My bass collection - Tacoma


This 34” scale length thunderous acoustic bass was introduced in November 1998 to great critical acclaim and wide adoption. And why not? Its solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides create a 17½” wide and 4⅞” deep sound box. It has a rosewood bridge, single cutaway on the treble side, and a Wing (paisley) sound hole. The one-piece mahogany neck has a rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets, 1⅝” (Tusq) nut, and black chrome Gotoh tuning machines on the headstock with etched Tacoma logo. Beyond its acoustic capabilities, it can also be amplified using the onboard Tacoma E3 preamp system consisting of a ribbon transducer element with unlimited dynamic range reading the flexing of the spruce top combined with a pure class A, discrete preamp with quasi-passive EQ, using a synthesized “cap and coil circuit” (i.e. capacitor and inductance or LC-circuit for short) parallel to the original signal, a technology proprietary to L.R. Baggs. The 2005 Catalog can be downloaded from the (archived( Fender hosted Tacoma support page with the Thunderchief on page 18. Although the archived snapshot from March 2005 also provides info, scans of relevant pages in the 2001 Catalog are included below.


Tacoma CB10CE Thunderchief Bass

The story behind this bass


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Acquired in mid-2020, the reason why goes back to a Tukwila/Southcenter Guitar Center visit almost 2 decades prior. At that time Tacoma was still up and coming with a lot of good press. At a minimum, it had not become public knowledge yet the top coat on many of their instruments tends to delaminate. But during that visit I had an absolute blast playing a 5-string fretless version of the Thunderchief and had a hard time leaving it behind. Somewhere in the corner of my brain, that event always caused me to stay on the lookout for one in decent condition (see problem described above) at a reasonable price. It all fell in place when Richard Nickerson posted his Thunderchief on eBay, including its original hardshell case, even if it took 2 listing cycles. While parsing the serial number, we learn it was the 6th instrument built the 115th day of 2002, i.e. Thursday, April 25th. The second ‘5’ represents the presence of a Wing sound hole. The E3 preamp system needed a fresh battery for it to work properly. It sounded already fantastic with the (electric) bass strings it came with. That 45-105 set was a bit too heavy to my liking while affecting the relief. Now with the intended set of phosphor bronze strings on it, and a small truss rod adjustment, the bass just plays like butter and sounds magical. Its acoustic qualities are to die for and through my Phil Jones Bass Suitcase Compact it has some serious oomph. What a find.

The story behind this guitar



D’Addario EPBB170 Phosphor Bronze Light Long Scale (45-100)