I was playing runs as fast as I normally do on guitar
(an instrument I am much more familiar with). It all felt very, very
natural and yet the bass felt substantial in my hands. It is realtively
heavy, but hitting the notes felt like swinging a baseball bat and connecting
with the ball. It was (and is) powerful.
At the end of the day, I not only bought an
amp (a Peavey BAM 210 Bass Amp) but this bass as well. It may look
like a laughing stock (I mean, come on! Tokai?!), but it really is a great
Sound: Even though this is an incredibly
stripped-down instrument (i.e., one pickup, one vol, one tone knob), it
has a killer tone. Many basses out there just sound too thin no matter
what you try with the EQ. This one blew all the others I played away,
and this was with multiple side-by-side tests with a series of amps.
Pick up another pickup
I wouldn't mind adding a second
pickup here. Many basses in the Precision mold have an additional
pickup between the bridge and the edge of the pickguard.
With two pickups, it would be
possible to add series/parallel switching
and/or a phase switch. Though I
didn't set out to do this, all three of my current basses are single pickup
models, so this remains and under-explored (and therefore tempting) realm
Non-Electronic Modification: Jacked-over.
If I added a second pickup, that
would almost certainly necessitate adding an additional pot for purposes
discusses above. I would then move the jack over to the side of the
bass where (in my opinion) it rightly belongs.
Non-Electronic Modification: Pickguard
At the time I bought this bass,
I had the seller throw in a white plastic pickguard that looked like it
would fit this bass. As it turned out, it didn't quite fit.
The pickup didn't line up perfectly, so I needed to do a bit of trimming
on it. However, I play this bass so often, that I've never put it
out of commission for long enough to do the minor adjusting I need to get
it in place. Maybe I'm just a bit superstitious that I'd affect the
sound? Possibly. Really, I'm just lazy.