The Status Graphite Buzzard Bass

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Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. Tim Harden's Buzzard bass.
Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. Tim Harden's Buzzard bass.

John then turned to the UK company, Status Graphite to design and build a completely graphite construction of the Buzzard bass.  According to Rob Green of Status Graphite, it took 3 attempts with the moulding tool to get the Buzzard right.  The Buzzard is available in a variety of shades, 4 string or 8 string.  All Buzzard 1's are outfitted with L.E.D.'s along the top side of the neck.

My particular Buzzard varies from the other pictures of the Buzzards on this web page.  First, the treble and bass boost/cut knobs on my bass are stacked on top of each other, rather than them being two separate knobs.  Secondly, the bass did not originally come with a Hipshot drop D-tuner on the top E string.  I installed this myself, and they are standard on all of John Entwistle's Buzzards.  With exception to perhaps the 8-string models.


Technical Information about the Status Graphite Buzzard bass.

Closeup of the Buzzard bass's volume and tone controls.

 

The Body

The Status line of Buzzard basses feature the basket weave design.  The above Buzzard features the natural graphite tint.  There are other tints available from Status.  The most noticeable feature of the body of this bass is the upper "wing".  If you strap this bass on to yourself, you'll find the wing to be a perfect place to rest your right elbow and arm on while your hand is free to play the bass in John's 3 most used playing positions.  Which are tapping, plucking and picking.  It is his tapping method that he uses the most and is noted for.  By placing your right arm on the wing, your fingers naturally fall to near the end of the 26 fretted board which is where John likes to tap the strings "like a typewriter".

And yes, that is a pistol grip posing as the other wing of the Buzzard.

The bass is 55" long from its "beak" or headstock to the tip of its lower wing.
Its widest point is 15".
At the body's thickest area, it measures approximately 1".
The bass weighs approximately 7 lbs.

 

The Electronics

The pickups are Status Graphite's own Hyperactive pickups which they feature on other basses and guitars of their own.

Below are photos of the electronics exposed with the back panels removed.
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The back of Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. The back of Tim Harden's Buzzard bass. The back of Tim Harden's Buzzard bass.
Volume and Active
Tone Controls
Active Tone Controls Battery Compartment

The Buzzard bass has the most amazing tone control capability that I have ever heard.  And as far as I have encountered, it is the most technologically advanced bass guitar currently on the market.  This is because it incorporates 5 9-volt batteries (2 for the active tone controls and 3 for the LED's along the fret board) which opens the doors for more complex active circuitry, wider range of tone and a high output audio signal than your conventional active guitar.  John Entwistle wanted to be able to have enough tone control on this bass to where he could vary the midrange knob and get an almost "wah-wah" audio effect.  And this can be achieved with the midrange control when it is turned on.  The midrange control becomes active or passive, depending upon if the midrange switch is turned on or off.  This knob is a parametric midrange approximately 250 Hz wide, sweeping from around 125Hz to 2KHz with -18dB cut or boost.  It also has a center de-tent.

The side jumbo LED's on the Buzzard bass.

As stated before, the Buzzard bass has active jumbo LED's on the fret board.  They only turn on if there is a " plug in the output jack and the LED light switch is turned on.  This particular bass has red LED's and I have heard of other Status Buzzard models incorporating other colors, such as blue.

 

Frets

Frets are a nickel/bronze alloy.

 

The Case

When I first purchased the Buzzard in April of 2001, Rob Green of Status Graphite was almost done constructing a better case for the instrument than before.  And it was soon afterward that I ordered the flight case.

The case has solid aluminum edging, heavy duty corners, a leather strap handle and butterfly catches.  The inside of the case is made of a high density foam with the shape of the Buzzard routed out for the bass.  The bass fits perfectly in the foam, similar to a gun case.

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Tim Harden's Buzzard Bass in its case. Tim Harden's Buzzard Bass in its case.

 


Another fellow Buzzard Bass enthusiast had a custom gig bag made for his Status.  Check it out!

#1 & #2

The bag was made by http://www.cacsacgigbags.com/