I am a sucker for retro style guitars. After all, as someone in my mid-60s, I am as retro as you get! I like designs that are novel. I don't want to have the same thing everyone else does so I go for the oddball stuff which to me, is beautiful. When I was looking for a short scale bass, I kept reading about and hearing the Musicvox Spaceranger Bass. So I did some research, followed the company on Facebook and chatted online with its owner, Matt Eichen. After all that I pulled the trigger.
Musicvox has been around since 1997 and is known for vintage style and flamboyant guitars. Some notable players of Musicvox instruments include Keith Urban, Allen Woody of the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule, Mark Pirro of The Polyphonic Spree and Tripping Daisy, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Matthew Sweet, Zane Carney (John Mayer) and Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick.
The Musicvox instruments check all the boxes for me design-wise. You have to admit that the Spaceranger bass is as novel as they come. The very odd head stock is what initially attracted me to the instrument. It has a three over one tuning peg design that I haven't ever seen before.
Another thing that makes this bass guitar perfect for my collection is that it comes in at just under $1000. My goal is to keep 75% of my acquisitions in the under $1k range so no problem there.
But another thing I am looking for is an instrument I can actually play. Surprisingly, the Spaceranger arrived ready to play. It had a good setup from the factory. I am a fan of the sound of the bass and it has a very playable neck design.
Here are the specs:
block pearloid inlays
bound body and neck
Kluson style vintage mini bass keystone tuners
Musicvox special design bass humbucker pickups
fully adjustable tune-o-matic style bass bridge
1 volume, 1 tone, 3 position toggle pickup switch
Before the pandemic, I had never acquired a guitar site unseen in my life. I prefer to play an instrument before I add it to my collection. But since that's not really possible for me now, I have taken to Internet shopping. Musicvox offers a 14-day money back guarantee so I decided that worst case scenario I'd just send it back if I didn't like it. Thankfully, that was not necessary.
Another thing that Musicvox is known for is customer service. On their website they say: " Musicvox is unsurpassed in customer service and satisfaction " While many companies make such claims, you never know how true they are, but I found out and in the case of Musicvox, it's absolutely true.
My bass guitar arrived with a minor problem. One of the most typical issues with electric instruments is the cable jack goes bad or a wire gets loose causing an occasional loss of signal or hum. I assume that the wiring got jostled during shipping and while I was able to successfully connect the instrument to an amp, it was a bit touchy. I contacted Matt, the owner and informed him that I could get that fixed locally and he immediately offered to pay the cost of the repair.
But he went the extra mile. I suspected a plastic nut because most guitars in this price range come that way. There are those who don't mind a plastic nut but I prefer a tusk or bone nut. When I asked Matt to confirm the type of nut the Spaceranger had he told me to go ahead and replace it with a tusk nut if I preferred that and he agreed to cover both the part and the labor! Now THAT is great customer service. I spent a few weeks researching costs and informed Matt of the total price to repair the jack and replace the nut and that day he sent me a PayPal payment to cover it.
I couldn't be happier. Matt now has my trust and I won't hesitate to buy from him again if he comes up with something I am interested in.
Despite the fact that the bass arrived with a good setup, I wanted to take it the extra mile since it's going to be in my daily rotation as a player. I decided to also have the PLEK system applied to this guitar. This will make the Spaceranger even easier and more reliable to play. So with the new nut, repaired instrument jack and a fretboard/frets/trussrod that have had the PLEK treatment, I have an amazing short scale bass that not only looks great, but plays and sounds great.
I am a lucky guy.