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Weird & Wonderful Basses


BigRedX
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Today it's twisting time again. Many posts ago the twisted neck Torzal (by [url="http://www.littleguitarworks.com/"]Little[/url]) showed up, also featured in a bass by Bas "Bass Extravaganza" Wittenberg whose Lightwave J-style is featured [url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=57672&st=0&gopid=575067&#entry575067"]here today.[/url] For now we have the twisted bodies of [url="http://www.burrellguitars.com/"]Leo Burrell[/url]. He makes both solidbody and acoustic basses - be sure to check his website for a better view...[attachment=31377:Burrell_..._twisted.gif] [attachment=31379:Burrell_...c_Bass_5.gif]

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Yesterdays bass is a nice ABG by Henning Doderer - it's called the Wappenbass as it is styled as a traditional old german "wappengitarre" (weapon-shield shaped guitar). [attachment=31493:Henning_...ppenbass.jpg]

For today: Mouradian CS74. [attachment=31498:Mouradia...S_74_015.jpg] [attachment=31500:Mouradia...74_81_82.jpg]It's on some BC'ers wishlist and actually acquired last year by a London based TB'er (who may be on BC too?). It's used by and designed for Chris Squire with the body shape depicting the initials C S. It was made for a while in the '80s by Jim Mouradian (located near Boston, USA) who stopped making them for unknown reasons (an unconfirmed story tells he licensed the design to a Japanese company) but has recently moved back to where he originally started making custom basses and guitars (Winchester,MA). He's a very respected luthier and runs a shop/repair business together with his son Jon. He plans getting back to making the neckthrough CS and another model (the bolt-on Reality that's used by Pat Badger of Extreme who himself has worked in the Mouradian workshop too). [attachment=31499:Mouradian_Reality.jpg]There are both active and passive versions (Joe Barden or EMG pickups) and a possible CS75 fivestring version. For the past few years this design was made (under licence) by Las Vegas guitardealer Ed Roman (who owns probably more than twenty brandnames of highend custom guitars ) as the Abstract Mysterion. [attachment=31497:Abstract...esigned_.jpg]
Another Abstract bass (probably not licensed...): [attachment=31501:Abstract_Brutus.jpg], very much like the original Swiss Rolf Spuler (Paradis) bass: [attachment=31502:Rolf_Spu..._design_.jpg], once made in Japan as the Ibanez Affirma: [attachment=31503:Ibanez_AFR_105.jpg] and in Korea as the luthite-bodied EDA900/905: [attachment=31504:Ibanez_EDA900.jpg]
Last bas today is this Swiss Piguet ABG made by a former Spuler employee [attachment=31506:Piguet_prototype.jpg] with a Kubicki-style headstock extension.

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And continuing Kubicki and licensed basses: here's a Japanese made Blaster. It never got any further than a pre-production run but it's actually the official MIJ Kubicki.[attachment=31508:Blaster_...ail_body.jpg] [attachment=31509:Blaster_detail_kop.jpg].
Ofcourse the Kubickis are wonderful but nowhere weird by todays standards.
Here's an American made Barton, made by Bart Applewhite who's an instructor (and former student) at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery.[attachment=31510:Barton_H...lewhite_.jpg] Early on in this thread instruments by Adamovic turned up - he studied there too.
Another Barton: [attachment=31511:Barton_Apple.jpg], just as all Bartons a one-off instrument. This headstock makes me think of Microfrets (early '70s) [attachment=31517:Microfre..._details.jpg] and the solidbody Martin basses from the late '70s: [attachment=31512:Martin_EB18.jpg]
Closing off again with this ABG by Dupont - as tomorrow we'll look at some interesting French basses. [attachment=31519:Dupont_ABG.jpg]

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Missed another day again doing family-things...
These ABGs are for yesterday: the French Kopo Trapeze + Fantome by Fred(erique) Pons.[attachment=31631:Kopo_Tra...ome___93.jpg] I think there's a solidbody fretless Kopo still up for sale on BC and the radical Kopo Rostof with graphite or metal tube has been featured earlier in this thread - here it is again.[attachment=31632:Kopo_Aro...x_metaal.jpg] Metal tube bodies seem to originate from Italy with guitars being made like this since the '50s. A noteworthy Italian tube-frame bass is this '80s Stonehenge. It was made in the early '80s by Alfredo Bugari (formerly employed by EKO) in Castelfidardo. The Bugari company still exists but doesn't make instruments anymore. [attachment=31633:Stonehen...o_Bugari.jpg].
After this little diversion we're going back to France: here's Atelkof, made by Christophe Huort. Nice basses for all you Jaydee and Alembic lovers? [attachment=31634:Atelkof_Africa_I.jpg] [attachment=31635:Atelkof_Africa_II.jpg] [attachment=31636:Atelkof_Stage.jpg]
Though I wouldn't qualify the Atelkof as a strict copy here are some more classic Alembic-style basses: Hoyer Session (mid '80s, Germany) [attachment=31637:Hoyer_Se...bic_copy.jpg] and Fernandes (early '80s, Japan) [attachment=31638:Fernande...bic_copy.jpg]. This Hyak (late '70s USA)[attachment=31639:Hyak_ger..._alembic.jpg] was made by a former Alembic employee and features a unique neck construction: laminated graphite and wood without a trussrod. Unfotunately the first models had not enough graphite laminates to stop the neck from warping. Later models have and must play great but the Hyak company did not last for long...more scroll basses and French ones too tomorrow!

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Scrolled top horns were introduced to the guitarworld 100 years ago by Gibson who transferred traditional mandolin designs (mandolins being their main business at that time) to their archtop guitars. American maker Premier picked it up for their electric guitars and basses in the '60s and it was continued through custom makers like Abe Rivera [attachment=31758:Abe_Rivera_scroll.jpg](remember the other bass in Jaco's classic DCI Video?) and Carl Thompson [attachment=31759:Carl_Tho...custom_4.jpg] in the '70s. Today we find beautiful scrolls in the Dragonetti basses made in Canada by Les Godfrey: [attachment=31761:Godfrey_fretless.jpg] [attachment=31760:Godfrey_...y_canada.jpg]

Back to France: here's Gougi. These instruments are built around Schertler electro-dynamic pickups. [attachment=31762:Gougi_El...ynamique.jpg]There's an EUB too, as well as solidbodies like this Hyperbass-inspired one: [attachment=31763:Gougi_solidbody_5.jpg]

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More scroll basses: this US made Damman claims to be more ergonomic than other basses. [attachment=31813:Damman_6_fretless.jpg] and once more back to France with a custom made Carl Thompson-style bass by Alexander Littee: [attachment=31814:Littee_c...CT_style.jpg]. I think that one of his extremely carved basses already came up earlier. These basses come from his standard range: [attachment=31815:Littee_SL.jpg] [attachment=31816:Littee_DB2.jpg] [attachment=31817:Littee.jpg]
Another French favorite of mine is Favino. Two generations of luthiers working mainly on gypsy-jazz guitars. Here's a nice ABG from Favino jr.:[attachment=31818:Favino_ABG___78.gif]

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Another Scroll bass that actually isn't really that scrolled at all - this Epiphone is made in Japan in the '70s: [attachment=31897:Epiphone...oll_bass.jpg], a far cry from todays Gibson copies...
And back to France: here's the Pagabass by Damico. [attachment=31898:Damico_Pagabass.jpg] It's a semi-acoustic signature bass made for Bernard Paganotti, formerly with the legendary French rockband Magma. Gougi (pictured two days ago) makes a Yannick Top model, another legendary Magma bassplayer. Top prefers cello-tuning an octave down(C-G-D-A, with fourstrings covering about the range of a fivestring) - rather like this special Damico Cellobass with cello tuning (regular octave) and 27" cello scale. [attachment=31899:Damico_Cellobass.jpg]

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Back to the US. Some years ago a new edition of the Spellbinder was introduced - it now is available.[attachment=31902:Spellbin...__achter.jpg] It's designed by Stanley Clarke with luthier Tom Lieber and made by Rick Turner in his California workshop. The original Spellbinder ('79 and all-graphite construction )[attachment=31903:Spellbinder_full.jpg] was also designed by Clarke and Lieber and produced in an exclusive limited run of 50 + 1 lefty for Paul McCartney. I wonder where that one ended up...Another '70s Lieber design is this Spider Grinder acoustic bass. [attachment=31904:Spider_G...ic___70s.jpg] Lieber was trained by former Alembic-man Doug Irwin who's most known for his Jerry Garcia guitars but made a small number of basses too like this one ('83 with Phil Lesh) [attachment=31907:Doug_Irw...esh___83.jpg]
Similar 'balloonish' shapes are produced by [url="http://www.jkguitars.com/"]Jon Kammerer[/url] in his guitars but his basses don't feature it. [attachment=31905:Jon_Kamm...idbody_5.jpg]
Talking about balloons - whatever happend to Chrysalis?[attachment=31906:Chrysalis_guitar.jpg] That's an inflatable guitar (on a carbon frame) that can be stored in a briefcase. A bass version was in the works too...
Tommorrow: John Paul Jones!

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John Paul Jones has caught our attention again with the recent Them Crooked Vultures project.
He has played a lot of basses over the years but somewhat simplfied it's like this:
After starting out on a British made cheapo Dallas he turned to Fender until '75. Then he played Alembics until the
mid '80s when he turned to Manson.
Two Alembics come up, a regular Series I and the eight-string'Omega'bass he co-designed. [attachment=31967:Alembic_JPJ.png]Rick Turner (then main luthier at Alembic) has stated
that he has built it. But other sources point to BecVar. Here's a fourstring: [attachment=31968:BecVar_a...ic_style.jpg] [attachment=31969:BecVar_kop.JPG] And here another model:[attachment=31970:BecVar_C...6000_USD.jpg] Bruce BecVar (who's now a recording musician specializing in spiritual and healing music)
worked at Alembic from '72 to '77 after which he set up his own workshop in Sonoma,CA until some point in the '80s.
In the early '70s there were about eight people working for Alembic. It was common practice to work for themselves after
regular hours. That's when Doug Irwin (he came up yesterday as the mentor of Tom Lieber) first made his own instruments for Jerry Garcia and BecVar
did this too. His instruments resemble Alembic very much and often use Alembic bridge parts, pickups and electronics.
When he started out on his own he started using Hi-A (early Bartolini) pickups and Hyak electronics. Hyak was mentioned
two days ago. It was founded by a third Alembic employee from the early days, Brian Smith and existed for only 2 years
/ 200 guitars & basses - Smith had to quit guitarmaking because of a wood allergy. He's still on friendly terms with Alembic but
both Irwin and BecVar aren't. A fourth Alembic spin-off is Oasis, made by Gary Cooper in the mid '70s. His best known creation (#2 c.1973) was for Robert 'Kool'Bell of Kool & the Gang. See it [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwEMxYggoKQ"]here and celebrate![/url]
Well back to JPJ- BecVar did make some Omega JPJ models and one of them seems to have landed with JPJ. So was
he playing an Alembic or a BecVar?
(Most of this info comes off the Alembic Users Forum)
Edit: I forgot a fifth '70s Alembic employee going solo in '77: Michael Dolan, stiil making custom basses and guitars in Sonoma,CA. Here's an Alembic-like fivestring bass: [attachment=31971:Dolan_custom_5.jpg]

Edited by JanSpeeltBas
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Opening with another scroll bass (very soon we'll be moving to scrolled headstocks...) by Ken Bebensee: [attachment=32075:Ken_Bebensee.jpg]

Recently I learned that Peter Malinosky is making instruments again. He's an artist and guitars are only part of his work but they're very nice: [attachment=32076:Peter_Ma...osky__35.jpg] [attachment=32077:Peter_Ma...osky__36.jpg] [attachment=32078:Malinoski_5.jpg]

Tomorrow we'll check out some southamerican instruments: this appetizer is made by Pablo Massa of Argentina: [attachment=32079:Pablo_Massa_4.jpg]

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Fanta Beadoux (this bass is an old one from '85): [attachment=32217:Fanta_Be...headless.gif]
This one's from an unknown argentine luthier - really one piece construction: [attachment=32218:Onbekend...ke_toets.gif]
MM Basses (Colombia): [attachment=32219:MM_Basse...ail_body.jpg] [attachment=32221:MM_Basses_M01dc.jpg]
Roger Morillo (Venezuela): [attachment=32220:Roger_Mo...semiak_6.gif]

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[attachment=32223:Onbekend...oets.gif.jpg]


This looks particularly delicious really love the " cleanness and purity " " one piece " is something ive never experienced but looks utterly huggable !


and may i just add some big thanks for some inspirational finds and info .


Great work and much appreciated

Gary
v8

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After a week absence - back online...

Another Shark, mady by Giannini of Brazil. They're most known for their kidney-shaped acoustic Cravioli guitars but have made a lot of basses too. Most of them are rather cheap looking copies - a bit like Aria in the '70s, but the Shark is quite original - the headed guitar version was introduced round '78 - this [attachment=32791:Giannini_Shark.pdf] headless bass with a wooden throughneck and fibreglass bodywings dates from 1980.

The Verdi family makes instruments in Argentina. They developed their "Virtual Bass" and similar guitars. [attachment=32792:Verdi_Virtual_Bass.jpg] [attachment=32795:Verdi_Vi...l_bass_2.jpg] There's an EUB too: [attachment=32793:Verdi_Pr...ntrabajo.JPG], closeup of the partly carbon body: [attachment=32794:Verdi_Vi...bon___05.JPG]

In Equador there's a luthier called Olivo Chiliguenga making classical guitars. In the '70s he lived in Canada working for Lado.
That's when he made some real nice Alembic-style basses like this one: [attachment=32796:Olivo_ba...ic_style.jpg]

Look for the second chapter of my world bass encyclopedia (South America) soon and exclusively on Bass Chat!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for posting that. There's some interesting looking guitars and basses on there. Pity the photography isn't bigger/better.

Added to my list of interesting luthiers.

At some point I need to do a luthier tour of Germany - there's so many producing radical takes on both the guitar and bass.

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[quote name='JanSpeeltBas' post='579677' date='Aug 24 2009, 11:02 PM']For today: Mouradian CS74. [attachment=31498:Mouradia...S_74_015.jpg] [attachment=31500:Mouradia...74_81_82.jpg]It's on some BC'ers wishlist and actually acquired last year by a London based TB'er (who may be on BC too?). It's used by and designed for Chris Squire with the body shape depicting the initials C S. It was made for a while in the '80s by Jim Mouradian (located near Boston, USA) who stopped making them for unknown reasons (an unconfirmed story tells he licensed the design to a Japanese company) but has recently moved back to where he originally started making custom basses and guitars (Winchester,MA). He's a very respected luthier and runs a shop/repair business together with his son Jon. He plans getting back to making the neckthrough CS and another model (the bolt-on Reality that's used by Pat Badger of Extreme who himself has worked in the Mouradian workshop too). [attachment=31499:Mouradian_Reality.jpg]There are both active and passive versions (Joe Barden or EMG pickups) and a possible CS75 fivestring version. For the past few years this design was made (under licence) by Las Vegas guitardealer Ed Roman (who owns probably more than twenty brandnames of highend custom guitars ) as the Abstract Mysterion. [attachment=31497:Abstract...esigned_.jpg][/quote]

If anyone knows of anyone selling a Mouradian CS-74, do let me know! I've got a kidney for sale!!!! I used to be in regular contact with Pat Badger many years ago - really nice bloke!

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  • 6 months later...
  • 4 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

[quote name='JanSpeeltBas' post='579822' date='Aug 25 2009, 08:13 AM']And continuing Kubicki and licensed basses: here's a Japanese made Blaster. It never got any further than a pre-production run but it's actually the official MIJ Kubicki.[attachment=31508:Blaster_...ail_body.jpg] [attachment=31509:Blaster_detail_kop.jpg].
Ofcourse the Kubickis are wonderful but nowhere weird by todays standards.[/quote]


Was it really a licensed thing?

I recall seeing a one of those on Talkbass years ago, it's quite clearly a horrible abomination of something meant to be like a Kubicki but quite clearly getting it all wrong. I didn't know Phil or Fender had ever licensed it for production anywhere else and it seems odd that it would be so incredibly different from a real Kubicki too. I also remember a Yahoo group discussing these basses and coming to the conclusion they were a rip off too. And that was a real knowledge base for Kubicki, the likes of which has never existed since. The group has pretty much died, but in the days before TB and the like it was packed with some real experts.

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[quote name='BigRedX' post='57906' date='Sep 9 2007, 08:38 PM']OK as discussed with Ped in the McIntyre Guitars thread, here is a selection of weird and wonderful bass manufacturers and luthiers that I have bookmarked.

I'm going to try and post one a day going through my list. Hopefully there will be something here for everyone eventually and also hopefully some new makes that not everyone will have seen before.

Feel free to comment, dis my taste in musical instruments etc...

And without further ado here's the first on my list

This is an Aquilina Triton 5 string.

More information from the [url="http://aquilinabasses.free.fr/"]Aquilina Website[/url]

Based in France. Reasonably conventional by my standards, but there's some nice design ideas here such as the balanced XLR out as well as the standard jack and the unusal truss rod access. It's an elegant shape, although I think more could have been made of the extended cutaway access. This will set you back about €2,000.

There's two other models and they're all available with 4-7 strings.

More tomorrow...[/quote]
And i thought my Ovation Magnum2 was odd nahh!

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