Ural 510L Bass: Bolshevik Bottom End !!

Had a few bass buddies over last weekend and pulled out some of my "Wall of Shame" basses to baffle and amuse them - including this not quite mint Russian-made Ural 510L bass, which dates to sometime in the 1980s, despite its 1960s bizarro styling. Somewhat surprisingly, there were a vast number of electric guitars and basses produced behind the Iron Curtain during the 1970s and 80s - many of them really really off the wall, outside of the box designs. But sadly, most of them are poorly built instruments (with the possible exception of some of the Czech and Yugoslavian brands).

A great site for delving into this interesting category of instruments is aptly named "Cheesy Guitars" website - amazing stuff!!

But back to the Ural 510L.....

As you can see - a very strange sense of style - this example is missing the control knobs and the switch buttons - and I have never plugged it in, since it is equipped with a DIN style output jack - this will be an afternoon project someday, to install some real pots, an outputs jack and maybe replace the switches. Though from what I have read, its doubtful this thing will be motivating me to retire the old '70 P-bass anytime soon ...

The finish on the bass is actually quite good - though the sense of taste is a bit mystifying - a sorta cool yellow-orangey-red burst with a dark outline on all of the bass, except the front - which has some kind of (fake?) wood grain finish - wouldn't it have looked better with the yellow-red burst all over ?? Maybe the formica wood top was to give it some "tone" ?? ... " NOT !!!"

The scale length is 31 5/8th inches - with a zero fret, truss rod adjustment at the base of the neck, and a pretty narrow fretboard.

The tuners are fairly robust and seem decent - I have seen these on a number of other Soviet basses - including the Tonica and Rodan basses I believe. Probably made by the Ministry of Instrument Tuners factory in Vladivostok or somewhere.

Finally, on the back is an information plate - which I unfortunately can't read, but I'm sure provides the place and date of manufacture, etc. The Cheesy Guitars site has an article on the Ural 510L though they refer to it as the 501L - I'm just going by what's on the nameplate for the model number. The article even has an authentic picture of some kid playing one at a gig in Russia !!

I'll eventually get this thing up and running and I'll post an update at that time - and watch for an article on my Bulgarian Orpheus Hebros bass - which is in pretty rough shape - and makes the craftsmanship of the Ural look like an Alembic by comparison !!!