Saturday, February 16, 2008

Modulus Graphite Flea (Funk Bass) #302

Yes, I own Inca silver Flea number 302.

Modulus Graphite instruments are popular here due to the weather and their tonal flexibility. I've played several models, but I'd never quite found the right one.

I first spotted my Flea one summer at Mars Music in Cincinnati. It was somewhat similar in design to a Music Man model popular in our area. To me, the controls were easier to use and more effective than the Music Man's. Also, I really liked playing it, but it was very expensive.

And, there was a chance I might get laid off from work.

Later, when I heard Mars Music was going out of business, I went down there hoping it would still be available. It was, but it was very shop worn and a knob was missing. When I say it was shop worn, it resembled some of the distressed instruments being sold by Fender.

Somebody told me, "You don't want that one, because somebody told me it fell off the wall."

I made Mars Music an offer that I figured was about $100 more than they paid for it. However, the lawyer representing the court wouldn't allow me to buy it for that amount. He explained their plan was to mark down each item a percentage per week until "even the light fixtures are sold." The salesman pleaded with him; then apologized to me, and I left.

Work and weather permitting, I drove 200 miles every few weeks to see it. Later, I saw a kid with it in line. I gave up, bought some great speakers for $60, and went to eat at Dave and Buster's next door.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the day before Mars closed, I went to check things out. I'm not sure why. Sure enough, they had a few five string Modulus basses among the tons of cheap third world nylon string guitars.

The one salesman I knew saw me and said, "I was hoping you'd come back."

"The bass was sold," I said.

"Yes, a kid bought it with a blank check from his parents who made him bring it back as they didn't think it was worth what he paid for it, because it was damaged."

I bought it for less than I'd offered weeks before.

Is this not one of the great rock'n'roll stories of all time?

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