Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 100

Jim Sellers and
the MicroFrets bass.

MISTAKES OF THE PAST
AN M-F BASS RETURNS TO GLORY

L

argely ignored, the oddlooking bass had been
hanging in the corner of Keen
Kraft Music - Edmonton's
renowned "store for players"
- for who knows how long. Its
Micro-Frets branding lacked the
cachet of Fender or Gibson, let
alone the panache of a Rickenbacker or Ampeg. But, one day
in 1978, its peculiarity - and
price - drew the attention of a
bargain-hunting player.
Grabbing it from the
hanger, 20-year-old Jim Sellers sat on a stool, plugged
the bass into a worn demo
amp, and started to pluck.
"It's nice and light..." he
thought to himself, noting
its fast action, but the frets
were worn and its pickups
were weak and noisy. Long
story, short? It needed work.
Glancing toward the counter, he asked, "What's the
story with this?" Nobody had a
clue, but the sales guys offered only a "take it or leave
it" attitude. Sellers bit.
After a few months trying
to bond with the instrument,
he thought maybe it should
be a different color. Though
not versed in the repair or

maintenance of stringed
instruments, Sellers removed
its hardware and electronics,
separated neck from body,
and grabbed a sanding block.
Then, as often happens, life
interrupted. A slowed economy
impacted Sellers' employer,
forcing him to relocate. His possessions, including the bass and
its parts, were stashed away.
And when he went to retrieve
it two years laters, Sellers was
disheartened to find the body
hadn't fared well through two
cold, dry Canadian winters in the
family's unheated storage unit.
"There were pronounced
separations in the grain," he
said. "But the real shock came
when I couldn't find the pickups,
bridge, nut, or back plate."
For months, he searched in
vain for the parts before finally
becoming disheartened. For
25 years, his dream of rebuilding the bass was again forced
aside. Finally, as the internet
emerged as a resource, information gradually began to surface
- given the niche element of
the Micro-Frets brand, though,
there was little beyond minutiae.
That is, until one day in 2012.
"I found a story detailing the
VINTAGE GUITAR

modification of a Signature model the owner
wanted to make replicate
a six-string bass played
by Genesis guitarist Mike
Rutherford. The piece included Will Meadors, who
by then owned the brand."
Enthusiasm renewed,

100

March 2017

Sellers reached out
and Meadors replied,
saying he had designs
for original parts.
More crucially, he
offered to machine
some for Sellers.
"I felt like I was
being rewarded
for clinging to my
dream for so long against
what I figured were long
odds," Sellers said.
The next step was to
find someone to refinish
the body and neck.
"There were a number
of specialists in my area,
but I had trouble finding
one willing to take on the
challenge of restoring a
40-year-old instrument
that had been knocked
around, dinged up, and
poorly sanded," he said.
Eventually, he tracked
down Miles Jones at
his Fretworks shop near
Calgary. A 30-year veteran
of the trade, Jones had
done work for Amos
Garrett, Jann Arden, and
Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. His first step was to
repair the wood and plane
the neck. Then, he gave
it new frets and replaced
some of the mother-of-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 3
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 4
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 5
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 6
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 7
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 8
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 9
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 11
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 12
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Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 17
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 18
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 19
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 20
Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 21
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