Bill Baker working on Dickies BassThe year started out with the guys on tour. I got to see them in New York City the night before Easter. I had called Dickie the night before on his cell phone, figuring I'd just leave him a message to ask him what time they would arrive. Well, he answered it, and then said, "I'm about to go onstage, let me talk to you tomorrow. I have a problem with my bass." So, I called him the next morning, and he told me that the tone knob got punched into the pickguard, and he needed it repaired, but he felt bad asking me to work when I should be enjoying myself. I told him that to me, that's not work and I wanted to make sure that his bass was trouble free. I took some tools and parts in with me that day. I got there plenty early to get the repair done. I videotaped the soundcheck, took some pictures, and then went to work on his bass on the table in the dressing room. It's not tremendously exciting, but there's a video clip here on the site of what I did. I basically removed the tone control, and wired it like it was always set on zero (no treble), as that's how he likes it. I finished off the job with a new knob that has blue abalone set in it. He loved it. The show was great and they had a good crowd. I videotaped it and took pictures at the same time. (Don't ask how I did it, but I did.)

Dickie Peterson CustomWe had been talking a lot, hell, he even called me from Germany after the "Roadburn" festival that they played to tell me how it went. He was giving me ideas before that about what his perfect bass would be. Maybe we could modify his, or he could come up with something I could fix. He told me some specific things he wanted, so I came up with the idea of just building something from scratch. With my resources, I could do it. I knew people that I could get the parts from for very little, or free as an endorsement. My wheels were turning in my head. When I saw him in NY, he gave me 2 pieces of jewelry that belonged to his brother that had passed away. "Would I incorporate these into the bass we build?" He asked, and trusted me to hold on to them. I kept bouncing ideas off of him, and went ahead and put in an order for the neck and body and was basically given them for all of the referrals I send. I contacted a friend at Seymour Duncan Pickups, and he helped me obtain the pickups. There was just a few more parts needed, and soon it was time to start the assembly. The first thing I had to do, was dye the top blue.


Dickie's Power Bass Body
After that, I had Ed Foley, a well known acoustic guitar builder apply the finish to the body. Dickie didn't want a high gloss finish, so Ed made it a satin finish. The wild thing about the way he did it, is that when you look at it in natural light, it's a soft blue. Not so vibrant. But in bright light or when you take a picture of it with a flash, it really comes alive and looks like an electric blue. So, after it was finished I spent some time putting it together. I experimented with the wiring. The pickups are wired in series, and there's a cap to cut the treble. If you pull out the volume knob, it shuts off the bridge pickup. It's so fat and full of bottom it's unbelieveable. As I was getting it together I was filling Dickie in on it's progress, and I was e-mailing him some pictures as I went along. We were both excited as he was getting a new bass, and I was creating something unique.

On September 28th, I got up at 4 a. m. to catch a 6:50 flight out of Newark, headed for San Francisco where he would pick me up at the airport. Check out my video for a look at myBill Baker with Dickie Peterson trip, Dickie playing it for the first time, and his overview of the instrument. I'll have to admit that I love to document things in pictures and on video. I like to be creative that way and make something that other people can enjoy. So, I took 3 cameras (all different formats) and a video camera with me. Dickie was a lot of fun to hang with. He introduced me to his friends, we got to jam a little, took some photos of him with the bass, and we went to a concert where he was supposed to meet Michael Anthony of Van Halen (as Michael is a big fan of Dickie's), but it turned out that he wasn't there so the meeting didn't take place. We got up at 5 a.m. so he could get me to the airport by 8 and I just made my plane with a minute to spare because of the traffic. Looking back it was a great experience for me to hang with a musical legend for a weekend. And me, always working, did a little work on his dining room table to a couple of his basses while I was there. It gave me something to do because I was up before he was because of the time difference. 3 hours difference. Yes, I did come home tired.

Thank you for checking out the story behind the bass. The Dickie Peterson POWER BASS. "It's not a toy". Says the man