Back in June 2014, I bought this LTD Vintage-214M bass guitar for less than £300. I chose the LTD as I was impressed with the ST-213 HSS M which became マミカスター. As expected, the built was good and her tone was just solid. She looked like this when I first bought her, and I called her TIMO-chan, for obvious reasons:
She then underwent her first transformation by way of a new anodised Fender pickguard for the Precision bass which I bought on eBay, and her final (probably) makeover with gold racing stripes, as well as Schaller strap locks.
The racing stripes decal was found on eBay from a seller called factoryofvinyl in Mexico. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive to buy it, but it was only USD5. What can go wrong, eh. After choosing the gold coloured one (there is a selection to choose from), it finally arrived about 3 weeks later. Using a photo of TIMO’s Precision bass as a guide to get the angle right, I was good to go.
Like for like, its full width is a few millimetres less than the one on BLUETUS. Also, to use BLUETUS as a guide, I wasn’t going to have the vinyl decal go all the way the back of the bass. First of all, I wiped the bass clean to ensure there is no dust. I then positioned the racing stripe at the correct angle, as guided by the photo in the magazine. The decal was then fixed into position with masking tape. I also used another strip of masking tape as a guide to the actual angle of the stripe in case I had to position the stripe free hand. Using a hard card, I removed any air bubbles on the decal as best as I could. The decal is then trimmed at the ends with a very sharp pair of scissors for a clean straight cut.
The decal is actually held in position by a clear film which is not to be removed until the end. The backing paper is carefully removed partially and the actual decal is placed on the body of the bass. Remove any bubbles with the firm card. It was looking quite good even at this point as the position is being held by the masking tape.
Once half the decal is stuck onto the bass, I removed the masking tape and the rest of the backing paper. I then gently remove the clear film and used a cloth to really ensure the decal is stuck on the bass. Check out the end of the stripes, just like how it is on BLUETUS. And here is TIMO-chan with her new racing stripes. I am well chuffed with the results!
And this is what she looks like now:
TIMO-chan has an alder body and a two-piece bolt-on maple neck. She already sounded ace out of the box, and even better after my brother gave her a simple set up. I was told that her neck was a bit bowed but she was fixed as best as he could (I haven’t had her done up by Steve yet) as I didn’t have a large enough Allen wrench for her truss rod. The neck otherwise felt fine, and the XJ frets didn’t need their edges filing. Kudos to the QC.
I am no bass player but slapping the strings seemed, umm… easy. The pup config was similar to a Deluxe Precision, comprising a J-styled bridge pup and a central P-styled pup, both of them of the OEM variety designed by ESP (the LDJ and LDP, respectively). Plugged into my Behringer bass head through an 18″ speaker, her tone ranges from a low growl to quiet(ish) sweetness. The bridge was robust and it didn’t matter that this wasn’t a string-thru body.
As for the electronics config, the knobs are pretty much vol/vol/tone. As for any future mods, I may consider getting Fender Noiseless bridge J-styled pup for her. As I am already happy with her bridge, I won’t be on the lookout for a BadAss any time soon, if at all.
Check out this cover I made of SCANDAL’s Standard using TIMOchan:
TIMOchan’s current specs (as listed by ESP):
Construction: Bolt-on neck
Fingerboard radius: 400mm
Nut width: 42mm
Nut type: Moulded
Neck contour: Thin U
Frets/Type: 21 XJ
Hardware colour: Chrome
Strap button: Schaller security strap locks
Tuners: LTD Vintage
Bridge: LTD DB-4
Neck pickup: ESP-designed LDP
Bridge pickup: ESP-designed LDJ
Electronics layout: Vol/Vol/Tone