Vintage Guitars

Ampeg Dan Armstrong Lucite Bass Guitar (ca. 1970)

The Ampeg Lucite bass was designed by local New York City guitar repairman Dan Armstrong and was produced from 1969-1971. The distinctive Lucite body was designed to reduce the transmission of unwanted frequencies through the body of the instrument and improve sustain. In 1999, Ampeg reissued their clear-plastic-body guitars. (Information provided by Tony Bacon, Electric Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia)

- Steve

used in parade

Apollo Violin Bass

Coming Soon

EKO Violin Bass (Model 995/2, ca. 1969)

The EKO violin bass was produced from 1966-1969. Many of these guitars available on the market today have been produced from original parts purchased when the EKO warehouse was liquidated. Most notable is Roberto Brandoni of Wembley, London who’s NOS basses typically do not have the scrolled EKO headstock and pickguard. In the U.S., Fat Dog at Subway Music has been resurrecting these NOS basses, beginning with the one he made for Les Claypool. The following description of an EKO violin bass is provided in a 1969 EKO product catalog. “Violin shaped semi-acoustical electric bass. Arched spruce top with all maple body and arched back. Double polarity twin bass pickups. Three position tone selector. Precision machine heads. Removable neck. Ebony fingerboard protected by 5-ply proxylin purfing. Adjustable neck. Master volume and tone controls. Adjustable rosewood bridge. Chrome tail piece. Honey brown natural finish.”

- Steve

used at the end of little joe and rosalie

G&L L-2000 Series E (ca. 1981)

G&L was started by Leo Fender and began producing guitars in 1980. I special ordered this bass from the factory since the music store didn’t have the 2 pickup version in stock and I received it in May 1981. This bass has the skunk-stripe neck, original styled headstock, active electronics and ebony fingerboard. It has the earlier (1980-81) chrome plated hardware and a mahogany body in a sunburst finish. It has been my primary bass for over 20 years and I love it despite the fact it weighs over 10.5 pounds. When Leo died in 1991, G&L was sold to BBE Sound of Huntington Beach California.

- Steve

used in hey paul

Rickenbacker 4001 (ca. 1976-77)

The model 4001 was a two pickup deluxe version of the model 4000 and was produced from 1961 to 1980. The extra pickup was added to give greater tone flexibility and a stronger bass response. This bass is finished in the fairly rare “burgundy glo” finish and has triangle inlays, a bound body and neck, and a rosewood fretboard. Note that this Rick still has the original rear pick-up cover that was removed and subsequently lost on many of these vintage instruments. It also has the “Rick-O-Sound” feature that first appeared in 1971. As a bit of Beatles trivia, Paul began using a Rick 4001 on Rubber Soul and continued to incorporate it as a primary bass up through Abbey Road.

- Steve

Fender Jazz Bass (ca. 1973)

Tobacco Sunburst finish with block pearl inlays in a rosewood fretboard. I was told by the tech at the music store where I purchased this bass that the body dates to 1973 but the neck is stamped 1971. We’re not sure whether this marriage occurred at the factory or sometime later in the life of this bass. All of these old guitars seem to have a story. This one has a 1 inch diameter rout under the pickguard where someone installed an extra pot to control who knows what. The original black pickguard now has a screw that occupies the hole left after removal of the pot. I replaced the black pickguard with a beautiful, old tortoiseshell pickguard I found on eBay, however, all other parts are original.

- Steve

Steinberger L2 Bass Guitar (ca. 1983)

I remember first seeing a Steinberger guitar on the 1985 "Live Aid" broadcast played by the Dire Straits guitarist David Knopfler and being totally bewildered by its shape and lack of headstock. Ned Steinberger first introduced the revolutionary "L" bass in 1980. His all graphite, neck through "boat oar" design ultimately earned him a "Design of the Decade" award from the Industrial Designers Society of America in 1990. According to 1982 marketing literature, the neck and body are molded from an extremely rigid piece of graphite-fiber and glass-fiber epoxy resin. The structure isolates the vibration of the string resulting in extremely long sustain and increased harmonic content. The neck will not warp or bend, even under the highest string tension. The hard polyester gel coat finish resists scratching and is impervious to moisture. All hardware is machined from solid brass and stainless steel. The L2 is equipped with EMG low impedence pickups for extended frequency response and improved signal-to-noise ratio. My bass was built in the original Brooklyn factory and according to the serial number was invoiced September 30, 1983. These early L's have several features that distinguish them from later models. First, the faceplate attaches from the front and attachment bolts can be seen on the face, later models attached from the back. Also, the logo on the faceplate is either silk-screened or a sticker logo, and in many cases this logo has worn off. On the back of the instrument, the oval-shaped battery compartment contains a plate with the serial number and Steinberger address printed on it. Early models also have a plug-in "bayonet" style leg rest and a headpiece that accommodates both single and double ball strings. Approximately 1,500 L2's were manufactured. (Technical information obtained from sales literature posted at "Steinberger World")


Kramer "The Duke" (ca. 1980-84)

The Duke has a Steinberger-like body style with just a bit more of a pronounced sweep to the profile at the top rear of the wooden body. The single “Precision” pickup is controlled by one volume and one tone control. The bass has a 24 fret, short-scale aluminum neck (no truss rod) that is headless and it has a zero fret instead of a nut. The fretboard is Ebonol, a patented bowling ball material that Kramer guaranteed not to chip, crack, or warp and promoted as being far superior to wooden fretboards. The Schaller tuning keys are located in a recessed portion in the rear of the body. The Duke does not require special double ball strings like the Steinberger but at 32 inches from head piece to bridge it does require a medium/short scale set. The bridge is a "BADASS BASS II" and is chrome along with all the other hardware. Some of the later Dukes were fitted with a small strip of rubber on the underside of the bass to keep it from slipping off the player's leg when sitting. The Axxxx serial number on my bass dates it to the first production run from late 1980 to early 1981. It is also White, which only appeared on the early Dukes, most of these instruments were Black. I think the bass sounds a lot like a Ric 4001, it has a really bright, piano-like tone, and great sustain. I have my Duke set up to play funk since it's tone and bendable strings make it an excellent slapping bass.

Kramer DMZ Fretless 6000B (ca. 1979) Owner: Steve Brown

The DMZ series basses were introduced in 1979, however the 6000B was produced in limited numbers and is not pictured in the 1979 catalog. The body is constructed from a combination of American black walnut and birds-eye maple. The 6000B is similar to the 5000 bass except it has a wider core of birds-eye maple down the center of the body and a stubby Alembic style pintail on the butt end. The body is finished with "Diamond Coat", a durable glossy clear finish. The pickups for the DMZ series were specially designed by Larry DiMarizo to produce high output with low distortion and noise. The neck pickup is a P bass design while the bridge pickup is a Jazz style. The pickups are selected with a three-way toggle switch and each pickup has separate, speed knob, volume and tone controls, as well as miniature sound switches. The detachable neck is Kramer's "Power-Forged T neck" design with wooden inserts along the entire length of the neck. The ebanol fretboard has MOP crown inlays and 20 tan fret line markers. The peghead is aluminum cast in Kramer's signature tuning fork design and the tuning machines are Schaller M-4s. The bridge is a two-way adjustable BADASS BASS II. I have this bass set up with Fender tapewound strings for a mellow, acoustic-type tone. Sliding between notes on the neck makes it sound like a trombone. (Technical information obtained from the 1979 Kramer product catalog, CC 6-79).

- Steve

Teisco Deluxe Bass

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Teisco ET Bass

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Bruno Conqueror Bass

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