5/09/2018

1981 Moridaira-made Lotus L-1500 Neck-Through Electric Bass Guitar




Update: The video's audio is the bass plugged into a Vox MV50 Clean amp with a "speaker-emulated" direct-out jack into my computer. This thing sounds a lot like a generic clean Fender amp EQ-wise, so that should give you a frame of reference.

Update #2: Since originally posting, I've swapped pickups for Alnico-magnet, slightly-higher-output pickups. They're under the original covers and sound much the same as in the soundclip but a hair gutsier and with more output. 

This Alembic-ized take on a P-Bass was made by Moridaira in Japan -- a company which is best known for its Morris-branded gear in the UK. This through-neck beast sat at the top of the Lotus-brand bass line in the early '80s and it's a giant step-up from its more pedestrian (and common) student-grade Korean P-Bass copies. This thing feels professional and when it came to me -- as-is from the '80s but obviously played -- it only needed the most minor of work. Said work included a fret level/dress, cleaning, and a gentle setup. After that it was plug-in and go!

It's a through-neck design and so its "central core" is a 5-piece mash-up of maple and cherry with body "wings" of what seem to be ash. The fretboard is rosewood that's been ebonized and all the hardware (which is good-quality and rugged) is original. Truss-rod access is at the end of the fretboard and the neck is straight and feels like a mix of P-Bass and J-Bass profiles. The pickup is a standard-issue P-Bass configuration, though its fairly low output gives it a pretty vintage, clean vibe.

Specs are: 33 1/2" scale, 1 5/8" nut width, 1 3/8" string spacing at the nut, 2 3/8" spacing at the bridge, 13 1/4" lower bout, 11" upper bout, and 1 5/8" body depth. Action is 3/32" EAD at the 12th fret and a hair under that for the G string. The neck has something like a 12" radius to it and a medium C-shaped rear profile. The strings are newer but used and gauged around 105w-48w or similar.


Handsome, right? I like the design advantages of through-neck instruments but can't get over the space-age or bad fantasy novel look of most of them. This makes me think more "wooden boat" than "hippie art piece."


In typical late-'70s, early-'80s fashion, the nut is a big bit of brass.






The adjustment screws on some of the brass saddles are a bit stiff. I had to turn a few of them with grippers rather than their Allen wrench holes to get them to move.




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