Just got my 1975 Hayman 40/40 bass back from the workshop. I started playing it this morning and felt inspired to write this short ditty. Enjoy!
(I was going to do some more work on the audio mix, but decided it sounded fine as it was when I finished editing the video. So, my signal chain is just bass into my Noble preamp, bass & treble boosted a bit, with no further EQ or compression in Ableton Live. It’s probably the first time in years I haven’t put Vulf Compressor on a mix.) 😅
For those interested – I bought this bass a couple of months ago via Basschat. Hayman were a short-lived British luthier, and the 40/40 was the only bass they produced. The company later evolved into Shergold Guitars, which is still running today – although they don’t make basses anymore. This particular instrument was restored a couple of years ago by Basschat member discreet – below is his informative write-up on this bass, with some backstory on Hayman too. If I decide to sell this bass at some point, I’ll point the buyer in the direction of this post so they know exactly what they’re getting!
‘The Hayman Company was formed in 1969 when Jim Burns and Ivor Arbiter went into partnership. Also involved was Bob Pearson from Vox (designer of the Phantom range) and two former Burns colleagues, Jack Golder and Norman Holder, who took care of the woodworking and truss rod engineering.
‘Hayman produced three guitar designs but the 4040 was the only bass. Something of a heavyweight, these basses were good to play however and produced sounds somewhere between a P-Bass and a Rickenbacker. Each Superflux pickup had eight adjustable screw pole pieces so it was easy to balance the output from the strings, and they benefited from the hidden vibrasonic chamber beneath. Joint string trees neatly feed the strings from nut to tuners.
‘The bridge was a curious affair with a clear plastic anchor and the steel saddles on a separate plate. The slab body had minimal curving to the body edge front and back and the overall shape is similar to the early Wal Pro basses that would appear a little later on. The neck was fixed using a standard 4-bolt plate with a separate chromed plate displaying the serial number. Lefties were made to order. The company morphed into Shergold, controlled by Golder and Holder, after Jim Burns pulled out.
‘The confusion as to when production finished is due to their serial numbering system, which suggests some Hayman basses appeared in 1975. The Hayman brand name was applied to instruments distributed by Dallas Arbiter until termination of the contract in 1975. From 1975 to 1982 their guitars and basses appeared under their own ‘Shergold’ brand.’
Here endeth the history lesson.
When I acquired this 1975 Hayman, it was in a sorry state – the body was originally sunburst but was painted black on the front, and it was not a great finish, tbh. Also, the neck had been de-fretted and was bowed, banana-like, making it unplayable and leaving the action way high at the mid-point. BUT, the electrics and hardware were in good order and unusually, the perspex bridge anchor block was undamaged – which was a big plus.
Long story short, The Bass Doc refinished the body (in vintage white, of course), removed the neck binding, lightly planed the fingerboard (to give some natural back-bow), carried out a re-fret, fitted new binding, re-lacquered the neck with a vintage tint and laboriously sorted out the dual-action truss rod so that it worked properly. And I think you would agree he’s done a great job, to say the least.
The ‘H’ logo featured on these basses was originally of perspex, which fitted into a round hole in the headstock and were notorious for going AWOL – they are as rare as rocking-horse teeth. So I asked our resident silversmith ShergoldSnickers if he would consider making a replica in sterling silver. He did and I am delighted with the results. It is the icing on the cake and makes an already rare bass much rarer.
The necks on these are amazing, very similar to the later Shergold Marathon, Modulator et al. In fact some of the earlier Marathon necks were NOS Hayman 4040 necks as can be seen from the round ‘H’-logo hole underneath the black Shergold logo shield.
The double-P pickup configuration makes for a super-beefy sound – it’s a bit like a P-bass on steroids. The neck pup is very P-like and the bridge pickup hints at a R*ck*nb*ck*r. Together they sound incredible. Very powerful, superb fundamental tone with flats, massive heft and growl with rounds and a great pleasure to play.