Friday, September 27, 2013

Cliff Burton Aria Bass w/ modification at the "Metallica Museum"

Here is an interesting find thanks to various sleuths at As you can see it "was the last bass he played" on 9/26/86. This was on display as part of the Metallica Museum which displayed several other Metallica items as well. This, though, has to be the most interesting piece there!
It's one of Cliff Burton's Aria Pro II Black n Gold basses but with a pickup modification. The new pickup appears to be a PJ Marx of some kind, perhaps a humbucker. It looks like the PJ Marx is somehow installed on or inside of the original MB pickup. I would think it would be extremely difficult to route the pickup inside the casing of one of those epoxied MB pickups. If only there was a picture inside the control cavity on this bass. Anybody got any ideas on this mod?

Here is Cliff with this bass during what looks like a relaxed soundcheck for one of his final gigs (note John Marshall with the acoustic guitar, used for "Fade to Black"). 

For reference, here are some more pictures of PJ Marx pickups:

After searching for information on PJ Marx pickups it seems they are most closely associated with Brad Gillis of Night Ranger and Ozzy Osbourne fame. This blog has some interesting information about Brad Gillis' PJ Marx pickup. 

If you have any ideas or info about this mod, please comment! 

Also, in honor of this anniversary of Cliff's untimely passing, here is an audio recording of a show from Newcastle, England 9/19/86. James gets pretty loaded during this show!