In the 1980s Westone guitars and basses seemed to be everywhere. Built in the now legendary Matsumoko factory in Japan, these instruments offered high quality at an affordable price. Another factor in their favour was that they had their own original designs and were not merely copies of the same old Fender and Gibson models. I remember when I was looking for a bass guitar on a budget, I ended up buying a new Westone Thunder I-A fretless for £175. There was no way that I was going to buy a "copy", that would not have been cool. Even though I thought the Westone was ugly (and to be honest, I think a lot of their designs were) I could see that it was a well-made instrument.
It's nice to see that these old Westones have kept their value. If I'd kept my old Thunder I-A fretless, I could probably sell it now for over £200. Bearing that in mind, the above-pictured top of the line Westone X900TPR Super Headless Bass seems a mere snip at a Buy It Now price of £299. It is of through-neck construction, as were Westone's higher-end instruments, and features an active EQ. Unlike many Westones, this isn't ugly at all. The curves of the body are quite attractive, to my eyes at least. Note the interesting contouring with a lower-levelled area around the lower horn. This was probably designed to aid the slap and popping style of playing that was popular in the 1980s, but we won't let that detract from the beauty of this bass.
It's nice also to see a headless bass from this period with a full-size body instead of being another minimalist rectangular-shaped Steinberger rip-off.
G L Wilson
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