Better late than never – a post on the last of the three SCANDAL signature Squiers that I bought in the summer of 2014. Just to recap, I just wanted the MAMI Stratomaster initially, but as her guitar was the first one to be sold out everywhere, I sought the help of my friend in Tōkyō to get for me HARUNA’s Skullsilver at Ishibashi, as an alternative purchase. This was some time in May 2014.

So, whilst drowning in my sorrows for not getting the Stratomaster, I just looked for other possible leads on this guitar of MAMI’s on the net. I then chanced upon a shop in Tōkyō called Ikebe gakki:

Not only the Bluetus was available, they actually ship their guitars overseas[1]. The way to do it was clicking on the product inquiry link and pretty much e-mail them which guitar I needed. Things were not that easy as after making the enquiry, Ikebe e-mailed to tell me I am placed on a waiting list as the Bluetus had literally just sold out at that very moment. I was put on a waiting list and three days later, this e-mail arrived:

I was over the moon, and placed my order immediately. After three weeks or so, it was the first of the three Squiers to arrive. I would like to say that the name Bluetus is somewhat interesting. On one hand, the Blue in the name was in keeping with its Sky Blue finish; and on the other, the Japanese pronunciation would make it Brutus!

TOMOMI had this to say about Bluetus:

「いつもアクティブのモデルなので、パッシブタイプにしました。最初に買うベースって、多くの人が見た目で入ると思うから、ファーストベースになれば良いなという想いを込めて、取っ付きやすい原色で明るいポップな青にしました。パッシブだから木材本来の音が素直に出るし、最初の1 本にピッタリだと思います。自分が欲しかった仕様です(笑)。」

Since my other bass guitars have always had active pickups, I made this with passive ones. I think many people tend to choose their first bass by their appearance, so I felt a bright pop-like blue finish is somewhat appropriate. The passive pickups faithfully brings out the tone from the basswood body, and I think it’s perfect for someone’s first bass. It’s a design that I would want for myself LOL.

Bluetus was shipped double-boxed with a massive ‘FRAGILE!! DO NOT STACK!! DO NOT THROW!! DO NOT DROP!!’ label. I was both impressed and slightly amused. Ikebe also gave me two Fender Rock-On Touring picks (a yellow .73 and a light blue/grey 1.0) and a genuine non-monogrammed Fender strap. After unboxing, the first thing I did was to plug her into the amp in buangruang:

As you’d prolly notice, Bluetus sounds a bit trebly and that’s her with just the neck pickup. Despite its name, basswood ain’t that bassy, but has more of a mid-range tone to it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both pickups were Duncan Designed™ and I thought I’d just keep it the way it came. These pups may be OEM but they sound good. It was lighter than my poplar MIM Fender Standard Jazz and actually she plays really well. And almost two years on, I actually love it and probably am playing her more than Stitch.

I thought I wouldn’t like the Sky Blue finish but as time went by, it grew on me. Bluetus was a pretty decent bass built-wise, especially when I have a few issues with the QC of the MAMI Stratomaster that also came from the run-of-the-mill Squier factory. The paintwork does appear a tad shoddy only if you squint really hard at the edges. Another comment I had was the uneven fret edges at about frets 8 to 14. So, she was later sent to Steve for a pro set up.

I liked how the headstock was also in Sky Blue and of course, TOMOMI’s dozy duck face signature on its back. The following are Bluetus’ specs, as provided by Fender Japan:

・Colors: Sky Blue w/ Yellow competition line
・Body: Basswood
・Neck: Maple C-Shape (Gloss Polyurethane, Vintage Tint)
・Fingerboard: Rosewood 9.5″ Radius (241 mm),
・No. of Frets:20 Medium Jumbo
・Pickups: Duncan Designed™ JB101 Single Coil(Bridge) & JB101 Single Coil(Neck)
・Controls: Volume 1 (Neck PU), Volume 2 (Bridge PU), Master Tone
・Bridge: Standard 4 Saddle
・Machine Heads: Standard Open-Gear Tuners
・Hardware: Chrome
・Pickguard: White Pearl Pickguard
・Scale Length: 34″(863.6mm)
・Width at Nut: 1.50″(38 mm)
・Unique Features: Matching headstock / Autographed signature is printed on back of the headstock
・Strings: Gauges .045, .065, .085, .105

I have made a couple of SCANDAL covers with Bluetus, and this is her on my three-guitar LIFE IS A JOURNEY (B-side on the Sisters single) cover:

It has been announced that a third run of the SCANDAL signature guitars will be made available in March 2016. So, good news for fans who missed getting them in the first two runs. On a final note, I’ve to admit that this blog post was in the back-burner for a very long time. Well, today’s BASS DAY in Japan. Kinda apt, isn’t it? And oh, there’s another SCANDAL cover that’s coming up from me. So, here’s a sneak peek of it.

[1]Actually Ishibashi does, too, but they were a bit hit ‘n’ miss with the SCANDAL guitars when it came to overseas orders.