Bass Centre Ashbory Bass
Bass Centre Ashbory Bass
Bass Centre Ashbory Bass
Bass Centre Ashbory Bass

Bass Centre Ashbory Bass

UK Price £395.00 - Inc. 20% VAT
(5 Reviews)
In Stock


In 1985, Englishmen Alun Ashworth-Jones and Nigel Thornbory created the original Ashbory Bass - a revolutionary 18" scale, silicon-rubber strung instrument that, when amplified, produced a low, resonant bass tone that emulated a plucked double bass with astonishing clarity and accuracy.

In its second incarnation, Ashbory worked with the Bass Centre to create a version with an ergonomic body shape influenced by the Steinberger 'stick' basses of the day. These instruments instantly found favour with international players and recording artists including Tony Levin and Doug Wimbish.

"I had so much fun with the Ashbory that I hate to give it back... Try one if you can, the instrument has huge charm" - Joel McIver, Bass Player

Now, 30 years on, the Bass Centre is pleased to present a brand new generation of the Ashbory, featuring a more conventional mahogany body design but retaining the original's travel-ready economy, silicon rubber through-body stringing, turbo-charged active electronics and, of course, its legendary thunderous bass response.

BODY Mahogany, conventional offset design
neck Maple, bolt-on
FINISH Black or natural gloss polyurethane
FINGERBOARD 22 fret Richlite
PICKUP Under-saddle piezo with adjustable bridge
ELECTRONICS Active 2-band EQ, with rotary volume, bass and treble boost
WEIGHT Approx. 2.5kg (5.5lb)
STRINGS Through-body strung, Elites custom gauge silicon rubber strings
INCLUDED EXTRAS Premium quality Bass Centre padded gig bag
Press Reviews


The Ashbory story goes back as far as the late '80s and, while these rubber-stringed, small-bodied instruments have a reputation for quirkiness in a classically English way, most of the owners are actually in the USA thanks to a production deal with Guild in the '90s. You can read the full story at the Bass Centre's website – and it's a revealing tale, digging deep into the vagaries of instrument distribution and manufacture – but suffice it to say that this new bass, also available as a ukulele, has changed radically over the years. The silicon rubber strings are still in place, but the tuners are way more robust, and the active electronics – and therefore the tones – have been completely revamped. Let's see how it matches up

Build Quality

Small, affordable bases often suffer from cost cutting in the fine details, but there is no evidence of that here. The body is a smooth, slightly finished slab, the 24 inch scale neck is fitted securely, and the tuners do the job with a little effort – no mean feat given the chunky rubber strings. There is very little superfluous detail, with the under-saddle piezo pickup invisible for obvious reasons, a simple three-control layout, and a wooden bridge with through-body stringing. Everything fits together as it should and there are no sharp fret ends, wobbly pots, or any other evidence of quality and quality control skipping. How refreshing.

Sounds & Playability

At only 5.5 lb in weight and with its short scale, the Ashbory probably wouldn't produce particularly epic tones as a passive instrument, hence the turbocharged active electronics under the hood. Well the treble boost is excellent, giving the player all sorts of zippy click to use, it's at the bottom end where the instrument excels. Max out the bass boost and you'll find a fully-leaded reggae and/or soul tone, presumably designed in so that whining reviewers like me won't bewail the lack of a full low wind. It's genuinely huge, and indeed I suggest you have the secret weapon ready to deploy the moment you guitarist makes a sarcastic comment about how small the Ashbory is.

The real reason to buy, or not as the case may be, is the silicon rubber strings. Personally I really like the feel and playability of this material, unfamiliar as it undoubtedly is, because silicon enables fast legato playing, with a grittiness that lends precision. You may disagree, though, and for any number of reasons. If your style requires heavy, picked down strokes, for example, you may miss the massive metal strings. If you tap or snap, these techniques are perfectly doable with rubber strings, but the feel is very different. Furthermore, the strings bend with great ease, and while I enjoy the bluesy expression that this enables, this may not be for you.


I had so much fun with the Ashbory that I hate to give it back, but of course there's no real way for reading words on the printed page that you can get a true picture of the way it feels. Try one if you can: the instrument has huge charm. Live gigs are coming back, we are told, and the next time you're faced with aggressive airline check-in staff you'll be glad of a bass that you can simply stick in an overhead locker.

What We Think

Plus Very playable, powerful tones
Minus The rubber strings are an acquired taste
Overall Affordable, useful, and portable — a wonderful little bass

BGM Rating

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Customer Reviews
Write a Review and share your opinions!
5 Reviews:

Great mini bass guitar
09 December 2021  | 

Saw this advertised in Bass Player magazine. Great looking guitar and I like the black silicone strings.

Really pleased
19 October 2021  | 

I am really pleased with the bass which I purchased as a result of the article in Bass Player magazine.

As I am not a fan of the rubber strings as fitted to the bass, I looked on line to try and find a metal round wound string set that would fit the 24 inch scale of the Ashbury bass. As a result I purchased a set of Goldtone strings which are made to fit Goldtone's own mini basses of both 23/25 inch scale. These fitted perfectly and play really well.

Great service and the instrument plays even better
17 June 2021  | 

Some time ago - some decades, actually - I had one of the original styles of Ashbory Bass and even had Ashley Jones re-build it with upgraded electronics. I was made an offer I could not refuse for the instrument, so have had to do without since. But then I saw a review of the new version and decided that I just had to have one for the sake of completeness, if nothing else. Good decision, the dinky little fellow is better than it ever was, The Bass Centre gave great service and the instrument plays even better.

Buy one!

Good value for money
31 October 2017  | 

Very pleased with this little bass guitar. Well made and good value for money, especially compared to a Kala U-Bass from California. Can get a sound very close to a double bass, the secret is to turn all the EQ off and then add very little back in, bit by bit.

Only criticism is the strings, which are very hard on fingers but this can be cured with regular usage of talcum powder... Best put it on strings and fingers. If it's good enough for Jeff Beck, it's good enough for me!!

Great bass
20 April 2017  | 

Great bass at an unbelievable price. Customer service very good also, all questions answered and tracking the product's arrival very straightforward. Will be buying from the Bass Centre again, very soon. Don't tell the wife!