Could someone help me figure out what kind of electric bass this is? I found it in my great-grandparent's attic. There is not a single word on this thing anywhere, and I can't find a similar model via photo.

On an additional note, a recommendation of strings I should use to replace the old ones?

I apologize in advance for poor photo quality: enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    It looks like the kind of thing you could buy in Woolworths in the 60s & 70's, except Woolies eventually own-branded as "Audition". It's definitely that kind of age as the 'finger rest' is below the strings, so you were expected to play with your thumb. The 'extra' scratch plate above hints at Burns, but I doubt it's a Burns. It probably retailed at £20 or so back then & other than as a curio, probably isn't worth much more now, I'm afraid.... unless someone nails it as some kind of hidden gem... but don't hold your breath ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 20:18
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    btw, it would be nice if you could inline a selection of those photos here, to prevent bit rot - or, as it's difficult for new users, specify permission & someone with higher rep could do it for you. As you own the rights to the images, we can't do it without permission.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 20:34
  • I apologize, I couldn't figure out how to put the photos on here directly. If you or someone else want to move them, I can try changing permissions
    – Coco
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 21:06
  • I found something very similar on eBay, not identical but all the hallmarks - ebay.com/itm/… but sincerely doubt they'll get the $225 they're asking for.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 10:08
  • This is what I meant by the Burns-look, btw... they did the 'horn' attached or separated. As soon as George Harrison played one, all the far eastern factories will have been attaching new bits to look like it ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 10:14

2 Answers 2


Your instrument appears to be a 'Top Twenty' Bass that was made in Japan. It is possibly a 60/70's but can't be sure. The pick up on the bass is a Hofner staple pick-up so that would er towards 60's. I have a similar bass with the same pick-up.


This isn't a clear, complete answer to the question, but it is a partial answer with valuable information that could lead to a complete answer, so:

It's a 60/70's Japanese Fender knock-off of some sort. (That's back in the days when Japanese stuff was cheap and junky.) It's made of various cheap parts that don't really match each other.

There were many names stuck onto those products- often the same instrument with different names, or vice versa. Without a name on it, it may be impossible to accurately identify it. (Perhaps some mad collector or dealer or expert in old instruments could nail it for you, if you could find someone like that.) At that time, teenagers were becoming very interested in music, due to the Beatlemania, then Woodstock, etc, so the markets were flooded with such instruments - low priced knock-offs of expensive American instruments (in this case the Fender Jazz Bass) that targeted the young market with prices that were fraction of the cost of a "thoroughbred".

In the USA, such an instrument probably cost around $79.95 in Sears, in 1970. Now it might be worth 3x or 4x as much, assuming it's in good playing condition. (That's after taking inflation into account...) Judging from the pics, it doesn't look bad at all. Highly doubtful you've stumbled upon some buried treasure.

Take a look here - you might find something similar - I didn't right now but the list is always changing: Vintage basses under $1000 - note that the basses for sale there are mostly in excellent condition, with known names.

Among the listings there is this :Gallan Jb Circa 1969 3ts enter image description hereenter image description here

You can see similarities to your bass, and also differences. So perhaps it's a "Gallan" of some sort. The seller (Japanese) describes it this way:

...This bass, although a kind of budget build back in the day,that went for around 35000JPY, is a very decent Jazz bass. The neck is 3 pc maple, rugged and reliable, and is still healthy with an operational truss. The body is most likely plywood with maple laminate on top and back, the fretboard is rose with abalone inlays and white binding. The scale is 34" and all the hardware, circuit, pots and pickups are original!

It was made for Kyowa-shokai corporation by the Matsumoto Musical Instrument group, meaning Matsumoku most likely made the neck and the rest maybe was outsourced to other builders. This was one of Kyowa's first brands and was later replaced by their slightly higher grade Fresher brand in the mid seventies.

As you can see, that instrument is probably made from parts coming from different sources, and the name "Gallan" was subsequently replaced with "Fresher". So maybe yours is "Gallan" or a "Fresher" or maybe some other name entirely, built by someone else, using some parts from the same source used to build the Gallan.

Note that your bass has a few interesting features that could make exact identification easier:

  • The truss rod adjustment - that little rod sticking out of the bottom of the neck, under where it meets the body: It is exposed and can be adjusted easily without an allen wrench or special tools. Many basses, even today, don't feature that - it is a plus.
  • The tortoise shell pickguard covering the front is split into two parts, with a separate, small panel on the upper right hand side. That is unusual.
  • The "witch's hat" style knobs for the volume and tone controls. Note the difference between those and the ones on the Gallan pictured her. Those are often found on older instruments - you'll be hard pressed to find them on a modern design. It could be random entirely - they just happened to have some knobs like those around and used them. Or, it could be part of some sort of "signature" look or style they were trying to achieve to make their instrument stand out.

Your best shot at getting a good ID for it online will be here: TalkBass.com - Bass Guitar Instrument Discussion - if there's anybody around who might be able to ID it, they will probably be found on that site. You'd have to become a member of the site to post the question - it's free.

On an additional note, a recommendation of strings I should use to replace the old ones?

Hard to recommend strings without knowing what style of music you intend to play, and what the length of scale is. (It's probably 34 inches). We also don't recommend specific products here on this site.

So I'll just say that a good quality medium gauge, long scale (34 inches), nickel, round wound string for 4 string electric bass from D'Addario or GHS are good for general use. There are many brands, but those two are very popular with a great number of players. DR, LaBella and Ernie Ball are other names name you'll often see. Personally I have used only D'Addario or GHS string for many years.

Important A word of advice: If you intend to try and sell and make a few bucks (It's possible if you put in some effort, although as mentioned, not a great fortune), do not modify or fix it up in any way. (You also put in a picture of the cord, but that's separate from the bass and is worthless - likely it's flaky too.) Whatever value it might have is because of its original "vintage" condition. If you change it somehow, you will immediately diminish greatly whatever value it has. You can clean it up and polish it (be careful you don't rub off the finish), but don't change anything on it - no new strings, new tuning pegs, new pickup, new finish, new knobs, etc. Handle it with care and put it back together carefully, since you've now taken some of it apart.

  • If you'd like to link this post elsewhere, go for it. As for changing any parts, I don't intend to sell it, however I also would like to keep it as close to its current state as possible. I believe I tried playing it a couple years ago and it not functioning as it should, but I don't remember the specific issue, nor do I have an amp as of now to test it. Hell, it could have been the cord that went with it. Thanks for the history in coordination with the different parts of the bass. I don't really know much about basses to begin with, I just enjoy trying new instruments when I get the chance.
    – Coco
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:41
  • Body contour, pick guards, neck inlays, and pickups all don't match. Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:56

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