Oz Osborne

Band: The Difference Engine

Preston / NW England

You have created an excellent site. It is now past 5am and I am still looking at it. Any player who seriously says your collection is 'nothing special' is clearly mad. You are doing a wonderful service for us cack-handed (gauche, sinistri... notice how descriptions of us are never pleasant in any language?) bass players. I also share many of your opinions. I couldn't possibly see myself using a six-string, and I also love my 'curious' Marshall amp.

Born in 1965, tried guitar in 1978 but found I have the wrong shape of fingers. Bought my 1st bass in 1980 and found I have the wrong level of talent. Never mind; average guitarists are everywhere but even an average bass player can get in a band. Twenty years later, I've advanced to the stage of 'adequate'. I've almost always been in a band, but the bands I've really gigged and recorded with are 'sub rosa' (1990 - 1995) and 'the difference engine' (still going). sub rosa was standard, 90s 'indie' music and my current band is an amalgam of indie, rock, blues and house.

First bass was a r/h Kay 4001 copy (1980, now lost). Awful, but the access was good for an upside-down bass. About 1985 I bought a no-name, r/h 'P' copy (also lost) which was also awful and the access was terrible. From now on it's all lefties and I've still got them.

1987 Hondo Fame 830 P type. Grover tuners, string-thru-body bridge (snapped them regularly) but dull, uneven response that needed a compressor. Also, the only neck to go bow-wow on me.

1991 Aria SLB2a. Another ply body, but P/J pickups and an active EQ (of sorts). This was my mainstay until last year, and I have fond affection for it. Never touched the truss rod, held tune well and (if you switched it to active and put both p/ups on full) gave you an instant "TANG", JJ Brunel sound (think "Peaches" or "Grip"). My current, blues loving, guitarist hates it so...

2003 Jim Reed BE5. First 'proper' bass and a bargain. 5-string, twin soapbar, active bass + treble, 5 piece mahogany/maple neck, mahogany body with bird's eye koa top and back etc etc. See my review on harmony-central.com - the hardware is no-name (but decent) and the Kramer-sourced pickups aren't great but, hey, less than £400.

My amp has always been a CMI 100W valve head from the 60s (Making Music magazine found out for me that Marshall sold some of their stuff as 'Cleartone Musical Instruments' back then) with a 2x10 cab. Neither my car nor my back are fond of big cabs.

I'm building/designing a 5-string project or two. Any info I get from other players would be very welcome.

I have always preferred to play through all-valve amplifiers and have developed a disease known as GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I get the most pleasure from finding less-known old amps with great sounds and small price tags. If you are curious to know more about them, contact me through Arni and I will fascinate you to death about them.

Best regards, Oz

2003 Jim Reed BE5

Cort Action V

1987 Hondo Fame 830 P type

Fenix Jazz Bass

1991 Aria SLB2a

WEM Dominator combo

69 Laney PA Super 100W

'68 Selmer TV100 MkII

CMI 100W valve head

2x10 cab

WEM Songbird 300W 1x12" cabs

Fradan Echomatic