Lee — who admits he's maniacal about all of his passions, like baseball, vinyl and wine — says that once he acquired one bass (a 1953 Fender Precision) just for collection's sake, he couldn't help but fully dig into the history of the instrument he'd been playing for some 50 years.
Now, about four years and some 250 basses later, the front man is an expert on the instrument and the author of a brand new book, Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book of Bass, which is available now!
In a recent interview with Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke, Lee talked about what he loves about collecting instruments and named a few of his favorites.
One is a 1961 Fender Precision Bass that was owned by The Who's John Entwistle. Lee acquired it with the help of The Who's longtime guitar tech, Alan Rogan.
The other gem of Lee's collection is a pair of 1964 Fender Jazz Basses in decoder red.
"One spent its life under a bed, it's barely been played; it's pristine," he explains. "And the other one pictured beside it I found in Ireland, and it was owned by a single bass player who played in his own Irish show band for 45 years. And when I open the case of that, the first thing that comes out is the smell of cigarettes and beer. And that thing has war wounds, and Oh my god, it took my tech, [John "Skully" McIntosh], weeks to clean that thing up and make it playable. But when you see the two side-by-side, it really tells such a wonderful story."
And for someone who for many years only saw the bass as a means to a creative end, he likes knowing that a particular guitar has a story to tell.
The Big Beautiful Book of Bass isn't just about Lee's personal collection. His book also contains interviews with bass greats like former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, longtime Ozzy Osbourne studio bassist and collaborator Bob Daisley, Metallica's Robert Trujillo, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and others.
You can watch the full Out of the Box interview above!
Lee adds that once he's finished promoting his book, he'll begin to plan his next musical project.
Photo: Getty Images