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Old School: 1960’s Fender Coronado Bass II – Wildwood

Fender Coronado Bass II - WildwoodThis week, John Roblin shares the story behind his ultra-rare 1960’s Fender Coronado Bass II – Wildwood.

Fender’s Coronado line included guitars and basses with a double-cutaway, thin-line hollow-body, designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who originally designed instruments for Rickenbacker.

The Coronado line came two years after Leo Fender sold Fender Musical Instruments to CBS, and the company was looking to capitalize on the popularity of semi-acoustic instruments with this new line.

The Coronado II included two pickups, and replaced the single-pickup Coronado I in 1967. Both versions were 30″ scale. The “Wildwood” versions featured bodies made with beechwood, which were injected with dye while the trees were still growing.

Here’s the story behind John’s Coronado II bass:

Make/Model/Year

My bass is a Late ’60s Fender Coronado Bass II – Wildwood. Not sure of the exact date, as I’ve never removed the neck from the body.

How long have you owned it?

Over 30 years.

How did you come across it?

My first bass was a black Fender Musicmaster. In college I traded the Musicmaster and about a hundred dollars for the Coronado. It was too beautiful to pass up. If I’d had the means, I’d have kept the Musicmaster too.

Stock or customized?

100% original, including the case.

Any special characteristics?

As far as looks, the Wildwood series is unique. Living trees were injected with colored dyes to give the wood it’s distinctive coloring. To my ear, the sound is mellow, almost approaching an upright.

Any notable bassists play the same instrument?

Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Macy Gray, Dixie Chicks, Garbage) was the only one I could find. This was never a very “popular” line as a bass. There are a few musicians that play the Coronado guitars.

Do you use it on gigs?

I’m a horrible bass player. Can’t read music, lousy technique, but I love to noodle around on the bass. I used to play more often but not so much these days. At this point I’d like to keep the Coronado in good shape, so I’m assembling the parts to build a “FrankenBass” to re-start my noodling.

What else do you want to share about your gear?

The pots are a little scratchy and though the neck is in great shape, there’s a little fret buzz. Probably just needs to be set up properly.

Any other vintage gear?

A Korg “mini pops” SR-120 drum machine (late ’70s), an Electro Harmonix, Electric Mistress (Flanger Filter Matrix) from 1980(?) and a Guild “Burnside” Telecaster-ish guitar from the late ’80s that my son now has.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Graphic designer, web developer who loves music but, alas, has no natural ability. My kid however reads music and plays piano, guitar, baritone horn and trombone!