Steve Graham of Born Joy Dead

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Steve Graham of Born Joy Dead


What piece of equipment do you have to show us today?

My 1980(ish) Cimar jazz bass. These were made in Japan and affiliated with Ibanez back in the late ‘70s to early ‘80s.

How did you come across this particular item?

Our guitarist Ben’s housemate gave this bass to me as a ‘fixer upper’. I’ve been building a few guitars lately and she thought this would be something I could mess around with. This one needed a bit of work, the neck volume pot had seized and the bridge pickup must have taken a beating at some stage because two of the pole pieces on the treble side were missing completely.


What is it that you like so much about it? 

Not having a lot of spare funds, it was a case of eBay to the rescue. I think the neck and bridge set of pickups cost about $6 and a loaded control plate set me back about the same. I had absolutely no hope for this thing sounding any good but I thought it would be a fun experiment. I already loved the way the bass felt to play; the neck profile is really comfortable and for something with such a fat headstock, no deck dive at all. Somehow though the combination of cheap and cheaper seems to create something really cool and this thing has become my main gigging bass.


How do you use it, and how has it shaped the way you write music?

Generally I’ll have the neck and bridge pickups wide open and the tone up about a quarter. During songs that need more of that P-Bass sound like ‘Stones In My Shoe’, I’ll back the bridge off completely and bring the tone up to about 50%. Songs like “Hey Blood’ will have everything up at 100% and then sent though a Darkglass Vintage Microtubes overdrive pedal, which has become a favourite of mine.

Any other interesting points/stories about it?

The side fret markers are actually small nails! Definitely someone’s attempt at making this thing stand out; why on earth anyone would do this is beyond me but it sure adds character I guess? 


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