Stanley Clarke releases long-awaited Strat-style bass, the Spellcaster

Stanley Clarke Spellcaster
(Image credit: Oneonta Guitar)

You’d be forgiven for taking a quick glance at the pictures above and immediately thinking you’d just seen another Strat-style electric guitar – the three-tone sunburst, five-way pickup selector, three control knobs and body-mounted input jack are a dead giveaway.

Your eyes, however, would be deceiving you: this isn’t just another Stratocaster. It’s Stanley Clarke’s Spellcaster bass guitar.

Boasting an incredible like-for-like aesthetic appointment and identical control layout to a conventional Fender Stratocaster, the Spellcaster seeks to offer bassists a new option to add to their arsenal, putting big bass tones into a Strat-style package.

The model itself was teased back in 2018, with bass icon Clarke originally revealing that Fender had plans to release the eye-catching guitar. Presumably, those plans must have fallen through, given the notable absence of the Strat’s identical four-string twin in recent years.

Instead, the guitar is finally being released by Oneonta Guitar, which describes the Spellcaster bass as “the most advanced evolution in electric bass”.

In terms of specs, the 30.5” short-scale bass is composed of an alder Strat-style body, and features a maple neck, 25-fret rosewood fingerboard, Vintage Sunburst finish and three single-coil pickups. 

For added novelty, a reversed headstock and vintage Strat-style tremolo system also make the cut, with the latter featuring individual saddles for each string.

If the appearance weren’t similar enough, the guitar also comes equipped with a five-way selector switch, master volume control knob, and two tone controls for the neck and middle pickup. Further flexibility is added in the form of a mini-switch that can be used to either engage all pickups, or just the neck and bridge pickups.

In conversation with MusicRadar in 2018, the Return to Forever legend said, “I wanted to make clear with Fender that this isn’t a replacement… this is an actual addition, much like a guitar player has a Strat and maybe a Les Paul and this and that.”

“The Spellcaster Bass is not intended to replace your existing guitar, but instead give you more options as a player,” adds Oneonta. “When the time comes to play that song with a bass solo, this is what you will want in your hands.”

The Oneonta Stanley Clarke Spellcaster Bass is available now for $1,635.

Head over to Oneonta Guitar for more information.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.